Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mock Evacuation of Americans: Circa 1998ish


I can’t remember when it was that I did this - probably 1998/9. It was before all the war craziness at the end of 2002 going into 2003. Saddam was still around and there was always some form of “tension” in Kuwait. You could tell when things were getting really “tense” because your TV reception would suddenly go screwy (lots of radio traffic) and there would be warships moored within sight off the Salmiya coast. I lived in Salmiya before Marina Crescent was there, so I had a clear view of the ships. Anyhoo, the Embassy always sent out very ominous-sounding warnings and the pucker factor was high.

I took part of a “Mock Evacuation” of Americans from Kuwait. There weren’t nearly as many Americans in Kuwait then as there are now and the security procedures definitely weren’t the same (pre-9/11). Camp Dooda (Doha) hadn’t been transitioned to Arifjail (Arifjan) yet and ITT may have even still held the now-CSA contract (till the end of this year anyways). The mock evacuations were part of a drill to show how they could get us out of the country incase Kuwait was invaded again – as in 1990 - or (if you had time) before a chemical attack.

The exercise was awesome and it was before I was either writing freelance or blogging and I didn’t keep notes. (Mom, you were so right – ALWAYS keep notes! As Mae West said, “Keep a diary and someday it’ll keep you.”) It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in Kuwait and you can’t pay money to do it; nor will anything like it be repeated (probably/hopefully) around here anyways.

I don’t know how it came about that I got to participate; I think that someone from the American Business Council or the Embassy asked me. Always one for adventure, I thought I would go along.

You had to do all the normal Embassy-related procedures first; like sending in a copy of your passport and civil ID. We met at the Embassy and that’s where the fun started. First, the Marines were there to conduct a body search. I was one of the “fortunate” ones who didn’t get the full body search (sans the cavity search). No one checked my private parts. The Marines had been doing the regulation-style body searches that they would normally do of any visitor about to get onto an aircraft carrier. Apparently, that was met with some opposition by several of the female guests. Tee hee. I pointed to the biggest, most handsome marine and said, ‘I want him. Gimme the full work up!’ I got a female marine and it was just no fun at all.

At the embassy, they asked us to fill out the standard government forms for evacuees being taken out of a dangerous territory; the usual stuff stating that you agreed to pay the US Government back 100% of their costs of getting you out of harms’ way. The price goes up the more dangerous it gets; so like if you leave immediately, it is less – later is way more. You have 3 months (as I recall) to pay the Government back. I have heard horror stories about during the Gulf War when ‘mericans were airlifted from Kuwait to Dammam and being charged $10,000 for a 20 minute flight. That’s cute. Anyways, it was a “mock” drill, but they still wanted us to sign the paper. Sorry, I wasn’t about to be charged for a helicopter ride that day, so I objected and didn’t have to. It is still a legal document. I had visions of being in court and having a US military lawyer saying, “Yes, but you did sign up to go on the helicopter ride – did you not? Well then, you have to pay us the $5,000.” I don’t think so.

Of mention is that (then – I don’t know what it might be now), you could only take 1 suitcase and no pets. Funk dat. First, my priority: If Desert Dawg doesn’t go; I don’t go. My second thought: When I moved, my clothes and shoes were packed into TWENTY boxes. Dayam - it would be like "Sophie's Choice": how do you choose? I could see myself on my floor in sobs, lamenting the loss of my Dolce & Gabanna shoes. Again, funk dat. No Iraqi soldier was going to be walking around in MY D&G shoes. Nosireebob.

Our group consisted of about 20 people; mostly wide-eyed yahoos (T-shirts with words) who hadn’t been in Kuwait very long, didn’t know much about the country or about the threat – real or perceived – and wanted to feel reassured that their government (big hunky marines, no less) would come to their rescue (ergo the drill/plan). The only person I remember speaking to was a woman who worked at Universal American School.

They took us by busses to Abdullah Mubarak Airbase (which at that time was approximately 2 Kirby buildings and a hangar). We went with a full Kuwaiti police escort with flashing lights, sirens – the whole bit; just screaming “Hey! Look at us! We’re Americans and really easy targets! Come get us!” I love that aspect of “covert” here in Kuwait. I tried flirting with the Kuwaiti cops, but they weren’t havin’ it – they get all floopy when it is “official American stuff”. When we got to the airfield, we put on life vests and helmets (we Americans are so alarmist – as if we’d ever have a chance in a helicopter crash over water!) and got strapped into metal seats on a Chinook helicopter (I have pictures of this – where the hell did I put them?)

We landed on the USS Belleau Wood (“Devil Dog” – which ironically is also the nickname of Desert Dawg when she doesn’t get her way). The top photo is the actual photo of the ship. It was so so so so cool. There were lots of helicopters and planes (Harriers – it was considered a small aircraft carrier) and a gazillion service people; both men and women. They took us on a tour of the ship, showing us what we would do and where we would live if we were actually evacuated; and offered us refreshments (yummy chocolate chip cookies). They also gave us all Belleau Wood “Devil Dogs” baseball caps (I still have mine). I spoke to a group of female sailors who talked about how nice it was to have a “normal” conversation (obviously, she was misguided in believing that I am somehow normal) with civilians again – not having to speak in military-ese. We took photos with a lot of the service people and in front of the aircraft (which we would probably never be allowed to do now) and had a great time.



I talked to the Captain on the bridge - which was also cool because you could see every little vessel around – prior to the Cole incident in Yemen. Even at this time, they were very concerned about small craft approaching the ship and I remember thinking that any of those little boats could inflict major damage. Maybe I shoulda said something.

I told the Captain that my grandfather had been the first navigator on the very first aircraft carrier (true). My grandfather tried to push my dad into Navy life, but it just didn’t work. I got one photo for my dad and I told the guys that, “This is to show my dad that I was on a ship with thousands of men!” (He was so proud of me!)

I just did a little research and discovered that the ship was sunk as a target off Hawaii. What an undignified way to go. Little things like this just make me feel old.

You know, sometimes when I think my life is mundane and boring, I think about all the really great adventures I’ve been on and I feel so blessed. Who would get the opportunity to do even part of the stuff that you get to do in Kuwait? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve loved it all.

P2BK Event - 22 and 23 February


I didn't get to this event last year, but they said it was pretty good. Chewy Gooey has a booth and that alone is enough to sell me on the event. I hope they have samples. Yummmm.

