Saturday, March 25, 2006

And there are many more to come…

The cards are starting to fall. Gotta love justice. For years, just about everybody in the contracting business (for the US Military) working in Kuwait has been either giving or receiving kickbacks; gifts, priviledges, etc. Now, there are all kinds of US Government auditing agencies in Kuwait to clean up the mess of the past 5 years (at US taxpayer expense). The Army Audit Agency (AAA), Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), General Accounting Office (GAO), and Department of Army Inspector General (DAIG) are all in Kuwait auditing both the military and private contractors providing services under military contracts. You go, boyz and girlz! Clean em up! I hope they go after a particular 800 pound gorilla to the north of the city.

Check out these articles. There will be a lot more to follow: and I interviewed with Mr. Khan in 2002. Arrogant little phuck.

What is happening is that these US agencies are aware of the individuals who have been paying people off; cases are being built in conjunction with the Kuwaiti (and other) government; when the individuals go to the US, they are picked up off the planes and taken to court. It is easier for the US to do it that way than to actually arrest people in the region. In other words, a short trip to the US for vacation can turn into a long, extended trip with a hairy guy making you his prison bitch.

All this corruption is disgusting. Seemingly, the only way for contractors to win here is to pay people off. If you are honest, you have been left in the dust. I have never condoned illegal practices nor have I had anything to do with it; however, I know many people here who have. Maybe the audits/arrests/imprisonments will make some changes.

One of my Kuwaiti friends came to me in 2003 and said, "I want to open a transport (trucking) company. What do you think?" My response, "Do you have a chalet, some hookers and some booze?" He (a somewhat religious guy) was shocked. I told him to be ready for reality.

Just yesterday, I was approached by a Kuwaiti friend who wanted me to "help him" get contracts with the military. He said, "Don't worry, we will give them whatever money they want for their commission." I told him I didn't even want to discuss it and that I would have no part of anything illegal. This mentality still prevails!

The problem is that most local companies (big and small) don't know how to deal with the military (the legitimate way); can't write the proposals or even fill in the forms. Many can't navigate the websites to find out what bids are out there. If you are having trouble, hire me. J Nothing illegal here.

What I personally have found from many of these companies is that they want you to provide a service, but then make you an offer to become a "partner". That translates to: you do all the work and we kick you out when you're done (also known as "partner" = phuck you.) Aint gonna happen. Unless your name is on a sign (and partership contract), you aren't a partner. We get paid a fee for a service. Very simple.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Isn't Spring Pretty?

Ok, granted that Spring in Kuwait lasts all of 2.2 nanoseconds, it still is very very pretty around here. You can actually SMELL flowers before the dust-funk sets in at which time all you can smell is something close to mustard gas/camel shit. In the summer, you don't even want to breathe the outdoor air (unless you are lucky enough to be in a boat WAY south somewhere far away from the stinky bay) because you are running from your car to whatever the next point of air conditioning is.

2 weeks ago, I went camping with my Man. It was one of those spontaneous occurrances that stays with you for like forever. We decided kind of late to go; packed up his 4x and headed South. He had several spots in mind to pitch the little tent, but they all turned out to be too close to other people or the areas weren't right. I finally told him that we should head down the Wafra road and see what we could find out there. It turned out really well. It was dark by the time we got out there and we found a place far away from anybody else. There were signs of animals around - sheep and camels. I had a similar situation when I went camping with a group of people in Vermont. We found a lovely spot in a clearing near some trees. We woke up in the morning and discovered that we were in the middle of a cow pasture (cow patties, anyone?) Anyhoo, my Guy didn't mind sleeping where sheep had been, but he had an absolute fearful look on his face when he talked about how we couldn't camp anywhere where camels had slept because "genies sleep under camels". Apparently, he thought we might bring some home with us (Dude, if you only knew how many genies I've already GOT!). Another camp-deciding factor was that we had to be pretty far from anyone else because - as he said - "Your ass is big and white and we don't have a tent for the bathroom. They'll be able to see you from 2 kilometers". That was comforting.

The air was beautiful. Little flowers were around us. We woke up to the sounds of camels and sheep down below the hill somewhere. Desert Dawg stayed guard all night at the foot of the tent. I doubt she could have even protected us from a gerbil, let alone a sheep or a camel. I've seen her run at the sight of cockroaches.

Get this - the company I used to work for (the KGB) actually hired me to provide a "country orientation for an incoming executive and family". At my consulting billable hourly rate too. What a crock o'doo doo. I almost didn't do it because 1) KGB dude was so rude and b) the exec's wife was so rude. She never took off her pink Chanel sunglasses (they were probably fake) the entire time I was taking her around. I did it anyways. Easy money (if the KGB ever pays). We'll see.

I haven't posted for a while. I was feeling kind of hexed/vexed. I don't know if I'm really past it or not, but I needed to vent somehow and I am really sick of (formerly known as ) SheeshaGirl and her boyfriend problems. I can't vent to her. The Romanian is out of the country for a while - probably having a great time while I am here toiling. I can't vent to Bobarino because if it isn't sexual, he has no interest. He's such a pig. Gotta love him.

Has anyone heard from MuslimArtist? Girl, I am kind of worried about you if you are reading this.

Anyways, I finally got my new car after 4 months of waiting for one in BLACK. Black is beautiful. I don't understand why it took so long to get that color. And - why is it that Al-Ghanim can't bring the Trailblazer SS to Kuwait? I love that car. It has a Corvette engine in a 4x4 for God's sake! The guy who helped me find the car was so nice. When/if I ever get some money, I am going to send him something really good. He kept trying until he finally found me the right car - after 4 months! Believe that? He found it at another dealership, so he never even got his commission. Sometimes people just amaze you and you realize that yes - there really are good/kind people out there who don't want anything from you (like getting into your pants after the deal is done). This guy just did it out of the kindness of his heart, shook my hand, and walked away.

By the way, my birthday is April 16th incase anyone feels like doing something nice for a fellow human. I am feeling rather needy lately (I hate that - it is such a chick thing).

Anyhoo, hope everyone out there in cyberland is fine and that you are enjoying the Spring too. Thank you for the nice comments.