Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Irish Prayer (St. Patrick via this Irish American blogger)

May the road rise to meet you, 
May the wind be always at your back, 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
May the rains fall soft upon your fields, 
And, until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


I wish good things this year for all of you out there who are reading this continual string of ramblings.  I hope you find peace, prosperity, happiness and kindness along your journey.


Have a wonderful happy new year.



Bedoun Civil Rights Movement: Maybe 2012 will be the year?

I love that more children and Kuwaitis are taking part in the cause to end statelessness in Kuwait.  I am cautiously optimistic about the future for Bedoun in Kuwait.

Re-post from the Arab Times
Sorry about the formatting. I'll have to change it later.

Stateless Arabs, Known As Bedoun, Hold A Portrait Of The Amir And A Huge Kuwaiti Flag, During A Protest Demanding Kuwaiti Citizenship And Other Rights In Jahra, Northwest Of Kuwait
Rally Hears Of Amiri Order To End Bedoun Misery‘Our Blood Is Kuwaiti’
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 30: Thousands of bedoun gathered Friday at the Asha’aby Mosque square in Taima under the slogan ‘Our blood is Kuwaiti’ carrying flags and banners holding pictures of HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince.

The number of demonstrators suddenly increased after Friday prayers following which special police forces threw a cordon around the area perimeter.
According to organizers about 5,000 bedoun demonstrated for what they call their rights. Children in large numbers also attended the demonstration.

Addressing the demonstrators Sheikh Athbi Al-Sabah said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud has received orders from HH the Amir to ‘end the misery’ of the ‘bedoun’.

 He reiterated the bedoun who deserve to be naturalized will be given citizenship and called on the demonstrators to protest peacefully and legally in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior to get their rights.

Meanwhile, human rights activist Dr Ebtihal Al-Khateeb said during the demonstration the issue of bedoun has taken a long time to be resolved because of what she called ‘mutual deficiencies’ of successive governments and the bedoun themselves.

She pointed out humans must enjoy freedom, justice, and equality, in addition to the right of belonging to a country.

Al-Khateeb then called on the demonstrators to continue their journey as they ‘have legitimate demands that are not up for begging’.

Another activist, Fatma Al-Ali, stressed the bedoun issue has clear parameters. Addressing the Kuwaitis she said, ‘the bedoun from the 1940s until the 1980s are the current bedoun’.

No one has entered the country after the invasion because the US had sealed the borders between Kuwait and Iraq. Whoever says that they are Iraqis must file a lawsuit to end this suffering, said Al-Ali.
Dr Fahd Al-Samawy who is contesting the National Assembly elections from the area called on the government to resolve this issue away from parliamentary gain-making which comes at the expense of the feelings of bedoun who have waited long enough to get the their rights.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud earned praise for his statement on the bedoun issue and sources say it made a very good impression on bedoun protesters, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

The protesters lauded the manner in which the security apparatus handled the demonstration and singled out the traffic police for additional praise for preventing traffic jams.

Chairperson of the media committee of the Kuwaiti society monitoring parliamentary performances Faisal Al-Harbi, who was present at the gathering, said some bedouns are more respectable than some of the lawmakers who are trying to exploit the issue to make political gains. He urged authorities to find an immediate and lasting solution to the problems of the bedouns.

Participants in the gathering bemoaned the absence of former lawmakers who promised to stand by them and said former MP Musallam Al-Barrak who was to represent the Popular Action Bloc was nowhere to be seen.

Top security leaders of the Interior Ministry including Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Mustafa Al-Zuhabi, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Affairs Major General Mahmoud Al-Dousari and Commander of Operations Major General Abdullah Al-Mihni were present at the gathering site.

The bedouns at the gathering repeated the pledge “With God as our witness, we pledge that our loyalty would be to him, then to the nation and then to HH the Amir; we pledge to always defend our country Kuwait with our life, money and children under the leadership of HH the Amir. We promise never to stop defending our aspirations for nationality.” They raised a 50-meter-long flag and flew kites bearing the image of the country’s flag besides singing the national anthem.

A Kuwaiti woman had also participated in the gathering and demanded that authorities solve the problems of the bedouns. She spoke about her plight when she was captured by Iraqi forces during the invasion.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello

For.... (you know who you are)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Virginia

We didn't have a white Christmas but it has been lovely anyways.  I got here closer to the holiday than usual and although it was good for me in some ways (I couldn't shop so that saved me some money), I haven't had enough time to spend with my family before Christmas day itself.  The build up to Christmas is always fun and I'm sorry I missed it.

My sister, husband, and my nephew and his girlfriend went to Nemocolin Resort which is kind of a tradition for my family the day after Christmas.  I would rather be here in Virginia, so I gracefully (I hope) declined.  I'm doggy sitting so they know their babies are safe.

I'm so happy to be back here.  I really needed to get a break and even here it has been hard to just let go and relax.  I guess I shouldn't check my e-mails; I'm always telling Stella that and here I am, upsetting myself with stupid stuff that I can't fix and that won't make a difference in a week anyways.  Fekit.  Whatever.  Maybe they are just signs that I should be doing something different/better.  I'm realizing that my quality of life has been suffering lately and I'm probably too lazy or stupid to do anything about it - gotta change that.

Life is too short.

And speaking of which, I took my life into my own hands just today:  went shopping at Tysons Corner the day after Christmas.  Oh.My.God.  Well, I did it the Professional Shopper way:  I arrived early - just as the stores were opening; parked my car back-end first (for a quick get-away later) close to the door.  I wore comfortable shoes.  I stretched before I left the house.  Then I tackled the crowds.  I waited in line in Macy's (The Hottest Store on The Planet - not in terms of "cool", but in terms of "Dayam!  It's frickin hot in here!") behind 3 women who had coupons and exact change.  For some unexplained reason, they paid for each of their items separately and counted out change.  I thought I was going to blow a gasket until the woman behind me started chanting, "Oooooooh saaaaaaa." and handed me a 15% off coupon.  All was good.