The event showcases young Kuwaiti entrepreneurship. I'm all for promoting these kind of events because I don't think enough has been done to help small businesses in Kuwait - especially by young Kuwaitis trying to turn a creative (democratic) concept into a marketable endeavor; and not sitting back on their (lawrels) waiting for a job through wastah.

Why doesn't the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry support/promote such events?

I think that Dhari Wazzan, young heir to the Al-Wazzan empire, is behind this event. He is a young guy with good ideas and I believe his daddy is allowing him to follow his creativity - good on both of them! (Although Dhari is a little haughty and needs to work on his PR skills.) They have also done some environmental things lately that I've been following.

Anyhoo, if you are interested in going, it is February 22 and 23 at Araya Ballroom (attached to the Marriott Residence downtown).

February 22nd from 6pm to 10pm
February 23rd from 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm




Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Quality" 1-on-1


I met a new friend (and that’s it – friend) for coffee yesterday. I met him in the afternoon, so it wouldn’t be considered a Valentine’s date. It turned out not only to be completely un-romantic, but one of the few occasions where I was actually bored to the point of nodding off. I can usually find some redeeming quality about a person or else I just won’t go out with them at all – why bother. In this case, my friend is great on the phone or in a group of people – full of interesting things to say – but in person 1-on-1, not a whole lot of redeeming qualities – other than the fact he is fun to look at.

“I don’t want to sit outside. People will see us.” Gee, too bad Starfucks doesn’t have cabinas, right? He woulda been leading me by the arm. (Desert Girl don’t do cabinas, by the way. NEVER.)

He hit all the points that are not open for discussion in polite company: Sex, religion, and politics. He moved quickly from a detailed, lengthy discussion on Islam (more of a sermon than a chat – although, ironically, he mentioned that he doesn’t pray) to a quick comment about my breasts (interesting segue). He shunned the Valentine’s menu that was put in front of us, “Valentine’s day is haram.” (also know as “I’m cheap.”). He talked about “our traditions” for 30 minutes without coming up for air (after ogling my breastssssesss). Did you ever consider the traditions of the country where I’m from? (He studied in the UK for many years and sought me out because I’m American. Any relationship is about compromise.) RRRR. He didn’t know who was sitting in front of him? Where do I come from? Ok, if you’re not up for Valentine’s day – big whoop. I don’t care. Don't bring me flowers or candy or a teddy bear - Je ne care pas. Just don’t lecture ME.

This was peppered with comments about how wonderful his family is, “Ask about us, please.” Apparently, they are THE best family in Kuwait (and don’t they know it too).

He did acknowledge that he cheats on his wife (Valentine’s day is “haram” but apparently adultery is not; nor is drinking because he acknowledged that too). The former acknowledgement was revealed when he discussed “his women”. "My girlfriends (as in plural)get mad at me because I'm not romantic (aka cheap). Women like me because I take care of them and give them money. All the women I meet want to marry me.” Sans one, dude. Got my own money and I don’t want you. (Did I forget to mention that we are JUST friends??!)

And on the subject of women…. “All women except for my mother are liars.” (I’m frickin giggling in my chair at this point because what do you do?) I agreed with him in total: ‘Yes, its true. All women are liars. I know I am. God, you’re so smart and you turn me on. Just listening to you makes me want to bite your clothes off. Take me, you handsome stud…’ (He didn’t get it. He thought it was a come-on.)

Some people are totally different when you are having a 1-on-1 conversation with them. Who woulda thunk it?

Ok, so yeah, this shit wasn’t predictable. I give you that.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Predictable


If I can predict the ending to a movie, I don't want to see the rest. I'd rather have something that is thought-provoking with a twist.

I pretty much feel the same about my relationshits. That's probably why I'm not married. For example, I was engaged to my x-fiance for several years (tried to make it work) and just knew that it was going to end in divorce. So, like, why bother?

I can't tell if men are just predictable to me now or if it is just Kuwait that makes it all so... routine, boring... transparent. (snooooore)

Remember when I was whining about my Saturday alone last weekend? Chairman Dude that I mentioned in that post had asked me,"are you going" to several business-related functions; as we're both members of the same groups. I think I stated it clearly when I said that if he was interested in me for anything other than business, then no, I wouldn't want to "meet him" or "accompany him" to any such function. I hate it when a handsome man wants to talk business all night. He looses all of his wholesome cuteness in a few nanoseconds; hero to zero.

Chairman Dude asked me to dinner (good start) - where and when left out. We were supposed to "get together" last night. Because the weather was so bad, I gave him the choice of postponing, which he did - but not via a call, via an SMS. Hmmmmmm..... starting to recognize the pattern.

Wait, I know that smell... it smells like....

Today, I get another SMS, saying, "I am invited for dinner tonight. If you are home, can I stop by before going to dinner?" Oh no he di'int.

BULLSHIT!

How phucking pathetically predictable. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Remember when I said in my post that "he will probably disappoint me like All The Rest"? Was I wrong? Puhleeze, once again, would some man please prove me wrong?

aaah - don't all of you write to me and tell me that I'm dating the wrong kind of men. I've run the range: rich men, poor men, educated men, uneducated men, bedu, hather, Shiite, Sunni, Christian (on occassion), various nationalities, white, black, tan, beige...

This is why I would now rather just stay home with my dog. I'm just a jaded, bitter woman with absolutely NO hope of getting a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Saturday. That would be WAY too unpredictable. :)




By the way, Bunny, I love you and you are so far out/away from what I've written that there is no comparisson. You, my friend, are the exception. Too bad I didn't take your number at the Library (nightclub, not where they have books) when we were both 17. Alas, I was a Mean Girl then and you probably wouldn't have liked me anyways.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Need it, want it, gotta have it

I used to have a 1990 300ZX twin turbo in pearl white - manual transmission and twin turbo with the T-tops. I frick-in LOVED that car. It was so much fun. It was rear-wheel drive and so much torque that I practically chirped the tires every time I shifted. Fun, fun, fun. I brought it with me from the States and it was my little piece of home. Unfortunately, it was built to Northern American specs - making it nearly impossible to cool during the summer here. Anyways, here is the new 370Z which I must possess. Yummmmmmm

Can you help me get a visa to the US?

I get asked this constantly. People write to me all the time, approach me at work, approach me in the parking lot, approach me when they deliver KFC....

In a word: No. I can’t help you. It isn’t that I don’t want to help anyone who asks, but there is no wastah at the US embassy.

If you do want to go to the States – either as a visitor or to live, you need to follow the rules.

