Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Erection Weekend

So... the big erection is upon us - coming up this weekend. I have been receiving stupid SMS's in Arabic (which I can not read) pertaining to candidates as late as 3am.  I find it offensive that people can worm their way into my personal account and contact me that way. 

Stealth in Rumaithiya had a phone call from an over-sexed woman asking him in breathy questions if he would vote for the candidate she works for.  Seriously?  Is this what it has come to?  Pimp my Candidate?

I know I can't find snackfoods at Mr. Baker since the campaigning started.  I guess all the tents are serving. 

If I saw a candidate who would open his/her election tent to needy people and ask that each of their constituents bring an item of clothing or canned good - I honestly would volunteer to help them (in whatever way I could - short of sex-telemarketing). 

I can't imagine how the prolonged catering is wasting in terms of food.  For example, my thoughts go to the families out in Taima.  What are they eating this week?  Could that guy digging through the trash in my neighborhood benefit from some of that food/money being spent on these campaigns.

Yeah yeah, I'm American.  But Kuwait is home.  So if I were in America, I could bitch about what was happening in my back yard.  Pero for now, my back yard is Kuwait, so I'm bitching about what is going on here. 

Yet, who am I to judge?  Maybe some of the candidates are helping poor people in Kuwait - I don't know. 

I'm not Kuwaiti and I don't live in the 3rd District, but if I were and I did, I would vote for Dr. Aseel Al-Awadhi for sure.  She is strong, ethical, and in favor of many of the things I believe in; including freedom of speech and upholding the Kuwait Constitution, and humanitarian issues.  "MP Dr Aseel Al-Awadhi posted a message on Twitter, saying the right to demonstrate is a human right that should not be suppressed, and the Interior Ministry should deal with it wisely and according to the law without violence."  She also graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in philosophy.  You go, girl! 

If you are near the tents or polling centers this Thursday when the voting takes place, get ready for some horrible traffic.  (DG the Cynic say:  Oh, and then again in 6 to 8 months when this incoming parliament is dissolved...)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Smoke House Restaurant

I know I'm high maintenance.  (Lots of people do by now, really.)  So when I order food after a long day of work and it isn't right and I have a hissy fit and it is the end of the world, I get rather ... em... cranky (replace with other adjective starting with "b" and ending with "itchy").

I ordered from the Smoke House last night.  I dunno - I was being totally lazy (as I have now become accustomed to) during the week.  I was thinkin to me, 'Hey me, how about a big fat juicy steak?'  Why not?  I can sit in my jammies and eat it in front of the TV with equally-lazy Desert Dawg (who really shouldn't have the protein at age 15 as she gets so evil).

I have tried the Smoke House's fantabulous ribs before (let's be honest to oneself, DG; several times).  Smothered in barbecue sauce and the meat falls right off the rib.  They make great sides like really fresh steamed veggies (so WHAT?  I want to feel healthy when I'm eating my "low cal" rack of ribs!), mac & cheese, cole slaw, black eyed peas, etcetera and yada.  I've also had the battered fish before and wow.

So, I ordered a medium rare ribeye through 6alabat.com.  (Me sorry, but "well done" is sacreligious in the world of Desert Girl. You people who eat well-done don't know how to live.)

A very nice delivery dude shows up a while later.  Very polite.  He left and I was on my way to a great night... until... wait!  What DAT?!  Leather in a box!  Yikes!  It was well-well done.  C'est impossible!  Noooooooooooooooo!

So I call the restaurant and dude who answered the phone is arguing with me that 6alabat just said "medium".  (Even IF - it was still well done, not medium.)  He was so argumentative!  'Do you want to argue or do you want to make it right,' is what I axed him.  He said that my area was too far to send another order to.  WHAAAAT?  Oh no he di - int!

I called back and asked for the manager (I was hungry and about to have a throw-down. I just knew it;  because it is impossible for most restaurants to make it right once an incident has occurred.)  I was completely shocked at what happened next!  Manager dude, Ali, says (in a perfectly loooovely British accent) that he would be happy to send me another steak if it would make it okay for me.  What's THIS???  Good customer service???  No WAY! Shocking!  I can hear the sincerity in his voice.  How is that possible?  Does he practice in front of the mirror?  Did he go to customer service school?  Did he learn the Patience of a Saint? I'm giggling on the phone out of giddiness.

(Okay plus I think that Briddish accents on Arab guys are just way sexy/disarming.  You girls know what I mean.  I met a Saudi who had studied in London and then Texas one time.  He wore cowboy boots, spoke with a British-Texan-Arab accent and my jeans almost fell off... oh wait... back to the other steak story...)

So, little while later, driver dude shows up with an entire new meal cooked perfectly.  Driver dude apologizes profusely - like it was his personal duty to ensure the food was okay and he felt bad.  (It's otay little buckaroo.)

Fast forward 24 hours...

Then, and then, and then.. guess what happened?  So all day, leftover steak in my refrigerator is calling to me, "Eat me, Desert Girl, eat me..." and I can't wait to go home and warm it up.  (Does this sound dirty??  I didn't mean it to, but hey - it's me, and that's what happens.  What to do?)  I had just finished it off when I get a call from a strange 222something number and I'm thinking, 'Oh no!  Something's wrong with my mom!' and pick up the phone in a panic (my mom has had some health issues lately).  It's Ali The Amazing Manager again!  He was just calling to make sure that I enjoyed my meal.  Dude!  Perfect timing!  I just enjoyed Part Deux of a fantabulous steak meal.

I LOVE SMOKE HOUSE!  They do real Southern food!  Dude rocks.  Food rocks.  I love them.  Ali's my new favorite person.  I'm going to get down there to the restaurant in Mahboula sometime (next time I venture out of my cave).  Check them out on www.6alabat.com.  (If you order steak and want it cooked other than well-done, make sure to make note of that in the "special instructions" box.)  Ribeye is only 3.850 - a real deal.

I find it hard to believe that an Arab dude with a Briddish accent can rock a southern meal the way they do, but it's THA BOMB!