I'm usually dying to buy shoes, but I have finally admitted (to myself mostly) that I just can't wear platforms and spikey heels.  Blame it on my ass and perhaps a distinct shift of weight to the nether regions, but they are no longer comfortable.  Gone are the days when The Romanian and I would put on 4" heels to go shopping.  It aint happenin.  I have just about all the shoes I need, seriously.  Although I should look for maybe another pair of closed-toed heels for Kuwait.  I just can't find any good leather shoes there.

I miss Desert Dawg.  Today, I saw a young girl walking a Bishon/Poodle mix puppy ("beeshapoo") and it looked just like Desert Dawg when she was a young thang.  So cute and adoreable.  Desert Dawg is pushing 15 years old this year and she still runs around like a puppy (Mashallah).  I miss those days when she was small enough to fit in my pocket or a handbag.  I think with no children, I am destined to buy toy dogs and be that weird old lady.  Maybe I am already.  Again... whatever.

I saw some incredibly gorgeous young Arab guys in line behind me at J. Crew and couldn't help but staring.  They must have thought I am some kind of a cougar.  Sometimes I think I should have married one of those cute guys who asked me when I was the age they were, but then I probably would have been a stay-home mom and not financially independent enough to feel comfortable buying 9 pairs of shoes on a whim (if that's what I wanted - The Miami Incident).  I guess everything can be viewed as a trade off.  Is it just me or are some of these young guys WAY better looking than they were when we were their age?  Dayum.

So, the sun is setting now and I'm going to take a bath and drink some more champagne.  I hope all y'alls had a very merry Christmas in the company of people who love and adore you.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clothing Design Courses

Phuckwits

Do you ever tire of dealing with phuckwits?  Want something more out of life? 


That's right..... it's vacaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaation time!  Time to unass the A.O.  Mr. Jose Cuervo, here I come!  I love you, baby.  You make my life complete.

Sometimes, ya just got a get on a plane and get the fek outa Dodge.

Stella, I know you are reading this and stop checking your company e-mail.  It isn't worth it.  Stella!!! Look up the word!  Vacation:  Noun.  A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.  It says NOTHING about checking your e-mails, worrying about contracting obligations or dealing with PHUCKWITS.  Barry Bear, would you please bring her yet another case of wine and educate her on what she's supposed to be doing?  Oh.My.God! I shoulda gone with her to Germany and assisted in vacation-related activities in order to be a good role model. 

(Heavy sigh.)

We are fighting a never-ending battle.

And now, on to my personal life.... (where it is about the same). 

I'm never going to see eye-to-eye with the very nice, yet very stubborn Southern Bedu.  He is a great guy (for someone else).  I am speechless (and you know how hard that is to accomplish).  I don't want to complain about it because seriously - he is SUCH a nice guy.  But... Oh... my.... God.  I just can't do it anymore.  I'm tired.  I'm frustrated.  I'm at the point where sharp objects have become a danger.  I've tried everything (and so have well-meaning friends who have tried to talk to him about it) and nothing works, so... oh well.... and I don't want to hurt him either.  Better just to leave it like that.  Toba.  Enough. 

The other night, I almost exploded, but I held it together.  The Romanian kept telling me that my blood pressure was up because my chest was turning red and blotchy.  Stealth sent me SMSs from across the counter telling me to remain calm.  I try really really really hard not to be completely evil to people who are visiting my home (unless a line is crossed - which it was).  I offered to leave (yes ME - in my own home) - and I finally did; going to my room and locking the door.  Stealth kindly escorted SB to his car.  Stealth has become a very good friend - and VERY good at reading my eyes.

Many a well-intentioned friend has told me that if I lower my expectations, I can not be disappointed.  (Lowering my personal beliefs is something else - not going there.)  I think that my expectations have been very very very low of late and why should that be?  Why shouldn't I expect to be treated the way I deserve to be treated?  Why shouldn't I expect that someone would treat me with the same level of care that I would bestow to them?  This girl is just going to lay it out there and if I get disappointed, so will dude.

Flowers.  Romance.  Little cards.  Kind words and actions that back them up.  Communication.  I don't think these are expectations that a man can't deal with.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bedoun Protest for Civil Rights - December 19



If you are not a Kuwaiti card-carrying citizen, it is illegal to protest and there is a 1000KD fine.

Bedoun Civil Rights Movement: December 19, 2011

Police break up bedoon protest
Published Date: December 20, 2011
Kuwait Times
By B Izzak, Staff Writer


KUWAIT: Elite special forces and police yesterday fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse thousands of stateless people or bedoons who demonstrated in Taima area in Jahra. A number of Kuwaiti activists joined the bedoon protesters amid tight and extraordinary security measures in which hundreds of police and special forces took part. The protesters gathered in a square they call the freedom square for the second time since Friday.

Police warned the crowd to disperse and gave them just 30 minutes to leave as they cordoned off the area and prevented people from entering and even sent journalists and photographers back. As the crowd swelled, special forces started firing the tear gas and used hot water cannons. The protesters were pushed back inside the residential area which is exclusively used by the bedoons, who are estimated at around 106,000.

Security men continued to chase the protesters inside the narrow streets as the bedoons and their supporters gathered in several groups in different places in the residential area, as a police helicopter hovered overhead. No injuries were reported as the Kuwaiti Progressive Movement claimed on its Twitter account that rubber bullets were also used but this could not be confirmed by an independent source. At least 12 people were arrested during the chase, including the reporter of Al-Rai newspaper Anwar Al-Feker, who was also beaten up and later detained during the storming of the National Assembly last month.

The chase continued until late yesterday as several Kuwaiti political and youth groups called for another gathering opposite the Assembly in Kuwait City to express their solidarity with bedoons and to press the government for resolving the decades-old humanitarian problem. Police cordoned off the area and demanded the civil identification cards from people going to the square to make sure only Kuwaitis were allowed to gather in accordance with the law that prevents non-Kuwaitis from demonstrating. A numberof Kuwaiti activists refused to enter the square because police demanded the civil IDs and moved to a location near the main square which is used for rallies.

