Day 57 – Friday Market

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 26-08-2009

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Wednesday August 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I had my first Friday Market experience. Andrew has been ready to see it and he, I and my mother were destined to go. We plugged our Garmin into the lighter and were on our way! The family we bought our fish tank from told us how massive it is. They said that it has over two-hundred fish stores and that a person can buy anything from furniture to sheep. Were they ever right!

However misleading the name is, the Friday Market is open on Friday as well as every other day. Imagine the largest flea market you have ever seen. Cover it with huge oval ceilings. Then put those ceilings in the shape of a flower and you have the Friday Market. They have a section for carpets, furniture, curtains, clothing, dishdashas, perfumes, households, art, clocks, knick-knacks; you name it, they have it. If they don’t, the shops surrounding the Friday Market will. You can find livestock of any kind: sheep, chickens, turkeys, fish. The most repulsive sight of the day award goes to the sheep department and their display of the outer layer of a sheep strewn over an overflowing dumpster. I’m telling you, we should’ve gone back for a picture. The award winning response goes to Mom and her reply of, “They should at least shave them before they kill them, look at all that wool.” Way to go Mom!

All in all if you want to shop, the Kuwait Market should be the first place you go looking. We mustn’t have wanted to go shopping, we came back empty handed.

Day 55 – The Aquarium

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 24-08-2009

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August 24, 2009

Once upon a time, when inspiration came in the form of a fish tank, I learned a great deal about determination. I have never been one for eating fish but observing them is a whole other ballgame. Since Andrew and I decided to buy a small fish tank, I have spent a good amount of time enjoying it. I realized that although they seemed minuscule, they too suffered from surprises and obstacles.

We have two turtles: one swims half of the day and enjoys his lamp time on his choice lily pad; the other comes up for air as quickly as possible and is nearly impossible to find. Our active turtle does experience his difficulties. He struggles for extended periods, attempting to get his little self out of the water and onto the pad. Sometimes the pad does not cooperate.

Turtle! Turtle!But no matter how many times he falls off or looks silly, he does not tire until he has achieved his goal and closes his little beady eyes to soak in that artificial sunlight.

In our tank also lives a mean spirited little guy. He is one of two black bodied, red finned fish that inhabit our tank and the only one with an attitude problem. He entertains himself by chasing after a fish of his choosing and nipping at their fins. One evening I notice that one of our goldfish struggled to stay near the bottom of the tank. When he floated to the top he flopped to one side and couldn’t gain control over his body. I realized then that his front fin had been nearly entirely ripped off. I was truly saddened and assumed he would soon be traveling the porcelain express. However, to my surprise, a day later he was swimming normally. He had learned to control his back fins and let his other front fin be still. As silly as it sounds, I rejoiced! I was amazed and inspired that he got dealt a crap hand and in less than 24 hours learned to deal with it. What a grouper–I mean trooper! Oh the lessons to be learned from a teeny, tiny fish tank with determined teeny, tiny creatures.

Day 51 – Humidity?!

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 20-08-2009

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Thursday August 20, 2009

When talking myself into living in the extreme heat of Kuwait, I always told myself “it’s a heat but it’s a dry heat.” That phrase then became my retort to the awkward responses from those that learned of my move to Kuwait. However, over the past two days I have not only endured the ridiculous near 120 degree temperatures but an overwhelming, suffocating wetness looming in the air! There have been streaks from said wetness down the windows and upon last glance, beads of water in my beloved peephole! Can someone explain how now am I supposed to see who’s coming out of the elevator?! The dry heat I can stand, but this humidity has got to go!

Day 46 – The Fahaheel Bazaar

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 15-08-2009

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Saturday August 15, 2009

Fahaheel is a popular shopping district in Kuwait. It reminds me a bit of China Town in New York City with the vendors standing outside their shop attempting to draw in their prey with phrases like “looking is free” and “cheapest prices.” Like China Town, Fahaheel specializes in “Name-brand” purses, watches and perfumes along with items for those searching for things Middle Eastern–local perfumes, dishdashas (the traditional garment for a Muslim man), abayas (the long black robe traditional muslim women wear over their clothing), niqab/burqas (a face covering to accompany the abaya) and simple Indian dresses. Also similar to China Town, a good haggler can always get a better price.

The whole area is covered and air-conditioned, although it’s still hotter than blue blazes. The path within the Fahaheel Bazaar leads in a giant circle, surrounding the buyer with shops on both their right and left. Amidst the shops, a small street vender offers a cup of hot corn kernels with a choice of butter, salt, pepper, lemon juice and cumin, for only 200 fils. YUM!

Surrounding the Bazaar are multitudes of other shops. There are many hardware shops that offer services to inexpensively fix electronics and appliances as well as frame shops and gift shops. Although Fahaheel offers many options for a buyer, parking can be rough in the evening when everyone is out. And in Kuwait, everyone is out in the evening! There are several places Americans are sure to be found in Kuwait: one is the airport, another, Fahaheel.