Thanks, Ali.  You made my 2 days. :)

Salsa & Bachata Dinner Dance Party

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rights, political activists stage demo in solidarity with Bedouns

The Romanian and I drove by Erada square (in front of the Parliament) last night and noticed all the baracades - - - AND cute police guys.  "What's going on?  They brought all the good ones down here."  Tall, dark, handsome... sigh.  Oh yeah, so now, onto the story...

Photo Credit:  Arab Times

Rights, political activists stage demo in solidarity with Bedouns
Call for release of arrested stateless people
Arab Times
By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 28:  Several Kuwaiti human rights and political activists gathered Saturday at the Erada Square in solidarity with Bedouns, calling on the government to immediately take the necessary steps to address the problems of Bedouns and release those arrested during the protest actions in Taima last week.

Holding placards containing excerpts from the Kuwaiti Constitution that guarantees their right to hold demonstrations, the protesters asked the government to stop arresting Bedouns, release those arrested during peaceful demonstrations, grant citizenship to deserving applicants, approve proposals on the civil and human rights of these people, allow the court to settle disputes related to citizenship, refer all security restrictions to the court, address the fake passport issue and adopt the international agreement on stateless persons.

The Erada Square was cordoned off during the rally with two security checkpoints in the area and heavy security presence.  Only Kuwaitis and journalists were given permission to enter the square.
According to Dr Rana Abdulrazak, she and her colleagues invited people to the rally through Twitter, because they were moved by the turn of events in Taima.  They consider the arrest of peaceful demonstrators a violation of the Constitution and the law.  “As Kuwaitis, we have to do something.  We support calls for granting Bedouns their civil rights.  This file should be closed once and for all,” she asserted.

Stressing the need to grant citizenship to deserving applicants, while protecting the rights of those not qualified for naturalization, Abdulrazak argued the stipulations of the Constitution and the laws of the country must be enforced on everyone.  

She appealed to the authorities to refrain from using double standards in dealing with Kuwaitis and other nationalities.  “We believe this gathering will encourage other political parties to support Bedouns.  We should have a unified stand on the issue,” she added.
Meanwhile, Kuwait University Professor and human rights activist Dr Ibtihal Abdulaziz Al-Khatib explained, “We are here to demand for the rights of Bedouns, particularly the right to be naturalized for those who deserve it.  We want them to be treated like any citizen in Kuwait and enjoy basic human rights like education, health and acquisition of official documents.”  She urged the concerned authorities to look into the citizenship issue and naturalize those who met the conditions.

Al-Khatib lamented no concrete step has been taken to address the problems of Bedouns over the last decades.  She believes it is now time to find appropriate solutions, indicating it is illogical to delay the procedures, considering these people have been suffering for decades.

Commenting on what happened during the Bedouns demonstration in Taima, Al-Khatib de-nounced the inhumane steps taken by the security forces who tracked down the peaceful demonstrators.  She said everyone has the right to gather peacefully and asked the government lay down temporary solutions, while waiting for the completion of a comprehensive mechanism to finally close the Bedoun file.  


On the other hand, Deputy Chairperson of Kuwait Human Rights Society Maha Barjas Al-Barjas said the demonstration was organized by Kuwaitis to express their support for Bedouns and convey a clear message to the government that the issue requires immediate solution.

Al-Barjas revealed the protesters include granting Bedouns their basic rights, naturalize the deserving applicants, lift the security restrictions and revoke the case filed against 59 Bedouns who were arrested recently, and issue them civil IDs instead of security cards.  

She warned the Bedouns issue poses a grave threat to the security of the country because most of these people are unemployed; hence, the need to allow them to work in state institutions. 

- - -

This is the "unified nation" that I remember.  I feel proud when I see Kuwaitis who would stand up for those less fortunate (within the walls of their own country - not just in Palestine or other areas of the globe).  This is the true spirit of Kuwaitis; kindness, generosity, and dignity.    I hope that some of my friends were there last night.  It has saddened me lately to hear from so many commenters with negative feelings towards Bedouns; when in fact I know that some Bedouns went to school with them, or grew up next to them, or touched their lives in some way.  Why the hatred?  This country is so small; too small to be so divided.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two Birds Dresses

(Sorry guys, this one is for the girls - YES AGAIN)

My friend's son is getting married in September and I'm on the look out for a great dress.  Spanx turned me onto Two Birds.  They make a dress that you can wear 15 different ways - by knotting and twisting.  I've seen the dress she wore to her friend's wedding and it is amazing - a lightweight microfiber that looks like it would fit everyone. I think I'm going to go for it.  I haven't seen anything like it before, so I thought I would pass it along because God knows, there is another wedding in Kuwait every 5 minutes.  You could probably get away with wearing the same dress to a few weddings using different draping/knotting and accessories.

You can buy the bandeaus to go under the dress for a little extra coverage.

Check out their website HERE.  You can order online.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rest in Peace, Saud Nasser Al-Sabah

"A Kuwaiti former oil minister and senior member of the Al-Sabah ruling family, Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah (pictured in 1998), has died after a long battle with cancer, said the royal court. He was 68. (AFP Photo/Raed Qutena)"

I truly admired this man.  He worked tirelessly during the 90/91 Gulf War and was the catalyst behind the efforts to free Kuwait.  I met him many times in Washington and had the honor of seeing him in action.  I heard his speeches and felt the raw emotion in his voice as he talked about his country during the occupation.

Thank you, Sheikh Saud, for your part in bringing both Kuwaitis and their friends (like me) back to Kuwait. My thoughts are with his family.

Stupid SoB

I was already this || close to writing Southern Bedu off as a friend.  I try to give people chances.  If he's a nice guy and deserving of the label - then he can be my friend.  However, he was running his usual- by only calling me right before the weekends to see what the plan was.  My friends call me regularly to see how I am.  Not SB... So then...

