Kite flying in Kuwait Bnaider Desert

Kite flying in Khiran, Kuwait

Kite flying reminds me of happy childhood memories.

In Philippines we have long summer vacations. Starting from April to May. School starts once again in June so we had plenty of idle times to kill. In these long summer days, kite flying is best with summer days, windy but not stormy. Children ´s laughs is the music you hear, running barefoot here and there.So innocent, carefree and yes–no restrictions.

Just days full of fun and play.

Before we left Kuwait, we had the chance to see the Kitesurfing and Flying in Bnaider Desert .It was a whole new experience to me. I have never seen those huge kites before in my life. Too bad my daughter is just a baby back then, she missed to see and enjoy this event. We drove to the barren Bnaider desert, where the sight of the rows of power lines and dusty roads is not really appealing without anything to do. Nevertheless, this event truned out to be awesome and one-of-a-kind, thanks to all these beautiful kites!

Lightning McQueen cannot fly, he can only drives fast!

As a child, me and my cousins always love to make and fly our own kites. Have you done it as well?

For us, we gather old plastic bags, cut it in rectangular form and knot it on a padded stick of forming the frame which holds the kite in place.Then we cut some more pieces of the plastic to serve as a tail, as we all know, a kite cannot fly without a tail.Everything is recycled back then. On some occasions, we would also make kites made out of paper, crafted by our own imagination. Learning how to fly a kite become a childhood skill, just like climbing a tree, or riding a bike. We all did it by ourselves and it makes us very proud. My fondest memory was flying a kite in a newly-plowed ricefield. I remember, the soil would be knee high after plowed by a manually plowed with a carabao… so the hurdles are stronger and yet so fun! Yes, those simple farm life where we have the whole fields as our playgrounds.Sometimes running in the mud, catching frogs…and tadpoles.

But the tricky part is when our kites landed to trees and we need to climb it and get it.

Nowadays, it´s very rare that I´ve seen kids flying a handmade kite. Here in Germany, I have never seen it.Although there are many ready made kites sold in the shops and it just take an eager kid with interest to get hooked into it. Still, it´s still a very rare sight for me. Everything now is modern, with gadgets and everything.

Happiness was a little like flying, she thought, like being a kite. It depended on how much one let the string out.
Patricia Highsmith

Once we prepared everything, we help each other fly the kite. One holding the kite, and one holding the thread. We ran as fast as we could and find a good spot in an empty field where the wind is good enough to let it loose. After some attempts, we let it go.

Kite flying for me signals a ray of hope; it might tear down and fall on the ground, but it can be fixed and adjusted for a new game. I mean you cannot easily give up after a few tries. It shows how much you persevere, patience is a key. For children, it´s a mixture of being competitive and yes, being courageous.

Kites are free to fly

So when I saw this Kitesurfing event in Kuwait, memories flooded to me. These kites are huge, colorful and very eye-catching. I think it´s just necessary that these kites to be flashy in colors since the desert is such a barren place and all around is just dust, dust and acres of desert. This event was under the guidance of Andrew Beattie. Andrew Beattie is a member of Al-Farsi Kite team in Kuwait. Al-Farsi with cooperation with Peter Lynn broke the World record of a giant Kite that successfully flown into Britain´s skies.

A happy face of a kid flying a kite
Kite flying in Kuwait

Childhood memories of flying a kite, of my feet on the ground, of my spirit untethered, of the playful wind, of rooftop cries, of joy and curses, of a day ever to remember. 

Norma D Mahanty

While writing this, I suddenly remembered the novel that I´ve read, the Kiterunner, by Khaled Hosseini. Luckily, I also got the book in German ” Drachenläufer” which I scored from a Book flea market. This novel also features childhood stories of two boys which plays with a kite.

Traditional Kuwaiti Festival dance

There were giant inflatable slides for children, kiosks and restaurants and a giant outdoor hall where traditional Kuwaiti songs and dance were performed. I have seen many families enjoyed their day in the desert and everyone was just admiring the kite figures being flown into the skies.It was unforgettable.