In a statement late yesterday, the Interior Ministry warned illegal gatherings and demonstrations are banned regardless of their goals because it is a flagrant violation of the law and security procedures. The statement said "despite interior ministry warnings, various groups of illegal residents along with activists in Taima area attacked policemen, injuring the field operations commander and caused other damage".

Security men were compelled to use smoke and percussion grenades and water cannons to disperse them, despite attempts to convince them to present their case through official channels, yet they did not respond to the attempts to calm down. Several demonstrators were arrested," the statement said, adding the Interior Ministry will not allow anyone to compromise the country's security and attack security men while violating the law. It said "gatherings and demonstrations must meet the legal conditions according to law 65/79 which bans motorcades, demonstrations and gatherings on roads or public squares. Kuwaitis who participate in such activities will be jailed for two years or fined KD 1000 or both.

The statement said item 34 of law 31/70 amending some of the rules of the penal law said that anyone who participates in a gathering of at least five persons in a public place, with the goal of committing crimes or disturbing public security, then remains in the place after police orders to leave, will be punished by a one year jail sentence and a fine of KD 100 or both. The statement concluded by saying the Interior Ministry will be strict in dealing with any illegal gatherings or demonstrations in the future.

Bedoons have been protesting since February this year to demand Kuwaiti citizenship and also other basic rights like education and healthcare which they were deprived during a government crackdown in 2000. Bedoons insist they are Kuwaiti citizens but were deprived of nationality because of several reasons beyond their control, while the government insists that many of them do not qualify for Kuwaiti nationality because their ancestors came to Kuwait decades ago and threw their passports because they wantedto become Kuwaitis and enjoy benefits associated with nationality.

Former MPs strongly condemned the police action against the bedoon protesters, insisting that the security crackdown will only complicate the crisis. Jamaan Al-Harbash said what happened yesterday is a serious violation and such security tactics will not resolve the problem, while Askar Al-Enezi said beating the bedoon protesters will only complicate the problem. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei called for granting bedoons all basic humanitarian services immediately and then grant citizenship to those who deserve.

Six Kuwaiti political and social groups called for a vigil later today to support a solution for the bedoons and urged police to eschew violence against peaceful protests. "Believing in the just cause of the bedoons, the signatories call for speeding up the conclusion of a humanitarian and just solution for the cause of the bedoons without any delay or procrastination," the six civil society groups said in a joint statement.

Separately, the public prosecution yesterday questioned five former opposition MPs over the storming of the Assembly on Nov 16 after interrogating four other ex-MPs over the same charge and releasing them on bail.Former MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Khaled Al-Tahous, Al-Tabtabaei and Al-Harbash were interrogated almost all night on Sunday and were released on KD 3,000 bail each. Yesterday, the public prosecution began questioning former MPs Salem Al-Namlan, Falah Al-Sawwagh, Mohammad Al-Mutair, Faisal Al-Mislem and Mubarak Al-Waalan and they were expected to be freed on a similar bail.

The former MPs were charged of instigating to storm public property, damage of public property, assaulting security men and others which were all categorically denied. Al-Barrak told reporters at the end of the questioning that the prosecution also interrogated him on what he said at a public rally and accused the interior ministry of trying to manipulate the charges.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Doggy Style: Bark in the Park

(I'm sorry - I had to go there....  Come out and mingle with the bitches*!  Celebrate, bitches!)

K'S PATH's 'Bark in the Park' is a dog-centric event with fun competitions for canines, funny races for dogs to compete in with their humans, children's entertainment and a variety of vendors, to be held Saturday 21st January 2012 at the Mishref Fair Grounds. A fun day out for the entire family, especially the canine! For the event program or more info, please visit the K'S PATH website http://www.kspath.org/, email events@kspath.org or call (+965) 67001622.



(*  bitch [bich] Show IPA
noun
1. a female dog: The bitch won first place in the sporting dogs category. )

Sign the Petition: Human Rights for the Stateless

I have heard that there will be members from the international press and several international human rights organizations at tonight's sit-in.

Below is from American Girl's blog.



A petition has been generated in hopes of bringing further attention and support to the Bidun case and their desperate need of basic human rights. The petition has a signature goal of 50,000, so please support this very important cause by taking a moment to sign here and by sharing this with others you know.

Bidoon Sit-in Tonight at 8pm

I received another warden notification from the embassy this morning, advertising a sit-in.  I love the "Emergency messages".  I suspect that they are promoting the cause because they let us know before the media.  THANKS youse guys!

"A sit-in to demonstrate solidarity with the Bidoon (stateless people) is scheduled potentially for 8:00pm at Determination Square on Monday, December 19 in downtown Kuwait City.  There are also reports of possible demonstrations in support of Bidoon rights tomorrow afternoon at Taima in the city of Jahra around 3:00 pm.  An increased police and security presence is expected in these areas."

I wonder if they'll bring out those shiny water cannons again.  It reminds me of my current events classes growing up in school and the study of the Civil Rights Movement in the States.  If only theyse guys had dogs that could attack people who are peacefully demonstrating, it would be very much similar.

I admire people who are willing to risk so much for their beliefs.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bedoun Civil Rights Movement: Arrests and Trials of Kuwait’s Stateless Protesters: Mona Kareem's Blog



Kuwaiti riot police use water cannons to disperse stateless protesters (AFP, Yasser al-Zayyat).





"There are at least 120,000 Bidun jinsiyya (without nationality) in Kuwait today suffering from the lack of human rights. They cannot legally obtain birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates. The same applies to driving licenses, identification cards, and passports. They do not have access to public education, health care, housing or employment. And while they face some of the state’s harshest discrimination policies, they have no recourse to the law and its courts. Simply stated, the Bidun, who are equal to about 10% of the Kuwaiti population, do not exist.