I found out this weekend that Southern Bedu (now officially "SB" as he can be discribed officially as a SoB) has been dating one of my friends - that he met at MY HOUSE.  She is only a light acquaintance and didn't know our relationship.  I don't blame her - she didn't know.  I was always running around inside the house being hostess, while he was sitting with my friends outside smoking sheesha and generally avoiding me.  No one knew he was my guy - unless a dude was hitting on me and then it would be all "She's my fiance!"  (and then it wasn't about me - it was about posession.) I generally don't feel the need to announce my relationship status to everyone I know.  Noneyor.

How did I find out?  He wanted to bring her to a party at my place this weekend as his date!!! 

WTF is WRONG with people???

Well sheet, I knew I shouldn't have camped in the South.  Its my own damn fault.  Shoulda known better. I should stick to my own tribe. 

Why do guys ask me to marry them?  There is no need.  I don't fall for that crap and it surprises me that they don't understand that in terms of marriage, I'm a fight or flight" girl and I choose flight. When it gets serious, I feel the walls closing in and I want to bolt.  I have a lovely box of engagement rings and that is fine with me.  (I would like the procedure to escalate to cars and homes, but that's really irrelevant to our discussion.)

Girlfriend and I had a nice little chat.  I wish them well.  I doubt it will go very far after our girl talk. 

I don't know if SoB was serious about the whole marriage thing or not.  Who knows?  Who cares?  He seems to have had all my friends fooled - and I believe some of them are... "It takes a playah to know a playah." They smell the bullshit. They understand the bullshit.  They have done the bullshit. The marriage game in Kuwait is waaaaaaay old school (which is why I don't believe it and why I have so many nice rings - cause I INSIST).  Dudes believe that if they ask you to marry them, it cements the relationship and girlfriend will generally do what he wants (em, have WE met??).

A Kuwaiti friend related a story about someone he knows who would play the marriage game to the next level with women he met; he would go to the girls' family and ask for her hand in marriage.  Kuwaiti women.  Women from upstanding families.  When they would agree, he would start dating her openly.  Why this is necessary in today's society in Kuwait - I have no idea.  It is kind of an "open market" these days.... However, I guess he enjoyed the whole game aspect... until he met a girl, asked her father to marry her, father agrees, dude tries to dump the girl after getting what he wanted - and WABAM!  Girl's father turns out to be an influential judge.  Tee hee.  Forces him to marry her.  Few years pass and dude wants a divorce.  Daddy gets girlfriend a big settlement. 

... back to our story.  So, am I upset about this incident?  I'm mad that someone could believe he could take advantage of me (I'm not saying that he did because seriously - it was never going to happen from my side  I was never serious about it - too much baggage, too many problems.).  I'm mad that some of my friends will still talk to him even though he pulled such a hailag move.  I feel like my friends have been betrayed and not just me because they befriended SoB because of me.  I'm not sad because quite honestly, there wasn't much love there.  He was nice to have around, but zzzzzzzzzzzz kinda boring:  No passion.

[To contrast:  When The Man and I first met, we didn't get out of bed for the first 6 months (and every time we broke up and got back together).  We were so in love that we couldn't keep away from each other.  SoB - not so much.  Okay, not at all.  It was kind of like sleeping next to a brother.  That's no good.]

Why am I writing all this?  Because this is not my first goat rodeo.  I'm jaded and cynical and I look for this kind of shyt (and am usually able to detect it.  There is always someone somewhere who can find a loophole.)  But... other girlfriends out there might not know these tricks.  Girlfriends might not know that these kinda tricks are not only played by  little boys over here, but little boys that are in their 40's and beyond.  This is a generalization, of course.  I FER SURE don't believe that many men play these games; however, some do.

I seriously didn't need this drama this week, but I'm glad it happened and I know.  My tarot cards said, "false friends" - God loves me and doesn't want them around.  Bada BING.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine's Day is coming again

14 years since  you died and nothing has changed.  I'm still doing the same old thing and you're gone and I miss you. You're still on my mind even when I'm surrounded by people. I always see you in the half-light in-between or out of the corner of my eye. I hate that I found out on Valentine's day.  It  changed everything.  Maybe I'm extra needy on that day and people don't get it.  And sometimes I just want to be alone with my thoughts of you so I can feel a little closer and know that you're still here (I find signs every day)  I still pick up the phone to call you - then I remember.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Operation Hope Opens Esther's Attic Re-Sale Boutique

(Re-post from Ladies Who Do Lunch In Kuwait Blog)

This Saturday 21st January @ 10am, is the opening of ESTHER'S ATTIC, our very own re-sale boutique!

We have a wonderful collection of women's wear, men's wear, kids clothing, accessories plus books, cds, phonograph records (from Bob Marley to Stevie Wonder!) and plenty moreee at unbelievable prices!!

So save the date: 21st January 2012, Saturday
The time: 10 am
The place: Rumaithiya, Block 9, Street 92, House 23

All proceeds go to Operation Hope.

Approach with Bedoun could be subject to political accountability

Approach with Bedoun could be subject to political accountability
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Alwatan Daily by Osama Al-Qatari

KUWAIT: Former MP and First Constituency candidate Saleh Ashour said that . . .

In an interview with Al Watan, Ashour said that the decisions made by the Interior Ministry regarding the deportation of Bedouns (stateless Arabs) who participate in peaceful demonstrations to demand their rights, could make the government subject to political accountability by the coming Parliament. He stressed the need to serve justice for Bedouns by immediately naturalizing those entitled to get the Kuwaiti citizenship.
. . .

Asked about his opinion about the demonstrations led by Bedouns, Ashour stressed, "Bedouns are human beings who have [legitimate] rights which the State failed to guarantee to them". He argued that the current predicament was created by the government, adding that he can never accept injustice to Bedouns.

Ashour pointed out that the Bedoun community organized demonstrations and raised the flags of Kuwait and photos of the Amir as signs that they love this country. He added, "Are we punishing them for raising the flags of Kuwait and the photos of the Amir by beating them and raiding their houses?" He went on to say, "Are we living in Kuwait or in a police state? Why didn't the authorities naturalize the Bedouns who are entitled to receive the Kuwaiti nationality? Why are the other categories deprived from their basic rights?"

