Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Once Upon a Time in Darkest Kheitan...

I went to Kheitan for only the second time in my life today. I had a minor fender bender and needed a police report (now THAT was fun – not). Bu Merdas went with me and took me to his cousin (a Major) who sent us to the investigator who wasn’t very nice.

Bu Merdas didn’t remember exactly how to get to the police station. We ended up driving through the section of Khaitan that is being completely demolished. (If there are any photographers out there who want to take pics of a surreal landscape, now is your big chance; it looks like a war zone on another planet.)

Does this story have a point? (Do any of my stories ever have a point?)

Maybe 8 months ago, I had a dream that was so real that I remember it in acute detail. At that time, I sent The Man an SMS telling him to be careful (about what – I dunno – but something sinister). My dream was definitely about the area I drove through today: In the dream I knew it was Kuwait, but it couldn’t have been because of the destruction/devastation (and not of Gulf War times). That area in Kheitan today is definitely the same place - which was so strange that it made me shiver. In the dream, I talked to some police men who were kind of standing around. I knew that they were bad guys (hey – similar to his worthless “friends” in real life, Bu Zega and Bu Khara) and that they didn’t have good intentions towards him (again, similar to his “friends”). I asked them where he was and they said that he had been taken away to be interrogated. They didn’t seem to care at all (again…) that he was probably being tortured. In the dream, I was desperately searching for him (crying the whole time) in that bad area and I was really really upset. There were a lot of police around and no one would help me. The sky was exactly as it was today (very dusty). In the dream, I thought it was smoke – that something was burning.

Do you ever just wonder, “What the phuck?” What does it all mean? Am I stepping out of some strange chapter of a Jude Deveraux time-travel romance novel? Could it be?

Maybe the interrogator villain is the evil She Devil.

The romance novels are usually that way: Something bad happens and the leading man has to clear his good name and get back in good standing with the leading lady. There are all kinds of twists and turns and heartbreaks… Ok, so life is different, but I’m just saying for the purpose of analyzing the dream/story.

I didn’t tell any of this to Bu Merdas because he gets jealous and he’s totally hot (just threw that out there) and happy just being next to me (even though he had to take time off work to go help me with stupid things in a really sucky area of Kuwait - getting his distasha dirty in the process) and I didn’t want to bust our mood. So there.

While I mentioned Bu Zega and Bu Khara, let me just say that if your friends are shit, you always have an opportunity to get new ones. You aren’t forced to stay with people who aren’t loyal to you; or who you question. You can find new friends – at ANY age – as long as you have a good personality and an open heart.

Which leads me (oh my God, do I go ON or what?) to a story about The Romanian... Once upon a time in a village next to the sea (Salmiya), Princess Romanian had a flat tire on her carriage (piece of shit car – might as well be a carriage). She called several “princes” who she believed she could trust when she was in distress; however they were shopping and doing stupid things and wouldn’t come to her rescue. So, there she was stuck, on the street when low and behold, a young Kuwaiti rode up and came to her aid. The tire needed to be replaced and she didn’t have money with her, so the young man paid for the tire and the tow truck – without saying a word.

Believe dat shit? It happened. There still are Prince Charmingseses out there!

So childrens, the morale of the story is this: Sometimes when you believe you can count on people in your life who are closest to you, they let you down. And sometimes when you least expect someone to help you, God sends you angels when you need it the most.

Now THAT’s the phuckin point!

The end.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pests and more!

This frickin cracks me up. I usually have to go out of my way to look for stuff like this, but this one landed on my door. Thank God (Mashallah, mashallah), we have never had a bee-robelem (problem) with “zahyawi”or “braiaasi” or anything like that!

Just so ya know: These guys are using transliteration for roaches and gecko lizards.

I also want to know – what the F is “original dough”? What is a “gurantee”? Strengest German and English insecticides (do they have more bugs there than anywhere else?)!

That was my giggle this morning.

I had a rather un-eventful weekend: saw Bu Merdas, met some new friends…. Shopped.

Why the F doesn’t Zara ever stock XL? They have everything in the world in a medium, but nothing for girls with BOOBS. Jeez. Are the women here in Kuwait in denial or what? I know for a fact that these girls are not mediums. Zara has such cute stuff, but they suck in the never-have-your-size department. I hate that.

