Wednesday, July 08, 2015

EEK! Magazine Poll to Expats on the Bombing in Kuwait

I'm glad to see that EEK! Magazine is starting up again after a while out of service.  They sent a very interesting poll a few weeks ago after the suicide bombing at the Imam Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait.  I'm publishing my responses below:


1)   As an expat living in Kuwait, would you mind sending us your thoughts on Friday’s attack in GENERAL TERMS?

I cried.  I am incredibly sad for Kuwait; however I am proud of my second home for how fast they united and showed solidarity between religious sects.  All ONE Kuwait.

I think this event seems more personal because technology has changed and has brought something that might be 5-10-20 miles away from you into your living room.    I've been in Kuwait since 1996.  There have been security issues - big ones - during this time, but not bombings.  We didn't immediately receive information because, until recently, smart phones with apps like Twitter and Instagram weren't common.  Now, everyone has the technology, and you could be sitting in your home (or boat, or car, or at the beach)  watching events evolve.  You see the images instantly.  They're raw and uncensored.  You feel the emotions along with the person feeling them (like when I saw HH the Emir's face after witnessing the aftermath of the bombing).

2)   I more specific terms, could you comments briefly on the following statements:

 a)   I think this was a once-of event and will likely not happen again

This is not a one-off event.  Although it was carried out by a Saudi national, it was assisted by Kuwaiti stateless (Bidoon) people.  The Bidoon situation in Kuwait has been going on for several generations. It is a breeding ground for "deviant" ideology to come in and take root in the country (and I am not placing blame on the Bidoon population).  Young men are hopeless (many are without educations, jobs, a way to help their families, and are not able to marry because of their economic situation). Many are denied drivers licenses or passports.  When you lose hope, there is vulnerability.  Terrorist groups like ISIS (and others) have an open opportunity to offer a little hope through deviant religious beliefs and a sense of (displaced) "family"/community. Before this event, the Bidoon have been blamed for crime in the country.  This suicide bombing may be a turning point as now they are being trained in explosives and other means.   Unless the Bidoon issue is specifically addressed and a solution(s) is found, there will only be an increase in violence. I believe that the Government is aware of the potential threat;   If not, there would be no need to purchase urban warfare equipment, water cannons, rubber bullets, etc.

 b) Malls are targets and I will choose very carefully

This was true even before the recent events.  There is added security at the #1 most popular mall in Kuwait, but there is nothing in place to ensure that large bombs can't be brought into their underground parking lots.  Metal detectors aren't the answer, but sniffer detection dogs are and mall owners should start considering them as an option.  I try to avoid times when there are large amounts of people in the mall. It is never a good idea; from someone with a knife (or a bomb)  to someone with the flu - I don't need to be that close to anyone.

 c)   My concern is real and I feel uneasy

It is a real concern because now this recent attack has shown the vulnerability of security in Kuwait.  There are holes - just like there were prior to 9/11 in the States.  The age of innocence is gone.  

 d)   I will think twice now before attending places frequented by expats

I always think twice, but any time something terrible happens, it just deepens my caution.

 e)   I do not feel threatened by the attack at all, it can happen anywhere

It can happen anywhere, but in my almost 20-years in Kuwait, I've learned to be vigilant.  You have to be.  Don't wear your big American flag T-shirt, for example.  Know your surroundings.  Have a "plan B".  And for your own sake - make friends with Kuwaitis because in a real emergency, they may be the only people who can help you.

 f)   My family and I are so affected we are thinking of leaving Kuwait

I disagree with this statement.  My family here consists of 2 dogs, 1 parrot, and 5 goats,  We are all just fine here.

 g) Another attack like this and we will definitely leave the region


My mother is in her 80's.  I don't know if I want to put HER through the stress, but I feel fine about staying.  I love Kuwait and feel safe here overall.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Illegal Big Cats of Kuwait

Repost from Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait.  (Thanks, Girl!)



Sick, horrible, and dangerous trade.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Suicide Bombing in Kuwait: Love Prevails

There are positive things emerging after the bombing here on Friday.  Contrary to the wishes of the terrorists, the country is unifying - and quickly.  Social media is springing to life with positive messages of solidarity.  People are acting out of kindness.

Although on a smaller scale, it is similar to what happened after 9/11 in the States.  "I fear you just woke up a sleeping bear."