In regards to the recent decisions made by the government to deport Bedouns who take part in demonstrations, Ashour said, "I will stand against such decisions. I can never accept the deportation of Bedouns".

50 people involved in Bedouns protests referred to public prosecution
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Alwatan Daily by Ibtisam Saeed

KUWAIT: The public prosecution has detained 50 people who took part in the demonstrations in Taymaa, including Bedouns, Gulf citizens and expatriates.

Prosecution has also referred nine people to forensic to write reports on their injuries.
President of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents Saleh Al-Fadalah said that the apparatus is currently looking into the files related to naturalization of military personnel, children of widows and divorced Kuwaiti women and those who obtain university degrees. He added that the names of naturalized people will be announced soon.

In a meeting with the Yemeni female activist Tawakul Kirman, who received Nobel Peace Prize, Al-Fadalah said that the solutions developed to address the issue of Bedouns (stateless Arabs) are based on several principles, most importantly justice, in order to give the citizenship to those who are entitled to get it, and at the same time holding the violators and forgers accountable.

For her part, Kirman expressed admiration with democracy in Kuwait, noting that she visited some electoral headquarters in order to learn from the Kuwaiti experience how to achieve democracy in Yemen. She said that the issue of Bedouns is a priority for her as a person who won noble prize. She said that she is confident that the central apparatus will address this issue.

-          -     -
The world is watching.

Bedoons to be deported over protests

Bedoons to be deported over protests
Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: Kuwait has decided to deport stateless people who took part in protests demanding citizenship which turned violent, newspapers reported yesterday. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Central Agency for Illegal Residents, which deals with the bedoons, chaired by Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Al-Anbaa newspaper reported. Other measures included dismissing all bedoons from the army and the police force if they or their children attended the protests, and evicting them from housing provided by the government.

The government also decided to confiscate security IDs from any protester bedoons, their only form of identification, and cancel their applications for Kuwaiti nationality. Riot police used tear gas, water cannon and batons to disperse thousands of bedoon protesters on Friday and Saturday, injuring scores and arresting more than 100 people, according to activists. Kuwait says only 34,000 out of the 105,000 bedoons present in the Gulf state are eligible for citizenship, while the remaining 71,000 are citizens of other countries who must produce their original passports. About 43,000 of them are Iraqis, 16,400 Saudis and the rest are Syrians, Iranians, Jordanians and other nationalities, according to official data published yesterday by Al-Watan daily.

The government promised that bedoons who produce their original passports will be granted long-term residence permits, in addition to free public services and schooling. It also decided to accelerate the process of granting Kuwaiti citizenship to those who merit it, Al-Anbaa reported. Encouraged by the Arab Spring protests, bedoons staged demonstrations in February and March last year. They renewed their protests in December to press authorities to resolve their decades-old plight. Fifty-two bedoons are on trial for protesting, while 32 others are still under investigation.

A total of 63 bidoons arrested on Jan 13 and 14 have been detained by the prosecutor pending further investigation, one of their lawyers, Ali Al-Sabri, told AFP. Sabri said the new group of detainees face charges of assaulting policemen and taking part in illegal gatherings. The prosecutor agreed to refer nine of them for medical examinations on claims they were beaten by police. The prosecutor also detained two teenagers for one week pending further investigation, said Sabri, one of 13 Kuwaiti lawyers who volunteered to defend the bedoons. In a bid to force the bedoons to produce their original nationality papers, Kuwait has refused to issue essential documents to most of them, including birth, marriage and death certificates, Human Rights Watch reported in June. – AFP

- - -

Deported to WHERE?????
God bless the Kuwaiti lawyers who have volunteered to help the Bedoons.

My take on the erections

I've been here through a whole lotta parliamentary erections*.  As I look around Kuwait at the erection tents these days, my cynical side can't help but wonder, "Which crook is going to get in next?" or perhaps "How much did that dude pay for his buffet while people are demonstrating for basic human necessities a 25- minute car ride away?" 

Flacid:  I just can't see the "progress" at least through all the promises I've heard politicians here make in the past 15 years.   It still amounts to forming committees to form committees to talk about committees; and the loop continues.

Okay yeah, so in 2003, there was tremendous progress in terms of building and construction. I wonder if that was because people knew they could (and did) make quick money from foreigners moving into Kuwait to "rebuild" Iraq after the fall of Saddam?  Or was it because investors truly wanted to make something better in their own country; re-investing in a now-safe environment free of the potential return of Iraqi forces?  If the latter is so, then why just throw up cheap housing at 3x the rental fees of previous years?  Why not build museums and cultural centers to show national pride?  The cynic in me comes to the conclusion that making a quick dinar has been the catalyst. 

Yes, thank you very much, we are getting better road systems in Kuwait.  I’m very thankful for that.  But if we had better infrastructure planning, then areas like Mahboula wouldn’t have been built without proper water, sewage, and even streets. There would be no need to tear up dirt roads, create enormous holes in the ground for sewage/water, and create enormous traffic problems.  Mahboula is THE home of the inexpensive accommodation.  It is densely populated and almost impossible to drive through.  Where is the oversight? 

Has there been progress in healthcare and education?  Well, I’m not Kuwaiti and I don’t have Kuwaiti kids to know about the education system.  I can say that I’ve personally found the healthcare to be getting better.  Hilal Al-Sayer, in my humble opinion, made great strides in upgrading hospitals and services.  Bait Abdullah is finally come to fruition only through Dr. Sayer’s and his wife’s personal dedication in fulfilling a dream to help children in Kuwait.  Why not more like him? Why not establishment of a hospital that deals with children born with birth defects?  There isn't one and guess what happens?  People leave their kids in the hospital (sometimes at the advice of doctors) - alone!  Educate and establish facilities to help families cope.