Oh, we ate at the Macaroni Grill at the Avenues. Yummy. They have Mac Grill in Virginia, but I haven’t been there very often. The coolest thing about them is that you can ask for crayons and draw on the paper table covering. I’m frickin Picasso… just ask anyone. I ended up drawing a giant bottle of Jose Cuervo with the slogan “I (heart) tequila!” The Romanian already knows I’m mental, but stuff like this just confirms it to her.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sodom and Gamorrah?

I heard something that completely disgusted me. One of my “upper class” friends mentioned that he was making the circuit of election tents here in Kuwait. The candidates are trying to outdo each other on buffets to try to woo potential voters; bringing in better caterers from fancier/more expensive restaurants and hotels in a competition of opulence. (Refer to Al-Watan Daily story.) Some potential voters are going from candidate tent to tent eating as much as they can and vomiting in-between so they can eat more delicious food at each tent they visit.

What exactly is happening to Kuwait?

Go visit Hasawi or have a look at the people in Kuwait searching for food and valuables in dumpsters in any neighborhood! Shame!

I applaud those candidates who choose to be elected on their beliefs rather than once again bribing potential voters in one disgusting manner or another. If there are those out there who are equally as revolted by the distortion of good in Kuwait and make a conscious effort to stay away from these types of events, good for you! Stick to your guns and don’t let anyone tell you, “Go ahead, it’s ok.”

I’ve heard friends here say that Thank God – Kuwait has been blessed by God. Kheir. Well, did anyone stop to consider that perhaps it is a test from God of right vs. wrong?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Don't leave me, mommy!

My mom left last night and I made it all the way from the airport to my apartment without crying – and then just frick-in LOST it. I’m sure my neighbors could hear me sobbing right after I walked in the door. It was, alas, the feared Ugly Cry. I had so much fun with her and it was so nice to have someone else around for a while. Desert Dawg is depressed too – it is just not pretty at all.

At least my bitchy girlfriends won’t call me anymore and say, “I’m having sex. Ha ha. What are you doing tonight?” They probably weren’t, but they think they’re so funny. That’s fine. Payback is a bitch.

I used National Aviation Services’ Hala Services. For a small fee (around 20kd), they will greet your guest at the plane gate (with flowers if you want) and walk them through immigration/customs and all that nonsense. On departure, they will meet the traveler at the ticket counter and assist all the way up to the gate. Very cool if you have newcomers to Kuwait (or in my case, a mother who is freaked out by all the weirdness).

During my mom’s visit, I took her to the aquarium. I have been meaning to post about this and I just forgot. I haven’t been there in years. The “living desert” exhibit is awful. The poor animals are kept in small, dimly lit cages where people can tap on the glass and add to their distress. The exhibits actually smell from where you are viewing them outside of the glass. They had a desert cat (similar to a bobcat – don’t know the name), a couple of foxes, gerbils, bats, and snakes. The animals given the worst cage were the snakes; three large vipers in a tiny 1/5’ x 2’ glass box. There were 2 Saudi guys in front of us smoking and throwing trash. People had even thrown coins into one of the fish exhibits. I didn't see any security personnel at all. Pathetic, horrible and disgraceful. Yeah, and they bring all the visiting dignitaries to see it. At least as a source of national “pride”, the cages should be thoroughly cleaned. There are just too many animal atrocities in Kuwait and this one (like the national zoo) is a public and prime example.

Well, it is all back to work for me now (is it obvious?). While my mom was here, I managed to put together 2 deals which I am happy that I was able to accomplish. If one of them works out, it could mean big money for the company I work for. Inshallah.

