Thursday, August 27, 2009

DG’s Short List of Great Places/Services Kuwait

Nothing is “short” in my world, but…

You've read my bitching, moaning and complaining about places in Kuwait, and I know, you've probably been thinkin along the lines of Papyrus... One of my readers, Papyrus, has left very kind comments and has made me see the err of my ways in terms of keeping an equal balance of good vs evil; positive vs negative. It is at Papyrus’ suggestion that I offer the following Desert Girl opinion of outstanding places to go in Kuwait – where the standard of quality is consistent (more times than not). Thanks, Papyrus!

… Sidebar: This is rather ironic because only last night I stared to re-read a book called “Count Your Blessings” which advises to equally balance all things: good and bad. Children, that is our lesson for today.


Definitions: What makes a good restaurant in my opinion? 1) Food. 2) Good Service. 3) Atmosphere. By #3, I also mean – no screaming kids/a quiet place where you can hear what your companions are saying. I’m not rating loud restaurants because I never go/return to them – me no like.

I’m going to have to go back to these places and get exact names of meals so I can update this later to be more specific.


Who doesn’t know by now how much I love sushi? Purgy… wait for it… Well, I’m in a conundrum: I have been going to Sakura for 12+ years (13 in October) and have always loved it… until lately. They seem to be slipping – not in service, which has actually improved a lot – but in the quality of fish and the variety. I’m thinking Maki and Sushi Club are starting to kick their ass on the playground battle for best sushi in Kuwait. Maki pisses me off (Yo! DG – stay focused on positive!) because they are a rip-off on price, and yet no one can beat their variety. Their fusion thing in a martini glass is awesome. I also like the way they go above-and-beyond being imaginative. I have also had sushi from Sushi Club recently and yum-mers! They rock.


Shatiya Watiya Restaurant in downtown Kuwait: I’ve never had a bad meal there. The portions are enormous. The wait staff remembers you and SMILES. It is a traditional Kuwaiti restaurant with meals that taste like home cooking – and portions to match being in your living room with the family. If you make friends with Manager, Nasser, you’ll have a friend for life. What do I like the best there? Hard to say: Tashreeba, murabian, qaboot…. There are many. They have only just increased their prices – slightly – in the past 10 years, but they are still incredibly reasonably priced.

Freej Suwaileh: Also a Kuwaiti restaurant. I like their food. Service needs improvement and the ambiance isn’t terrific, but did I mention the food? They do a little DG trick: Serve gaymat as soon as we sit down. WHO wouldn’t love THAT? It is also open all night.

Mubarakia open-air restaurants: Everybody has got to try the little cafes and restaurants at Mubarakia at least ONCE during their stay in Kuwait. Try shrimp hameesa – it is similar to shrimp fajitas (if you like that). When the weather gets a little cooler, it will be a great place to go for cheap eats. Most places serve tea after dinner. Its just a cool place to visit.

Café: The One Café. They practice continual improvement and they care. They have a comments book – if you have a comment, you can write it then and there and they will show it to other guests and take the time to explain how they made improvements. I complained about something there – once – long ago and the next time I came in, they actually remembered me and went out of their way to fix it. Great breakfasts, great coffee, great squishy chairs to get lost in. Deserts will rock your world! They change their menus all the time, but they always have something interesting and good. My definite all-time favorite on the menu (usually around Christmas) is pumpkin cheesecake. Oh. My. God.

Thai: There is only one Thai place in Kuwait that has won my heart: Oriental Cuisine across from the Dasman Model School in Sharq. It is a hole-in-the wall with only 4 tables, but outstanding Thai food; better, in my humble DG opinion, than the Blue Elephant and waaaaay less expensive. Great service (especially when the owners’ young son is helping!)

Chinese: Peking in the Radisson Hotel. Scallops – yummmm. Expensive, but worth it.

Elegant/Romantic: Probably the most romantic restaurant (so Desert Girl says) is Ricardo in the Sheraton. It’s also purty pricey. This is a “know thy fork” type of restaurant – the kind that my mother spent years teaching me about. The Italian food is great, the wait staff keeps a distance, but a watchful eye. Everything is crystal and roses. Guys, if you have phucked up bigtime with your lady and want to make amends, Ricardo is THE place to take her.

Steak: Gaucho. Argentinean steak house. Need I say more? Ask for server, Desmond. He’s from South Africa and such a great guy with an amazingly sharp sense of humor. There is also a French restaurant at the back side of Fanar Mall (again, feeble mind syndrome – can’t remember the name) that only serves steak, salad, and pomme frittes (French fries, chips, freedom fries – whatever you wanna call ‘em). I have yet to try the Brazilian steak house in the Movenpick at the Free(less) Trade Zone and I’ll let you know on that one later.


No doubt about it – Housny in Hawalli. I have tried many many other seafood restaurants in Kuwait, but I keep going back to Housny. It doesn’t have the ambiance of other more expensive places, but definitely has the best shrimp and grilled fish in all of Kuwait. The service is remarkably good for a less-expensive place also.

Nicest Place to Eat Beside the Sea

Hands-down it is the (what the Hell is the Name) buffet restaurant at the Movenpick, Bidaa. Waaaaay pretty with tables on a terrace facing the sea. "some enchanted eeeevning..."

2nd best: Blue Elephant (Thai) at the Hilton.

Where to Go so the spouse won’t see you together

I don’t do this, but just incase you are wondering: Gulf Royal Chinese restaurants have “cabinas” (small private rooms). Sakura has private rooms (usually for parties of 4 or more). Housny also has cabinas (which might actually work out better if you are a sloppy seafood eater –especially if you like crabs).

Best Restaurant for Where to dine if you want to B.Y.O.B.

They do exist in Kuwait and some places will even bring in the appropriate glasses and de-cork/serve you. I don’t know of ANY specifics and even if I did, I would never tell. If you want to send me guesses – be my guest.


I don’t smoke sheesha, but I like the smell. I have friends who like it, so when I want to eat with them and they want sheesha, I want to be somewhere that is well ventilated and also serves either food or coffee that I want while they’re smoking. I like the atmosphere in Ayam Zaman in the Crowne Plaza. Bless their hearts – they really do try to give good service. The Movenpick at Bidaa is also a nice place to go for sheesha.

The “Way-Home” Breakfast

Bayan Restaurant in Salmiya very close to Noodles. You can take home chapathi and eggs, chai/7alib starting at 4:30 am….well before McDonald's...

Light food/Sandwiches

I have a few favs.

Ayami (Damn, I can’t remember the name – above Starbucks at Marina Crescent). It is a fusion restaurant – kind of a mixture of Lebanese and Moroccan. Me likes. They have a different variation on the standard Lebanese dips. Check it out sometime. The food is great, but unfortunately, the service needs improvement (I didn’t say “it sucks” – I am trying to maintain positive). The food is great. I like the pizza thingys and the spinach/hummos dip.