Law Enforcement:  The investigators at police stations still need to write each and every report in longhand, for example.  Nothing is completed on computers, so the investigators go home every night with stacks and stacks of pending cases.  How is that even possible these days?  This is part of the reason why if you get in even a minor traffic accident in Kuwait, it might take you up to several days just to report it.  The police stations are in dire need of upgrading, as are many of the ministries.  In that, I haven’t seen any progress since I’ve been here.  I am extreeeeeemely happy that there are now female police and customs officers.  They add a new/needed dimension to law enforcement, as well as creating jobs for women who are courageous enough to go into that once-male-dominated area. I would like to see female fire fighters as well.  [Sidenote:  Oh yeah - and how bout this:  female taxi drivers. (Why is that taking so long??)]

And, this observer (and I am only that – I can only pass judgment from a personal perspective as a non-Kuwaiti) would like to see have more to do with business and law.  Fix the roadblocks in the US/Kuwaiti Trade Agreement (and other international agreements) and get on with it.  Bring transparency to government.    (It would make doing business with international partners so much easier.)  Update family law.  Appoint female Kuwaiti judges; that’s bound to shake things up a bit.  Set up a small business administration and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy involved in establishing a business. Create some kind of a government entity to promote better horticulture:  Plant some trees whydontcha!    I'm not even going to get into resolution of the Bedoon issue - as everyone knows how I feel about that:  Grant nationality NOW to those who deserve it.  The liberation was 20 years ago.  You know by now who they are. You've got the DNA results.  Stop making promises; say what you mean and mean what you say.  Fix it.

Those are my thoughts in a nutshell. Bada BING.

*Yes, I did too mean to write that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

X-Cite: Alghanim Electronics Online


Okay, so a good friend of mine, K,  works at Alghanim - after many months of struggling to find a job; first, any job and then b) a job where he fit in and felt comfortable/creative.  He's been gushing about how wonderful Alghanim is for months.  I have known an Alghanim boy  or two and THEY (you know who you are) never invited me to visit their HQ.  Had they, I might have had something somethin interesting to say about them at that point, but I d'int have the opportunity.  Fine.  So anyhoo, K asked me if I would go over there and maybe feel inclined to promote his new gig.

After much internal debate about weather it was a good idea; is it ethical to be "advertising" in a way for something that... okay, let me just be honest... I have bitched about on blogsphere before ("gelled salesmen who would rather pay attention to their hair than to a customer..")... I was having conflict of interest issues.  I like to keep it real on the blog and for that reason, I have never accepted paid advertising (although lots of my inner circle peeps think I'm nuts and should be making money).

More for K than for anything else, I went.  I'm really glad I did for several reasons.

Let me first promote K's PR abilities.  Yes, he is my friend, but it is hard not to see how into his job he is.  Taking the initiative to invite someone like me to his office who might help promote the place - that's just positive.   He's behind the organization (which is RARE in Kuwait - and this comes from someone who knows) and genuinely likes what he's doing and the environment in which he's doing it; nurturing to creativity and at the end - to the bottom line of the company.

His office is also cool.  They have a forward-thinking/hip concept going on that I've seen in the US before, but never ever in an office in Kuwait.  It is half play room and half office.  There are big leather sofas and chairs (and not big brown dumpy ones either, but bright colors to promote creative thought process.  There are orange and green dividers around the room for noise control and they also function as white boards.  They just need some remote control items (cars?) and perhapsee a beach ball....  I liked their office a lot and just seeing it brought me closer to seeing how the company is changing.  Happy employees equal creative/productive employees.   Everybody I saw at the Alghanim HQ smiled at me.  Can you imagine?  Shocking, really.  Did you guys know that their HQ also has Mais Alghanim restaurant for their employee cafe?  Awesome.  I could live there - and gain about 500 pounds.   (Where I work, we get 2 crap microwaves and a moldy mini-refrigerator.)

Obviously, they've been a leader in electronics for years, but until several years ago, their marketing was pretty stagnant.  They've put a lot into process improvement.

So, having said all that, let me gets down to the nuts and bolts.  I am a lazy girl.  There's no denying it. I'm not trying to hide it.  Don't judge me.  I don't want to go to malls, look for (okay "fight for") a parking space, walk  through the mall with a whole lotta staring.  If I can get away with delivery, I'll do it.  So X-Cite's new concept  is right up my alley.  You can get on there with a credit card or KNET, order what you want (without ever having to talk to a human - woo hoo!) and they will deliver anywhere in Kuwait within 24 hours (they say it is usually less).  This includes down South to the chalets and up North to Kabd.  Their dudes will bring it to you and set it up for you (shout out to the technically-challenged like me!!!).  One of my major worries is always carrying stuff into my house with me bad back, so now I don't have that logistics concern.   They also have 24/7 technical assistance.

Check out their website.  It has a good BestBuy/Amazon feel to it.  Very user friendly. They are adding more items every day (they said they have something like 10,000 varieties of electronics items in their warehouse) and although they've only had a soft launch so far, they're doing a fantaaaabulous job already.  Check out the sales items.  I'm wondering what's going to be up for Hala February.  Maybe they'll have deals.

On another note, when I last visited 2 separate X-Cite showrooms (Avenues and Rai), the level of service had really been kicked up a notch.  Granted, dudes still have way too much hair gel; however, this time they were friendly and attentive (to me - not themselves) and it was a different atmosphere.

Thanks, K and your team for opening my eyes and for the wonderful invitation.

2012 Kickoff: Day 16 into the year

As you may have heard, I recently had a marriage proposal and accepted (Southern Bedu).  I want to say that I was engaged, but it was never formalized (even though it was announced throughout the Southern tribe) and I never got a ring (ring or maher/chabka:  his choice), so it was kind of an impotent effort.  He is very very nice and my friends really like him a lot (so do I).  He is Kuwaiti, very attractive and kind.  Unfortunately, he has a lot on his plate and I don’t think it is really the time for him to be having a relationship with me or anybody else. 