Here are links to some of the positive shows of force around the country:

Kuwaitiful:  We Always Thought It Would Never Reach Us
(This one contains a video clip which I LOVE. Translated, it is a father telling his son that if anyone asks you, "Are you Sunni or Shiite?" you look them in the eyes and say, "I am Kuwaiti.")
Alison & Peter:  Dear Kuwait:
Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait: 


Unfortunately, this is not the first time Kuwaitis were killed on their own soil by terrorism.  In the 1980's, the Fisherman's Diwaniya (next to Marina Crescent - at the T of Hamad Mubarak Street and the Gulf Road) was bombed and many innocent people lost their lives.  Someone drove a car into the diwaniya and ignited a bomb.

History is bound to repeat itself as long as people don't know their past!  No one talks about negative history here.  It is like it never happened.  Learn, educate, and find solutions for the future.

But back on a positive note:  Love always wins over hate and I'm glad to see that good things are coming out of bad.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Attack on Kuwait: Sad day for my second home

The attack on a Shiite mosque on Friday morning wasn't about attacking Shiites.  It was an attack on Kuwait.  As such, the country has come together within a few short days.

I cried when I saw the photos on Instagram.  I cried when I saw the emotions on HH the Emir's face as he witnessed the destruction.  This isn't about our divisions; it is about our commonality.

I was at the farm, miles away from where it happened.  But, I know the mosque well (Imam Sadiq Mosque).  It is directly behind the building where I worked for 5 years when I first came to Kuwait.  I was new here.  I didn't know much about anything.  But, from my desk, I could hear the beautiful voice of the muezzin, welcoming people to prayer during the day.  I could always hear the emotion in his voice (and could tell when he wasn't feeling his best or had a cold). It was always very soothing; and I was hoping that he wasn't hurt in the blast.

Kuwait is like a small town.  Everybody knows everybody. (And everybody talks - which is probably why they were able to identify some of the suspects so quickly.)  I was immediately certain that I know someone who was directly affected by the attack; who either had a friend or a loved-one who was injured or killed (27 dead, over 200 injured).  I was correct.  Within hours, friends told me that their friends and professors or someone they worked with had died.

The talk at the farm was all about what happened - and my Kuwaiti friends' solidarity with other Kuwaitis (regardless of religious beliefs).  They were talking about their plans to go to a Shiite mosque for the next Friday prayers to show their support.  All of my friends planned to attend the mass funerals yesterday (where thousands of people showed up and stood together in 107 degree temperatures).

Coming back from the farm yesterday (the day after the attack), I completely expected there to be checkpoints around Kuwait. I had my registration and license close at hand.   There were numerous checkpoints during 2003 when American troops were moving into Iraq.  It only makes sense that there would be checkpoints around Kuwait.  But there wasn't even one.  I noticed more police patrol cars on the roads, but no checkpoints.  Maybe we've had a huge leap in technology since 2003 rendering checkpoints fruitless?  I don't know.  I would probably felt much more secure if I had had to drive through one.

Three weeks ago, I had borrowed a friend's truck to go to the beach to take my big dog, beach gear, and other friends.  The transmission gave out along the way and I was able to pull the truck into a parking lot at a mosque where I thought it would be safe to leave until we could get a tow truck.  The police came around approximately five times, asking us to move it.  They were concerned because there had been a terrorist attack at a mosque in Saudi Arabia recently  They were adamant that we move the car, so we did.  I wasn't upset, but perplexed by the hightened security.  How far do precautions go?

I guess now it is the end of innocence at mosques.  I've seen metal detectors being installed.  I hope that the tighter security will continue.  It is necessary I think.

I'm wondering if this is a spark that will unify the country against a common enemy.  I hope that people's eyes have been opened.  This kind of hatred can't be allowed to continue.  We are all ONE Kuwait.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Handyman Services in Kuwait

I’m not going to lie – I’m not a fix-it girl.  I have power tools; which I gladly let others use.  I’m not useless, but I can’t do the work myself and I know my limitations.  Plus with anger-management issues, you really don’t want me with a hammer in one hand and a power drill in another.  Not good.

And I don't want to get some guy from the jameeya (co-op).  I've had bad experiences with stinky feet and lost-in-translation instructions.  Noooo thanks.  I'm looking for professionalism.

I have been staying with my BFF until my Perfect Apartment is ready (Inshallah). Girlfriend is out of town, so I have been fixing things that need fixing (WHY don’t apartment building owners do maintenance when it is actually IN the contract?!) 

