Day 86 – Sakura

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 24-09-2009

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Thursday September 24th, 2009

Tonight’s blog should be read in accompaniment with ominous western music and in the voice of John Wayne.

6 PEOPLE-1 RESTAURANT-ALL YOU CAN EAT MENU-KD 10.450

Time: 1800.
Date: September 23rd, 2009.
Location: Sakura Japanese Restaurant, Kuwait.
Eaters in question: Dave, Nada, Andrew, Juliane, Shayne and Jeff-they call themselves The Clydesdales.

It was an ordinary day on the streets of Mangaf in the country of Kuwait. The sun was beginning to set. You could taste the desert. The smell of steak was in the air. The manager knew they were coming. Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid at the Okay Corral, he thought he was ready. No one expected what lie ahead. No one could have planned for the attack of THE CLYDESDALES! Just like when the animals went to Noah, they came two by two. First the Docimos, then the Haleys.

The instructions were to wait until they were all in attendance. Dave listened to no one and began the battle ordering 2 Ebi Tempura before Shayne and Jeff were in their positions. Andrew followed his lead and was the second to fire arms demanding 1 Edamame and 1 Ichban Chicken. Although the women were present, they were as innocent as the pig at a luau. But as the night went on, they changed and in the end were as guilty as the others. The desecration of their beloved restaurant had begun.

As Shayne and Jeff took their seats, the battle was still just beginning. Dave kept his eyes on the hibachi chef as he demanded more from the messenger, Sanit. As he began to walk away Andrew, Shayne and Jeff decided to see how far they could push. They began at once pointing at the menu and at half eaten plates, making gestures towards the kitchen and ordering changes: A double order of steak, medium rare, a salmon, 1 steak and shrimp medium, 1 steak medium well, another ichban chicken, 1caterpillar maki, did you forget about our California cones? Sanit’s pen moved quicker than a fox in a hen house. You could see the sweat dripping off the chef and spattering on the sizzling grill. Everyone would experience the wrath of The Clydesdales tonight.

Time: 1950. Both sides were slowing down. Ten minutes until the buffet closed. Sanit, exhausted and confused, tried to make himself scarce. He wouldn’t obey Dave’s signals. The battle had been long but it wasn’t over. The men ganged together and forced Sanit to take their demands again-one last time: 4 steak and shrimp, 1 caterpillar maki. Sanit turned to leave and Andrew states, (in slow motion) “1 exotic maki”.

No one saw them coming but no one will forget. Sakura didn’t care about how much they ate, just that they were gone.

Time: 2010. The battle was over and the Sakura All You Can Eat from the Menu Buffet was defeated. Long live The Clydesdales!

Total damages:

1 Edamame
1 Garlic Fried Rice
1 Mixed Fried Rice
1 Salmon Sashimi
1 Spicy Salmon Roll
1 California Cone
1 Volcano Maki
1 Hamachi Sushi
1 Wakadori Teriyaki
1 Exotic Maki
1 Yaki Soba/Udon
1 Temaki Combo
1 Spider Roll
1 Tuna Sashimi
2 Ichban chicken
2 Salmon Teppan
2 Salmon Sushi
2 Caterpillar Maki
4 Tuna Salad
5 Ebi Tempura
5 Kentucky Derby
8 Prawn Teppan
12 Beef Teppan

Day 85 – Emma

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 23-09-2009

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Wednesday September 23rd, 2009

Several times throughout my childhood, I spent about ten days at my Aunt’s home in Tucson, Arizona. Hers was the first huge collection of movies I had ever seen. Amid the rows was the film adaptation of Jane Austin’s Emma. My Aunt and I watched it so many times that trip that I don’t think she has ever wanted to watch it again. From then on Emma was deemed my favorite movie.  I got a VHS of it for my birthday that year and when it came out on DVD, I got it for Christmas. For the next ten years of so, it had to be shared with everyone!

At some point I attained a copy of the novel. I started it once but was young and overwhelmed. I started it again a few months ago and loved it! Although the characters that played out in my mind were the actors from the film, it was a whole new experience. Through the book I was able to get a better understanding of the characters: Emma is a bit more intense than Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal and not as loveable. Mr. Knightley even more loveable and Mrs. Elton intolerable! I enjoyed hearing all of their back stories and witnessing the inspiration to the film. Austin’s writing style is inspiring and I of course read it with a British accent in my head. The accent wasn’t a good when I read aloud but it was flawless in my mind.