Perhaps his moms was correct when she told him, “Marry her before she flies away.”  I did fly away; in December for Christmas to be with my family.  He was supposed to go with me and I think by mutual consent, he didn’t.  My family didn’t ask any embarrassing questions and we left it at that.

Southern Bedu will be a good friend.  I maintain my friendships unless someone has treated me badly in a relationship and then they don’t deserve to be my friend.  Southern does.  He’s fun to be around, he has always been good to me, and I’m happy that it has ended this way.  It was brief and I am without regrets.

One thing I discovered during this brief encounter:  Some people in my life truly truly love me.  I found out that Stealth had a conversation with Southern and offered to help him get me an engagement ring.  He even had a designer and someone who would help get a discount on a diamond.  I cried.  Who does that?  Once an unrequited love-interest, he put his personal feelings for me aside so that I could be happy.  What can you say about someone like that?  Words aren’t enough.  I get all weepy even thinking about it. 

It’s like a Jude Deveraux story line:  The cowboy (Montgomery – they are always Montgomerys in Jude Devereaux novels) believes his solitary life will only cause her harm and so he chooses to sacrifice his own feelings for her happiness as she makes plans to marry another … almost.  (Okay, so that is a bit OTT and melodramatic, but you get the point.)

Alas, ahsen shay Southern Bedu saves his money for a new car or redecorating his home.  These were more often the things he talked about.  I hope you get your new Mercedes.  I will be very happy for you.  I will.

This year is off to a (Mashallah) very good start for me.  Everything happens for a reason and now I have one more good friend; and I know that someone else loves me profoundly.  It’s a blessing and a surprise (as in the former discussion).  I don’t need a relationship to complete me.  I complete me;  and I’m surrounded by love.  Mashallah.

Not that it matters to all the above, but I also had a little closure on another front:  A discussion with a blast from the past who never explained his motives of a year ago;  mais c’est vrai;  je ne care pas. It happened so frequently that why exert the effort to wonder why?  It usually happens with him approximately 7 months to a year later; he wants to discuss “us”.  Soooo.... I found out that “everyone” is talking about me since I changed my relationship status on Facebook when Southern and I began our relationship.  Otay, so we break up (Nth time) with not even so much as a call later. Months later,  I meet a guy, he axes me to marry him, I agree, I (for once in my life have the opportunity to) post that I’m “in a relationship” (because I CAN this time, I don’t have to be covert,  and he’s proud; instead of the other being embarrassed and asking me to remove the one photo I have posted with him in it).  I guess I was expected to wait for him?  Doesn’t life go on?  If you feel the need to explain to everyone, then explain.  Or if anyone talking about me would like to discuss it with me, you’ve got my numbers.  And for me, life does go on.  Et tu, I noticed that nothing had changed; out the door as not to be d√®coverte.  Again.  Like every Saturday morning for years at precisely 10:30 am.  (Even now, I hate that time of the morning on Saturdays.  It has been ruined for me.)  Cojones, my friend;  they need to grow and flourish.  Run, cojones, ruuuuuuuuuun!    ….   Sigh.  This discussion now tires me and has brought up negative vibrations from the past that I have made a conscious decision not to relive.  And moving right along….

My friend (don’t know if she wants me to tell people that she does tarot.  Do you?) read my tarot cards last week for 2012.  She’s amazing at it.  Apparently, the Universe is smiling at me. Okay, NOW we’re talking.   I never told her what man I was asking about (and not from paragraph above); I preferred to keep it quiet.  She looked at the cards, looked at me, and knew immediately; then I knew that she knew.  Neither one of us said his name, but she said, “He has 2 names.” Which is totally true and she doesn’t know it and neither does anyone else.   This tarot card reading was different than any I’d ever had because in two 10-card spreads, I got 7 out of 10 cards  the same on both.  Lots of wands and major arcana (probably related to career – zzzz, boring.  Show me the loooooove.).  Wands also relates to summertime.  She mentioned some stuff about false friends and talking behind my back.  I have a feeling I know who these people are, but I’m not ready to mention it or defriend or anything just yet (Stealth says they’re jealous).   She also mentioned a Pisces person, but she wasn’t sure because it was also saying another zodiac sign:  This is Stealth.   He has more than one birthday.  She saw a rainbow in the cards.  We couldn’t figure out what it meant.  I left there and remembered that he found a rainbow rose for me.   (Yes girl – it all makes sense later.) 

J’aime deux chose; toi et la rose.  La rose pour un jour, et toi pour tous jours.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IWA Fundraising Event: February 16

The Indian Women's Association does a lot in Kuwait towards helping children with challenges.  They are a great organization and I'm happy to pass this information along for them.  They have volunteer opportunities and often go to the "Handicapped Children's Center" for visits to the kids.

- - -

Indian Women Association is an organized in which on our own little way, we intend to reach out and make a difference to those less fortunate children around us.

Our annual fund raising event is being organized at the Arraya Ballroom Courtyard Marriott Hotel on February 16, 2012. 8.30 pm. onwards.
IWA appeals to your compassion and generosity so we can continue to build bridges of kindness and concern for those in need.

Rashmi Sahani
E-mail:  rashmisahani@hotmail.com

13 January 2012 Bedoon Civil Rights

This makes me so sad.  It reminds me of footage I saw during 90/91 when the Iraqis invaded Kuwait.  I didn’t take these photos/videos:  They are publicly available online, but since they are in Arabic, Westerners might not understand what is happening.  The videos were taken on Friday outside a mosque in Taima where Bedouns worship.


Police break up new demo - ‘Force unjustified’
Arab Times

 KUWAIT CITY, Jan 14, (AFP): Kuwaiti riot police on Saturday used tear gas and batons to disperse hundreds of stateless demonstrators for the second day in a row and arrested dozens, witnesses and a rights group said.

A day after riot police beat stateless protesters demanding citizenship in Jahra, northwest of Kuwait City, demonstrations expanded on Saturday to include Sulaibiya, west of the capital.

The independent Kuwait Association of Human Rights (KAHR) said three of its members monitoring the protests were arrested but one was later released.