My friend, Bu Merdas (his falcon’s name) just called me. He has The Sexiest Voice In The Whole World. He calls me “baby” and I love it: “Are you okay, baby?” He is an Arabic language teacher at an elementary school and once in a while he has his class say a group hello. He thought I needed it today. He also calls me every weekend and has his friend at the camp play the oud for me. Bu Merdas was studying to be a lawyer when his dad died and he had to come back to take care of his family. That’s how he became a teacher – not because he loves kids. In fact, he doesn’t want to get married because he is (in his words) “afraid of babies”. That shit just cracks me up. He is a big, strong guy and yet babies terrify him. He says he is afraid of hurting them. I told him that that is what maids are for. Tee hee (yeah, I’m too Kuwaiti). I love Bu Merdas. We met in 2003 at the car wash in Qadsiya and we have been good friends ever since. I don’t see him very often, but we call each other constantly (him, usually from the desert) and exchange lots of romantic words. It is kind of a long-distance love affair without the distance. I would marry him in a nanosecond if he asked. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted (except being terrified of small things). Well that, and I’m probably romanticizing something that wouldn’t work out (I do that).

I am, alas, a commitment-phobe. I can’t even commit to sofa colors or cars. I get buyer’s remorse and I get scared. I buy different color slipcovers for my furniture. I drive a rental car because I can’t decide what car I want, in what color. I have, in the past, lived out of suitcases for long periods of time. I am good at committing to jobs, but even then I sometimes get nervous and wonder if I’ve taken the right one. My life is complex.

Is anyone out there watching my new favorite show, Dirty Sexy Money? I love that series! Last week, one of the characters divorced her husband at her wedding reception! I’m not saying that would be me, but it could be me….

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Queen Mum's Trip to Kuwait

My mom’s trip has been so much fun (hopefully for her, but for me too!). We have been so busy and going so many places, doing so many things.
Queen Mum's Dinner:

After a lot of searching, I found a great venue for a private, intimate dinner reception at the Moevenpick, Bidaa. What is perfect about the room is that it opens to a terrace that faces the garden and the sea beyond. It was a full moon (or close) last night and it was absolutely gorgeous with little fairy lights illuminating the trees. I anticipated 45 people (35 showed up), so the room was perfect. The banquet salesman tried to talk me into a heavier dinner menu, but I stuck to my guns (as I told him, ‘Its not a Bedouin wedding.’) with a cocktail menu consisting of a saj stationon the terrace and light food (salads, shrimp kebabs, deserts) and thank God I did. We had SO much food and it was a great selection. They also served sheesha on the terrace.

The Romanian, my mom and I went to decorate the room before the dinner. I bought purple fabric to cover the tables and to add bows to each of the chairs; I bought 25 meters of purple toule fabric from Salmiya for 11 KD (my best find!). I bought floating flower candles for the centerpieces, and added silk flower petals on the tables. The total cost for the room decorations was about 25 KD. It looked gorgeous with the lights dimmed. … I have been watching a lot of “Whose Wedding is It Anyways,” on the Style Channel (it is about the lives of wedding planners)!
The only thing I was really disappointed with was the oud player. I had been trying to find a Kuwaiti oud player (I asked everyone I could think of) who would just come in with the oud and play solo – no fancy audio equipment or anything. What I got (on a reference from a friend at the Hilton) was a very loud Syrian guy who couldn’t play Kuwaiti songs and who brought an organ and a big sound board with speakers. When I asked him just to play the oud and to cut out everything else, he actually told me that he couldn’t play without back-up. Bullshit. How can you not know how to play the oud solo? He was an oud poser. I told him to play for 1 hour; Kuwaiti songs only. (and for THAT he wanted to charge me 150 kd – I talked him down to 75). He started with an Egyptian song and I frickin lost it. I guess they think that foreigners wouldn’t understand. I sicced Bunny on him (who also calmed me down at the same time). Anger management. Ooooooh saaaaah.

Anyways, if anyone ever wants a nice place for a dinner gathering, I highly recommend the Moevenpick. Outstanding job. My friends all loved it and everyone was happy. My mother said, “If I had any doubt about your life here, I know now how many people love you.” I am truly blessed.

My mom leaves tomorrow night and I am already getting depressed. Desert Dawg is getting depressed because she’s seen the suitcases (I try to hide them before I travel because it is just too traumatic for her). My mom says, “You’ll have your normal life back.” What if I don’t WANT my normal life???

I love having her here. I love taking her places and showing her things and seeing everything through her eyes/perspective. Every view is like looking through the lens of a camera – you focus on things that you haven’t seen before. I love having her around to tell me what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I like that she gives me her opinion on my friends and people I know and pinpoints exactly what it is about them that has been in my head, but that no one has said out loud. Ironically (or not), she likes everyone I truly like and she tells me things about people in question that I knew, but perhaps didn’t pay attention to.