Anyhooser, I called HandymenKuwait.com (25682000 or 25683000).

“Filipinos in the house!”  Represent.  Ok, so three very nationality-proud gentlemen descended upon the apartment.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a small task, but they all worked diligently and got everything fixed – and at a very reasonable price.  I needed electric outlets installed, the kitchen equipment re-arranged, the kitchen plumbing (in its entirety) fixed – including drains and new faucets.  I’m calling them back this weekend to paint.  They are happy guys and I liked them all a lot.

Q8realtor has also launched a handyman service.  They don’t have a number -  you have to write in at handyman@q8realtor.com


Houserepairkuwait.com is another one.  Their number is 99141086.  These guys do tiling also.  Woo hoo.

If anyone has used any of these services and can comment on your experience, I would appreciate it.

Bronchitis almost killed me.

I know - I haven't been posting a lot recently, have I?  I guess I have some catching up to do.

Almost a month ago, I was hit with bad bronchitis - in a day.  I often get bronchitis because I have asthma and it usually creeps in behind some kind of dust storm or humidity front.  The weather in Kuwait has NOT been the best this summer.  Extreme temperatures and a lot of dust.  No humidity, though.

I was on Arifjan the day it hit me.  In the middle of a huge project we are doing - at THE most critical period.  I've been working towards this project implementation since November... and I was stuck in bed.

I've never had such a severe case.  I've heard from friends that many people have been hit by bronchitis this year, leading me to wonder if it is actually something else that is being mis-diagnosed.  My doctor at IC had never even heard of MERS, for example.  I had to show her the CDC webpage.  That is scary.  My x-rays showed no pneumonia, but on a second opinion, the doctor said that the x-rays might not have shown pneumonia (either at that particular time or it could have just not shown up at all). He thinks that it probably was pneumonia.  Whatever the funk was kept me in bed for almost 2 weeks consecutively.

I was on IV antibiotics and the nebulizer for 10 days straight.  My arms are all black and blue.  I slept.  I slept.  And then I slept some more.  Even after almost 3 weeks, I am still coughing.

I am waiting for The Perfect Apartment.  I am still staying with my BFF in her apartment (she is in China so I am alone there).  I have found one that I'm in love with; I'm just waiting for the current tenant friends to move into their Perfect Apartment - which should be ready in a few weeks.

While I was sick, I haven't been able to visit Mikey.  I miss him so much.  I miss my little dog too (she's staying with another friend in another location. Thank God (and you, S) because she is too old and fragile to be able to handle life in a kennel.  I can't wait to get our little family finally reunited again.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Chocolates that Cater to Kuwaiti Palates: Lutece Chocolat

(No, not "pilates" - I said "palates".)

I'm a simple girl. I like simple things.  Once in a while, someone will ask me to review something and if (and ONLY if) I like it, I will write about it.  What is your return on investment going to be?  Probably some praise and a blog post.

So here goes....

Lutece Chocolat 

Got a request out-of-the-blue from a very nice Kuwaiti gentleman who asked if I would try his new-to-Kuwait chocolates and if I liked them to write a post.  Sure, why not?  I'm taking my Glucophage and my count isn't so high, so here goes.

This comes during the same week when a very nice reader, Kathy, sent me gorgeous flowers out-of-the blue.  It looks VERY cool to receive both during the same week, on different days; as everybody knows that I'm single and I work all the time and I really have no romantic prospects whatsoever.  Everybody now thinks I have an extremely considerate admirer.  As if....

I was expecting the usual chocolates (snore) - nothing out of the ordinary. But hey - do I care? Chocolate is chocolate, right?  There is never a bad chocolate (unless it is stale and then who wants that unless it is 3 am and you are really really desperate?)

What I got was unexpected.  These hit me from several different directions.

First, I'm one of those kids who will poke a hole in the bottom of each and every piece if I can't easily determine what is in it.  Most likely, if it is one I don't care for, I'll put it back in the box - hole and all.  I don't care.  I'm still 11 years old at heart.  But these came with a MENU!  It has pictures and tells you whats IN each one.  So cool. Like Russel Stover, but not as difficult (because Russel Stover chocolates have the menu on the inside of the box lid which makes it kind of harder - especially when you are handing them around to people or want to share a menu).