Al Farsi Kite Team entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2005 by flying a 1,050 square meters kite of Kuwait Flag. Later in 2018 they broke their own record by flying a kite, Our Planet, of 1,200 square meters.Seeing this once in a lifetime event made me realize that sky is the limit of your imagination. There can never be enough figures of Kites in the skies, whether it would be Tweety Bird, whale, lizard, bear, dog or Cars—anything can soar high.

I knew from experience that Kuwait always love to grabe world records–whether the largest, the longest, or the grandest! I couldn´t forget witnessing the longest Fireworks display there and having the biggest Dhow Ship as my background on my wedding day!

Truly, Kuwait has some hidden gems more than it´s oil!

Have you ever flown a Kite?

Until then, Tschüss!

A Day in the Life in the market (Souk) in Kuwait

Do you know the name of this giant Fish?

It´s Friday, a day of rest in the Middle East.No work for almost everyone. It´s a free day for us so normally it´s a rest day.Either we sleep in,grocery shopping, or meet with some friends in Avenues,but sometimes, we opt for another unique expat experience.A trip to the Market or we called it in Arabic,” Souk should be experience by everyone who visits Kuwait.I frequenty visits the Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait City and Souk Sharq in Sharq.There is also one good souk in Fahaheel but it´s far from where I lived .

This time, let me take you to a short tour about a day in the life inside the Fish Market and in the Mubarakiya. I decided to make a post about this because I certainly love going there. My husband doesnt. He does´nt like the smell of fish and walking to crowded markets. But I do. I love the cultural mixture, the smorgasbord around there, the diversity, and the raw mid-eastern and arabic food culture. I grew up in a tropical country where fish and seafoods are also abundant. At a young age, I have learned how to clean a fish and I am happy about it.

Salam Walaikom” is the universal greetings in Kuwait and is typically responded with ” Walaikom a Salam” .

I always see people over here in Ingolstadt who loved to catch fish in the Danube river, they spent hours and hours to catch something. I guess they really find solitude in their hobby whatsoever!

The Fish market in Kuwait City is big, it´s a very crowded place adjacent to the “Mubarakiya“.You can find all sort of stuff there. From rugged carpets, pots, clothing, arabic spices, meat shops, cafe´s and gold shops and so much more. In this area, there´s a nearby Mosque, so on Friday, this place can be very busy. You will see all the nationalities of expats and locals . Just walking through the pedestrian makes me really dizzy…It is really an overwhelming experience. The smell, the noises, the chaos and yes, the sound of the buzzling city.

Abundant fresh crabs in the Fish Market

Inside the Fish market there´s also so much going on. I practiced my haggling talent here. With the Arabic that I have learned, I try to blend in the culture. The fresh catch is really awesome. I love having fresh seafoods from time to time. I had the experience of digging some clams when it is lowtide in the beach, but seeing other fish varieties is also something.In Kuwait, I also experience picking my own fish (my favourite was the Red Snapper!) and have it cooked to my preference.

The prices were quite competitive and since Fishing is one of the traditional source of income by the locals, you won´t be dissapointed with the daily offers in the market.

“Kam hada?” (How much?)

It is okay to haggle for the price but it is always good to do it politely. Most vendors are speaking in Arabic so if they saw that you are a foreigner then they might not understand you. So it´s better to come here with someone who speaks the native language and let them help you, especially if asking about the quality of the catch.

Look what I´ve found? the Dutch famous “Kissing Couple”, a plagiarized copy sold in the Mubarakiya in Kuwait

There´s something so endearing about Kuwaiti local specialties and food. Meat are cooked tenderly with arabic sices, lots of Cummin and Garam Masala. We love the authentic grilled Kuwaiti foods and this nice restaurant in the heart of the city called ” Leila”. I believed it´s Lebanese and it serves this yummy buns.

A taste of Lebanon in Kuwait

On the other side of the Fish market, there´s the dry goods section where you can find local produces like dates, spices, vegetables and fruits. Kuwait has limited agriculture so ost of the products that are grown locally like dates are quite cheap. It is very hard for me to find here in Germany for a good Dates, most of them are so expensive and not so delicious as what I´ve got to eat there. I am missing it now actually, and the native Kuwaiti sweets…they are super decadent!