Awtar Libnan is Lebanese and I’ve been to their locations at Marina Mall and in Jahra. Both are great – good service, good food, very nice appropriately-spaced tables (so you aren’t sitting on top of other patrons like some restaurants). Grilled halloommmmm.

I just re-visited Grillo on Restaurants Street for the first time in several years and their shrimp fajita sandwich rocks. I remember their sandwiches being small, but this was meal-sized and quite a few shrimps. An extra added bonus is that the restaurant is situated right next to the front entrance of the male-only Platinum Gym. You can see all the talent coming and going while you are chowin down; feasting your eyes (one in every 100) while you feast on sammich.

Doo-Doo in Salmiya for falafel sandwiches. It's way better than "doo-doo" or "poo-poo"! :)

(Sheel-o-meshi used to be my favorite place for a steak sandwich, but they reduced the size and the quality and now you have to buy about 5 of them to make it the size of the one they used to serve – and on different bread.)


I’ve tried a lot of the restaurants on (which ROCKS by the way!). Casper & Gambini is consistently good with good customer service/drivers. It gets to you quick. Also good for lunch meetings when you have guests at work. Good salads also. Indigo is Indian home-delivery only and those guys ROCK. Again, quick service, great food (try the hamoor biryani). If you can get Fresh Fish (name of the restaurant) delivered where you are – go for it. The prices are so reasonable and they deliver fresh seafood to your door. I love grilled fish and can’t get enough from this restaurant. I wish they had steamed crabs, but no one in Kuwait does.

Here is my restaurant wish-list for Kuwait:

Crab House (what I wouldn't give to bang on a crab on a brown paper covered table, sippin on a cool Barbican....)
Authentic Mexican (not the pseudo crap!)
Large-variety salad bar (salad only!) Why doesn't anyone in Kuwait serve a good salmon salad??
“Happy Hour” – I don’t know why restaurants here can’t do happy hour at 5:00 without alcohol. It would be a great marketing gimmick and they could offer finger foods and non-alcoholic drinks. Even if you started a restaurant CALLED “Happy Hour”… People already go to coffee shops to meet other people. Why not start happy hour for working professionals?


The Royal Hyatt Elements Spa. By far, my favorite so far. I don’t know if it caters to men, however. It’s gorgeous. They understand good, quality services and products. The Royal Hyatt is managed by Banyan Tree Resorts and the spa is totally Thai.

Spa Aquatonic at the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza: Wow. Again, a gorgeous atmosphere. It is huge and clean and new. I have only been there for one treatment so I can’t give anything other than an initial impression, but I loved it and will definitely go back. If you’ve been up in Iraq for a while (or driving in traffic in Kuwait – same thing), book yourself a treatment (male or female). It is guaranteed to de-stress.

Rental Car Agency

I have only one on my list: Automall (formerly Payless) in Rai. Talk about service! They will drop off/pick up to you anywhere in Kuwait and do their best to get you a car in your choice of colors. Consistent with their policies and procedures, kind and professional. Reasonable rates. Unfortunately, they only do GMC and Subaru rentals.


GP: Dr. Eman Badawi at the International Clinic. She is a GP but also specializes in asthma.

OBGYN: Dr. Gazawi at Royal Hyatt. I love the RH. It is like a peaceful resort rather than going to see your personal doctor. They make having your vajayjye looked at seem like a tranquil experience.

Dentist: Don’t have a favorite – they all frighten me (this is not limited to Kuwait). I have heard that Gulf Clinic is good (and I want to go there for Invisilyn braces as soon as I have enough cash). Slapps goes to Dr. Sexy at the International Clinic. We just call him that to give him a hard time. His real name is Dr. Edgar.


Ok, it really isn’t fair for me to make a pick because there are only 2 that I have actually slept in: The Kuwait Plaza (now the “Swiss Inn”) and the Holiday Inn Salmiya. I HAD to stay at the Swiss Inn and no – not going to make a recommendation on that one. I chose to stay at the HI Salmiya and it was noisy. I have heard that the 4-Points Sheraton is fantastic. I have had several friends at different times stay there on business trips to Kuwait and highly recommended it.

Now, I can tell you about the ones that I think are the prettiest without having seen a room: Marina Hotel (on the sea), Movenpick at Bidaa (on the sea), Hilton (on the sea). Hotels with the best overall restaurants: Sheraton and Crowne Plaza.

2010 Updates

Al Setinat in Hawalli. Service is still so-so, but the food is the best and they deliver. 22665559

Desmond has moved! He's at The Meat Co. now in 360. The Meat Co replaces Gaucho as my favorite, but only if you can afford to pay their OMG ouch prices!

The Meat Co. also has a good salmon salad! (Someone heard my prayers.)

Anybody know where to get decent fish & chips in Kuwait? The Ritz used to own that, but not anymore.

Virginia at Tysons Corner - Scorned Wife Gets Revenge

More women should do this:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DG Review of the Hilton Kuwait's Ramadan Tent

I was invited to a promotional dinner for the Hilton’s Ramadan tent last night. First, let me say that it is always nice to receive any invitation from anywhere and I’m truly grateful when people remember me. I also think that it is an outstanding public relations move on the part of the hotel management – IF everything goes smoothly. If not, they jeopardize losing future business. What they didn’t provide last night was comment cards. They should have as it is free “business analysis” at the hand of people you want to impress in the future (or those who you just don't give a schmidt about, but can provide you with a different perspective; something you may not have considered before).

I was not impressed by the 1st-line-of-contact to the hotel: the security guard at the first checkpoint who on most nights is very polite and asks kindly where you are going (different guards at different times). Last night, we weren’t so lucky. He was an arrogant little prick (tell us how you really feel, DG!) who just said rather aggressively, “Aye mukan”? (translation: which place?). Not, “Good evening, sir. Where will you be visiting on our property tonight?” DG: ‘Run him over, baby! Hit hiiiiim! Git ‘im with the door!’

Way-into-the-hotel review
Valet parker: very good (except when we got our car on the way out and he almost reversed into an on-coming car). Reception staff: very good. Arabic coffee decanter (“della”) strategically placed for guests next to the reception desk: empty and was never refilled. Let me ask you this: Why the HELL doesn’t the Hilton ever clean the fish tanks they have? It is not only bad for the poor fish, but a disgusting visual for guests. Dudes, put in an aquarium filter! How long has the hotel been open? The aquariums have been there an equal amount of time – and are never clean.