First, check out the types of visas available HERE and HERE.

Visitors Visas are explained HERE
Immigration Visas are explained HERE

After you apply for a visa, you must go to the US Embassy for an interview. Make sure that you have all the documents they require – as stated on the website. If you don’t, they may reject your application.

Desert Girl responses to frequently asked questions:

No, I don’t want to marry you or anybody else for a green card.
No, I’m not going to write a letter for someone I don’t know.
No, I can’t go with you.
No, I can’t help you with the website and/or paperwork. If you need help with English, find a friend who speaks English and has access to the internet, or hire a translator or lawyer.

My general advice for those wanting to move to the US for work is: try to find out what types of jobs there is a shortage of in the States (like nursing, for example) and if you aren’t already a (nurse), study to become one, then try to find a (hospital/medical facility) in the US that will sponsor you for a visa. Talk to the Visa Services people at the embassy to get their advice on the best way to get your visa. I don’t work at the embassy; I can’t help you - as much as I would really loooooooooooooooooove to.

Sometimes in life, you have to actually do the work if you want to accomplish something.

Sultan Center's KD 2.700 ($9.32) Yogurt



The Sultan Center (TSC) has really been infuriating me lately. I have stopped shopping there for my larger volume shopping; choosing only to go there for select items that they don't have anywhere else. This past weekend, I went to LuLu Hypermarket, filled an entire shopping cart full of food and spent KD43. I then went to TSC for a few items - and walked out having just paid KD 28 (8 items).

I thought it was kindof expensive, but being my usual moronic self, I didn't check the bill until I got home. I bought two 450G packages of my favorite yogurt (photo) and didn't realize how much they were: KD 2.700! That is almost $10 for approximately a 16 oz package of yogurt. OMG.

Greed is a terrible thing.

I've noticed lately that a LOT of products in TSC don't have price marks, so you find out when they are scanned in the check-out line. I shoulda paid more attention.

I love this yogurt. It was my new favorite. The only thing close to it is Stoneybrook Farms yogurt that you get a Wholefoods in the US. I'm so depressed over this.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Copy writing is often a pain in the ass

So, writing is part of my job. I’ve found that writing for business-related purposes is often a real exercise in futility.

For example, recently I was asked to write a summary of our company and its services. I was given a competitor’s website as a sample and told, “write something like that.” Obey kaybee. So, with their basic content as an example, I re-wrote ours in a similar – but not identical – manner.

The manager sent it back. “I thought I mentioned that I wanted ours to sound like theirs.” Well yeah, you did, but see the problem is that I sound like me. So, today, I created a 2-column table with their text on one side and my draft of our company’s on the other. I tried to make it as identical as possible without blatant plagiarism. Not easy – even with a thesaurus.

Here is my skinny on this: We are competing companies. Why do you want to sound like someone else? Find a unique way of stating the same thing without sounding like the same thing. Find a creative way of phrasing it that sets us APART from our competition. Right?

I had the same problem working for another company in Kuwait years ago. They were an IT company and wanted it to sound as packed with jargon as humanly possible. They wanted more network-y, out-of-the-box (but still in-the-box) words. Give me a break. Keep it simple, stupid.

We want you, but we want it to sound less like you. Huh?

One time, I was at a McDonald’s in Virginia with my nephew who was quite young at the time. I was watching him play from the sidelines, sitting with parents of the other kids. A man next to me struck up a conversation, “Which one is yours?” I said, ‘No, I’m here with my nephew. I don’t have kids.’ He said, “What do you do for a living?” I said, ‘I’m a technical writer.’ (That was then.) He responded with something so wise that I have remembered it all this time, “Oh.. you have kids. You have LOTS of kids. How many engineers do you work with?”

Everybody has an opinion and they all think theirs is the best way to do something. So, if you don’t like the way I do it, why don’t you put your own words down or edit what I have given you instead of just handing it back and saying, “Write something else.” What IS “else”? It is very vague and general, don’t you think? ... and a real pain in the ass.

Getting a massage by a female in Kuwait

Dudes, please now stop writing to me and asking where to go to have a massage by a female in Kuwait. (Which is illegal by the way and I don't even know if the one place is still getting away with it.)

Several of you even mentioned the phrase, "happy ending" and I'm feeling pukey now. I provide assistance, but not all kinds of services - if you get my meaning. Homey don't play dat.

Tailored Suits

Most of what I learned about Kuwait as a teenager, I learned from my next door neighbor - let's call him "Tailored Suits" because that's how I best remember him from those days. TS was 22 years my senior and lived smack-dab next to me on the other side of our bedroom walls in The Irene building in Chevy Chase, Maryland. TS was the Kuwaiti Military Attache. He was one of the most elegant, graceful men that I have ever met; former or present. He had all of his suits tailor-made at a very expensive shop in Mazza Gallerie next to Nieman Marcus. He drove a big, elegant car. He went to all the great parties and knew all the beautiful women. Oh, and he always smelled wonderful (great taste in cologne). I was in awe of him as a teenager (an "intense like" thing, rather than a "love" thing). I felt bad for him because he was recently divorced and obviously in pain, so although he knew how to cook (I later discovered), he would put up with my feeble attempt at making (burning) falafel and whatever other kinds of Middle Eastern foods I could try to make him; probably just because he was courteous and wanted the company.

TS and I were pals; my mother was open-minded and didn't mind him taking me to the best private clubs (no ID required back then) or cool embassy parties. We had a great time during those days.

TS introduced me to a lot of the people I keep in touch with now; and alas several of our friends who have passed away. We laughed about the Kuwaiti "kids" who were flocking to the States to go to school in DC (many of whom are now politicians and very well known business people). These were the "kids" who I saw in the nightclubs or driving around in their flashy cars in Georgetown.

He was the one who ingrained a curiousity in me about Kuwait and Islam; ultimately leading to my life here. He probably doesn't know it - and I should probably tell him - but he is my best role model of how those of faith spark interest in others. He didn't drag me by the arm to a religious center; nor did he drag religion to me. He just gave me books and quiety walked away - just opening the door and allowing me to walk through (if I wanted to) at my own pace. I will always be thankful to him for that because it allowed me such a great understanding of Islam and this culture.