Armed with my menu, I set in.  But... I kinda came to a screeching halt when I saw how pretty they actually are.  Since they arrived in my office (and truth be told, I could NOT eat the entire box because it really would put me into a diabetic coma), my colleagues got to sample too and I got to hear their reviews.  They usually just grunt when receiving food (don't we all?) but this time I got, "Oooh's" and "Aaaaah's!" about how pretty the little chocolates are.

"They look like gemstones," or "They look like they've been hand-painted!"  So pretty.


So then I went to the menu to see which ones would be my favorites.  Holy Shhhhh!!! WATERMELON!!!  Who DOES that?!  In chocolate?  Could it be?!  Two of my favorite flavors together?  And yes, it actually does taste like watermelon.  That's a first.  I thought I had seen it all in the world of chocolate (and I'm sure you think you have too, if you live in Kuwait...)

Let me run down the list of my fav's:  Watermelon, rose truffle, saffron cardamon, and pomegranate.  Yuuuuuummmm.   

I like the fact that they are actually marketing to local tastes:  Rahash is Kuwaiti Rahash flavored ganache filled in milk chocolate.  Saffron cardamon is a local favorite. Hazelnut caramel, pistachio truffle.  (Have you guys thought about branching out do do wedding cakes in Kuwait?)

Is it getting dizzy in here or is it just me?

Anyways, Abdulrahman at Lutece, please come visit me in the hospital and I can't thank you enough for putting me there!  It was a lovely, lovely thing for you to have thought of me and sent me these wonderful treats.  Everyone in my office is thanking you today as well.  As you can see, your menu cover has their dirty little fingerprints all over it, so I hope you will be receiving a lot more customers soon.

Here's some pics and how to get in touch with them.

For dark chocolate lovers:  Blue Cherry and Cherry Raspberry in dark chocolate







Sidebar:  In keeping with my tell-it-like-it is method of operation....  Although it was nice to receive the chocolates for free (so that I would write about them IF I liked them - which I obviously did), I never received a thank you for this post, so I am having mixed feelings about actually keeping it posted here.  Good manners are everything and so is follow-through.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Apartments for Rent in Kuwait - Recommended Realtors and Online Sites (2015)

My Favorite Realtors
(Se habla Engles)

The realtors below are all pet-friendly realtors and will NOT ask you stupid questions, give you funny looks, or try to talk you out of pet ownership because they want a commission.  I have found them all to be sincere and trustworthy also; they don't try to up-sell you or show you something that you won't want.

Zamina Huseynova, Comfort Real Estate, 99464866  or 6659-3911. www.comfort-realestate.com
Zamina has been helping my friends find new homes for about a decade.  She’s a lovely woman from Bulgaria.

Omar Dawood, Easy Homez, 50198999, omar@easyhomez.com, www.easyhomez.com
I met Omar recently and like him a lot.  He’s one of those people who, like me, gets rattled by insincerity and injustice.  He’s Kuwaiti – and the only Kuwaiti realtor I’ve met. 

Tomas Czerwinski, HorizonQ8, 66663091, tomas.czerwinski@gmail.com, www.horizonq8.co.uk
I met Tomas recently.  I think I found his website by mistake – and let me tell you it is outstanding!  Check them out for properties and lots of photos in an easy-to-view layout. Tomas is Polish (we have the UN of realtor listings here!)

(I had another friend - previously listed in another post - who is a hustler at finding real estate - but totally unreliable and often lazy, so I'm not including him. Sorry.)

Apartment finder Sites 
(I’m not listing the ones that I believe to be sucky)









  
Pet-Friendly

For the love of God realtors, would you PLEASE list “Pet Friendly”  (like Comfort Real Estate does), so that we don’t have to call them all and get negative or even rude responses?  One of the main reasons that I am willing to pay commission to realtors is so that they (and NOT me)  have to deal with nasty people.   Call it a pre-screening fee.

Get this:  Many westerners CHOOSE not to have children.  Shocking, I know.  But once you pull yourself up off the floor, realize that westerners are also likely to be considerate of their neighbors and landlords.  Most westerners understand how to actually TRAIN their pets to be quiet and clean (unlike some nasty children runnin round here).

Landlords:  You can ASK for a pet deposit.  It is standard in most Western countries if you rent to people with pets. You can also limit the size of the pet.  For example, "Dogs allowed under X kilos."  Most of the fuss about pet deposits in the West is because apartments have wall-to-wall carpeting.  NOT SO in Kuwait where most apartments are tiled because of the weather.