...On the 12th of December, the stateless attempted to protest again to state their demands and to show support for those who were going on trials for protesting. Around 31 men were in court for ‘illegal protesting’ and were released as the judge decided to adjourn the case to the 23rd of January. Kuwaiti and stateless activists showed up to the court hearing to show support as the interior ministry refused to give permissions for any sit-ins. Kuwait Human Rights Association issued a statement condemning the trials and stating that the Kuwait constitution grants the rights to peaceful protesting and thus none should be prosecuted. Parliament members did not have a say in this and the only political bloc to have issued a statement in solidarity was the leftist Taqadomi movement. According to their lawyer Mousaed Al-Shammari, the 31 men might get 3 to 5 years jail sentences.

...This Friday, as reported by activists, tweeps, and news agencies, riot police used violence against stateless protesters and more than 20 men were arrested, among them two journalists who were later released (Fahad Al-Mayah and Hamad Al-Sharhan). According to a report by AFP: “Kuwaiti riot police used tear gas and water cannons on Friday to scatter hundreds of stateless protesters demanding citizenship. The police sought to break up a crowd of 400 people gathered after noon prayers in Jahra, raising Kuwaiti flags and banners that read: We demand Kuwaiti citizenship.” Stateless activist Mousaed Al-Shammari was reportedly arrested as he was trying to convince protesters to leave. Some wrote that he is now on hunger strike protesting his detention. According to a report by Reuters, there were also minors beaten and arrested in Friday protest."


- - -


I'm just re-posting and will leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions.  Mona is a Kuwait-born Bidun posting from London.



Fog in Kuwait


We drove back from the desert near Khiran last night (okay, early this morning - around 3 am) and experienced the most beautiful, surreal and mystical fog that I have encountered for years.  It was around the coastal areas (between Khiran and Dubaiya) and so thick in some places that people slowed down to around 40kph and put their flashers on (and I'm not just talking about the Indian guys who normally do that while driving the middle lane).  It was dense in some areas and almost a feathery water-color through the street lamps in other places.  It wasn't a high fog:  It seemed to be lingering right around the street lamps, dipping down onto the road.  It  was as if someone had intentionally placed it there, or maybe painted onto the landscape with enormous brush strokes.

I love fog and consider it an adventure to be part of,  but you don't really get to experience it around here.  We used to have a beach house in Maine close to the Canada border and there was the same kind of mystical fog there that rolled in like waves and enveloped everything into white.

I've experienced fog like that in Kuwait only 2 other times in Kuwait; although I have to say that last nights was the most beautiful and almost magical; intertwining layers; dense in some places and banded lighter areas in others.

In the desert in February, 1997 near Julai'a when the fog rolled in (the infamous "night I lost my earring"), we sat in the desert with no camps in sight (which seems very strange now if you know how many camps "pollute" the Julai'a area now) around a camp fire, with no sound... when the fog rolled in, was very strange and isolating.  The next experience came on the way back from Kabd several years ago.  It was so thick that we lost our bearings of where we were driving and even considered going back to spend the night.  All times I have experienced fog in Kuwait, it has been around 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning.

I think that the fog we get during the day is a lot different. I call it "fusty" - a combination of fog and dust.  For the real fog in Kuwait,  you've got to be out late and be in the right place at the right time.

It is unfortunate that it is almost impossible to capture on film (or maybe I just don't have the right high-tech equipment to do it).  Driving conditions in Kuwait are dangerous at any time, but when you suddenly drive through fog in the wee hours of the morning on the highway, you tend to pay closer attention to the road and what might be in front of you or coming up from behind than trying to locate your camera.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do me a favor?

This may sound really crazy, but can youse guys do me a huge favor and add my friend on Twitter?  He's kinda got a thing going - a competition - with his friends and he wants people to follow him to increase numbers.

Follow him on Twitter

@mohammedq82006


Thanks you guys.
Let's make this an early Christmas
for Mohammed. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Polls/Surveys in Kuwait


Can they get any more sexist?  Women complain.  Men are lazy, disorganized, uncleanly, and insensitive.
Gee, no wonder the divorce rate is so high here.

So far (on the Arab Times), "Always watching TV with remote in hand" is the winner.

That, ladies, is a no-brainer/easy-fix:  Smash the shit out of the remote.  The End.



Soldier and Camel


I saw this online.  A mother from Fullerton California (only identified as "Sue M") sent this to the Ellen show of her son, Steve, in Iraq.  I love this photo.  (I watercolored it.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Serving Tea on Doowas is now Illegal in Mubarakia

(This photo was taken at Muhallab restaurant over a year ago.  
Doowa is the coal warmer.)


These little tea warmers (coal plates) are traditional in Kuwait.  They have been used for years in Mubarakia for warming tea. It was especially comforting in the winter months to go down to the souq and have tea at the end of a meal and have it served on little doowa at the table.

Now, the phucking baladiya (municipality) has made them illegal as they are coal burning and someone might get hurt.  They never have before.  Why now?

Is every little scrap of Kuwaiti tradition being destroyed by idiots?

I HATE what is happening to this country.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Bedoun Civil Rights: Stateless: How Misconceptions Feed Injustice

Re-Post from Mona Kareem's Blog:


How Misconceptions Feed Injustice




Statelessness is perhaps one of the most neglected issues in the world. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that statelessness affects more than 12 million people across the world. But because governments do not recognise these citizens-of-nowhere, there are no reliable records of the number of stateless individuals across the globe, and the number may be significantly more. Millions of people are living with no records, documents, education, health, or employment. The UN states: “Possession of nationality is essential for full participation in society and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the full range of human rights.” 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Testosterone Advertising

I saw this ad on Facebook today and so I'm giving in more ad space here on my blog.

This is great!  I just know there are many many man-boys out there dying to go see one of these to determine if they can finance it in time for the desert season.  Why?  So you can outdo the guys in the chalet/tent next to yours, of course!