We had a great friendship. I hope that he learned something (if anything) from me and my family in return. I was so young and stupid that I don't see how he could have. In my own personal experience, I've often learned new things from children and even animals - so it is possible. Anyways, our days were busy and we would see each other when we both knew we were home (often by hearing through the wall). I went to school, TS was busy with whatever it was he did at the embassy with several of his cousins. I often called him at work (this was waaaaay before cell phones) and crack him up with jokes while he was in the middle of meetings. It was fun. I thought it odd that he had a buzzer on his desk that when pressed, someone would appear with coffee or sweets. I had never heard of such a thing and I thought he was lazy because he didn't get his own. (Look at me now!)

Days passed.

One day, I knew he was home and he wouldn't answer the phone or the door. I could hear him inside. I was confused, so I called a mutual friend who told me the news. TS's x-wife suddenly re-married (to someone very close to him) and his world was turned upside-down. I was so sad for him and I knew he was heartbroken. He (at 37) immediately called his mother; a swift marriage was arranged to a "beautiful girl from Saudi Arabia". I was no longer an inner-circle pal atfter that. She arrived and their son was born. We were relinquished to being just neighbors. Only a chance goodbye on the elevator one day made me aware of the fact that they were moving back to Kuwait. We lost touch for years.

I often thought of him when I moved to Kuwait a decade plus later, but didn't know where to begin to look for him. I was here for 3 years before I mentioned his name in passing to someone who I didn't know was a mutual friend. TS called me the next day. One of the stores in his chain was located right behind my apartment building. He immediately came to visit me.

Since then, we have kept in touch. He is very good at it. Although I think I am good at maintaining friendships; I now hate the telephone and I haven't been very good at keeping in touch. (People get mad and go away when you don't return calls. I'm better at the written word.)

TS came to visit last night and I had no idea that it had been five years since I last saw him. It seemed like only a few months ago. How does time slip by so fast? I knew it must have been a while because he's not the same. Two wives and ten children (plus grandchildren) probably does that to a man. He looked so different (but then, I guess I probably do too); It was hard to see the man I knew in him. TS is still married to the same woman and added another later on. They all live within walking distance and are all good friends. I am very happy for him. He now has lots of people to cook falafel for him. He is still a very confident man; with stories of beautiful women who are still after him. He is still snobby like he used to be. But, he's different. So am I.

Thank you for teaching me about Kuwait, Tailored Suits. I owe you, my friend.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Home Testing Kits: Radon, Carbon Monoxide, Water Quality



I was in True Value the other day and noticed these home testing kits. I bought the one for testing water quality. These all sell for about KD 5 each. I didn't know they were available anywhere in Kuwait. Et voila.






Stimulus Plan

I have my own Desert Girl Stimulus Plan and it has nothing to do with the economy. In fact, details are so secretive (dirty) that I can’t even publish them here.

Speaking of stimulating – OMG – did you see the photo of that Aussie fireman (undoubtedly out saving poor koalas and kangaroos from harm) on CNN today? Yummy. I don’t even go for the blonde thing at all, but I wanted to jump through my monitor and plant one on him. I digress....

The many evil faces of the economic downturn a'la Kuwait:

There is a coffee boy at my friend’s office who has been with the company for 15 years. Their new GM told him, “You make too much money. We’re going to cut your salary. Where is your loyalty to the company?” Now dudes, let’s be reasonable… if you are going to cut someone’s salary, don’t tell the very guy who brings you your food and drink(and don’t tell him in a nasty way). That's just plain stupid. There are a million mean and nasty ways to make someone sick. Personally, moi, I would think of something different every day, starting with eye drops and working my way through the list. And I cordially offer free Desert Dawg poo to anyone who wants some. It blends well with the economy (so to speak). Call it an International Coffee Moment.

There was an article in Al-Watan the other day titled, “Citizens deem private sector lay offs ''a humanitarian assault''. Ummm…. “Humanitarian assault” has been going on in Kuwait for a leeetle while now, yet perhaps not as it pertains to citizens. “A few citizens believed that the actions were a reflection of the unjust practices of the private sector and maintained that an attitude of laying off employees and cutting the salaries of those still employed would only have a negative impact on their lives (yeah – way less shopping!) and the Kuwaiti economy.” “Ahmad AlŮ€Adwane said he never imagined that people''s salaries would be on sale one day (um, chelloo.... foreign workers...) and urged the government to protect citizens and locals in all ways possible by applying Islamic rules to such unwanted practices.” Ok, I have to giggle. “applying Islamic rules to such unwanted practices…” here are some apres-peau words: Maids (pregnant, abused, otherwise). Laborers. Visa trading. Citizens – be outraged and apply Islamic rules! Hey – at least citizens can sue their companies without fear of reprisals. Not all of us can say that.

(I do love Kuwait. The USofHey has its own problems too. If you send me hate mail, I will zap it.)

I do question why the same local companies that appeared so good on paper (often IN the newspaper) in Q308 (and in 5 year plans for diversifying their assets – apparently only in the KSE, however) suddenly have “no money” and need to cut salaries. What up with that? I’m also seeing a lot of Chairmen/CEO’s maintaining their bonuses and high salaries – while the coffee boy is taking a 1/3 pay cut and the bathrooms are no longer being cleaned because they terminated the cleaner who makes a whopping KD 70 per month. (Yeah baybee, that’s a tremendous cost-cutting effort right there.) I’ve heard of local companies that are limiting toilet paper and lunch hours (as if THAT is going to make a difference to productivity). I dunno about you, but if I can’t pee, I just get pissed off. hardy harr haaarrrr.

I think the real indicator in the Kuwaiti economy will be when you start to see all the little used car dealerships in Kuwait full of previously-owned luxury vehicles WITH the Kuwaiti license plates on them (those without are all recent imports). Yo, Chairhole! Whatcha drivin?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Gift Idea for the clueless

Probably too late for Valentines Day, but if you guys are looking for something sentimental to give to your person, then here you go. I saw these last year in the States and I think it is so cool.

Website: http://www.treasurering.com/rings.html

Whining about my Saturday Alone

I had a shitty day yesterday. Don’t ask me why – it started off pretty good with an unexpected phone call from someone who I have been flirting with lately. He's the chairman of a big, successful company. I can't decide if I want to flirt with him or hit him up for a job. Can't I do both? Employer with benefits? You can still sleep together and still have a good working relationship, right? It could happen.... (Regardless, I'm sure that like All The Rest, he will disappoint me before it ever reaches the sleeping together part.)

Anyways, it was all downhill from there.

