Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It must be Eid

Sure signs that it is Eid in Kuwait:
  • Teenage boys are left to 'play' and entertain themselves on the streets with their air rifles. Fun. (This goes on into the small hours of the morning!)
  • Their are lots of happy Kuwaiti drivers on the roads, new cars are often given as gifts at Eid. (Nice gift huh!)
  • The roads are much quieter in the morning (everyone stayed up too late shopping) - you'll be sure to be able to find a seat at your favourite cafe for breakfast.
  • Blood stained bricks and cement from the slaughter is still evident (even though street slaughter is apparently , from this year, now banned in Kuwait).

All this aside, I realise that Eid Al-Adah (or 'big' Eid) is a very religious celebration for many muslims. Even I am drawn to watch the rituals in Mecca (on TV). There is something quite hypnotic about watching the masses of people circle the Kaaba. (It is forbidden for non-muslims to go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, but the Hajj (the holy pilgrimage) is on nearly every local channel.)

(I would tell you why Eid Al-Adah is important-but I don't know if it is interesting. Basic fact-it is to remember Prophet Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his only son- he didn't have to do it in the end, Allah intervened and he was able to sacrifice a ram, so it is tradition for muslim families to do the same).

On the Hajj, the men dress in simple white clothes and  move like waves (there would be little choice in the direction, toilet stops would be a tricky one!). Nearly 3 million people started the Hajj this year. Pretty much a logistical nightmare. Scenes on the TV showed men trying to create shade for a rest in any space they could find in the 35 degrees heat.

It is quite a sight at Kuwait airport alone. Planes are turned into buses, with hundreds of men (and women, but mostly men) just waiting to get onto the next one to enable them to start the Hajj. Sleeping at the airport until they are next in line. Many just hope to go once during there life time and save up all their savings to take the journey. After the Hajj, the airport is again heaving with the pilgrims and their gallons of holy water that they have brought back.

But then, the bit that we all love...the sales start!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eid Mubarak

I am just back from spending Eid in Dubai, visiting my dad and having an early birthday celebration (basically just a wee excuse to leave Kuwait and travel again, Megan! )



After stocking up in products from the 'non-muslim' section of the supermarket (mmm-pooorrk!) and having a drink (or twenty), I need to have a healthy week. I got up for a 16km run this morning. Now I only have enough energy to unpack my bag between naps!

Monday, October 22, 2012

This week

Today is Monday, yet it is my third working day this week.


The schools are closed Friday an Saturday, that is the weekend here for most people. This past weekend though we had parent consultations on Saturday. One day weekends are no fun...I quickly found that out in Kenya...I would not enjoy a job where that is the norm. I don't know how my Dad has done it for all these years.

Thankfully though we are off from Thursday for Eid.

Meeting the parents is always quite enjoying. Such funny and bizarre stories I have stored away. And such lovely gifts (I forgot about that perk!), flowers (quite a treat in Kuwait), perfume, body parent even brought me a coffee and a bucketful of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (ahhh, so great...yet so not helpful!). I may not be in Africa, but bribery is still rife. Love it!

I have been clear though, I will not accept any bribes for an A...anything less than an i-phone that is. Joking. (Of course..!) Flowers will do!

My local flower stall in Nairobi

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gas issues

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 17: Oil and obnoxious gas leaked from well #136 in Al-Rawdhatain oilfield in North Kuwait Wednesday noon, which is considered ‘the biggest and the most dangerous spill in the history of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)’, reports Al-Seyassah daily. (Arab Times)

I am no Scientist, but I am pretty sure gas can't be obnoxious. That gas, floating around all day, it thinks it knows everything!
Got to love it!

It nearly ruined my night dancing in the garden of the embassy with a few beers in (each) hand, it didn't. I even thought twice about going for my 16km run this morning. But thought, what the hell, I'll show that gas, it is not going to get my attention.

Oh- but look-it did. I wrote this. Obnoxious gas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

First World Problems

I live in a country where it costs less to fill your car tank with fuel than it does to buy 12 litres of drinking water.

Where gifts of I-pods and expensive perfume are the norm from parents at school.

But where men are bused in and out to long shifts working in the desert and the spend the evening collecting cardboard from the skips to sell for a little bit of money.

Where international schools are described as inner-city schools for the rich.

It is a country full of contrasts, like any be expected in a country built on sand by expats.

This is, in many ways, a developing nation with first world aspects. Therefore it has first world problems.

Like when the barista asks so many questions (not sure what you call this-over selling?) and you just want your coffee.

Or when the Internet is slow on the weekend.

Or when there is no more parking at the beach club that you are a member of.

Or when you can only find Diet Pepsi and not Diet Coke in the supermarket.

It can be frustrating...for a moment....

Friday, October 12, 2012

What I've been reading lately

I am in between 4 books at the moment. I read for the average of 3 minutes in bed and then fall asleep. One book, titled, 'Running is Easy', is by my bed, inspiring, yes, makes getting out of bed at 4.35am that bit easier, but I have gotten into the (bad) habit of reading Joy the Baker in bed. (You can read this book, it is not just a flicking recipe book).