This is right up there with the Bubba Boat Test.  The person who posted/wrote the ad must really have their finger on the pulse of the country; knows just what the psyche here is like.  I frick-in LOVE it. 
(What I don't love is how much damage this could do to the desert environment, but it is still funny.)

L O Y A L T Y



Polish Music Night - 14 December


H.E Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Janusz Szwedo would like to invite You to the Polish Music Night.  The event will be held in al-Maidan Cultural Center on Wednesday the 14th of December at 7pm.

ENTRANCE FREE!!!  It is best to arrive 15 minutes before the concert begins.

This is event's page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/events/240478369352764/

Artist's YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/organinkuwait


Boudoir Salon - GO THERE!!!

You can’t throw a rock in Kuwait without hitting a salon or nail bar.  Like the booming “mini-treat” industry in Kuwait, salon numbers have spiraled in the past few years (although salons have always been around in Kuwait, proper nail salons are a recent development).

I’m a picky person.  I don’t mind paying money for a service, but I’ve got to have good service in quality surroundings.  My bad back usually hurts when I have to spend several hours in an improper chair for a manicure-pedicure and I’ve run the full gamut of the salon scene; from cheap to high quality.  Unfortunately, until a few nights ago, I have been unimpressed.

 I was really searching for a salon with massage chairs.  I received an invitation out-of-the-blue from a salon owner, Reem Al-Qallaf (and partners Reem Al-Ibrahim and Shouq Al-Marzouq) of Boudoir Salon in Surra, who asked me if I would like to try their services (in a proper pedicure massage chair).   She was so friendly that it was immediate good customer service.

The salon is somewhat off the beaten track in Surra.  Reem provided very good directions.  She told me that she didn’t want a salon that was housed in an apartment building, or anywhere without plenty of parking.  Her location is great; I only had to walk approximately 50 meters from my car. 

Boudoir is a fitting name for the salon.  They have decorated it in lovely lilac, silver, and whites.  Their staff members wear white (not off white or formerly-white) uniforms  (and all were happy and smiling – which was refreshing).    The salon exudes elegance from the crystal chandeliers to the (insert harps playing here) four white leather massage pedicure chairs.  I was served coffee from a delicate silver teacup.  Their customers are of the genre that smile (not the kind who stare).

I couldn’t help but notice Reem’s American accent; and then she introduced me to her mother who is originally from Memphis.  So, it seems they have the perfect blend of Southern hospitality/charm, ambiance and outstanding customer service.  The only thing missing was the mint julep.

I had a Boudoir pedicure which consisted of a mint wrap (your legs are wrapped in plastic wrap), paraffin wax, fruit scrub (followed by more scrubbing), and callous remover gel (which I haven’t been able to find anywhere else in Kuwait).  It was heaven. 

Boudoir is a full-service ladies salon.  They offer hair styling, keratin treatments, coloring, make-up (“elegant, not over-stated”), threading, hair removal, Moroccan scrub, spray tan, and massage.  They offer Shellac and Gelish manicures and products which are the latest from the US and UK like Salon M, Essie, Opi and other brands.  (Of note:  I am picky when it comes to having my blonde hair “brought back to natural”.  I would prefer another blonde to do my color and noticed that Boudoir has a blonde stylist from the UK.)

The salon is squeaky-clean.  I am someone who pays attention and I look in corners.  It was pristine.  The owners care a lot about hygiene and the mani/pedi instruments are sterilized and kept in sealed bags.  Even the paraffin pedicure treatment is done in individual bags so that patrons don’t have to share with other clients.

Boudoir can be found on the net at www.boudoirsalon.net or phone 25335951/2.  Surra block 5, Street 1. 

Monday, December 05, 2011

I'm F-ing Pissed off at the World

You know it is time for a vacation when you are just pissed off at the world and there is nothing you can do (not ice cream, pink roses, booze, etc.) that will pull you out of your foulphuckingmood. 

(Although I did go to Mubarakia - my Happy Place - and that worked for a little while until I F-ing saw that Souq Al-Hareem has been F-ing destroyed.  F that.)

I can't count the number of times in a day now that I am using the "F" word; and that includes mumbling it to myself (and not just in traffic).  I've got Stella doing it too - kind of like when you watch Scarface and you come out sounding just like Al Pachino. I'm her Al this week.

I need to get the F out of here before I F-ing loose my F-ing mind.

Alas, this all started when I was "requested" to use the F-ing fingerprint machine at work.  Now, you know (from previous bitching posts that went on for days) how I feel about the F-ing fingerprint F-ing machine and all the F-ing stupid "management" methodology behind it.... I don't think I F-ing need to elaborate.  Do I?  To say that I believe it is crap is an understatement.  Call it an "attitude" if you will.  "Ass in a chair" management is not my idea of productivity.  If anything, I have been The Anti-productive because of my foul F-ing mood ever since.  (But hey, my ass is in the chair where you want it to be, right?  That must mean that I am TERRIBLY F-ING PRODUCTIVE, riiiiiiiiiight?)

I don't F-ing want to go out.
I don't F-ing want to see my friends.
I don't F-ing want to go shopping.
I don't F-ing care what I eat for F-ing dinner.
I don't F-ing want to clean up after myself.
No amount of F-ing hooch can change my foul mood.
I DO want to F-ing go back to the States - and yesterday.

17 more F-ing days....

Friday, December 02, 2011

Alexander The Braveheart

My nephew is destined for greatness.  He's always been unique and I love him for it.  He's a senior in high school and has been giving the William Wallace speech from Braveheart at the beginning of every game to his team members in the locker room.  He's been watching Braveheart since he was a little kid and I can remember watching the movie with him; he standing on the sofa, bellowing out every line Mel Gibson had.

I can't believe he's going to graduate this coming year.  He was 2 when I left to move to Kuwait and I've missed his whole life.



Where is Souq Al-Hareem? It is MISSING

We are F-ing turning into Dubai:  A contrived quaint village of what life in Kuwait USED to be.  They are modernizing Mubarakia to make it "better".  I am really upset.