I know what you people are thinking, “Oh my God – not another whiny story about her day! Doesn’t she have anything better to talk about?” Well, if you really must know, no, I do not. I’m a boring person. The Romanian & Sheikha Minor are in Cairo (something about hanging with the Kuwaiti national handball team until 7 am each "night"…) and Slaperella is still doing her theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesis (for like forever). Alas, I have been left alone to my own devices and either I become evil or I shop (or both).

Anyhoo, I was really looking forward to having my hair done at my friend’s new salon. My friend is never available for an appointment (she has 5 kids) which is why I stopped going to her at the old salon (in like 1999); but she assured me that her colleague was “excellent”, so I trusted her. Ok plus, I really don’t have the 70 KD to give to Strands this month (call it my own, personal economic crisis) just to have my roots done. (Strands is great, but like anything done well by-the-hour, you pay a lot for it.) So, I went to the new salon yesterday. The stylist doesn’t speak English, so we went through a young Kuwaiti girl who didn’t seem to sure of herself in her new position as receptionist. I think we got it to the point where she understood what I wanted. I wanted her to translate so there would be ab-so-lutely no question. I went to change into a gown. First mistake: a woman followed me INTO the changing room and watched me change. What is it with these lesbians? Leave me the F alone! I don’t need any serf girl holding a hanger and staring at my boobs. Then, I sat down in the chair, feeling confident that hairgirl understood what to do. However, it was not to be; she was about to PAINT my hair with bleach!!! Oh no she di’ int!!!! I bolted outa that chair, changed my shirt (sans audience) and ran out. You don’t just grab a paintbrush and paint on bleach. WTF!!! I’m so upset today. There is nothing like preparing yourself to have your hair done and then somebody f-ing it up (better before than after, however). So, it is back to Strands, I guess, where I will ask them to do only a portion of my hair.

Does anyone know a local salon that does good foil highlights/lowlights and NOT for 70 KD? I can't keep doing this.

Next, I decided to leave there and go in search of The Perfect Barbecue Grill. I want a Weber-style with wood sides (so you can put a bowl or your BBQ utensils on). I also don’t really want to pay TSC’s 49 KD for one. Anyhoo, I drove to TSC at Sharq… and wouldn’t ya know it; the entire Sharq mall was closed for Hala Hala Februrary.

Oula: Ou La Laaaa! I drove on… and my low fuel indicator came on, so I drove to the station at Dasman (Oula #101). I was the only customer at 12:30 pm. Oula seems to believe that they need to blast their safety warnings much louder than KNPC stations, so I was listening to, “Smoking is not permitted in the station…” while I was watching FREAKSHOW of station attendant pacing back and forth outside of his booth, with a stikana in one hand and a cigarette in the other (so much for no smoking in the station). Dude’s hair was longer than mine, he was wearing a black and white diamond patterned shirt that reminded me of Marcel Marceau, and a pair of black jeans with a very prominent “WOLF” across one cheek. Freakshow paced back and forth staring at me the entire time I was there, giving me distinct heebie jeebies. I knew that my day was amiss.

I searched all over for The Perfect Barbecue Grill. I went to the tin market in Sharq (cheapest in town, but having owned one, I can tell you that they rust almost immediately). I also need a barrel-type because I want to do my sister’s famous pizza on the grill and I think a barrel type or closed-cover will be better. I’m also kinda worried about too much smoke bothering my neighbors above me. I went to Ace Hardware and found a wonderful grill – for 69 KD. (Good number, bad price.) It was an oil-drum type with a little smoke stack and little wood side tables. Perfect. Too much. (And Yo! For that matter, I could get an oil drum, cut it in half and weld some legs on it for way less. Maybe that's a business to get into.... I could sell them next to the tent market at Souq Al Juma.) Then, I went to True Value and both Sultan Centers off 4th Ring Road and in Salmiya. Nada. I picked up some plants for my terrace off 4th Ring Road and visited my friends at Souq Irani to buy terracotta planters on the cheap.

I never found the Perfect Barbecue Grill. I think I might actually go back to the tin market and buy one of theirs for cheap. There are only a few more weeks until HolyShitThat’sHot anyways and I won’t be able to use it.

Does anyone know where I can get a Weber knock-off for less than 49KD?

Ok, so I carted all the junk I did manage to buy (plants, planters, a 50lb bag of dirt, hose, food from Lu2 Hypermarket) down the stairs to my apartment (with a male Kuwaiti neighbor staring at me the whole time; who SAYS there are no men in Kuwait?!); and hurting parts of me that I can’t mention right now. When they say that women of childbearing years shouldn’t carry heavy things, I suppose it is for a reason. (Perhaps female soldiers or body builders might disagree – not that they are the same thing at all, just that either or both may be offended by my statement.) Anyhoo, I think I ruptured an ovary or something. That hurt.

I realized when I got home that I could have bought that perfect barbecue grill from Ace for almost the same amount of money I spent on all the above (oh – except that I wouldn’t have been able to eat this month).

Speaking of food... for the first time in 4 years, my maid left food in my cupboard last week - which I ate. It was a cup-a-soup. She left me a nastygram saying, "Madame, I brought a soup here last week and it is gone and I was very hungry today!" No she di'int! I felt like leaving her a note (but I didn't) that said, "For what I am paying you per month, you could fill up half my apartment with ramen soup so shut up and call Hardees!" Jeez, I thought it was a gift. You don't just leave food in other people's cupboards and expect it to still be there.

Then, I had this Great Idea to replace the leaky bathroom hose thingy with a new one. I turned off the water (or so I thought) … until The Flood. I tried and tried to turn the water off to no avail. I cut my hand, and for something little, managed to bleed over just about the entire apartment AND the dog before calling the building hariss and begging him to come down and help me. He thinks I’m crazy anyways, but seeing my mascara running down to my chin and my hair and clothes completely soaked through (with water all over the bathroom floor-to-ceiling) – I’m pretty sure he’s correct. He gave me that "ooooooooo scary lady!" look. Long-story-short, he managed to install the new thingy and wouldn’t-ya-know-it; it leaks too. I cleaned up the water and the blood and went to sleep. It was 8:30 pm.

I’m still in pain today. This is what happens when people leave me all alone. Someone send flowers please.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Yom al Hub



The man says, "I warned you, you're not allowed to celebrate Valentines Day."
She replies, "Who told you I am celebrating?"

(And then dude leaves the house and goes to his flat in Hawalli to celebrate with his girlfriend.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Friendship Feast - VALENTINE'S DAY!

Desert Girl is just plain pissed off again. This is so frick-in stupid that I can’t believe I have wasted so much non-billable time on it.