My goodness!  With the amount of greedy landlords there are in Kuwait, you would think that they could have figured out by now that money has no religion.  Rent to people with pets – there are a LOT of us.  Put pets and terms and conditions in the contract.  Attract even MORE tenants.  Gee…. Duuuh. 

Religion and dogs:   When people say, "It is against Islam to have dogs in the house, " (With the exception of protection dogs which - by the way - mine is.)   I call bullshit - and for several reasons.   But let me just cite the one inside my head right now:  Many landlords take religion and bend it to their particular whims.  For example, treating your tenants unkindly or illegally; raising the rent when they have agreed to a period set by law and in their own documents; causing harm to the elderly or the sick, lying, cheating or coercing tenants into leaving.  None of these factors have anything to do with religion, do they? So save the bullshit about not renting to people with dogs.   I'm not hearing it.  And using pets as a reason to evict is not only illegal, it is merely a ploy for unscrupulous landlords to evict and then rent at a higher rate.  And it is happening all over Kuwait.



Monday, May 25, 2015

Cheatin' Lyin' Realtors in Kuwait - Lookin for dat special crib


I was going through the same BS looking for an apartment in 2008 (and it took me 6 months to find a suitable place).   I thought that this time, if I tried more upscale realtors and maybe since I was looking for a place that cost a little more, I wouldn't be lied to by scumbag realtors.  I've been selective about who I CHOOSE to do business with.  .... and it is business.  I'm giving you my money.  You are doing a service for me.

Kuwait can be biased and realtors can ask personal questions (and get away with it under the law). This includes stuff like marital status, religion, nationality, age, if you intend to have male visitors (hell-to-the-yes I am!)   Whatever.  It is a frickin free-for-all.  They discriminate the MOST against single male Kuwaitis of all ages.  That would suck.  You're a professional guy who doesn't want to live with mommy and daddy anymore and no one will rent you an apartment in your own country.

I digress.

The question I hate the most is, "Are you married?"  Many places rent to families only.  Let me 'splain something to you, Lucy.... children are not your best bet in renting an apartment.  My dogs aren't going to use crayons on your walls or tear out your lighting fixtures or scream all night.  They don't bark and no one sees them.  Being married doesn't make you a better person (it just gives you the opportunity to pile more shoes in front of the door and in the hallway).  Your "family" status doesn't either (and go to any party in Kuwait and see how many married people are cozied up - either they are hoochies or they are cozied up to hoochies, drink in hand, loud music playing).  Being married is not a quantifier in my opinion.

So what is my standard answer when asked that question?  'I am a manager, not a prostitute.'  and no - I am not going to provide you with a fake marriage certificate just to get me in the door.  I'm not a liar either.

Be firm with realtors:  "I am NOT married.  I have dogs.  I want an apartment for X amount of money."  If you can help me, I will pay you.  If you can't help me and have already formed an opinion of me based on marital status or pet ownership, stop calling me.  There are enough realtors out there who CAN and WILL help. (And I'm going to list them on another post with explanations of why I like them.)

Ok, so here is what happened to piss me off (this time - shut up!):

I had friends call realtors (cause I got sick of the stupid questions/answers).  They gave them my requirements (in Arabic, English, Farsi - whateverthefuck they wanted to hear).  My friends pre-qualified the realtors, in effect.

So, one seemingly nice man showed me the perfect place - a basement apartment, 3 bedrooms, same rent, run on the side for the dogs, private entrance with shaded car parking right above. Perfect.  Dogs?  No problem at all!  Dogs seriously?  No problem!  You can even put gates here and there so that they can play outside.  I was happy and already planning the decor and how to fit my furniture.  Happy, happy, happy.  BFF was beaming from ear-to-ear.  All good.

The contract was ready even before I provided all the necessary documents.  The mandoob came to my office so I could sign it. All good so far.  So I had someone translate the contract to me (it was only in Arabic).  I told the mandoob, "You know I have 2 dogs, right?  Is it in the contract?"  Mandoob:  No dogs, madame! Not allowed.  He called the owning company immediately and they verified.  No dogs.  I called the realtor and he literally shouted at me, "Why did you TELL them that?!  Why did you tell them you have dogs?!"  Huuuuuh?  Maybe because YOU didn't, a-hole.

No deal.

Why are people dishonest?  I don't get it. It is so easy to be honest and you don't have to remember your lies or feel guilty (not that dishonest people would) about them.  (I complain about this all the time and I think it is something that most inherently honest people are befuddled by.)