I love the old souq in Kuwait - primarily because it was the one place that had been untouched by "modernization" that has reached all corners of this country. (Out with the old, in with the new.)  Parts of the old souq have recently been renovated to look like a vision of it's former glory (but that never was).  What is wrong with the way it has been the whole time;  funky and eclectic and full of life?

Then Photo
Photo Credit:  Blog Libero

I like that people of all levels of society come to Mubarakia to share food in an outdoor area; and to shop for small items that are relics of a previous existence. It is the one place in Kuwait where everyone still has a common ground.

I went in search of a Kuwaiti child's costume at Souq Al-Hareem last night.  The ENTIRE souq is gone.  No one seemed disturbed by this.  I stood in the road where the stalls of women selling brightly colored clothing used to be and just felt sick to my stomach.
Now:  December 1, 2011


So, I hear it is going to come back, "better than it was before" - but again, by WHOSE definition of "better"? Was this some kind of a contract given to one of the top hoodlum companies as everything else in Kuwait is done?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Kuwaiti Half-Breeds

I was at International Clinic this morning, waiting around to be seen by a dermatologist because (sigh) I have onycholysis again.  Sounds like a rash, but it'snot.  I have an allergy to formaldehyde and unfortunately, I ventured into unchartered nail polish waters and tried a new color that I didn't think had formaldehyde in it (Essie,... you BITCH!).  Et voila, my nailbeds are screaming in pain and dying.  Well, 2 of them anyways.   This hasn't happened to me in like 20 years (yes yes, I'm 29, shut up).  The doctor looked at me sideways when I pulled out the 20 year old tube of cream that they gave me the last time (he must think I'm a hoarder.  Perhaps he's right.)

Anyways, long-story-longer, I was waiting for the doctor (who I have now discovered also does Botox - woo hoo) and I picked up a magazine (yes, I had hand sanitizer) and flipped through. I read a very interesting story about "Kuwaiti Half-Breeds" in Sarab Magazine.  .... then they called me in to see the doctor.


So, I got back to my office and Googled the magazine. The story is in the November issue and I was surprised to learn that it was written by the same woman who wrote about me and dis-here-blog a while back. Her name is Farah Al-Hashim.  I like her.  She's edgy and picks out interesting (not me, but okay) subjects.  You can read her article HERE

Kuwaiti Half-Breeds are multi-cultural people and have a group page on Facebook.  

We do live in a global village, don't we?  It is fascinating the way that like-minded people come together - and through technology.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When dude won't give up

Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 26: A Kuwaiti woman in her 20s reported to Salmiya police station that two male compatriots attacked and physically harassed her. The woman explained she was trekking with her friend along the Arabian Gulf Road when suddenly the suspects approached and tried to exchange phone numbers with them. She said one of the men sprayed water on her when she refused to take the number and then fled in their car. She provided police with the registration number of the suspects’ car plus their physical description. A case was registered against them.

- - -

If the guys seem to be adamant/beligerant:  take the number.  Then you can register a case. Why put yourself in a difficult position? 

One time, I refused to take a guy's number and he followed me and keyed my car. 

Just take the number.  You can give it to your daddy and tell him big scary man frightened you later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Traveling to Seattle, Portland or Chicago?

Anyone traveling to Seattle, Portland or Chicago and willing to take a dog along for K'S PATH (Animal Friends)?  The passenger doesn't have to do anything, just allow the dog to be listed on the ticket, and K'S PATH will do the rest.  It's much cheaper if the animal is accompanying a passenger.  Please send this out to all on your list who might be flying out, possibly over the holiday or any time in the near future.  If interested please call Karen on 99594898 or email: q8orobey@gmail.com Thank you!!

- - -

I brought a K'S PATH saluki along with me on a United flight to DC.  It was so easy!  K'S PATH reps met me with the dog at Kuwait airport and helped me process his paperwork through.  I collected him at the excess baggage counter at Dulles and we went through the special line (with things to declare) with his paperwork.  As soon as we walked through the arrivals door, someone was there to greet me and accept the dog.  It didn't cost me a thing and made me very proud that I had helped an animal.

Little Diddy on the FAR and Kuwait Labor Law: Overtime Charging

A little note on contracting.  I thought I would throw it out there for companies who have proposed and won contracts - and must abide by both the FAR and Kuwait Labor Law. 

Note that the stipulation of a work week in Kuwait is 48 hours in Kuwait.  Anything over 48 hours is subject to overtime.  The Kuwait Labor Law is very specific about how many hours of overtime an employee can work - and the reporting procedures that an employer must follow.  Employees can not be forced to work overtime and they must be compensated.

Many seemingly innocent USG contractors working in Kuwait should be aware of this....  Many contractors have also written yearly salary increases (or COLA)  into their contracts and perhapsee the employees aren't receiving them.  Wouldn't that be fraud?  Gee, I would think so if it was written into a contract and then the employees didn't receive it; instead the difference was being pocketed.... hmmmmm

I am guessing this is how several large defense contractors assumed they could get away with being the lowest bidder.

Now, if I were on a task force or audit team, I would first randomly (and without prior notification) ask contractor's employees how many hours they work and if they receive annual increases (perhaps saying something like lying is against the law... yada.)   Then, I would ask to see a company's overtime and time & attendance logs. A random sampling should give you an indication of if the company is on the up and up or not.

Here we go, kids....

"FAR

Subpart 22.1—Basic Labor Policies

22.103  Overtime.

22.103-1  Definition.
“Normal workweek,” as used in this subpart, means, generally, a workweek of 40 hours. Outside the United States and its outlying areas, a workweek longer than 40 hours is considered normal if—

(1) The workweek does not exceed the norm for the area, as determined by local custom, tradition, or law; and

(2) The hours worked in excess of 40 in the workweek are not compensated at a premium rate of pay. "


"Kuwait Labor Law

Section  Two
Working hours and weekends

Article (64}

Without prejudice  to the provisions of Article (21) of this Law, it is forbidden to allow workers to work for more than 48 hours per week or 8 hours a day, except in such events as are specified in this Law. Working hours during the month of Ramadan shall be equal to 36 hours per week.