The American Business Council advertised in Kuwaiti newspapers last year for a Valentine’s Day event and showed images of stick people dancing. There was some controversy and the ABCK cancelled the event (again, if someone references something – what specifically happened?) This year, the name of the Valentine’s Day event was changed to “Friendship Feast” (“Freedom Fries”????) in order not to “offend our host nation”. Friendship Feast sounds like it should be something held at an elementary school on Thanskgiving. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Come on, white people! Grow some cojones! The American Business Council is supposed to be a group of people – either American or having business interests in America; so obviously that implies that those being invited/participating will know something about American celebrations. N'est pas? Who is going to be offended by use of the word “Valentine”?

Yo, Kuwaitis!!!! Are you offended by Valentine’s day?

I have 3 little words: The Sultan Center. Go to any TSC location around Kuwait near Valentine’s day. Go NOW. Do you believe that they are offensive? Is there anyone in Kuwait who doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day? I’m pretty sure that even long-beard dudes secretly celebrate it. Al hub!

I believe the ABCK’s problem last year was their advertising, not the use of the word “Valentine”; the use of/implication of "dance" probably got them in trouble (with WHOM? I want to know) last year. Alcohol and public dancing are both illegal in Kuwait (no duuuuuuuuh); so perhaps the dancing stick figures were a poor choice of advertisement; as would an advertisement showing a bottle of alcohol. It was basically advertising illegal activity. Remember when the Royale Hayat got in trouble after press releases showed photos of participants of a hospital party dancing? That’s a no-no. You don’t show photos of illegal activity. It is still illegal, regardless of the event. Dancing happens (bump and grind – all night long, any night of the week in the desert), you just don’t hand the general public the evidence.

I’m a strong promoter of the American Business Council, but I just can’t get my head around being too closely involved with them for stupid (non-business-related) reasons like this. I received several e-mails from members of ABCK’s board of directors, which was further copied to 3-4 other people; I responded; they responded. How many man-hours of effort were just expended on this one nonsensical task related to the naming convention of a globally-celebrated holiday?

I prefer my involvement in the ABCK to be “indirect”. I benefit greatly from attending some of the meetings with interesting speakers; from networking with counterparts in the same industry; and from attending occasional seminars, conferences, and focus meetings. I just don’t want to be included in pissing matches of any kind.

VALENTINES DAY!

If anyone wants to go to the “Friendship Feast” then please contact the ABCK (link on the right) for tickets. Then, write to me or post here and tell me how it was. You know what would be really funny?.... seeing pictures of people dancing at the event in the newspapers!!! Oh snap - then they'd have to change the name next year again. What a hoot.

“Tarnishing”/“Soiling” Kuwait’s Image

There is an article in the Arab Times today about an article that appeared in an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram, that supposedly has “Soiled Kuwait’s Image. First and foremost, media folks: When you publish an article, you need to make reference to what was SAID in the source. This particular one goes on and on and on without ever mentioning specifics about the “scandal” as they said. Kuwait media is notorious about this; they could, at the very least, post a link so that people would know what is up. This is just bad journalism, but we know that already. Generally, periodicals in Kuwait are afraid of getting themselves in trouble by re-publishing the point of controversy. However, if an article (like this one) says nothing – then why not print something else of interest that you can be specific about? Don’t we have enough going on in Kuwait to take up a 3” space?

There are a lot of not-so-flattering stories all over the world about Kuwait. Do you think they are “tarnishing/soiling” the image of Kuwait – or is everyone entitled to an opinion? Kuwait has screamed “democracy” for years and years, but technically, Kuwait’s government is not a democracy: Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy, so free speech is if-fy. Personally, I think that the truth will always get out, regardless and we can all learn from a multitude of different opinions and perspectives – which is why we all read and watch the news (and those of us who live in semi-democratic countries occasionally get the real deal, most often just not till later).

I heard just last night about a subscription service called “BuRashed” which automatically sends out SMSs (unfortunately, just in Arabic) about all kinds of news and gossip from all over Kuwait – including car accidents, photos, etc. I am dying to know more about this. Is it a mini/Kuwait version of YouTube on your mobile phone?

Speaking of perspectives, I received this article from a friend the other day and I found it very interesting. I dunno, others might think that it is “tarnishing” to the image of Kuwait, but “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” (so to speak). From the International Schools Review website: Culture Shock Kuwait: "....if you go to Kuwait you will be exposed to a myriad of things that may upset you and you have no power to change or help. This article is meant to be a ‘heads-up’ for Western teachers considering teaching in Kuwait.” It was written by an American teacher who worked in Kuwait for 3 years and gives his perspective on life here.

I occasionally get comments from my very own beloved readers saying catchy things like, “If you no like Kuwait, why you don’t go HOME!” (obviously having only read one posting and forming a conclusion.) Blogs are perspectives. I hope I convey how much I love Kuwait, but like every society, there is some tarnish. Is anyplace in the world without flaw? (I’m thinking Tahiti….)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Grown men... myth or legend?

Unrelated issue to title: Ok, so best friend and I got together last night, talked it out, and realized that we are both becoming stubborn old ladies. (I'm 29. Shut up.) This is no big news to either of us, but it comes as a real shock when we stop speaking to each other for a full 2 weeks. We agree that black magic was at play and we have already identified the culprits. I was hurt, she was hurt, we’re moving on. I have felt like shit-warmed-over for 2 weeks and I prefer not to live like that. Life is too short. This was a speed bump. Bygones. Water under the bridge.

Related issue to title: So, onto my next shocker: Bu Merdas (herein and forthwith referred to as BuM). I haven’t seen him in I-don’t-know-how-long. Personally, I don’t care. I found him lacking in character, so I haven’t given him a second thought (well ok… sometimes late, late at night…. But only in the realm of superficiality). BuM had this odd hang-up of ab-so-lutely having to take me to the airport and pick me up. It was as if I was going to die in a horrible plane crash if he didn’t. He might not see me for months, but he HAD to come pick me up. (What IS it with these guys and their pick-up/drop-off fetishes?) So, on one of the many occasions when I flew back from somewhere (probably the US), he went to meet me at the airport. I didn’t expect him to, but he knew when I would arrive. Also going to greet me were Slapperella, her guy Haji Sexy (Part Deux), and The Romanian. The Romanian arrived first, followed shortly by BuM. (Slaps and HS arrived later.) They sat in Starfucks and had a coffee/cigarette (or thousand) together. (BuM was probably encroaching on her Kuwait International Airport bluetooth moment, but ever the lady....) The Romanian said pleasantries and BuMjumped in with, “Why don’t you give me your number, so I can send you SMSs at Eid, yada yada.” She didn’t think much about it (especially since our circle is pretty tight and everybody has everybody's numbers), but told me when I arrived and got into her car for the trip home. BuM didn’t tell me. In fact, he didn’t tell me at all – I brought it up a few weeks later and he only laughed; causing my Little Voice (his name is "Paco" - I don't know why) to start yammering....