The Hilton Sales Management staff greeted us in somewhat of a receiving line on the way into the tent. (Since it was a promotional event, every one of them should have been wearing a name tag with their title and had a business card immediately ready.) The Hilton has bought a new tent structure; one of those pre-fab type (no longer made of fabric, but perhaps heavy-duty plastic siding on a steel frame). It is very pretty inside: chandeliers and flowing silky fabrics (fire retardant materials, I wondered?). I noted 4 well-lit emergency exits. We looked all over and never saw a fire extinguisher. After the horrors of the Jahra wedding tent fires; I pay careful attention now. Since the tent fire tragedy was so recent, I thought that any hotel with a large tent would have placards on the tables noting their safety features (but perhaps that was just my wishful thinking). We sat close to one of the walls and immediately noticed that we could crawl under the tent siding should we have to. For some reason, the lighting inside the tent was up to Old People Code: So bright that I could count the crumbs on the floor. Dunno why it was like that. Made my eyes hurt.

I’ve been to the Hilton tent during past Ramadans and had vowed not to return. I remember distinctly that they ran out of food on the buffet one year and all that was left were remnants of food in the bottom of chaffing dishes. It really made me angry that no one tried to make amends about it. If you pay a sizeable chunk of money for a meal, there should actually be FOOD there. We went another time during Ramadan and the food just wasn’t very tasty; quite bland actually. Last night, we arrived early - at 9 - so we got their on the beginning of the night rather than the end; plenty of food on the buffet.

Unfortunately, the tent’s food is still boring (again, I am grateful I got the invite – not to look a gift horse in the mouth). The “spouse” had pasta and he didn’t even like that. I tried “samples” of just about everything: bland, bland, bland – and tasteless. If you are going to offer bland; offer condiments that people can use to shake it up a bit. Even Tabasco would have helped. Chef – have you not heard of those leetle things called “spices”? I noted in the Hilton Newsletter that the chef studied in the US, but c’mon y’all – our food is not that bland. Even McDonald’s has special sauce.

Also, it really disturbs me when I go to a Ramadan tent IN Kuwait and there is nothing even slightly resembling Kuwaiti traditional Ramadan foods. As you know, I promote Kuwaiti traditional things – especially to visitors to Kuwait. The Hilton has a kousheri station (Egyptian), but nothing Kuwaiti at all – not even gaymat. Unfortunately, newcomers to Kuwait (mass visitors to the hotel) might not even know that these dishes aren’t Kuwaiti – which disturbs me even more. (“Yeah, I went to that thar Ramadayn tent over at the Hill-tun in Kooowayt and got me some traditional Koowayti food called “kooo-sherry”. Mighty good.”) Don’t get me wrong, I like pasta and adore some kickass kousheri, but not for Ramadan. They also had fish on the buffet. Who serves fish during Ramadan??? It makes you so thirsty –regardless of when you eat it. They also had a station with plastic containers of yogurt. I’m sorry, but I think that any type of food in plastic containers is best left for a picnic, not a dinner buffet – ok maybe a breakfast buffet. (A good chef will be able to create good yogurt and offer it in an appropriate serving vessel – like crystal surrounded by ice – quite nice.)

What I did like: The desert station (although I wish there was fresh gaymat). The mutabal was good. The kousheri was good (again, not for Ramadan).

The wait staff was cloistered in one corner of the room for a good part of the night. We had a hard time getting a waiter’s attention and went without water for most of our meal. Chel-loo – C’est Ramadan, dudes. There was one outstanding guy – an Egyptian man who was dressed in Kuwaiti national dress, serving Arabic coffee and dates. He worked the entire tent, making sure that guests were happy. He even gave instructions to the servers and cleared tables – all while simultaneously serving coffee. I think he should be promoted to a sales position – really stellar performer. (If someone from Hilton Management happens to read this – his name is Abdulnasser.)

I guess, perhaps, because it was a promotional (free) event, the quality of the guests was lower than normal (God, I hope that’s the case!). It was purty hailag last night. The invitation said, “…pleasure to invite you and your spouse…” It said nothing of inviting screaming brats; but hey, it was free, so why not invite the whole family and anybody else living in your version of a trailer park? There was also a man right next to the buffet table – smoking sheesha all night – who I swear must have Swine flu. He hacked and spewed all night long; seemingly oblivious to the fact that people all around him were trying to eat a nice meal. We both started shouting out “WOOJAH!” every time he did it. It became like "bullshit bingo". We had to walk past him on our way out and I looked at him and made the same noises he had made all night. People at surrounding tables laughed. There was also an obvious misunderstanding of appropriate attire: Torn jeans, t-shirts, and one young lady who appeared to be wearing not only a very bad wig, but what might have been some form of spandex undergarment in its previous existence. I'm sorry, Hilton Staff, but the patrons last night reminded me of the buffet at Chicken Tika in Salmiya.

There is just too much competition out there for the Hilton not to kick it up a few notches. I would say that the Movenpick Bidaa is probably giving them a run for their money right now. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Messila Beach Hotel eventually opens: it’s a large property that can compete with the Hilton on size and perhaps on venue (sea front, etc.).

My overall opinion of the night: Refer to Paragraph One, Sentence 3 above. I hope that my insightfulness has worked towards the improvement of the quality management system. Feedback is always positive. Change is good.

For 11 KD per person (total of 22 KD out of pocket for the Hotel), I have provided the management with my business analysis and written a letter (report). Normally, I would charge in the neighborhood of 250KD. I think they got a real bargain. I hope they see it that way.

Setting the bar for Kuwait's Engineers

This is priceless. The Kuwait Society of Engineers' tent is closed for not being up to code. Dudes, you set the example for all of Kuwait. EVERY construction employee in Kuwait must be certified by the Society. The story makes it sound as if it was a voluntary action on the part of the KSE. Perhaps it was, but it is still an embarrassment. I mean, I don't have an engineering degree, but I can tell you that you don't run electric cables (for example) across the floor of a general use area (or office area, or hallway, etc...)

Arab Times, 26 August 2009, Page 7

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My 5 Ironic Minutes in the Flower Shop

I am poor from my vacation and excessive overspending, but I wanted to do right by a friend who I like very much and was very kind to me on my birthday and sent an enormous bouquet of flowers.

She's such a sweet person and just exudes warmth: She comes from a family known for their kindness and generosity. She kind of reminds me of Princess Diana in a way; someone who from the outside seems to have it all, but with an air of sadness around her. My friend is beautiful (probably one of the most beautiful women I've ever met in person - although I doubt that she knows she is), intelligent, and (probably) has all the material things that she could possibly ever want. I always feel that she is sad and I want to do things to make her happy. Sometimes I just get a feeling out of the blue that I should call her or cheer her up in some way - and I try to whenever I hear that little voice.

Anyhoo, so I went to my usual favorite flower shop, Ribbon Flowers, in Salmiya -- which isn't anything like Al Jarra or any of the larger, more expensive places in town -- but they do an outstanding job with arrangements and have been very nice to me over the years. On the way into the shop, there was a Kuwaiti young man (14-15) who walked in behind me and held the door for me. I went to the counter and my usual shop guy, Mohammed, wasn't there (on vacation) but the Kuwaiti owner was. I told him what I wanted, but then he turned to the young man in Arabic and asked how he could help him. He said that he was looking for a bouquet for his mother's birthday, but that the man should help me first.