Article (65}

a-            Workers shall not be required to work for more than five consecutive hours a day without a break of a minimum of one hour that is not included in the working hours.

The Financial, commercial and investment sectors shall be excluded from this provision  and the working hours  shall be equal to eight  consecutive hours.

Article (66}

Without  prejudice  to Articles  (21) and (64)  of this Law, the employer  may,  by means of a written order, have workers work overtime if the necessity arises for the purpose of preventing a dangerous accident, repairing damages arising from such accident, avoiding a loss or facing an unusual work load. The overtime work should not exceed two hours a day, a maximum of 180 hours a year, three days a week or 90 days a year. The worker shall have the right to prove by any means that the employer required him to perform additional works for an additional period of time. The worker shall also be entitled to a 25 percent increase over his original remuneration for the period of overtime.

This  remuneration  shall  be  in  conformity  with  Article  (56)  of  this Law.  The employer  shall  keep  a  special  record  for  overtime  work  showing  the  dates, number of hours worked and remunerations paid in consideration of the additional work assigned to the worker."






TIES Center

I met a gentleman from this group last week. He went to school in Cali and seems totally cool. 

The center looks interesting and I would like to check them out some more.  It looks similar to AWARE.  I like that they ha ve different clubs and cooking classes.  It would be cool if they offered Kuwaiti cuisine courses.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey Ban in Kuwait

Uh yes there WAS a ban on Turkeys... read on... (re-post from Expat and the City's Blog)



Arab Times (Link), Kuwait City, November 25, 2011: The Committee for Food Safety at Kuwait Municipality has lifted a ban on the import of all types of birds, their derivatives, and eggs from Russia. However, a ban on similar products from the US remains in effect to avoid an outbreak of bird flu, reports Al-Rai daily.  (DG:  Is there an epidemic of bird flu in the US??? This is news to me.)

Chairperson of the committee, Mohammed Ghazai Otaibi, stressed that the ban on the import of live birds from France will stay until the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) releases a report in that regard. He noted the quarterly import of meat from Bangladesh has also been suspended to prevent foot and mouth disease.

He explained the committee is active and plans on recommending to retain the ban on import of birds from the GCC countries until Public Authority for Industry (PAI) and the relevant authority monitoring procedures adopted by the GCC Food Safety Forum give the green light.

In the meantime, two delegations from the embassies of US and France presented conditions and suggestions in that regard, and the committee is waiting for a report from PAAAFR to lift ban on import of birds and meat from the state of Minnesota in the US
- - -

Sounds to me like someone of importance in Kuwait has opened a bird farm....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Regency Hotel Offering Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanks to Ladies Who Do Lunch In Kuwait for posting this.  (Repost...)


November 24th from 7.30-11PM at The Silk Road Restaurant, The Regency Hotel. Price is KD 15++ includes soft beverage. Reservations call 2576 6666

Good for you, Regency Hotel!  This is the first Thanksgiving promo I've seen this year.  ... and here I was, thinking no one cared...

How you can help women in need in Kuwait


Betcha didn't know the Salvation Army helps people in Kuwait?  They try to keep low-key and work under the radar, but they're here and they need help.


Dear Friends,

We provide food, shelter and basic necessities to the ladies in a shelter in Kuwait since 2009. These ladies are mostly runaway maids awaiting their papers from their respective embassies to return back home. Our goal is not only to shelter these unfortunate ladies but to recognize their natural talents and educate them so as to restore their self esteem and assist them to a better future.  Every effort is made to see that the ladies start a new life with confidence when they leave from the Shelter.
Besides that we make on-site visits to teach trades to other embassy shelters. We also help families with clothes, finance and ration and help out in their case by case needs.

As part of the winter initiative, the Salvation Army would like to reach out to the less fortunate in Kuwait by presenting them with food boxes. Each box will have:
·         2 kg of Rice
·         1 kg Oil
·         1 Kg Sugar
·         Tomato paste
·         Tea bags
·         Body Soap
·         Razor      
      Sanitary Napkins 

A new initiative will be a trip on Wednesday November 30 to a camp of 100 Ethiopian ladies working for a cleaning company. The SA will cover the major expense of this but donations of support would be greatly appreciated Donations of one or more items or any monetary help towards these expenses would be appreciated, however small the amount. It will go a long way in forwarding our cause.

We will need all donations latest by Sunday, November 27 2011 so as to give us time to pack them in individual bags.

If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact us.

Thank you for considering our request.

Programs/Fund Raising
The Salvation Army – Kuwait 
brokentobeautiful2010@yahoo.com

Another furniture store bites the dust in Kuwait


Freedom Furniture at 360 is closing for good.  I WISH I had known earlier because I love their furniture and they had some great deals. I went there yesterday to buy a tablecloth and that's about all that's left there (150x200 black or white linen table cloths are 6kd each]).   There are a few odd tables, chairs, and I think 2 sofa sets and some small items.  Everything has been reduced by 75%. They have a lovely set of 6 wicker-style dining chairs with arms selling for 20kd each (they only have 6 - I need 10).

It is a shame because I really liked their items.  But alas, it seems that the Kuwaiti norm of marking everything up by X-hundred percent got the best of them:  Their items were consistently overpriced.  I don't think they ever advertised either and were located in a kind of out-of-the-way place in the basement of 360 near Geant.  I rarely saw other customers

I don't understand why furniture stores just don't get it:  good quality at good prices equals return customers.  Look at Ikea (okay, quality is kind questionable, but overall it is okay):  They've survived in the market for years and have expanded.  Banta, with a similar business model, is doing well (but I don't find their furniture comfortable - whereas Ikea furniture is).