Disclaimer:  To say that I don't lie is a lie. I do lie, but little lies.  However,  not even to the extent of saying, 'Of course not!' when my sister or BFF throws something at me like, "Does this make my ass look big?"  Sorry, but your ass looks big.  (But then, I'm not going to go on and tell them that,  'It doesn't matter what you put on because well, you have a big ass.')  Big asses ARE in fashion though, right?  Especially in PuertoRicoKuwait where it is Land O' Ass.  

... I digress....Sorry

Next little ditty about dogs and apartments (not asses, sorry again.)

A Kuwaiti home owner advertises his basement apartment in Bayan.  It is frick-in BAgorgeous! (Cribs - Kuwait)  Marble, elegant fixtures.  Price is eh... ok, but for what  you get it is fine.  I'm in love.  He also advertises "No realtors/commission.  Deal with owner."  So I call him.  Dude is "hmming, emmmming"  about the dogs. He's also talking to friends at the same time he's talking to me (why list your number if  you don't want to do business - or just call me back dude?)   He said he has a dog, but he knows dogs bark.  (I could counter with "that's because you haven't trained him properly and your kids probably scream too... but I don't... think pretty apartment....)  He's not too convinced and tells me to go see the place.  Having been traumatized recently on this very subject from Assmonkeys from Hell in Rumaithiya, I decide not to look at the apartment.  The following week, I see the same apartment listed with a realtor on their site.  I decide to call the realtor and ask him to negotiate on my behalf with the owner (and I provide the name and phone number of the owner and tell realtor that I don't HAVE to pay his commission by phoning him/realtor but that I am willing to pay him to negotiate on my behalf).  About thirty minutes later, realtor calls me and says, "He doesn't want dogs."  Well yeah - no shit.  But I thought you would have at least tried.

So now I want the Bayan apartment.  It is stuck in my head.  I send what amounts to a 3 page typed SMS via Whatsapp to home owner, complete with my LinkedIn bio link, and the promise of references - personal and professional - from high places to low places. (Hey - worth a try, right?)  I notice that dude has a photo of himself on WhatsApp with what?  A little dog - looks like a Pomeranian.  Ok, now I get it.  A "yap dog".  They yap. Its what they do.  Little dogs often make better watch dogs for that reason.  You want a dog to silently bite a thief's arm off?  Choose a big dog (like a German Shepherd or a Rottie).

Why don't SOME dog owners understand dogs?  Sigh.

You want the best dog to guard your farm and wake you up when any intruder large or small comes in?  It's actually not a dog, but a peacock.  Best warning systems ever.  Better than motion detectors; Those bitches scream their heads off at any little thing - and they're so pretty!  (Wait... that reminds me of some girls I know.... stop it, Desert Girl. Bad, bad, bad!)

I've seen a LOT of apartments and heard a lot of BS advice from people.  "You'll never find a place that will accept dogs.  Moslems don't like dogs."  Bullshit.  "You'll never find an apartment in your price range (600KD).  Most good places start at 700."  Bullshit.  I've seen apartments that are willing to rent to pet owners (and GOOD realtors like Zamina/Comfort Real Estate will place ads that specifically state "Pet Friendly" so you don't have to ask and feel bad when they say, "No".  I've also seen some nice ones around 450 KD (which is what I was previously paying).  They are out there. You have to HUNT and be willing to work for it (and maybe have time).

What I do NOT want:

  • An apartment for upwards of 600.  
  • An apartment where the owner lives in the same house OR right next door (been there, done that). 
  • An apartment where the owner talks to or looks at me suspiciously (refer to the "I'm not a prostitute" above).

What I DO want:

  • Pet friendly (2 dogs - a German Shepherd and a Maltese/Poodle - blind/deaf)
  • Single-woman friendly
  • 600 KD and below
  • 2-3 bedrooms
  • Prefer a ground floor with a yard or a basement with a yard area
  • Areas:  Rumaithiya, Bayan, Salwa, Mishref, New Messila, or Abu Alhassania

Anyways, that's all the griping I'm going to do for today.  Really.

Life Messages

I wrote the following story which was featured in Bazaar Magazine in 2009.  I was reminded of it because some business came up with his company, SOC (same contract, different year...).  This man is still one of the nicest people I've ever met and I still carry his message with me.


A Guy I Met on a Bus

I met a guy on a bus.  I was on a military site visit which wasn’t anything extraordinary.  We were a group of sixty people on two buses for four days.  We got to know the people seated next to us pretty well.

