Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pre-Ramadan Pandemonium!

It's starting early this year....

Western people - beware!  This is one of the scariest times of the year in Kuwait! It used to be the week before Ramadan, but it has been extended out to almost 3 weeks (like in the US where they put out the Christmas stuff in October...).  People are starting to stock up on food early for Ramadan.  Dudes, how much CAN you eat?  (Gluttony: the anti-Ramadan)

I was in Rumaithiya co-op last week and I was nearly run down by people collecting discounted food items. I couldn't get out of the parking lot (although I gotta say, Rumaithiya co-op has some of the most polite drivers I've ever seen.) 

Has it really come to this in Kuwait?  Why not shop out in Shuwaikh if you want really good deals?

If you really want to have the crap scared out of ya, go to the grocery store the night before Ramadan. Wear something padded.  Prepare for your personal space to be invaded.  It aint pretty.

Ok, and the other scariest time of the year is the week before Eid.  Let me just say THANK GOD I MOVED OUT OF SALMIYA!  I still don't understand why people can't buy clothes way before Eid or buy over the internet.  Granted, it is almost a cultural event to Kuwaitis to go out shopping with the family for Eid, but it has become so commercial that is it really a fun thing to do anymore?  I could see how years ago clothes would have been tailor-made, but now - what a farce.  The items are all way overpriced and everybody knows where everybody else bought the garment and for how much.    What about being unique?

One more thing, let me complain for a minute (or way more) about this year's closure of many Ramadan tents due to the Jahra wedding tent fire.  The psycho biotch SET FIRE to the Jahra tent using gasoline.  It isn't like that is an every-day occurrance.  Do the authorities believe that people are going to run around lighting tents on fire across the country? 

(I have given this subject pause as my friends at The Palms tell me they won't have a tent this year.  RRRR.  They had the best food at the best price in Kuwait.  That's just 100% sucky!)

Further,  in order to get a permit for ONE GUY to play oud at a Ramadan tent, you need Super Wastah.  The amount of paperwork to get a permit is staggering.

When was Kuwait formally annexed by Saudi Arabia?

Ramadan used to be fun/a joyous occassion in Kuwait.  Now it sucks.  It doesn't have to be that way.

Of note - Sakura has a buffet all month long (sushi) at a good price, and if you can get a table there, Ayam Zaman at the Crowne Plaza is pretty (if not slightly overpriced) during the month.  Most hotels will gouge you with Ramadan fixed prices.  I won't be here for most of Ramadan, but when I get back, I think I'm just going to go to small restaurants where you can order ala carte.

BTW - if you think you can order pizza or other delivery food during the day; think again.  They don't deliver until after sunset and then there is a long wait.  The best place for non-fasters is The Sultan Center's hot food counter.  If  you see Kuwaiti people (men in particular) there buying food at noon, point/whisper/and snicker cause ya just know they aint fastin.


Traveleer said...

I do understand your frustration about the Rmadhan tents and all. But Ramadhan is not about these kinds of activities its totally a spritual month.. not about food either but people are people.
so when they ban these tents it's not fair to compare us to Saudi.

Desert Girl said...

Traveleer - He returns! Wow. Nice to hear from you.

Point taken, and I understand what you are saying.

I think that fundamentalism is taking a very strong hold on Kuwait (and yes, I am drawing comparisons to KSA where live music is banned). Freedom of choice/expression is becoming more restrictive every year in Kuwait.

There are plenty of other Moslem cultures that allow Ramadan tents/activities during the month. You can choose to go or not. It's a choice.

Guergian is cultural to Kuwait and has has nothing to do with religion. Should they ban that also?

Where does it end?

Anonymous said...

Yeap,u re so right Desertgirl!

Baroon said...

I love Ramadan , because its break my routine . I sleep later and wake up later for work. Specially at Fotoor and Sohoor we eat as a family . Also. Spiritually we are more self conscious.
However , you are totally right . I don’t understand why people over stash food for Ramadan . I`m living in salmiya and last week of Ramadan getting in or out of Salmiya is painful . I prefer to watch the crowd from Balcony. People act like they were running around naked and shoeless whole year and they just found out !!!

Anonymous said...

I know the whole 'panic' thingie of Ramadan at the grocery stores, I compare it to the scene in JAWS. Where everyone thinks the shark is coming and instead of getting her arse out of the water the woman just holds the kid and screams. The lead up to Ramadan causes great joy for us to make fun of everyone. As I explained to my 11 year old the other day. These people are so incredably spoiled, any tiny threat of discomfort strikes fear in their cold cold hearts and they start panicing early and try to work their heads around how to deal with this threat. So they go through Ramadan by trying to avoid it at all costs. FOOD storage so they can throw most of it away and they also SLEEP ALL DAY LONG. Gail

Anonymous said...

so this is my first Ramadan and while I'm not muslim & will not be practicing the ramadan rituals, I will be respectful & not eat or drink in fact, I just plan on hanging out inside all day.

So, question: what can I expect? Should I plan on buying my food at the Sultan Center to last through ramadan? is TSC open durning the day? Is it calm or crazy during the day? Can ya help a newbie out?

Thanks in advance!!

Desert Girl said...

Anonymous 1:02: Check out my post on Ramadan advice -

It will be crazy during the day - especially because it is so frickin HOT. People are bound to loose their tempers.

No, don't stock up on food. Sultan Center is always open 24/7. The BEST time to shop is exactly at sunset - when you will find lots of other expats there. Beware - do not venture out of your home the hour before sunset because driving is dangerous/crazy, but leave just at sunset when the prayer call goes off (then it is safe to eat/drink/smoke).

Ramadan schedule (for the neuveux -faster - NOT for devout people)

Get up late
Go to work for a few hours
Go home (honking/shouting at people all the way)
Take a nap
Wake up before sunset by 1-2 hours
Go out walking/exercising or cruising the Gulf Road
30 minutes before sunset - drive like a batoutahell crazy maniac to get home to eat/drink/smoke like you're never going to be able to do it again if you don't at EXACTLY sunset.
Oh yeah - and pray.
Eat/drink/smoke like a mofo.
2 - 2+hours after sunset, go outside and drink coffee with your friends.
Before dawn, eat/drink/smoke like a mofo

You can tell when sunset is by looking in the paper (or google prayer times for Kuwait)

TK said...

Anyone know if any of the hotel restaurants are open during the day? I mean what about those foreign business travelers? They need to eat too. :)

Desert Girl said...

TK - I think it depends on the hotel. Some of them don't officially open their restaurants, but allow guests to eat in private. Check with the hotel where you might stay.

The hotels serve room service to guests.

Anonymous said...

you know it used to not be like this here during Ramadan. My husband said when he was growing up restaurants were open all day during Ramadan. There wasn't such a strangle hold on the country. It all changed in the early 80's. Gail