There are certain furniture stores in Kuwait that mark their items waaaaay above cost and then expect customers 1) not to notice and 2) to continue to shop there.  They might get one or two hits from the same customer, but they won't be repeat customers (loyalty is a 2 way street). (... and alas, the big spending days of CSA and the likes are gone.)

And hey, you can copy just about anything by bringing pictures and fabric to any of the furniture maker dudes in Dajeej - at 1/4 of the price of retail.  (Which is why most furniture shops in Kuwait don't allow photography.  Nice try.)

Back to the point of my story:  there is no longer Freedom in Kuwait....
(But we already knew that.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kuwait's Turkey Conspiracy

Did you guys know that there was a ban on turkeys this year?  I sureasshit  didn't. 

From a friend:

"Its on Butterball turkeys- What I heard is that they arent 'killed' the HALAL way. If that's true then PFFFFFT! What next? All canned food stuff? Probably some big wig here got together with another big wig and decided that if they ban imported turkey then people have to buy local ones. Then again, do we have local turkey?!!"

Hmmmm.... hinky.  It IS a conspiracy!  I was RIGHT again.  Dayum.

I would be more than happy to buy a freekin local turkey IF THEY HAD ANY TO SELL!!!


**** BTW - I got a 24lb Butterball turkey 2 days ago from the PX at Arifjan (thank you again, J).  Was just posting this FYI.

Oh, by the by, peeps:  What is UP with calling Brazilian turkeys "local"?  Je ne get it pas.  Brazil is waaaay over der.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marriage annulled, wife left for 2 days alone in hotel room

I've heard lots of stories recently of people of both genders in Kuwait who are choosing not to get married.  The below would be a case in point where it might not be such a great idea. Crap like this is why the divorce rate in Kuwait is so high. 

This poor girl.  Would YOU want to re-marry?  F to tha NO.

I don't understand nancy boys who get married either just because someone else tells them to - or because they think it is going to be something "fun" to do.  Grow up. Grow some cojoines.  Be men.


Arab Times
Marriage annulled, wife left for 2 days alone in hotel room

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 16: The Personal Status Court has annulled a marriage due to the irresponsible action of the husband, who left his spouse alone for two days inside a hotel room in another Arab country at the beginning of their marital life.

Attorney Mohammad Thear Al-Otaibi, lawyer for the wife, argued the man violated religious, traditional and cultural norms when he left the woman alone for two days without any explanation. He said his client waited patiently for her husband to return to know the reasons for his action, especially his failure to call her and inform her of his whereabouts. When the husband returned, he claimed to have been detained at a police station and asked his wife not to mention the issue again. However, he repeated the act several times after their arrival in Kuwait, and he had been out for four days or weeks without explanation. He also beat his wife, accusing her of monitoring his activities. A medical certificate was presented in court as proof of the beatings.

The court ordered annulment of the marriage after a careful analysis of the pieces of evidence and arguments presented by both sides.
---


I hope she got a non-refundable and HUGE mahar, lots of gold and gifts from the little boy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Massacre of Migratory Flamingos in Kuwait


Kuwait is in the migratory path of flamingos.  Unfortunately, they have been moved from their natural stomping grounds several times over the past few decades because of development.

This made me gag when I saw it on Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait's blog, but I really need to pass it along. What the HELL is happening to this country????????????????

I KNOW that HH The Emir is a man who respects wildlife - I have been told so by his close relatives.  I hope he takes personal action against the people who committed this horrific act.

Re-posted from LWDLIK Blog


Flamingo Massacre in Kuwait

A  recent rescue mission conducted by K'S PATH. On November 17th, they received a frantic phone call from Kuwait Oil Company employees horrified to find dead and dying flamingos in the Abdaliya Nature Preserve in West Kuwait. K'S PATH was able to respond quickly and rescue the two live birds and document the deaths of 11 more. After receiving prompt medical care from Royal Animal Hospital, they were placed in a temporary holding cage over night. By the next morning K's Path staff were hard at work to modify an existing bird flight for use by flamingos. They don't normally publish gruesome photos on their Facebook page, but in this case they feel it is important that our community see what poaching is doing to our wildlife. With knowledge will come the ability to make change.

Eleven flamingos who did not survive being shot by poachers who had forced their way into the Abdaliya Nature Preserve.

Kuwait's American Thanksgiving Conspiracy

There is an anti American Thanksgiving conspiracy going on in Kuwait.  (Desert Girl meltdown...)

There are no fresh turkeys to be found in Kuwait.
The Sultan Center has no US sweet potatoes and NO cranberries of any kind.
Sultan Center says that they "think" they'll get a shipment of turkeys after December 7th and that they "might" get fresh cranberries around the same time because "they're not in season".  BS!
SHAME ON YOU SULTAN CENTER!!!!  

Oh, and get this... Dean & Deluca, the pillar of quality food and service in Kuwait "hasn't priced their turkeys yet" (according to management) and "needs to check with their procurement office".    Emmm..... hel-loooo!  Thanksgiving is less than a week away!  D&D - OF NEW YORK!!!!  A disgrace to all Americans living in Kuwait on Thanksgiving Day.  Uffaaaaa

I'm REALLY PISSED OFF. (Can you tell?!)

I have heard from one of my friends where I can find fresh cranberries.  I'm sorry, but I have to keep this one close-hold until I get get my hands on some (and then I'll announce).

The PX on Arifjan has turkeys.  Thanks to the BIG heart of a certain Boy-de-'bama, I'm going to get one of them and Stella has very very kindly volunteered to cook it (I LOVE YOU!!!)

Oooooo Saaaaaaaa.  It will be okay.  It will be okay.  It will be okay.

November 20 Update...

BamaBoy came to the rescue with "the biggest turkey they had" at the PX for all of 8KD!  Woo hoo.
Found and procured cranberries.  Done.

Dean and Deluca called.  12KD per kilo for their cooked turkey.  Um.... that's why they waited until the last minute:  because they knew people would be desperate enough to pay those kind of prices.  GLAD I don't have to!