I was totally impressed by this kid's manners. He reminded me of my nephew, Alex: Not only because Alex has great manners, but because it is the type of thing he would do for my sister for her birthday - buying her favorite flowers. It made me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy. (It also made me miss Alex - a LOT.)

So, I ordered my bouquet and was trying to explain to the shop guys the directions to my friend's house. I struggled to remember the words in Arabic (it was a long day - a 1 hour walk followed by 40 minutes of Hip Hop Abs and my mind is feeble) and the young man looked at me with surprise and said, "Oh! You are sending flowers to my mother!" and went on to explain the exact directions to his house!

"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world...." (Casablanca quote, not Fall Out Boy lyric!)

Isn't that amazing? How many flower shops are there in Kuwait? What are the chances of being in that very shop at the same time as my friend's son?

When I told the shop guy about what flowers I wanted in the bouquet, the young man said, "Get purple. She loves purple."

I love this story. I just feel like it is some kind of a sign from God - but I don't know what it means. I told the young man how much I like his mother and how I had heard her talk about him. What a nice boy! How lucky she is to have a son like that. As thoughtful as he is, he is going to make someone a fine husband one day.

He, as a teenager, probably thought I was an ab-so-lute nutjob; smiling and carrying on the way I did, waving as I left; but it was such a strange and nice experience. It was 5 minutes of sheer, ironic happiness.

Kuwait: Swimming in Sewage

Ever wondered what you might be swimming in? Ever notice those big pipes that empty into the Gulf?

Does your neighborhood smell like shit all of a sudden? Wonder why?

NOW you have your answer....

Al-Watan, KUWAIT: A looming disaster of a great magnitude is about to strike the Gulf (Jon AlـKuwait), which has been receiving unprocessed sewage from the Mishref pumping station. The station is being operated with just three pumps as 13 pumps are out of service due to the unprecedented pollution with the sewage level rising to such a dangerous level that it could have caused the explosion at the station. In the face of this, the Ministry of Public Works has no option but to divert the sewage to the sea through the rain drainage networks. The ministry, later on, announced that the station had collapsed completely and that it was being fixed.Sources close to the ministry intimated that the repair process will not be completed for another two months at least during which time the sewage from all areas will be diverted to the sea, adding that the station can only pump 340,000 liters during peak hours. The sources went on to warn that the mishap will equally affect the sewage distillation station in Sulaibiya.The sources further attributed this problem to indecisiveness on the part of the concerned officials to fix the mishaps since months, which added pressure on the three functioning pumps.


Swine flu? Who cares? Rain drainage networks are all over Kuwait and soon - whatever everybody else in Kuwait has, you'll have too! Breathe deeply Kuwait. Yummmmm

Kuwait, "indecisive"? Really?

KD 100 fine, one month prison for public eating, drinking

Ooops there it is...

Kuwait Times, Published Date: August 21, 2009 KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has completed its preparations for the enforcement of its special security and traffic plan incorporating measures to be implemented during the holy month of Ramadan. The security plan was put into place at the instructions of interior minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, said Hashem Al-Sabr, the MoI's spokesman and manager of the ministry's Media and Security Department.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Someone sent me this yesterday and it's profound, isn't it?

"Hundreds of people get swine flu and everybody wants to wear a mask. Millions of people get AIDS and no one wants to wear a condom."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trouble calling mobile lines from the US

When I was in Virginia, I tried many times to call friends in Kuwait on their mobile phones (Zain, Wataniya, and Viva) and I had a lot of problems. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this lately?

My mom says that every time she calls my mobile phone number, she is randomly connected to other cell phone numbers (sometimes some guy saying, "aaaaalooooo"). This also happened to me when I tried from Virginia.

When I tried to call Kuwait from my Kuwait mobile line while in the US, I almost never got through either. And - with the roaming, it picked up several different networks like AT&T, and T Mobile.

This is really upsetting to me because I'm using my mobile number as my primary phone at home (don't have a land line yet). What if there is an emergency?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tang Chao - Playground for Brats

Last night, I went to Tang Chao restaurant in the Holiday Inn in Salmiya. I haven't been to the hotel in a while - mainly because our usual haunt is the Crowne Plaza. I used to go to Tang Chao a lot when they first opened. The food and service were both fantastic, but the menu was limited. Fortunately now, they have added to the menu.

Unfortunately, the hotel was like a playground: children running through the lobby AND the restaurant screaming and disturbing guests. No one seemed to even bat an eye. When I'm going out and paying for an elegant meal in an elegant surrounding, I want an elegant atmosphere. If I wanted to be surrounded by screaming brats, I would have gone to Burger King on Blaajat with the big playroom. It was ridiculous! The only thing missing from the pre-school atmosphere was the dancing chicken.

The manager finally came over and told us that he couldn't do anything about it. Ummmm... yes you can; you're the manager. Close the main door, ask the parents to keep an eye on their kids - something. It was so loud that we couldn't even talk. "Management" means managing. Manage the situation. Do SOMETHING. And if a guest complains, make SOME kind of ammends.

Low class people should stay on the jakhoor. Why do they have to punish decent people with their poor manners? Sorry, I don't buy into the "Let them be children..." philosophy of child rearing. Obnoxious, bad mannered, poorly disciplined children turn into arrogant, obnoxious, bad mannered adults. If you want evidence of this, there is plenty of it around.

So, from now on, if I want an elegant Chinese meal; it is the Peacock in the Radisson - all the way. Tang Chao a la Romper Room doesn't get my vote.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Give me my damn HAMburger!!

Are people that stupid that they had to change the name from HAMburger to BEEFburger? There is no ham (pork) in a hamburger! WTF?! And if there is a stamp on it that it is halal, isn't it a given that hey - there's no pork in it?

According to Wikipedia, the HAMburger was first invented in Hamburg, New York, USABAYBEE. There are several other legends about the origin of the HAMburger, but they all relate to BEEF. Of course, illiterate folks who believe that there is ham in hamburgers probably don't read or do research anyways, so the reference is rhetorical.

Maybe McDonald's made the change a while ago - I dunno; it has been a long time since I've actually eaten a HAMburger in McDonald's. This stupidity has PROVOKED me into posting about it. How retarded. I think I'm going to go mess with them now:

(Desert Girl goes through the McDonald's drive thru...)
'You gave me a beefburger. I ordered a HAMburger.'
"Nooo, sor-ree ma-dam, but it is the same thing."
'Yeah, but I wanted ham in my hamburger and you just gave me beef. That's not right. I want a hamburger....'
(McD staff: blank look, open mouth)

(Yes, I need a life. Shut UP!)