Riot police chased demonstrators and arrested dozens in the two towns where most of the 105,000 stateless, locally known as Bedouns, live, witnesses said.

Head of the Kuwaiti Bedouns Committee, Ahmed al-Tamimi, told a news conference that riot police sealed off the two towns and used police dogs to chase protesters.

He said protests were still continuing into the night, claiming that police has randomly rounded up more than 100 people. He appealed to the prime minister to intervene.

Committee coordinator Nawaf al-Bader said police imposed a virtual curfew on the two towns. He said that so far, dozens of protesters were wounded and that many of them did not go to hospital for fear of being arrested.

Bader said that around 68 stateless were arrested during Friday’s protest.

A number of Kuwaiti rights activists told the news conference police used excessive and unjustified force against peaceful demonstrators.

The demonstrators gathered on Saturday to protest against the excessive and unnecessary use of force by police against the demonstrators on Friday, Bedoun activists said on social networking website Twitter.

The interior ministry had said that 21 security men were wounded in the clashes, five of whom were hospitalised.

Some local media said their journalists were beaten by police on Saturday.

The leftist Progressive Movement condemned in a statement what it called the “unjustified use of force” against Bedoun protesters, and called for a peaceful solution to their decades-old problem.
The interior ministry issued three statements earlier this week warning Bedouns not to protest or face punishment.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch on Friday urged Kuwait to scrap the decision banning stateless people from demonstrating.

“This is a shameful effort to curb the rights to peaceful expression and assembly of Kuwait’s Bedouns,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East director, said in a statement.

Kuwait has long alleged that Bedouns, and in some cases their ancestors, destroyed their original passports to claim the right to citizenship in order to gain access to the state-provided services and benefits.

In a bid to force the Bedouns to produce their original nationality papers, Kuwait has refused to issue essential documents to most of them, including birth, marriage and death certificates, according to a June HRW report.

Fifty-two Bedouns are on trial for protesting and another 32 are under investigation.
The government says only 34,000 of Bedouns qualify for citizenship.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DG Info: Information for Teachers

I get a lot of questions from teachers who are either interested in coming to Kuwait to work, or who have been offered jobs by schools in Kuwait.

I'm not a teacher, I'm not involved in education, and have no kids; so I'm useless on this subject.  I do get comments from readers - some trashing particular schools where they have worked.  Unfortunately, those negative comments are better suited for forums on the subject; not really for my blog.  So, I often don't post them.

I always try to help people as much as I can and respond to all e-mails and questions.  Since I receive so many questions on this topic, I thought I would post my standard response: 

You should check out one of the teachers forums in Kuwait and pose your questions there.  Here are several:

Ask questions of those who know and form your opinion based on overall concensus.  I wouldn't look at it from any 1-sided opinion, but gather as much info as you can.
Good luck!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Day 8 - I'm back

Ok so I'm back and here is my new mantra:

Is this where I live?
Is this really my life?

It will take me a while to get back into the swing of things.  And, I know that I have a great life and I have a great place to live... but my family isn't here.  And neither are trees and our house and the quiet and...  lots of stuff.

I had a great time in Virgin-Yuh.  I don't really do much per se - I just hang out with the family most of the time and sometimes get together with a few friends.  New Years isn't anything OTT or crazy - just with friends and family (and booz and food).  I ate about half a plate of my sister’s crab dip.  Holy snap that stuff was good!  My nephew took me out for crabs and a movie.  The crabs were brought up from Louisiana and dayum were they good.  We went to see “War Horse” which I wish I hadn’t seen.  Overall, it was a good movie, but there was a scene in it where the horse was severely hurt and it was graphic.  I’m an adult and I walked out during that scene. I would never want a child to see something like that.  Horrible.

So, quite unfortunately and after great research and development,  I've come to the conclusion that I just can't get drunk on much of anything anymore.  And it isn't like I'm not trying.  I have determined that getting me drunk has more to do with my attitude and who I'm drinking with (and what their level of drunkenness is).  Oh, why is it that my dear Irish genes can absorb so much liquor?  Why the hollow legs?  Do yer best lads!  Try to get me drunk!

Oh, so back to my story.....

It was frick-in COLD in Virginia.  I mean, I even put on my 20-year-old (my friends date guys almost that old) cashmere full-length coat one night.  Brrrrrr.  Some days it was warm, but there were a few there that I almost ran to one of the marts (K or Wal) to get long underwear.  I am ALWAYS hot but they got me this time.

[Let me just say that I can't believe how many of my life-long favorite stores have gone out of business in the States.  It's horrible!  Filene's Basement, Newport News (catalog) and Spiegel (also catalog).  What a state of affairs.  The economy is supposed to be getting better, but the jobs section of the Washington Post on a Sunday was only 2 pages long. Not good.]

I miss my family.  It gets worse all the time. I miss having people who know me - I mean really know me - and who have a shared history with me.  I miss just sharing their lives and being part of it all. I miss hanging with my mom and my sister (and my nephew if he had the time).  Yep, I'm melancoly.  That's true.

And now, on to some different emotions….

I had someone say this to me recently and it really really pissed me off, so I thought I would throw it out here….  MEN!  “I’ll make it up to you.” is absurd and never happens.  You can NEVER make it up.  Women will let you slide, but they don’t forget.  It is still there, waiting dormant.  She hasn’t forgotten.  I can’t recall ever hearing “I’ll make it up to you” from a woman.  Have you?  Well, I’ve never had anyone properly make it up to me and if they did, it should have come in the form of some grand gesture.  Time to whip out the charge card and get it right.  I mention this because recently, I have heard this statement and I think it is bullhooey.   Don’t “make it up”!  Do it right the first time because we remember. Say what you mean and mean what you say.   Keep promises and commitments, so you don’t have to say stupid things like that.