Anyhow, I found my new hands-down favourite banana loaf recipe: Chocolate Bourbon Banana Bread (even minus the Bourbon it was great!).

Seriously need to stop reading this book and read more about running.

Book description from Amazon -

In her first cookbook, popular caterer and blogger Joy the Baker brings together a celebration of sugar and butter as she approaches baking with inspiration and heart. Joy the Baker's website is extremely popular as is her Los Angeles based catering company. Now in JOY THE BAKER COOKBOOK, she shares her incredibly delicious recipes for all kinds of sweet dishes: pancakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and much more. All this is achieved with her usual warm, humorous and irreverent style.

My thoughts -

Love it-my new favourite recipe book.
Totally indulgent recipes that always turn out well. I read Joy's blog, but I still can't wait for her to publish another book! I love this one that much. My favourite recipes are the banana and bourbon loaf and the browned butter cookies. Joy writes little stories among some of her recipes which I love  - I also think the photos are great...I always love photos in recipe books. Another thing - all recipes measurements are in American cups. I LOVE much easier than faffing around with scales...and from now on am going to purchase American versions of recipe books. (Lazy...maybe. I haven't even owned a set of scales for 3 years!). Get it. I like this book. My neighbours are also happy with it!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Coming back

I'm happy.

Just thought I need to share that with you. Yes, the dust and air is drying my skin and messing with my sinuses. But I am happy. Yes, I miss the lush greenery of Africa after the rains and I miss the smell of it. I miss the happy faces and the monkeys that I saw on a daily basis.

I haven't really talked about what it was like to 'come back' to a place I used to live.  I've been a teenager here. Had teenage fights with my parents here. Huffed and puffed and squeezed lots of spots here. Studied for exams and pretended to study for exams. Went out to my first party. Got dressed up for my first formal dance. And sat those exams here. Then later I came back and worked here. Travelled and met life long friends. I've lived here for a total of six years, the periods of my life separated with university and the start of my working life as a wanna-be-adult.

A couple of folk that I was friendly with, but who were not in my circle of friends, were so surprised to see me back and took a double take when they saw me in the staffroom- not realising I was coming back, but also not able to believe that the three years I was away went by with a blink of their eye.

Lots of people have asked why I came back. Kind of complex. Kind of not. The answer is, because I could. The money is great. I was happy here before. It is a great place to travel from. I can do it again. Well, as I said, it is hardly for the scenery, although I do still love the Kuwait Towers at the they deserved a visit last week!

One thing about 'coming back' is that it has made the world seem a lot smaller.

The three years in East Africa now seem a little bit like an extended holiday. I'm just back to the day job now, my norm, my routine. But I like it.


Friday, October 5, 2012


My body is still adjusting to Kuwait.

My body clock seems to have cracked it. On a week day I seem to naturally wake up around 4.45, just time to put on my trainers before my run.Then on my weekend,(the day I don't do my long run) I sleep-in for an extra two hours.Sorted.

But, now that I am getting into the groove of things, I keep thinking I am getting sick. My eyes are all puffy and my throat is scratchy and tight. Damn the dust. It comes in through the a/c and covers every surface in the flat. When I run I get a fuzzy nose, all the dust filtering through.Nice. It is not even that dusty yet. Some nights I wake up thinking, 'I'm sick, I'm sick'-but no, I'm body is just adjusting to all the dust. Although, today, I really am sick...and I am playing tennis later. Rubbish.

My beautiful yoga teacher from Uganda was in touch recently. She did a few breathing workshops here in Kuwait in the past and was complaining about the air, asking how I find it. The false air in the hotels, the cafes, the cars, the school buildings. Like I said, my body is readjusting. It isn't nice. My skin is cracking round my mouth and peeling at my forehead.  I need to get some thicker moisturiser.

 Yep-this is life in the sandpit.

On the upside. The polluted air and dust does make the sunrises and sunsets quite pretty.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Currently reading- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

Currently listening to- a lot of the Dixie Chicks (great tunes for the morning in the car!) and Bon Iver.

Currently watching- nothing. I have no TV and have not even had time to watch any films on my laptop. I did watch Lars and the Real Girl at a girls night last week- brilliant!

Currently drinking - coffee in a 'to go' cup...oh the luxury!

Currently eating- these pumpkin muffins. As I said, I am excited to find some different products in the shop, so bought some canned pumpkin and made these yummy muffins! They worked really well-I used peacan nuts instead of walnuts-just becuase I could!

Currently loving- the change in weather. It has dropped atleast 8 degrees celcius in 3 weeks - it is now cool enough to sit outside in the evenings for dinner. SOooooo much better!

Current celebrity crush- Ryan Gossling...I mentioned the Lars movie, right!?

Currently excited about- being able to shop...! I just had my first pay since June...and there is a Pottery Barn in Kuwait!