Well, as examples, people who didn’t bother to RSVP to her dinner or show up should be eliminated as friends. I knew that, but I didn’t know how strongly I should feel about it. Now I’m all fired up. Well, I understand that it is a cultural thing not to RSVP in this area, so I kind of didn’t worry to much about the Kuwaiti friends, but I’m talking about Westerners who shoulda known better. I’m also upset at friends who went ahead and invited their friends without asking me first. Similar to a wedding reception, I paid by the head. Two different friends invited their friends and then they didn’t show up – sticking me with a bill. I could have invited other people that I know and like. I think that if I have another party like this in the future (and I definitely will), I am going to add a disclaimer to the invitation: “If you don’t RSVP, please don’t show up. If you say you are going to come, please be considerate and show up or send a gift in an equal denomination.” Sheeeet, send flowers the next day with a note … something! That’s only fair, isn’t it? I don’t even know these people and yet they stiffed me for dinner! That just sucks. I wouldn’t do that to someone.

We did have a great mixture of cultures last night: American, Kuwaiti, Scottish, German, South African, Indian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Italian. I love that.

I think my mom was really happy, so everything was worthwhile. She said that she has never had a party like that before. I’m glad I could do it for her.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You're only as old as the man that you feel....

I’m having the coolest birthday ever. Well, except maybe for a few when I was a kid and a drunken one in a limo with several of my galpals (long story: what happens in the limo stays in the limo) – not "WITH" the galpals, dirtythinkers!

My mommy is here. She is my best birthday gift. We are at the halfway mark of her 2 week stay. I don’t understand why she doesn’t stay longer when she comes here. It isn’t enough time! (I mean – what’s not to love about Kuwait????)

We’ve been so busy that I can’t even remember all the stuff we’ve done. This whole week, we have been waking up early and coming home late. We went to all the new malls, some of the old souqs (Mubarakia, Friday Market). We’ve eaten all over the place – mostly yummy seafood. Alas, unlike me, my mom isn’t a sushi fanatic. I’ve taken her to all the cool places; introduced her to new friends and reconnected with old friends.

We went to see my friends in Nuzha. When mom first came here in 1998, there were only 70 people in the immediate family (15 brothers, 4 sisters, their spouses, and kids). Now, there are 120 (So, what are you going to do today? Oh, reproduce, of course. - you know they're at it all the time. Must be.). It is a circus and we can only stand to stay a short time. When I first walked up to the house, one of the sisters saw me getting out of the car and shouted (down the street!), “(Desert Girl!) You got fat!” I’m like, “Shloanich inti, zayna?” They say that and then they shovel like the equivalent of 9 pounds (4 kilos for you non-‘mericans) of food in front of you at lunch. “You must eat.” (Uhhh, actually… I must not - especially if you be calling me fat). They had fugaa – I had to have some of that. Also murubian. Had to have some of that too. Well, that family isn’t svelt either. One of the “kids” is over 6’4” tall now and weighs around an unnerving 400 pounds (180 kilos). He frightens me. His boobs are bigger than mine. Anytime a man can outdo me in the boobs department, it is a bad, bad thing.

The Nuzha family is cool, but they have been trying to marry me off to one of the brothers (no manboobs) since 1993. Not my type, but he’s a good friend. He likes Americans; he’s lived in the US for many years. Nobody bothered to tell me that he is remarried and his wife is pregnant (with twins!). She looked a little shocked (seeing me or being pregnant with numbers 121 and 122 and seeing the shenanigans). He already has 2 boys from his 2nd marriage to a 2nd American wife. The latest one is Kuwaiti and I told him, “3 times a charm.” I hope so. When I saw his x-wife at their house a few years ago, and the kids were running around screaming and yelling, she turned to me and said, “Look around – all this could be yours.” Scared the bejezus out of me. In between marriages, they always call me to get me “re-acquainted” with him. Well, I don’t know if they were doing it on purpose or not, but throughout the lunch, different family members called me by the names of his 2 American x-wives. I kept looking at his poor current wife, maskeena. I’m like, “Yo! I’m (Desert Girl)! Not (flana),” in my usual diplomatic and demure Desert Girl style.