Well, I guess it isn't the dumbest thing I've ever heard: like changing "zipcode" to "postal code" just to ensure that no one felt that their penis was being coded. (I have a code for that, but I'm not telling what it is.)

Hey, let's change all the non-acoholic beer to "malt beverages". I think some manufacturers (maybe Barbican?) are already doing this.

Let's go a step further: nachos. (Translates to "They are having intercourse"). That could be turned into "baked Mexican style corn chips". Regardless, I will always say "nachos" loudly and proudly.

Now I will spend the rest of my day trying to think of more funny words they should change to something else - as not to offend anyone. And I thought the US was the most PC country! Yeh!

ZIPpidy doo da, ZIPpity ae. My oh my what a wonderful day....

This in from a reader (THANKS!)
Confusion between English and American English -- a genuine anecdote:
Two soldiers, an American and a British soldier, are outside smoking and chatting, until the British solider has finished his cigarette and, in the absence of a litter bin, asks the American "what should I do with my fag butt?" - and met with a rather concerned and puzzled look from the American.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More info on the Jahra Fire

The Kuwait Times today reports:

'Scorned' woman unleashed fury
Published Date: August 17, 2009 By B Izzak and Hanan Al-Saadoun, Staff Writer

KUWAIT: A woman confessed yesterday to setting a wedding tent on fire in Jahra late on Saturday that killed 41 women and children and injured dozens others, some with critical burns. Sources said the suspect, who is the first wife of the bridegroom, was arrested after some maids claimed that they witnessed the woman setting the tent on fire with the help of kerosene-soaked rags. The bride escaped uninjured, but her mother and sister were killed, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the Amiri Diwan said yesterday that HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will not accept greetings on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan in solidarity with the victims of the Jahra blaze. He also expressed his deepest sympathy with the victims and their families and ordered that every possible help should be given to the families. The Amir later chaired an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet to discuss the fire incident. The Cabinet formed an inquiry committee headed by State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan to evaluate the incident, rescue operations and regulations needed to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.The Interior Ministry had earlier called on citizens not to erect tents in residential areas because that will obstruct rescue operations in case of emergencies. The ministry also set up a hotline for relatives of victims to make inquiries. The ministry also asked the families of victims to identify the bodies of the victims at the forensics department.

MPs meanwhile demanded an investigation into what they called government failure to respond quickly with some charging that the fatal incident showed that the government has no clear contingency plans. HH the Amir, the crown prince and the prime minister sent cables of condolences to the relatives of the victims, and the prime minister visited the wounded people at hospitals and assured that the government will take every necessary measure to provide all medical care to them.Head of the fire department General Jassem Al-Mansouri said that six of the victims were children and authorities had difficulty in identifying some of the totally charred bodies. He said the fire killed the 41 women and children in just three minutes, leaving behind shoes melted to the ground and bodies so blackened they were unrecognizable. Guests likely crushed one another in a desperate attempt to flee through the only exit, he said, adding that there were between 150 and 180 women and children insideat the time. The devastating fire was likely to result in restrictions on the tradition of holding celebrations in such tents, a custom which is rooted in Kuwait's nomadic heritage and endures in tribal areas of the country.It was a horrific scene with bodies and many shoes stuck to the ground at the only exit. They must have trampled over one another," Mansouri said. Authorities were using DNA tests to identify the 35 women and six children killed.

He expected tighter restrictions on the use of such tents. "There will certainly be a decision to ban the use of tents without written permission," he said. That would ensure that authorities are aware of events and able to check tents for safety features, he said.Some observers described the fire as the worst tragedy in Kuwait's modern history. Director of Jahra hospital Abdulaziz Al-Farhoud said that 90 people have been wounded in the blaze, some in critical condition with severe burns. He said 21 of the wounded women were sent to Babtain Burns Center for advanced treatment. A number of the wounded are still in intensive care units at several hospitals, Farhoud said.

.... called for holding accountable those responsible for any failure and urged the government to take the necessary measures to prevent fires at wedding parties from happening again.

... The fire left behind blackened mounds of chairs and tables burnt down to their metal frames, as well as food trays and charred air conditioners.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

45 MORE Women Die in Jahra Wedding Tent Fire

This is the 2nd such tragedy in the past 6 months - both times in Jahra. This one made headlines on CNN. LINK Perhaps now - to save face - the government will do something. Usually, things get done around here as soon as there is global bad press.

What I don't get is this: While authorities spend time raiding "immoral" flats across Kuwait, and in recent years, breaking up parties at tents in the desert; tragedies like this continue to occur.

If some of those same authorities spent time checking for safety measures at mass tent gatherings like weddings, maybe so many people wouldn't die or be horrifically maimed. Perhaps these fires happen at men's tents as well, but maybe the men are better equipped to escape (?) Kuwait: Land without statistics. I don't know.

Tents in Kuwait are made of cotton, not flame retardant material. That means one little spark - regardless of the ignition point - and the whole thing goes up in minutes.

Personally, I think that the next time I go to any big event in a tent, I'm taking a long, sharp knife with me. Maybe that's what they should do - keep knives in glass cases as they do with the pull fire alarms: "break in case of emergency".

The paper said that there were fire extinguishers, but maybe people didn't know where they were or how to use them. Personally, I've NEVER seen a tent in Kuwait equipped with a fire extinguisher; I've seen a lot more with open flames and some even with charcoal fires in them or dodgy space heaters.

Why can't the wedding tents be made to code: Smoke detectors? Flame retardant materials? Lit marking for emergency exits? Hotel banquet halls must conform to fire and safety requirements - why not wedding tents?

Its so sad and so PREVENTABLE. My thoughts go out to the families who have lost or injured mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

DG Ramadan Advice

Disclaimer: This is my personal advice. You can put your own advice on your own blog. I don't want to hear from haters saying, "You stupid foreigner! Why don't you go back to your own country if you disrespect ours." Ok - to that I say, 'Dudes - I love this country and none of what I am about to say is meant with disrespect, nor is it anything that many of you dudes don't already do, know about and/or discuss.' So there.

For those of you just getting off the banana boat, some DG words of advice on Ramadan in Kuwait. I don't know why companies and other Westerners try to freak out newbies to the Middle East on Ramadan. I love it. It is like an entire month of mass spiritualism and the happy atmosphere that surrounds it (ok, maybe not if you are in traffic with many smokers in the middle of a nicotine crisis during 110 degree weather, however). I guess it is all about attitude. Plus, work hours are shortened and there are all kinds of yummy Ramadan foods around. Newbies - get out there and try some! Ramadan isn't about the woes of not being able to eat for a month for fear of getting in trouble; nor for the dread of horrible drivers on the road. There is so much more to it.

What NOT to do: Attention Newbies! Do not: Eat, drink, chew gum, chew tobacco, pop a tic-tac, smoke or kiss in public (which is illegal in Kuwait anyhoo) during daylight hours.

