I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


30 October 2008

I started off with the best of intentions

She was only going to be allowed in the gym room, then I expanded to the entire house but definitely not the bedrooms (as really how can I keep her confined to just one room), now she may sleep in bed with me…. But really how can I say no to this?

Although lately I am having second thoughts as Aeisha keeps waking up around 4 am wanting to play and eat my hair – so not cute at that time of the morning. If I try to put her outside she’ll cry and whine until I give in and let her back in with me. I think this alone is proof that I am not cut out to be a Mommy!

I do keep her out of the guest bedroom, that has to count for something.

It's not quite Park Avenue but...

I figured I should post photos of my neighborhood. It is definitely not the nicest in Kuwait but far from the worst. Overall I would say it is a very average typical neighborhood in Kuwait. It looks like I live in the hood but I swear I don’t. My complex is one of the newer buildings and is definitely the diamond in the rough. I can’t post photos for Force Protection reasons until I return home. However without further ado the hood….

Yes people hang clothes out their windows, I guess since no yard for the clothesline the patio must make do.

Yup, wires hang from 90% of the homes, they haven’t quite mastered the idea of central wiring for phone lines, cable, etc…I am sure everything is quite safe.

I don’t have sidewalks and more often than not people park anywhere they feel like so the streets are hard to navigate at times. Trash is also left out in huge piles from time to time until trash day arrives (not even sure when trash day is!). The concept of only putting trash into a bin on a set day just hasn’t caught on here.

Also buildings are never built to last – they are built to last for a certain amount of time. This one has obviously exceeded its time and is now in tear down phase, just last week it was full of people. As you can see some people are still residing in the partially gutted building. Nice eh! Word on the street is if a landlord decides to tear down a building he must allow all the residents to live rent free for 6 months to allow them time to save money and locate a new home. Guess these final few residents are sticking it out till the bitter end.

I’ll post photos of my home later so you can see that it truly is nice.

28 October 2008

A perk

I finally got a new vehicle. They have been telling me for months I would but it never happened. The “rule” of sorts is once your vehicle has over 60,000 KM it becomes on post only. Mine had 78,000+ KM and I was still stuck with it. I finally decided to take action, good grief I dated the DOL (Director of Logistics) at one point that should get me some sort of a perk. So I marched on in the office and demanded a new car, a few hours later I left Camp Arifjail with a new SUV and a dinner date. Not too shabby.

The Prado has been good to me the last almost two years but it was looking a bit worse for the wear. May have been my poor driving skills…I did manage to have a minor fender bender in the ol Prado. Backed into some poor British guy – although it was partially his fault. The beauty of it all was that I have diplomatic immunity so I received no ticket and had to pay not a dime. I may have also hit a pole or two from time to time as parking is tight here. Again no repairs required just turned it in and received a new car as an exchange.

The new car is an improvement, it’s not the Lexus convertible I have been craving for years but that will come eventually. The GMC Envoy has only 8000 KM and looks much nicer as new with no dents, scratches, stains. I like the white color much better than the grey as well. Always a bonus when you get a new car for free, free gas, and free upkeep. One advantage to working overseas.

22 October 2008

My love/hate relationship with Jazeera Airlines

Today was the Jazeera 10KD no taxes sale (20KD round trip) from noon to 6. Jazeera is a local carrier that flies no frills (think Southwest Airlines) flights to locations around the Middle East at very reasonable rates. The plan was get on at noon and book tickets to Istanbul, Turkey for my birthday. Simple right? Wrong. All started off well.

But then quickly went downhill as these screens kept displaying. I guess EVERYONE wanted 20KD tickets to escape Kuwait and the server was overloaded.

I was not to be beaten by Jazeera Airlines. I spent all afternoon refreshing and retrying. Perfect use of my time as of course I had nothing else I could possibly be working on. Finally at 340

Success!! I won I won I won – well really I just bought tickets but it felt like winning. Istanbul it is for my 30th Birthday. Now just have to convince my mom and dad to meet me there as well (and now I definitely need to do some work).

21 October 2008

Thanks Mom!

I love getting mail over here and my mom sends the best care packages ever. They always have a theme. This one was mainly Halloween with lots of yummy candy (along with some healthy optoins thrown in for good measure). Funny thing, I was wishing I had candy corn for fall decorating, and lo and behold there was candy corn in the package.

Aeisha especially wants to say thanks Grandma as she loves her toy and treats. You are the best mommy and grandma.