Back to food….

My refrigerator is full of more food than I know what to do with. I’m always afraid there won’t be enough of that one particular thing that the moms likes. I don’t usually have very much food around because I’ll eat it. JaberBunny brought over an enormous tray of kanafah and usmalia and she is addicted to that now. I’m so glad I have stayed friends with Bunny for so long. He is such a dear friend. I have so much respect for him.

I’m not cleared to fly yet. The doctor says my ears still need recovery time. Mom and I were planning to go to Oman, but can’t make it. There isn’t enough time anyways.

My mom is scared to death of the driving here. I think she has clawed holes into the seats of my car in a death grip. I have become accustomed to the terrible driving, but it scares the crap out of me when you see it from a newcomer’s perspective. I don’t believe in slowing down because if you don’t go with the flow, you become a sitting duck to be picked off by zigzagging reckless drivers. I have slowed down for her and it worries me even more. Well, that and her gasping and clutching the chair for dear life. If she could only see what I see in the rearview…. All that terror makes me nervous. By the time I get home, I am shaking. If she only knew that her reaction is so much more dangerous to us than the actual traffic, she would be shocked. Do you think it is wrong to ask her to sit in the back seat? I drive a big SUV.

By the by – why is it that when I’m with my mother, men are suddenly more interested in me? That is so weird. They’ve been following me all over in the car (“Oh my God! You have a stalker!!!!”) and even in the malls and stuff. How sick is that? These are even on days when my hair is a mess and I’m not wearing any make-up.

We totally missed that big storm. DAMN! I love to be in the middle of all the action too! We got in the car in 1997 (or 98?) and drove around during the humungous flood – THAT’s how much I adore adventure! (Also known as, “You’re an idiot, Desert Fool!”) This time, my mom and I were having coffee down at Kout and there wasn’t even a drop of rain. The sky got dark and it was just a little breezy with one or two flashes of lightening, but that was it. People have been sending me pictures of it all week. Wish I coulda been IN da storm. Oh well. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. I hope my mother doesn’t freak too much.

I took her to a meeting of a certain American (business group). I kept poking her so she wouldn’t fall asleep. It went on FOREVER. Zzzzzzzzz. She already said how surreal it was to take the United flight from Dulles (as she says, “The contractor flight”). Said that it was full of men – very few women – and that the men just seem to ignore everyone. Yep – that’s how I feel. That’s ok, though, because I don’t like chatter while I’m flying: I like to sleep and snore. I don’t care how loud because I don’t know any of those other people and quite frankly, I’m not easily embarrassed. Most of the time, you can’t hear me over the sounds of the engines anyways, so WTF.

I would love to write more about the business group's rants, but damn – everybody knows who I am on here now and I’ve lost some of my anonymmmmmmity. Hate that. I can’t trash anymore. Big bummer.

I always check out Mark’s 248am blog (if I wasn’t IT-inept, I might be able to figure out how to add that favorite link listing onto my freakin blog!!!) and he wrote about something near and dear to my heart: eggs. I too have been disgusted of late about the state of Kuwait’s eggs. I don’t bother with those small, disgusting eggs anymore. Mark wrote how he bought Naif eggs and they were rotten (LINK). Doesn’t surprise me. I have noticed that The Sultan Center doesn’t have any more of the 4.75 kd (yep - nearly 18 bucks!) per DOZEN cartons anymore (the chicken that lays the golden eggs). They have been replaced by Bu Ali. If you haven’t tried Bu Ali’s eggs, you should. The yokes are really orange (meaning fresh); the eggs are large; and they come in a see-through container, so you don’t have to open them and damage the goods. You go, Bu Ali!!!! We love you and your eggs! I’m going to start a poll: How many of you have tasted Bu Ali’s eggs? Tee hee.


I’m back in the office for a few hours and they just gave me a small birthday party with cake and a presentation tribute. I love my job. This is the best job I’ve had in Kuwait – all bitching, moaning, and complaining aside. What a nice thing for them to do. Very cool birthday. People do love me. I feel so warm and fuzzy.

Happy birthday to me
(and Chicky sings) Cha cha cha
Happy birthday to me
(and Chicky sings) Cha cha cha