The guy I met on the bus cheerfully started my day with, “Good morning, sunshine,” which is an expression that my dear friend regularly uses, adding an air of familiarity.  The gentleman was in his 60’s and we began the conversation with an exchange of “where are you from?” leading to other details like family and travel.

The guy I met on the bus spoke fondly of his wife of many years; a former stock car race driver who had won so many events that she had decided to stop, as it was “getting too easy”.  She now drives a Corvette; he, a ‘57 Chevy.  They have a daughter who was thrown out of school for fighting; she just loved to fight, he laughed.  She fought so hard that she managed to get an undergraduate degree in economics and a master’s degree in marketing.  He spoke of the power of women and how proud he was of his wife and daughter; although he didn’t need to say much as he beamed just mentioning them.  They live in Nevada and he travels around the world.  I told him that I thought he had an enviable life and he admitted that yes, it is pretty good.

The guy I met on the bus has lived a healthy life.  He was obviously fit and talked about his disregard for people who smoke.  He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and believes it came about after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.  He humorously chastised another rider on the bus, a fellow diabetic, for eating candy on the trip.  “Let me see that package,” became the trip mantra.  We laughed and had good conversation as the hours passed traveling all over Kuwait.

The guy I met on the bus is an executive from a security services provider with contracts in Iraq.  “We don’t go in with guns blazing,” he said, “We take the quieter, lower-key approach.  You might not have heard of us.  We’re not Blackwater.”  Good for them.  Perhaps we all need a quieter approach.

The guy I met on the bus took the time to talk to low-ranking soldiers on the visits and finding out a little about their lives.  We weren’t supposed to, but it didn’t dissuade him from discreetly paying for the soldier in line behind him at the lunch line; as was his habit.

As we passed through the desert on a very dusty day, we talked about aging and the importance of calling your parents.  “They don’t need your money.  They probably don’t need your time.  They don’t need much at all, but a phone call once in a while to let them know that you love them.  I tell my young people at work all the time to call their parents; even if it is ten minutes on my company’s money, I don’t care.  I just want them to know how important it is.  Call your parents.”  I wondered how this lesson would have affected me at a younger age if delivered by someone who I considered to be a mentor.  I am sure that his employees must be affected by this and how it would most likely have a carry-over affect to other compassionate acts in their lives.  They must be very loyal employees, I imagined.

I got off the bus and quickly called my mother just to say hello and tell her how much I love her.  She knows, but I tell her again and again at every opportunity. 


I thought about the current economic situation and all the inhumanity around me all of a sudden.  There have been waves of unkindness and indifference.  This gentleman (and it is unfortunate to note that I use that term sparingly these days) reminded me that it isn’t universal; people do care.  Sometimes you meet people and they are there to teach you some valuable lessons in life; or perhaps just to make you recall true decency.  I try to listen to voices in a variety of packages; as you never know where the major life lessons will come from.  In this case, it might just have been from a guy I met on a bus.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

In the news today: Shot in Her Head and Agility Embezzlement Allegation

We get fascinating stuff 'round here.  From the Arab Times today:

Murder Case Hearing Against ‘Royal’ Adjourned To June 3rd

KUWAIT CITY, May 13: The Misdemeanor Court adjourned to June 3rd the murder case filed against a ruling family member of rank ‘Captain’ employed at Ministry of Interior for allegedly murdering a Kuwaiti woman. The plaintiff counsel Attorney Ali Al-Ali demanded temporary compensation worth KD 5,001, presenting evidences to prove that the murder of his client was planned. He also requested to present witnesses at the court. According to the case file, the defendant was chasing a vehicle when he shot the victim in her head, supposedly by mistake, which led to her death due to brain hemorrhage

Agility in the News Again

On the other hand, MP Askar Al-Enezi presented questions to Finance Minister Dr Anas Al-Saleh about the violations of Agility Company, specifically the allegation that the company has embezzled government funds. He claimed the company has been granted government-owned land areas under the pretext of building warehouses, but it rented out these areas to the government and individuals illegally. According to the State Audit Bureau report, Agility forged documents submitted to different governmental bodies to obtain State-owned land; thereby, embezzling public funds estimated at KD 63.5 million.  In light of the above, Al-Enezi asked the government to clarify the issue as he wants to know if an investigation has been carried out. If yes, he demanded for copies of the investigation results and the relevant documents.