Day 40 – Kuwaiti Adventure

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 09-08-2009

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Sunday August 9th, 2009

With my mother over for a visit, Andrew and I have tried to show her the different aspects of Kuwait. We had planned for the Kuwait Towers, to walk the shores of the Persian Gulf, to visit a few of the many malls and to experience Fahaheel and the Souks. However, we did not plan for the most exciting part of her adventure to date. As we backed the car out of the driveway our landlord pulled in. He told us of his family’s farm and welcomed us for a visit anytime we desired. Andrew being the wonderful, spur of the moment man, suggested today.

We met our landlord at 1600 to depart on our adventure. With apprehension on my behalf and excitement on Andrew’s, Mom sided with me. As we followed behind in our vehicle, we jokingly quoted Marin Lawrence in Nothing to Lose, “No, you ain´t one of them desert slashers, are you? Cut a person body up and leave it out in the desert in little tiny pieces? Oh, no! We are in the desert. I´m in the car with a psycho, freaky, Jason hack-killer. Hey, please don´t kill me, freaky Jason. l said, please don´t kill me, freaky Jason (edited for language).” But sincerely we thought following a stranger in a foreign country to an unknown destination was not in the traveler’s handbook and were a bit nervous about the episode into which we were entering.

Our first stop was at the Khiran Resort http://www.khiranresort.com/. Our landlord explained to us that the water is directed from the Gulf creating a wide river with sandy shores in front of hundreds of Villas. The sight was beautiful with a huge deserted ship and several people enjoying the bright, sunshiny day.

We then headed to Wafra where the farms of Kuwait are located. Wafra is near the Saudi Arabia border, about one hour from Kuwait City. A paved two lane road leads from the main road to Wafra. From the car we saw herds of camels, some with babies, sheep and shepherds and a dead camel on the side of the road that was nearly the size of our car! Amidst the dust and heat, our landlord showed us a fish farm with thousands of fish, all at different stages of life. The fish farmers also owned a stable where horses are kept and bred. There in the middle of Kuwait was a newborn foal. Never before had I seen a foal that young; it truly was amazing. A fruit and vegetable market were next where we bought locally grown cucumbers, grapes, plums and cantaloupe. Dozens of venders filled the tent selling their crop. Our landlord explained that it was still too hot to walk his farm and took us to a shop with a bunch of random stuff. We’ll call it a hardware shop for all intents and purposes. Mom was amused with the John Deere mowers for sale since there is a severe lack of grass in Kuwait.

Finally we arrived at our landlords gated farm. We pulled down the dirt road and were surrounded by a grove of date palms. Each palm had several bunches of dates hanging from them. We were able to pick straight from the tree and eat the dates! Boy were they amazing! Dates sold in the markets are soft and brown but when ripening on the tree are part yellow and red. Our landlord explained that they pick the half yellow/red and brown ones to sell. The less ripened dates have a nutty texture and aren’t nearly as sweet, but are my favorite. The four of us moseyed through his 300 trees while eating our fill of dates. This was well worth our drive and anxiety!

After leaving the grove, our landlord showed us his turkeys, ducks, doves, deer, chickens and roosters. It was wonderful seeing some familiar animal faces. With most of the animals, I assumed their destiny but the deer I had to inquire on. He assured us that they were just to look at and when they become plentiful are sold to others. Mom however assured me they had other uses, like pulling a certain sleigh…

In the end we walked away with more than we expected. We never imagined seeing baby camels, deer and horses in the middle of the dessert. A camel maybe but the others?! Not by a long shot. What a wonderful way to spend a Kuwaiti Sunday. Perhaps next time we won’t forget the camera. 🙁

Day 32 – Wiener Mobile

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 01-08-2009

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Saturday August 1, 2009

It was an ordinary Saturday afternoon that is until I saw the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile. I was sitting at my parent’s home in their sunroom when I saw the butt-end of a giant hotdog drive by. I immediately jumped up from the chair and excused myself from my conversation with Andrew to run through the house for another view. Screaming excitedly I sat back down as Andrew tried to convince me to get in my car and follow the yummy vehicle. Since having yet to shower, get out of my p.j.s or think of someone to take with me, I decided I’d just let the excitement stay in my house. However after the Wiener Mobile drives by the house a second time, I started to attempt to convince myself to hunt it down. Twenty minutes after my last sighting, I decided what the heck and donned yesterday’s clothes.

I strategically thought of where to begin my search. Kroger? Publix? No! Neither! The Avenue! That’s the most likely place to find the most people on a Saturday afternoon! As I crested the hill before 74/54 crossing, I saw in the distance the treasure awaiting my capture. The Wiener Mobile drove out of my sight for a moment but before long I was snapping shots with my LG phone. Now the question was how long do I follow it? If it gets onto the interstate what’s my time/distance limit? Heck, what better did I have to do? The next question then was how long before I become a creepy Wiener Mobile stalker? Have I already crossed that line? But wait, it turned. It was not headed towards 85. It was now headed towards Kedron Kroger! It drove by Kedron Kroger. It made a U-turn just after Kedron Kroger. I drove by the Wiener Mobile. I didn’t want it to be too clear that I was following it. So I cut through a neighborhood to turn around and found the Dog waiting in the parking lot! One sticker and Wieny Whistle later, I went home an accomplished young woman!