Et now, the Zow: BuM and I haven’t seen/heard from each other in months and all of a sudden, dude must be lonely because he has started calling The Romanian. Here is the part where I beg to differ from my friends out there who say that “people change”: A serseree doesn’t change his spots. Once a serseree (womanizer); always a serseree. BuM used to be totally into the party scene – a die-hard scotch-drinking womanizer who broke hearts and forgot names in the morning. Then, he “found” religion (is it ever missing?). He stopped partying and started going to the diwaniya. Yeah, ok. I’m still seeing spots….

Spots.... spots.... evidence of spots... spots.... Here, my blogsphere friends, is one of the lowest forms of creatures. They are known to lurk in Kuwait and this game is typical and extreeeeemely low-class. They may wait around for their prey. They may quiety stalk. The prey might not identify the threat at first; just a slight rustling of the grass before the seige (their own "Paco" silently whispering in their little prey ears....). And then... and then... the hailagee (low-life) makes his move!: Making the jump from girlfriend to girlfriend (In other words, "We're done. How 'bout yo' friend?") ; assuming that all are easy prey and that no one will talk or find their behavior repugnant. I guess perhaps you might call such a creature a "man-whore" or a "man-slut" or perhaps even a "he-ho" (go ahead - I do). My girlfriends and I are close. We talk. What we don’t do is suffer fools easily. This particular fool has been warned. If it continues – we talk. Kuwait is small. Why would anyone who supposedly “values his reputation” put himself in such a precarious situation?

I used to respect this person. I've known him for 6 years. I know members of his family. He is from a good family with a good reputation. One of his brothers built a large mosque in Kuwait. They are supposed to be "decent people"; and yet - ya see - I'm constantly proven right and I don't want to be. PROVE ME WRONG. Please!

My advice to ye of many spots: If you break up with one girl, find someone outside her circle of friends! Women TAAAAAAAALK. There are a lot of women out there. Isn't there some kind of man shortage in Kuwait or something? What woman wants her friends' leftovers? Not me.

Bada BING, he-ho aaaaaaayyyyyyyeshay!


Sunday, February 01, 2009

What are those lights in the desert? Party On, Kuwait!

No, not a cluster of UFO's....

I have been asked by an 'merican friend to explain what the hey is going on at night out in the desert and why there are so many camps with speeding Corollas around them. So, here goes. This is a slight re-write/update of an article that was published in a Western expat magazine in 2004 in Kuwait. Nothing mentioned here hasn't already been said in public print.

*******

Is there a party scene in Kuwait? Unless you have been living under a rock or just got off the plane, you will know that of course there is. Parties are going on in homes, chalets, in tents in the desert, and in little apartments all over Kuwait.

The most common form of Kuwaiti party is the “gaada” or gathering. Gaadas usually take place in very dark, very noisy apartments. These are considered the lowest-class of all parties and usually only involve couples or very close friends. Apartments are rented and fitted with sound proofing: some with an exterior and interior door. All have high-decibel sound systems that, if correctly fitted, should be undetectable from street-level. Shades on the apartments are always drawn (if the windows aren’t completely covered - sometimes by aluminum foil).

If you are a single female in Kuwait (regardless of nationality), you have an open invitation to most of the parties in Kuwait. For hosts, it is considered chic to have the most and the prettiest ladies at your parties. Single men have problems getting invitations as only some invitations are for couples. Ladies are always offered refreshments and never have to bring their own. Sorry guys!

There are preferred party locations; chalets in the summer (resort homes away-from-home), desert tents in the winter. B’naider and Julai’a are higher class areas for both summer and winter partying. Before the farms in Funaitees, Agalia, and along Fahaheel expressway were torn down (during the past years) to build new homes, parties were also held at farms close to the city. Now, those farms have been moved to Kabd which most party-goers consider too far and too dirty (serious party-goers in Kuwait will turn up their nose at the thought). Some of the wealthier farm owners have rented villas closer to the city, but in areas where the neighbors won’t complain about the flow of traffic. Again, most indoor parties are sound-proof, so noise is not considered a problem. Renting is preferred rather than owning because if the neighbors do complain too much, the owners can always pack up and rent elsewhere.

Historically, all Kuwaiti families used to spend 2 weeks every Spring when the kids are on vacation in the desert. It used to be a very family-oriented event: sometimes perhaps it still is, and I am sure many camps are only for families or just for guys; but in general, camping has morphed into what it is now. Most parties start after 12 am so the people can leave well after the police checkpoints have been shut down for the night (around 4 am). The past few years have been pretty stressful for those taking the risk of partying in the desert: a lot of people are afraid to party in the desert as there have been an increasing number of raids and checkpoints throughout Kuwait. The government formerly had had a somewhat "hands off" approach to the goings on in the desert - similar to Kubbar Island (which is also changing, as has been stated in the media).

Desert camp compounds form cities in the winter time. Camps start going up around October and are taken down by the municipality-mandated date of 1 April. Some, however, are semi-permanent with owners obtaining special permission from government offices to keep their camps in locations year-round. This preferential treatment is usually granted through good wastah; meaning that the camp owners are wealthy or powerful. In desert camps (and most every other aspect of housing in Kuwait) the name of the game is to outdo the neighbors. Tent prices have skyrocketed from a mere 100 kd for a basic small tent that could possibly hold ten people, to 15,000 kd for a fully-fitted Moroccan tent with lighting fixture, bathroom, and generator. Ahmed J, a former DJ, has become a millionaire in the process of importing and selling/leasing tents. His party camp rents for 1,500 kd per night and includes bathrooms with marble floors.

A camp should consist of a large tent to accommodate guests and dancing (big enough to fit at least 200 people), a kitchen tent and adjacent dining room/area, several bathrooms (both men’s and ladies with porcelain fixtures and plumbing), sleeping tents with king-sized beds and sofas (sleeping tents may or may not be fit with their own bathrooms); these are the basics. Western-style toilets are chic, Arabic/Turkish are not. Elaborate camps include palm trees, fountains, and tiled walkways in their courtyards (so that guests’ feet don’t get dusty). There is just nothing like having barbecue in the desert and there is usually someone cooking something (from shawarma stands to kababs).