Street Art in Kuwait

Walking around the city made me realized just how nationalistic Kuwait is. Kuwait colors is always displayed and they really loved displaying their Flag.During the “Hala Hala Festival ” in February, the whole country is actually dressing up in White, green, black and Red.

A typical shop design in Kuwait with national colors!

Welcome to Kuwait
A day in the life in the markets of Kuwait

In here you can find as well so many local produce from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. It´s like a mixture of the Arabic food centre .It´s no wonder because there are so many Arabic expats living and working there as well.Outside the market are line of restaurants and shops that serves the local dishes. I love sitting there and enjoy some freshly made Iranian bread and some grilled chicken and meat. The side dishes and Hummus are really good.

A taste of Kuwaiti Culture

Do you have a market experience in other countries? If so, how was it?

Until then, Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

The Dhow ship: Kuwait’s timeless Heritage

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The timeless Dhow ship of Kuwait, a precious Maritime Heritage

Speaking of Heritage — The Dhow ship is probably my most photographed icon, next to the Kuwait Towers, from my years of stay in the Middle East. A distinct symbol of Kuwaiti culture.

This boat, the Fateh-Al Khair, is a graceful against the winds, beautiful boat, originally used for trading and fishing purposes have long defined this oil-rich country’s identity up to the present times. Wherever you go, the iconic Dhow ship is displayed in many public spaces in Kuwait and there are so many museums dedicated to this heritage.This one in particular is my favorite, next to the gigantic and huge Al Hashemi II, which garnered the coveted Guinness World Records for the largest Dhow ship ever built in the whole world.

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Dhow ships and fishing boats in Souk Sharq

One of the scenic spots in Kuwait where anyone, especially foreigners can have a glimpse of the Dhow ships and fishing boats displayed and docked gracefully in the harbour. This one is taken in  Shouk Sharq, one of the places where I buy fresh local fishes, just adjacent to the fish Market. Here, you can watch the hustle and bustle of the fishermen as they go about their day, making rigorous  bidding for their pricey catch.

An ideal place if you want to catch a beautiful Sunset from the Arabian Gulf.

 

If you are interested about Kuwait ‘s culture and Islamic Heritage, here are further readings which I have written based on my personal escapades while living there.Photo credit to my friend Ramil Sunga for the second photo. I used this photo as my painting inspiration for my series ‘Kuwait’.

 

Diving for pearls with Dhow

Life in the sea in Kuwait

How to beat the 50 degrees Heat in Kuwait !

The Art of Islamic Patterns

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge | Heritage

Into the desert | The road taken

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Into the desert in Kuwait

One of my fondest memories while living in Kuwait was exploring the roads into the desert. We had desert camping where the police check on us 3 times until ordered us to pack our things and go home. We’ve done fishing, picnics, and visited many farms near the desert. Yes–there are farms in Kuwait. There are farms with vegetation,and some with camels and other animals which is popular destination especially during the slightly ‘colder’months in winter .I have tried to milk a camel there and shoot with a rifle in one of these farms.

The road going to Abdaly farms, Wafra and Yasmin farms all the way up to the border of Iraq is surely a lonely, wide, hot arena of arid desert. With only the rows of power lines and palm trees as your view, and of course, watching in anguish, the car-racing maniac drivers who drive as fast as 200 kmph, obviously ignoring the cameras! But surprisingly, if you are adventurous enough,you are rewarded with a close encounter with camels, and  a chat with some locals with his pack of goats and sheep.

What’s your ideal road-trip like?

This post is inspired by DP Photo Challenge |The Road Taken

99 Names of God | Grand Mosque in Kuwait

The dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait is probably one of the most beautiful things created by man and the architecture influenced by Islamic faith in Kuwait.This unforgettable sight is also the center of this mosque (masjid al- kabeer ) and contains the 99 Names of God written around it.The dome of the mosque is 26 metres (85 ft) in diameter and 43 metres (141 ft) high, and is decorated with the Asma al-hosna.

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Dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait where the 99 Names of God is written.