Hooray for classics!

Day 80 – Completely amazing things from September!

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 18-09-2009

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Friday September 18, 2009

I would like to start out with my amazing first ever home-made meatballs! I never cease to amaze myself. Sadly, most of the time it is by means of embarrassment, but here is a prime example of some good culinary amazement!

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Secondly, Mr. Knightley, our turtle, may just have the best personality in the house. Has anyone seen a cuter reptile? I don’t think so.

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And thirdly, I literally danced when I saw this one, the ultimate Kuwait tourism shirt. Look out New York; this one is sure to make you run for your money! Please tell me, who doesn’t want one?! Jess, yours is in the mail!

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Day 78 – Dishes

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 16-09-2009

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Wednesday September 16th, 2009

My Aunt claims she enjoys doing the dishes. I think she lies. It is like a perpetual mess. As soon as you are done you realize that you have built up an appetite. What does this mean? MORE DISHES! There is no way to avoid doing them, unless we start eating continually on paper with plastic. As glamorous and good for the environment as that sounds…I’ll go do the dishes.

Day 77 – Driving

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 15-09-2009

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Tuesday September 15th, 2009

The driving here in Kuwait is crazy! No attention is paid to much excluding lights; people do stop for those. The children roam about the vehicle. People speed at ridiculous rates. The left lane is the fast lane and if the person behind you is going faster they’ll flash their lights until you move or, willing enough room, they’ll fly by half in the lane and half out. One lane turning lanes can easily be turned into two or three as well as the rest of the road. There may be three clearly defined lanes in the road but depending on the time of day, that is subject to increase.

There was an accident close to where I live. A car was turning left as was the bus in the lane to the right of them. The bus crashed into them and drug them a ways. The driver walked away with some broken bones and the passenger had to be pried from the car and then have spinal surgery. More often than not, no one walks away from an accident. The cars or remnants of cars are left to be picked up beside the road.

Therefore, when asked do I drive or do I want to, the answer is no and no. I will buckle up and pray but I will not be driving here in Kuwait. I’ll wait until I’m back in Atlanta traffic thank you.

Day 72 – Trash

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

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Thursday September 10th, 2009

I sat in the car one evening waiting for Andrew to get back from the store, and watched as a man collected trash from within his car and dumped it out of his window. I will never get used to this. When Andrew and I were looking for apartments there were several that were simply surrounded with garbage: Food wrappers, newspapers, flyers. Occasionally it was one of the reasons we decided to keep searching. I have been told that the reason behind these litterbugs is their beliefs that the desert restores itself. In their thoughts they are contributing to the desert not detracting from it. As a result, the trash collects in the streets and on the beaches. My first walk on the beach was done with shoes on because of all the broken glass and batteries. Some places hire attendants to maintain the property and keep the trash away, but other just let it fall where it will. As a Girl Scout and an American, that doesn’t litter, this is just one of those things I don’t understand. I’m really feeling an urge to adopt a mile!

Day 69 – Last night’s dinner

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 07-09-2009

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Monday September 7th, 2009

Customer service here in Kuwait is very different from that in the States. In some cases it is far better; in others far worse. This is a story of a situation that can only be categorized into the latter.

After our long day at sea, we were famished. A quick call to Papa John’s and our hunger was dulled by the thought of one medium Pepperoni Pizzazz, one medium Super Papa’s minus the mushrooms, one order chicken strips, one order potato wedges and one 2.25 liter Pepsi. Food for days, we thought. Thirty minutes later our bird cry of a door bell rang loud and clear! With the mountain of boxes on the coffee table and 24 on the T.V., we dug into the chicken strips first. Wait. Look there! That is not our address printed on the stickers. In fact, these aren’t our pizzas at all! We had in our midst a delivery error! Now bestowed to us were a medium Chicken BBQ, Chicken Florentine and a small Cheese pizza!

Alas, what should we do? Deprive ourselves of warm pizza or deprive ourselves of our correct order? The correct order was tossed aside and in its place sat a piece of cheese pizza each! Hold that thought. The phone is ringing. It’s Papa John’s. They’ve realized their mistake. Wait. What? They are accusing us of accepting the wrong pizza. “If you have eaten it, you will have to pay for it. Those are not your pizzas. You have taken what is not yours!” Click. They hung up. As Andrew sat back down in amazement, we gently placed our untouched slices back into the box.