The quality parties are easy to spot in the desert at night by the types of vehicles in front of the tents. Several years ago when the first new-shape Mercedes 500 SL was introduced to Kuwait, a camp (and hotel) owner purchased one of the first in the country and parked it directly outside his tent door (the new breed of Bedouin of the Arabian sands!).

What do you wear to a party in the desert: for the ladies, a soiree dress with heels and a warm coat. Most ladies leave their coats in their cars. The dresses are usually short or very long with (believe it or not) lots of skin showing. Men usually wear jeans or semi-formal attire (dishtashas have been almost completely replaced). An essential accessory to be sure not to forget to bring with you: ear plugs. As with most Kuwaiti-style parties, the music is loud enough to be heard by passing planes and the speakers are usually concert quality. You might also want to bring sunglasses for the drive home.

Unfortunately, because Kuwait is so small and the party crowd is equally as small, the same faces are at the same parties. Everybody knows everybody. (This, however, could be said about going to a nightclub at anyone’s hometown in the US or Europe.) Unfortunately, because everybody knows everybody, the gossip tends to be high and many of the Arab ladies either avoid the parties all together, or use different names. There is a well-known party schedule in Kuwait: people generally know where to go and who’s to attend at what time of year. The three days of Eid following Ramadan are huge for parties and refreshment prices soar. The party season generally starts as soon as the new school season begins and most people have returned from vacations. The desert camps start as soon as it gets cold. Chalets are generally year-round, although the outdoor activities start when it gets warm.

How do Kuwaiti parties differ from Western parties? Generally there is much less small talk. The music is too high for talk and the lighting is too low to see very far. No one usually bothers here to ask the Western party pleasantries such as, “What do you do for a living? Where do your kids go to school? How do you know (the host)?” You don’t ask these questions at Kuwaiti parties, as it is considered too nosy or gossipy. People here want to avoid being talked about (DG note: taking photos with your mobile phone will get your ass kicked). You could always exchange numbers and ask the questions later. So what do you do at these parties? Most of the time you sit and smile, dance, or sip on your refreshing drink. If your voice doesn’t go raw from shouting over the speakers, you can shout small talk. A better choice would be to take out your mobile phone and SMS your friend sitting across the room. Most of the time, if you want to see what party life is all about in Kuwait, you really have to know (and be invited by) a Kuwaiti friend.

So.... go forth, white people! Make Kuwaiti friends!

"The Diarrhea Song"


I have a new song stuck in my head - the Diarrhea Song. There are several versions of it, but the theme is the same. I think that it is going to become my new 2009 Theme Song. Yes that's right... diarrhea, diarrhea. (Lyrics).

I got the Kuwaiti Crud; the sickness that is unavoidable around any season changes in Kuwait. I was out of work on Thursday and just as well - I needed a rest. I slept most of the time.

I went out once on Friday night to go to the desert. I had never been to this camp before. My friend, N, invited me on a whim. I had been in bed for 2 days, so I thought, ‘what the hey.’ ...Big mistake. I shoulda listened to my little voice.

I drove for 40 minutes, got there and sat down and then The Film began: 4 of us (it was early) were sitting in a tent that had a transparent plastic front. We could see whenever anyone approached the camp. A small car drove up at high speed and before it even stopped, a young Kuwaiti woman jumped out and marched up to the tent, screaming, "Where is he? Where is the sonofabitch?" She ran into the tent and accused my friend and I of being "indecent women" in not so uncertain terms. The chick was hysterical. I didn't know what to think. She started screaming about "which one of you slept in my bed with him?" Ok... wooooah nelly. I literally was there for all of 15 minutes. Turns out, dude was the one under a pile of blankets, fast asleep, at the other end of the tent. She jumped on him, started beating him about the face, and all the while shrieking about what an (expletive, expletive, expletive) he was. My friend, N, and I had our jaws on the floor. People started coming from other tents to try to pull her off of him. Dude stood up and started beating her up and saying that he was going to call her husband. She was crying, shrieking like a banshee and wailing at the top of her lungs like someone had died. It was really quite heart-wrenching. If she hadn’t just called me a whore for no reason, I would have felt sorry for her.


Shiiiiiit – no man (no one for that matter) is worth doing that to yourself. Why make a scandal? Someone like me might write about it on a blog or worse. If I had been smart, I would have taken a video of the whole thing with my phone.

Turns out, both of the characters in our film are married with children to other people, but have been seeing each other for the past 18 years. WHY do people do these things to each other? Dude was guilty as charged, but hey – didn’t she stop to consider the fact that if he is cheating on his wife, he is cheating on her (and vice versa)? Puhleeeeeze.

Sidenote: Incase you don't know, adultery/cheating is very common roundabout these parts. Monogamy is not part of the deal. There are historical reasons for this and it continues. If you are thinking of getting married, get used to the idea of a non-exclusive arrangement. Someday, somehow, someway - it is inevitable and it is only grounds for divorce if the wife is the adultress. Sadly, it is all a big game here and those you think are least likely to be playing, ARE. A spouse can only pray that his/her partner is practicing safe adultry (although that is not the norm). AIDS/HIV stats are not even available. Again, call me a bitter woman, but these eyes are wide open. I'm a realist, but I digress don't I? Back to our film...

Girlfriend went on and on (and this is all without alcohol – apparently she has never had a drink; which is yet another reason why I do drink because it helps keep me sane). I thought they should have taken her somewhere to be sedated (after a few minutes, she was writhing on the floor and had gone through 2 bottles of water and 3 bottles of kleenex), but wouldn’t ya knowit; 10 minutes later, she was speaking calmly in a normal tone. Why isn’t there an acting school in Kuwait? OH YEAH… I forget… because there is no NEED for one.

Somebody call a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAmbulance!


I left. I’m all about avoiding the drama and there I was – smack dab in the middle of the biggest film I’ve witnessed since I came here in 1996. I drove the 40 minutes back and went back to bed – where I stayed for the next day. It’s safer in bed.

Oh, for those who were wondering about the saga between my “best friend” and I: She sent several messages saying that she “misses me”, followed by several more asking for “a favor”: Musla7a at its very best. I sent her messages saying that I am open for her to come and talk, but so far – she hasn’t shown up.

... diarrhea, diarrhea