Do not go grocery shopping during the 3-4 days prior to Ramadan (2014:  June 28/29 - July 28/29 - depending on da moon). It is vicious-scary as everyone tries to stock up on food. I have seen people push down pregnant women trying to get into the check-out line.

Office Etiquette: If you are working with those who are fasting (most offices in Kuwait), get the "lay of the land"/ask co-workers what’s cool and what isn’t - before trying to sneak something to eat or drink in your office. One of my colleagues keeps a big thermos of coffee in his office and draws the shades. Don't smoke in your office - that's just dumb and might get you in trouble. People can smell smoke (duuh) and might report it to someone. If you are working on base, of course, military rules apply.

How to tell if a Kuwaiti isn't fasting: They are standing at the hot food (take-away) counter at Sultan Center at noon. You are allowed go give knowing glances and/or giggle. Almost all the Kuwaitis I know fast, but then, I do know others who don't.

How can you tell when it is "ok" to eat/drink? You have to be sure that it is after sunset because even if it is a few minutes before, you could potentially still get in trouble with the law. Right around sunset, you will hear the call to prayer. If you are tuned to any Kuwaiti radio or TV station, they will broadcast the call to prayer and then it is ok to eat. If you are sitting in a restaurant and think that it is sunset, wait first to see if other people start eating.

Note that if you order food prior to sunset, you will be in for a long wait. Ditto on the take-out as you are going to have to wait in line with a lot of other people picking up food for their families (modern day lifestyles).

What happens if you get caught by the po-po eating/drinking/smoking/chewing gum, etc during the day? They wisk you away to jail where you will remain until the end of Ramadan. Good times. What you might try to do this year is start coughing and spewing flem violently if caught. Tell them that you have just travelled to Mexico and you are starting to develop a fever, rash, and fits of vomiting, "Is it just me or is it really hot in your police car? I'm burnin up! cough, cough, flem spew...". It might just land you in the infectuous diseases hospital; however, which is only one step up from jail. At least you'll have TV.

Plan to stay off the Gulf Road around sunset: It becomes the Autobahn for Idiots. I personally have seen people (including small children) die/torn to pieces in accidents because idiot drivers think they HAVE to be home exactly at sunset (they don't). Puhleeze people: if you see a car speeding up behind you with its lights flashing, GET THE F OUT OF THE WAY! This actually could apply to any time of the year in Kuwait but moreso during Ramadan (Bobarino - this really applies to you). Do you think the maniac (Arabic or English tense - your choice) is gonna slow down just because you are there and you want to show how stubborn you can be???? Noooooo. Repeat after me: They just don't care. Keep your camera in the car during Ramadan to get the very best horrific auto accident photos.

Sunset Cruising: The BEST time to shop at the co-ops and the Sultan Center is at sunset. It is also a great time for westerner singles to see other western singles because everybody is there at the same time when it is quiet. Restaurants and shops are often open all night. It is fun and a lot of people go out. Personally, I love it. Most of the major hotels have buffets in tents or in their ballrooms.

If you are single and want to mingle, an hour before sunset every evening during Ramadan is the time to meet someone. You know the saying – anything taboo is going to be more fun, right? A lot of people either walk or drive along the Gulf Road. If you are out there and want to go home, wait 15 to 20 minutes after sunset before moving to make sure the crazy drivers are already back in their homes.

First and last week of Ramadan: Generally, Kuwaiti people will meet with their family and friends during the first week of Ramadan, and then the restaurants will start to fill up as everybody goes out to socialize. The last 10 days of Ramadan are the most spiritual, so a lot of people go to the mosque those nights.

Respect: Loud music (parties), and clothing that isn’t modest (micro-minis or speedos, for example) might not be a good idea throughout the month; both are disrespectful. If the po-po turns a blind eye to partying the rest of the year, they probably won't be as forgiving during Ramadan.

Petty Theft Increase During Ramadan: If you are planning to walk at any of the popular paths/areas during Ramadan – do not EVER leave valuables (purse, wallet, even mobile phones) in your car. Thieves know that people do this and they have and will break into your car to get them. As an extra added bonus, thieves also understand that the police are not going to rush to your rescue at sunset when they haven’t eaten all day. Someone broke into my car at Ras Salmiya’s parking lot at sunset and stole my purse (hidden under the passenger seat) from my Discovery. The police told me to file a report – the NEXT day! I don’t even want to begin to tell you what a pain in the ass it is to try to get new Kuwaiti IDs. It’s not fun. I made the unfortunate mistake of also having several US-based credit cards and my Virginia driver’s license. That really sucked. One of my Kuwaiti friends had a Lexus and the thieves broke through his glass sunroof. That’s just downright dispicable: It costs so much more to replace sunroof glass than the side windows, but thieves also know that many alarm systems don’t go off with entry through a sunroof. I think the thieves also knew that most Discoveries have problems with their door locks (among many many other maintenance issues).

Niceties: What to say to people as a polite Ramadan greeting: Mubarak Alayk Shahar ("Happy month" basically) or "Ramadan kareem" (Ramadan is generous).

Invitations: If you have Kuwaiti friends, they may invite you to their homes during Ramadan (and if you know me - please do because I love the invites! Pick me! Pick me!). It is always good to bring something like a tray of sweets or even a covered dish. Don't think that it is rude if they don't put it out - it is customary (but not always) for people to serve food that they have made first. Neighbors often exchange covered dishes (sometimes marked with their initials on the bottom so they know what belongs to whom) with each other during Ramadan and dayam - do I wish that my neighbors would because whatever they are cooking - it smells fantastic! If you accept an invitation, expect to eat a lot. Every night is like a Thanksgiving feast and Kuwaitis are known for their hospitality - especially during Ramadan. Ramadan foods are generally quite heavy, so wear your stretchy pants.

Charity: Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, Ramadan is a time to remember those less fortunate. If you have a building guard (hariss) who is Moslem -- or not, Ramadan is a good time to extend hospitality to him by bringing a covered plate/dish. I used to love my building guard and regularly cooked for him. People give alms to the poor on Eid, and you will also see charitable Ramadan tents feeding masses of workers. You might also notice people being more generous to street workers and beggars. Similar to the Western custom of tipping people who have given you service at Christmas, Eid is the time in this part of the world.

Lent in Overdrive: If you want to look at it like this, Ramadan is Lent in overdrive. Moslems give up sustainance during the day to empathize with those who have to go without - not out of choice. I have Christian friends who fast during Ramadan because it is spiritual/grounding. It makes sense to fast for the right reasons.

I have enjoyed fasting; it makes me feel like I'm part of a collective spiritual act. I like it better when I break fast with others, however. It is really no fun when you are alone (and then I start to think more about my Kuwaiti friends who were in the US during Ramadan and how I might have been more understanding/compassionate). Just like Christmas dinner, you know that everyone else in the country is doing the same thing that you are at just the same time. It is a nice feeling.