“Are they coming? Is someone else putting our pizza slices back into the boxes from their plates? Are we even hungry enough to eat what they bring us next?” The questions were constant in our living room as Andrew called the number back. Assured that we had not eaten the pizzas, they were allegedly cooking our pizzas currently and would send someone to retrieve the ones we had wrongly taken.

After the box of potato wedges and twenty minutes had gone by, Andrew called again. We were again assured that men were hurriedly on their way. Ten minutes later a delivery man arrives and takes the three pizzas without giving us anything in return. When Andrew turns around with a look of a puppy that lost his bone, we called Papa John’s again to inquire on the whereabouts of our pizzas.

Hooray! Within minutes the bird screeches and Andrew is bounding toward the door. Pizzas it is not. A delivery boy is arguing with Andrew about the pizzas we took. When words were not being understood, Andrew starts saying “They are already gone. Another guy took them. We don’t have them.” as he acts out the scene in the foyer of our home. Either comprehending or offended the man turns to leave when Andrew consults about our pizzas. Again we are assured that they are coming.

Twenty minutes later Andrew is back on the phone. He states, “If I call again I’m going down there.” Perhaps he thought another visual performance was necessary. Ten minutes later a man calls from downstairs with our pizzas. Over cooked and who knows where from, we sat and inhaled all but two pieces of them. So much for food for days.

Day 68 – Fishing Trip

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 06-09-2009

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Sunday September 6, 2009

The alarm was set for 5:30am. It’s not every weekend we plan to wake up earlier than during the week but today is special! We’re going, along with several co-workers of Andrew’s, to go search the Persian Gulf for some fresh fish.

The PB and J, poles, bait, and wife were all packed in the car as Andrew headed to the “big” boat for our first deep sea fishing excursion in Kuwait. The big bucks were paid for the air-conditioning and extra space and the “little” boat was not graced with the Haley presence. Although it was 7:30 in the morning, it was as warm as a Peachtree City summer day. The 33 degree Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) sun was warm on our backs as we walked weighted down on our one trip to the third from the last yacht in the marina.

Soon we were tearing through the sea at the slowest pace I could imagine. At this rate, we would make it to “deep sea” with enough time to turn the boat around before our 6 hour rent was exhausted. By the time we made it out to sea, and I sat in the cool air of the cabin, rising and falling with the swells of the gulf I was ready to puck! I remembered the advice of my sister as she told me to focus on a stationary object when suffering from car-sickness. I then spent one long hour focused on the wind-shield wiper thinking “I can’t believe we paid for me to be sick. This is what I get for telling everyone I’d never been sea-sick before. Not only did we pay for this, I’m going to have to suffer for hours! What happened to the air? If I have to sit in the Persian Gulf in a boat with no air, I’m rolling into the water and floating to shore.” As the melodrama continued in my head, our skippers set sail for a more fish infested area. Within minutes we were sitting on calm waters and I had a pole in my hand and life was good. By 11:00am life was hot and I was done playing fisherman ready to escape into my Francine Rivers novel.

No one lost an eye or a finger or any bait! No, no, we ended up catching several catfish and a few small sharks but nothing to write home about, but clearly important enough to mention here. We all trudged up the dock in the hot Kuwait sun and headed to our homes and our showers. What a wonderful day in Kuwait!

Day 65 – The Kuwait Towers

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Kuwait | Posted on 03-09-2009

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Thursday September 3rd, 2009

The Kuwait Towers were the first thing I visited in Kuwait. They are a glorious sight! The three spears point straight into the sky. Two out of the three contain large spheres with sparkling scales: one with one sphere holding a water reserve and the other with two, a restaurant and a viewing sphere. The tower with no sphere holds the electrical controls for all three towers.

Recently we visited the towers on a Sunday and partook of the Ofok Restaurant luncheon buffet. The types of food were limitless. After three platefuls, I was done! The restaurant reminds me of the Sun Dial Restaurant in Atlanta. Like the Sun Dial, Ofok has a full view of the city from the seats. However, unlike the Sun Dial, Ofok does not rotate in one hour, but the viewing sphere rotates in half that time. The windows contain labels to decipher what the viewer sees. The Viewing Sphere has another hidden treasure. It’s the only place I’ve found that sells postcards! The shop also offers artwork from a Kuwaiti resident and souvenirs. The Kuwait Towers capture the beauty of Kuwait and are a must see for any visitor!