I officially broke up with Southern Bedu right before I left.  Alas, it was inevitable.  Had to be done.  He is a great guywith a heart of gold.   There werejust too many issues (strung together like a freight train) and I've done the one-sided relationship deal for too long. [Mens:  Simply stating that you are engaged to someone doesn’t cut it.  There is a certain level of effort and ceremony that goes into it – and I’m not even mentioning the ring (I’m mentioning it, but I’m not mentioning it, right?)]   I felt like I was the only one in the relationship doing any work to keep it together - and why bother if I don't see someone who only lives 15 minutes from me, is single, has no other obligations - yada?  I gave him chances and nothing worked. I think I'm a pretty communicative girl; I have never had a problem expressing how I feel.  In our case, I had (incredibly kind well-intentioned) friends who tried to help too and put it into terms that Southern could understand.  Nothing sank in.  He was supposed to go with me to the States and never seemed to be interested.  That’s okay; what’s meant to be is meant to be.

I think I am destined for a series of short relationships.  Some people are destined to be married for most of their lives.  Apparently, I'm not one of those people and I'm fine with it. I have people who love me - I know that.  I'm surrounded by kindness.

In my old age (29) I've also kinda decided that the best relationships are determined by kisses.  Kisses are the real way to tell if a man loves you (or still loves you).  Forget everything else – single or married:  How does he kiss you?

And so then on the 12th day of Christmas, on the Epiphany, I had an epiphany....

....  something happened to me this weekend -  something that has kept me on Cloud 9 ever since (I’m listening to Bryan Adams and thinking about you and next it’s going to be Adele). I love love love talking to him.  It feels like hours are minutes. I called him every day that I was in the States and got off the phone every time feeling uplifted.  I don't know what is going to happen later. He’s not the type of guy I can talk to about it (talking about other people and emotions is fine, but talking about us and emotions is not cool) and I’m shocked that he talked to me so openly and actually got the words out.  I'm shocked and happy at the same time.  Just happy.  No strings happy.  Making my heart sing happy.  Keep reading my eyes, boy, and I'll keep reading yours and someday we will get there. I have a feeling about us and I’m usually right even if it takes time. 

The Romanian was really sick.  I narcissistically attribute this to me leaving.  She just can’t handle it without me.  I know, I know.  That’s right.  Well, I hope she’s better now.  She had really high blood pressure (stop SMOKING!!!!).  They told her (in Kuwait) not to drink red wine, but white wine is okay.  I always thought it was the opposite.  Hmmm.   Whatever.  I don’t have high blood pressure and I don’t drink white wine (it hurts my tummy).  Wait, does champagne count as white wine?  Snap!  I’ve managed to make this about me again.  Girl, I hope you are better now and you know that I love you.  Thanks for taking care of your niece for me while I was away.

Slaps is off in the land of the PHUCKINGCOLD again.  Please, don’t even try to tell me that you don’t have some dude there named Boris or Ivan or maybe a Sasha over there. (OMG the Russian pilot dude, Sasha, in "2012" is ba-Gorgeous!  Git one of him!) You’ve got a  second home and you’re drinking vodka and eating borsht.  We KNOW. 

So I don’t know what Butterfly or Spanx have been up to. Time to catch up.  Style was in town for a little while.  We all know she is a spy – I just don’t know why she would want to bother dabbling in Kuwait, but she does before she rushes off to some other interesting destination to do her clandestine work.  “Media consultant” my arse (that’s Briddish for your 6).

Special K is back.  He just bought his fianc√© a car in the States – leading me to believe in several possible options:  1) He is moving back to the States to be with her; 2) They’re not really getting married; 3) he’s moving back to the States to be with her.  (yeah, I repeated 3 that, but I think it is true.  Don’t LIE to me, dude!  You know you are going.  Please don’t be like me with one foot in the US and one foot in Kuwait as a permanent condition; you only end up with open legs!)

I’m back at work and all the Usual Suspects are here. Job #1 this year is to keep Stella happy.  I’m really useless when she’s upset (symbiotic relationship) so I have to try to keep her in good spirits.  I’ve got to teach her man to brew.  That might help us all.  I’m working on that.  They don’t know it, but they will now. I’m arranging for them both to have a better social life and get them involved in some fascinating circles of friends, yes I am.  I am also secretly planning to get them to travel on the weekends and maybe I can tag along with them.  (That cat is now out of the bag also.  Fine.)  You guys can still have romantic get-aways for 2 with me tagging along, right?  It’s possible.  I just drink anyways and go to sleep.

I think I'm gettng sick. I hope not. It just feels like I've got a respiratory thing happening.

So, happy new year people.  We are on Day 8 and I have found this year simply fasssssssssssscinating already. 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Hawa Pink Taxis: Update me

Back in January of 2010, I posted about a new company that was supposed to start up that year.  I hadn't heard anything more about it until a reader posted a comment this week.  I'm wondering if anyone has heard anything more.  I thought it was a fabulous idea and I'm wishing Ms. Al-Mutairi well.  

Bedoor Al-Mutairi, Hawa Taxi (the pink ones)
I am loving all the articles about Bedoor Al-Mutairi and the pink taxis; the one today in the Arab Times in particular. The other articles have been discussing the concept and the launch, but this article touches on Ms. Al-Mutairi's difficulties in getting the project off the ground -which ya know, this being Kuwait and she being female, was bound to happen....  (Full post HERE.)

K-Dude sent me:  "I was just reading that they won a court case against the MOI. Apparently they had banned women from driving taxis, thus essentially shutting this idea down. Nevermind that it was completely unlawful for them to ban women from driving taxis. Maybe this will get up and running now? "

Kuwait is seeming more and more archaic to me lately.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Smuggling Tricks into Kuwait

This is SO messed up.  Nice headline from Arab Times.  People smuggling funny tricks into Kuwait....

Also... why wouldn't you spell out "millions" in a headline?  WHO is editing this stuff?  Dude!

Smuggled Antics Worth Mlns Of Dinars Seized By Customs
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 4: Director-General of General Administration of Customs Ibrahim Al-Ghanim has referred the file of antics said to have been smuggled from an unidentified Arab country into Kuwait to the Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Affairs Major-General Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalifa, re...