According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎‎) “Beautiful Names of God” (also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā “Beautiful Names”).

I have made hundreds of photos in my 4 times visiting this Mosque together with my family and friends and each time, I always find so many notable architecture details worth mentioning. Now, as I remember my Expat days back then in Kuwait and exploring the local sightings, the Islamic touch always fascinates me, totally unforgettable .

What about you, what kind of local attractions attracts you the most?

This post is in response to this week’s DP photo challenge |Names

My tiny human’s Little feet

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My Tiny human’s footprint in the shores of Arabian Gulf

One of the things I missed from living near the beach is having  lazy early morning beach walks. Unhurried, calm, serene and the most special thing, barefoot. Away from the chaos, and free from the hustle and bustle of the city.With the wonderful backdrop of the beach, my thoughts oftentimes drifts away and going places as the gentle wind touches my cheeks while holding my daughter’s hand.

There’s something so therapeutic and calming whenever I step on the soft, ticklish sandy shores along Arabian Gulf.  I’ve always been a beach girl  and you can imagine my glee when the day comes that my tiny human finally put her tiny toes in the shores and feel the waves and sand…for the first time. She loved every second of it. It was such a precious moment. She left her footprint, a precious mark —unscaled and raw . This tiny foot mark that I have excitedly captured in photo before the waves swept it away . Looking at her tiny feet made me realize that she had a big world ahead, waiting for her to explore, and that she had to stand firmly on a big feet in order to thrive.

But right now, she’s still so tiny, her feet still so fragile, yet so special.

That once in her life back in Kuwait, she had walked baby steps there, watched the sunsets, and sunrises too, played  barefoot, and waddled her tiny  feet in the shores…making memories.We  made thousands of  footprints in the beach… a beautiful chapter in our Expat life.

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My tiny human’s little  feet over mine.

With the beach front far from where we live right now, she now walks on different grounds. She’s stomping happily on pebbles & cobbled stone pavements and running though the lush grass fields. She’s making her own stride,taking her time to feel the ground,and walking confidently in her own feet. She even learned to jump into muddy puddles and walked on the crispy autumn leaves. She’s still making foot prints, leaving traces of her childhood-in her own tiny world.

As I’ve said before; the Littlest feet makes the greatest footprints in our hearts.

Do you like walking in the beach with your little ones? How was the experience?

This post is in response to this week’s Daily Post- Photo Challenge |Tiny

After the Sandstorm

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Traces of Sandstorm

I stumbled upon this photo when I was looking through my archives tonight. This was taken after a sandstorm in Kuwait. This was the sight in the floor at work. Pretty normal during those days. Our office janitor would just shrug his shoulder and say : Alhamdullilah!

After  sandstorm which could last for days, I just stare at the traces all around me. The palm trees are soaked in dust, the windows, and the cars! Everything is drenched in dust, you can smell the pungent dust everywhere.If you notice the architecture in Kuwait, the buildings and facade are normally painted with shades close to this–Beige, rust, or somewhat close to 1011 (Brown beige) or 1015 ( Light Ivory).

The other day, I was cleaning our roller shutters and windows  and this thought made me smile. Here in Germany, almost all windows  are white, painted with 9010 ( Pure white) and you can see tons of cleaning products in the grocery shops. I was thinking that if it’s so dirty in Kuwait because of frequent sandstorms then why I only see Dettol  ?

Maybe they realize that its useless to wipe out & clean when in the following morning its gonna be dusty again.It makes sense.

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My views during Sandstorm days back in Kuwait

I wrote before how Sandstorm happens in Kuwait and my experience of it. It’s a typical scenario and not surprising anymore for me. I guess when you live with it for years and years,  it becomes normal to you. One of the things that will happen to you when you move to Kuwait is that you will never wear clean shoes anymore. The soles of your shoes will always be dusty. There is dust in the pavement, in the road, almost everywhere. Flip flops? Oh forget it, it won’t work while you walk in the streets because your feet will only look like ginger soak in muddy puddles. If you stay in your car and never get out or walk, then you’re good.

After the sandstorm, we clean, we dust off and move on. That’s how life goes on.