20 October 2008

Searching for fall decorations

It was too dusty on Friday for the pool. Yes you heard correct, too dusty. Here in Kuwait VERY rarely is it too cold or too rainy for the pool, instead it is often too dusty. I guess I shouldn’t complain as I get to go to the pool approximately 9 months a year which is much better odds than in Council Bluffs. I decided I would spend Friday trying to decorate for fall. First I went here hoping for some fall decorations.

All I really found was fall candles which I spent $80 on! Between the cost to import items and the awful exchange rate everything is very expensive here. So my next stop was to the plant souk in hopes that they would have fall flowers or pumpkins, gourds etc…

No luck here either but I did get a few cute things to plant in the pots by my front door. They currently held trees that had fallen victim to the 50+ Celsius heat of summer. Now my front door looks much better!

Still on the lookout for some pumpkins, gourds, or something fallish. Sure makes me miss Wal-Mart and farmer’s markets! At least Saturday was warm and sunny so I was able to get my sun fix.

18 October 2008

Jahra Copthorne

The other day I drove to the middle of the desert (well Herb drove) to check out a new hotel. It was a diamond in the rough. All around was sand sand and more sand. However here in the middle of nowhere was this gorgeous new hotel by Copthorne. I was pleasantly surprised and wished I would have known of it earlier as would be a fun party spot or getaway for friends over a long weekend - not that I have many here, but if I did. We went to decide if it would be suitable for some of our tenants that work at the Northern Camps. It would cut their daily commute by over and hour and half. Plus they are living at a hotel with maid service 3 times a week (to include laundry), free breakfast, an amazing pool and gym. How lucky for them.

The owner's daughter was getting married at the hotel the next day so it was bustling with activity. I would have loved to have been able to see what the wedding was going to look like as I am sure it was over the top and gorgeous. The bride and groom's getaway car was parked out front of the hotel and we were able to snap a few shots in it. Turns out it was once the car of one of the Princesses of England. Nice huh! If only we all had loads of money to burn.

16 October 2008

Inappropriate clothing

Today my linguist and I took the CID crew to the Ministry of Justice to do research. Long story short as we were leaving a Kuwait looks at me, starts pointing and talking. I can tell he is not happy. After we walk past I ask my linguist what he said. Turns out his exact words were "what does she think she is doing dressed like that". Are you kidding me? What business of his is it? And to clarify I was wearing a very conservative outfit of loose fitting khakis and a button up shirt (again not overly tight) that went to at least mid arm if not almost elbow. Gotta love Kuwait and their Muslim attitudes. I guess since I didn't have a black abaya on covering all but my eyes I looked a bit too promiscuous for his taste.

This same mentality is why I ran last night in a velour track suit (in 37 degree Celsius weather my friends!). Because the only other workout clothes I had at the office were a pair of shorts and a tank top. And its against the law for a female to show her shoulders or heaven forbid her knees in a public place. There is something to be said for showing some class and modesty but to this extreme? To rebel I wore a halter top tonight to the US Embassy Happy hour because I could, and I may even have had a drink because alcohol is legal there.

14 October 2008

River Jordan and Mount Nebo

Shockingly enough I actually tore myself away from relaxing by the Sea one afternoon. (I am definitely not very excited about history or touristy events.) Growing up my mom was great about ensuring we went to church, Sunday school, AWANA, all the good stuff. However I don’t really remember all the different events and locations from the Bible. I was so young the first time I read the Bible that after being in this region for several years where so many events in the bible took place I feel it may be a great time to reread the Bible. Weird how random things can inspire something you hadn’t thought of in years.

The River Jordan used to be about 200M wide and is now about only 9M wide! It is a very dirty river and actually no longer passes through the baptism site. However, I did see the site where Jesus was baptized, touch the River Jordan, and original churches that were built on the site (they are in the background of the baptism site) along with the new Greek Orthodox Church. We were on the Jordan side of the river but right across the river was the Palestine side and you could see the Israeli flag waving in the background. At one point my cell phone even registered that I was in Palestine! I could also see Jericho in the background. Mount Nebo was great as you were able to look out over a lot of the Jordanian countryside and get a good glimpse of the hills, we actually started at the very bottom and drove to the top. Mount Nebo also had a lot of great mosaics that they are restoring on display. Mount Nebo is significant in that it is dedicated to Moses again something from the Bible. Looks like I need to read up! Shopping in the town of Madaba was a bust as nothing of interest to get and was not able to add any children’s items to the hope chest.

Enjoy the photos even though I choose a terrible shirt to wear as it makes me look huge in all the photos. Not sure what I was thinking other than I was trying to wear something conservative for the region.