Guergee'an (Mid-Ramadan): If you see little kids all dressed up in festive clothes around mid-month, that's "guergee'an" (sp?). You might also see co-ops and grocery stores selling a mixture of nuts and candy - either loose or in packages. Guergee'an is a holiday indiginous to Kuwait. In the old days, the wee ones would follow a male leader (not MJ) with a lantern (I can't remember the name they have for dude), singing the guergee'an song (maybe someone can send me the lyrics in English or Arabic and I'll write another post about it); and go door-to-door, singing for candy. These days, Kuwaitis generally have guergee'an parties for kids (instead of the door-to-door thing) and households will often make their own home-made baskets or boxes of nuts/candy to distribute to friends and family members (I prefer Patchi please). I guess Guergee'an is similar to Halloween, but without the Pagan ramifications nor the tricks. You won't see anyone toilet-papering houses during Guergee'an (sad, really).

At the end of Ramadan - Eid

Mass Lamb Murders: Kuwaitis eat a lot of lamb and during Ramadan, lamb is also given to those less fortunate. One woman I know and her family cook enough food (not just lamb) for 500 poor people every Eid. There will be a lot of tragic lamb murders prior to Eid, so if you like the cuddly little baa-baa's - stay away from the back side of the Friday Market (bad traffic also). You might see lambs in your neighboorhood; they won't be there very long. Don't form an attachment.

Eid clothes: Beware of clothes shopping and traffic during the week before Eid. For those of you living in the shopping district in Salmiya, get used to the traffic. It gonna git ugly from 7ish on. People buy new clothes for Eid and for some reason, they have to shop immediately prior to Eid instead of doing it year-round when there might be sales. Go figure.

Banking before Eid: If you can avoid going to the bank for the few days before Eid, you should do so. Traditionally, Kuwaitis give children money for Eid. It used to be in small denominations, but with inflation and the economy, it has been increasing. People rush to the bank to ask for stacks of new bills. Banks know this and they have them on hand and they can't be had through the ATM.

Additional cash requirements during Eid: Black market alcohol prices rise tremendously during Eid, so that may be a consideration for some of you criminals/evil-doers. .... I'm just say'in. Maybe you need it for church or something.

If you are planning a trip during Eid, you'd better book in advance. Tickets to the UAE and Bahrain (and other places) go fast and it is always a mad rush at the airport.

F-ing fire crackers during Eid: I HATE this part of the holiday. Every small convenience store stocks up on fire crackers and the little imps run out even early in the morning and start making noise. Just when you thought you could get a little sleep over the holiday.... bam bam bam! It scares poor DesertDawg and she is usually under my bed for 3 days.

Have a happy, blessed month and may God accept all your prayers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Desert Girl’s Most Excellent Adventure

I was having such an excellent adventure that I didn’t post whilst on vacation. (Whilst, that’s Briddish for “while” – so says me.) Dayam – I so didn’t want to come back. But alas, I ran out of money (and vacation leave) and my hair and skin was ruined by the humidity of DC/Virginia summer. Plus, don’t even get me started on apache-like mosquitoes that have now made me appear as though I’ve got small pox: They just Nas-teh.

You know what pisses me off (you probably know lots of things that piss me off if you have read even more than one blog post herein)…. Hair dryers in the States only go up to around 2000 watts (I think the regular consumer brands are 1800). Funk dat. When the humidity is so high, you need way more power. I don’t even get my hair dried before it is wet again with the pea shooter that I was using there. They sell hair dryers with more power, but you must be a card-carrying “hair care professional” to get one. Mine in Kuwait is like 3200. That’s kind of like the equivalent of sticking your head inside a microwave, I believe. I can dry my hair and strip paint at the same time. Anyhooo… What tha F?! Does Big Brother have to monitor ab-so-lutely everything in the States? I feel that way when I go there. There are so many rules to obey – and I’m just no good at conforming. But hey – the US is the place to go if you are looking for endless aisles of cereal. The Land of Choice. I get overwhelmed going to grocery stores there. It is almost to the point of freaking me out. It is like going to a restaurant with an extensive menu and too many pages/choices: what do you DO?

Everything on TV there is about money or health problems. It’s also full of commercials of people telling you what you SHOULD do: Get your degree; sue somebody; take Viagra. I don’t want to hear that shit. Leave me alone. We all know that I have been in Kuwait to long.

I digress. Have you noticed that I generally start my best posts with things that piss me off first?

I had such a good time. Oh…. My……God. I didn’t want to leave. I was so busy having fun with my family. I know that I talk a whole lot of hooey about drinking and partying, but the sad truth of the matter is that when I go to visit my family, I am generally very low-key and quiet: My sister/bro-in-law set the security alarm set at 9:30 – 10. My nephew calls it “lock down”. I think if I had lived in a house with a home security system on it when I was 14, I would have had to hide my boyfriends in the closet until the next day. (Did I say that in public?)

I was SUCH a bad, bad teenaged girl. We (teenagers) never had any money, so we saved/scraped for change to sneak out of the house and take taxis to nightclubs in DC. I used to dance all night long and then change out of my party clothes (back into PJs) in the bushes outside our house to sneak back in; so it would appear that I was just downstairs getting something to eat. My whole teenage experience could have been titled, “Dances with Pedophiles” (many of them Kuwaiti I might add). My poor nephew is so sheltered. He may never know the joys of having a homeless guy staring at him changing clothes at 3:45 am; or stepping on slugs on the front walkway with bare feet because he took his shoes off to get into the house via “stealth mode”; or getting busted by his father sneaking back into the house. I can’t even imagine what my life would have been like without fake IDs. I had my 18th birthday party at a nightclub called “Tramps” (now a Benetton, I think) where I had been going since I was 13. Everybody knew me: the waiters, the bartenders, the owner, patrons…. The DJ announced that it was my birthday and everybody clapped. Then, he shouted out, “How old are you?” and I shouted back “18!” and that’s when the jaws started hitting the floor. Including the owner’s – Mike O’. Priceless. I guess I got all of my heavy partying done at an early age when I was at Maximum Cuteness and could dance all night long and then go to school. Some of my friends got married early and now they are partying hard. I can’t keep up these days. I don’t even know what the good clubs in DC are anymore. I used to hit as many as 4 per night. Pathetic.

Yada yada….

Ok, so once on lock-down, I watch all my crime shows on Direct TV; like Dr. G Medical Examiner, Forensic Files, and CSI. I also got into what my mother refers to as “the freak shows” (this is so wrong – bear with me): They have all kinds of programs on people with deformities. [It is because I don’t want to go to hell (for this) that I won’t go into too much detail. Little people. People without faces. Stuff like that.] Ok, then they have the baby shows like “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” (mostly about women who didn’t have a clue and then ended up delivering a baby in the toilet); and “16 and Pregnant” (self-explanatory); and “Delivery Me” (just about delivering babies in general). Why is this stuff so fascinating to people? I don’t get it. What’s next, “Vicious Bowel Movements”? Oh, and the "Real Wives of (NY, NJ, and Atlanta)" Addictive train wrecks.

I digress more and more.

Anyhoo, I loved being with my family. My nephew is at that cool age where everything is new and an adventure. I drove back with him and 2 of his friends from the Outer Banks to Virginia; a 6-hour drive. I stopped at Cracker Barrel for fried chicken. Cracker Barrel: Where you will only find greenery in the pattern of their wallpaper. That’s just plain good ole southern cooking: biscuits, cornbread and gravy! I made the teenage boys eat a whole lot of heavy food so they would fall asleep on the ride back and then I could scare the bejeezus out of them by slamming on the breaks or screaming every 15 to 20 minutes as if we were careening off a cliff. I scream loud enough to have them all slamming themselves up against the car windows in fear. Good times. Good times. They wouldn't get that from a ride home with my sister.

I can’t believe how much I actually did while I was there. I was so busy all the time. My mother keeps a detailed journal of what she does every day. I’m going to have to ask her for a cheat sheet because I can’t remember. I love doing things with her – even though she is my moms and occasionally drives me nuts. Just makes me understand how fast time passes and how precious time with your family is.


My sister has no ass. She had a bit of an ass before, but it appears to have fallen off. She also has a completely flat (Mashallah) stomach. She attributes it to Sean T’s Hip Hop Abs. I have determined that I really don’t want to go to a gym and be surrounded by sweaty people who have the potential of staring at my (oversized) ass. It’s not for me. I don’t want to pay several hundred KD to join a place that I probably won’t go to all the time; and may be pissed off at when I do. I LOVE Hip Hop Ab DVDs! They are amazing. I hate doing floor crunches (so I just don’t – which explains how I DON’T have a flat stomach) and this is so cool because you are doing standing crunches. I have had insomnia since I got back so I was wide awake at 4 am and decided to do them. Instant energy. I love it. I’ll let you know how it goes. I don’t eat much really and I’m more likely to make myself fish for dinner than having junk food, so it is really down to the exercise. My sister is so cool for turning me onto the DVDs. She’s been into fitness for a very long time and it shows; she looks amazing.

I tried to go walking with my sister after dinner over there (she’s an amazing cook), but the apache mosquitoes got me bigtime. I’m not kidding – I have welts. It’s not a pretty look. The bastards even got my kneecaps! Kneecapped by the mosquito mafia! This year, there were lots of ads around for a mosquito repellant that is a clip-on fan that disburses repellant in a bubble around you. That’s so cool. Of course, the ads were so convincing that none of the retailers I went to (and there were a lot) could keep them on the shelf. I finally bought some Off and my nephew thought it was perfume. “Wow… what perfume are you wearing? I think that girl (which is what he calls his girlfriend) wears that… I like it.” Oh yeah? Your girl wears bug spray when she comes to see you? That should be telling you something dude. That’s just wrong.

The weather in Virginia was pretty hot, but everything was so green and beautiful. I forget how gorgeous it all is when I’m here and then when I go back, I just stare out the window with my mouth agape. I know what you’re thinking – either that “dumb blonde” look or that I just look mentally challenged, right? Yeah, pretty much. No, I don’t do drugs although after coming back here, I believe that they would really help me.

Here was my biggest fear about returning to Kuwait: The heat sensors for swine flu at the Kuwait airport. After an extended period of celibacy, I wondered if perhaps my private parts would be hot enough to glow on the screen and embarrass me. They didn’t, but it was one of those irrational (rational?) fears.

I couldn’t believe how long the lines were in Kuwait customs. And let me axe you this: How come none of the Kuwaiti customs people ever cracks a smile or even has something pleasant to say? They are the way Dubai customs agents USED to be before they got customer relations training and realized that hey – people are coming to your country and perhaps you might be a little welcoming as initial points of contact/ambassadors of your homeland. Show some Arab hospitality! These guys treated everyone in line – regardless of their nationality – like they were pariah. I know they have a difficult job, but a bad attitude makes it so much worse. I always say, “Salam Alaykum” and these guys (and sometimes gals) don’t even answer. I end up answering myself. What is WRONG with people? I used to be treated much better before all the other Americans came to Kuwait and ruined it for me. People used to talk to me and asked me where I worked and were very nice. I enjoyed being a novelty. Now I’m just ordinary. That’s no good. Ordinary doesn’t work for me. (Okay, neither does short bus, but you get my meaning.) On my previous post, a comment was made about how hard it is to get through US Customs and I agree – it is mostly a pain in the ass – but at least once you speak to one of the representatives, they generally at least speak to you (of any nationality) and make eye contact instead of GRUNTING. “Me caveman. Me stamp you passport. Ug ug.”

I enjoyed seeing how many tards in the airport were wearing masks as a deterrent to the flu. I giggle. Nothing funnier than a bio mask and a long beard. That just screams for me to run up and start coughing near them.

When are they going to expand Kuwait airport? It’s hell and its not like you can drive to another airport to catch a flight.

Bobarino is so funny. He arrived a few days before I did and he wanted a few more days off work, so he called in and said that he had “flu-like symptoms”. Easy pass to 3 days off. If he could only use his powers for good instead of evil. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. Maybe I should have come to work wearing a mask and coughing, “Don’t want to make any of my co-workers sick….”

Seriously, I’m much more likely to catch something life-threatening from the women’s bathroom here at work than swine flu. Our cleaning guy literally sprays the entire stall with water that he’s used from the hose next to the toilet (the butt hose) and then pushes the water around with a squeegee. You will NEVER find a squeegee in my home; I banned them. ICK. Don’t they have any clue how much bacteria can thrive in even one drop of water in the bathroom? Especially water from a hose that has been within inches of so many butts! YUUUUUUUK.

I digress. As usual.

Movies: If you haven’t seen “The Hangover” – go and get a bootleg copy RIGHT FRICKIN NOW. It is the most hilarious movie I have seen in a very long time. I loved it. What not to see (unless you are into poorly made Ron Jeremy gay porn): Bruno (Sacha Cohen). We walked out. It was non-stop senseless, vulgar, disgusting gay sexual scenes. It was abso-frickin-lutely the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life.

Did you hear about that guy in Saudi Arabia who talked openly about his sex life on LBC and the Saudis arrested him? LINK That’s clearly messed up. Saudis don’t have sex out of wedlock! Noooooooo. They don’t drink either. Everybody knows that. Why would he lie like that? Shameful.

I think I have run out of things to talk about right now. I feel as though I have covered pretty much of everything rolling around inside my head. I know I will be totally useless for the next few days (at least!). So it is almost Ramadan - my favorite time of the year for mahem and corruption.