Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Hangover: Dubai Version

I had the BEST weekend in Dubai!  Oh.My.God.  Special K invited me as a birthday present - knowing full well that I would compliment him on the blog (oh yes you did. Uh huh.  Did so.).  What a nice thing to do!  And our hostess in Dubai, Cheesecake Girl, was amazingly hospitable too, so shout out girlfraaaaaynd! 

I really haven't enjoyed previous trips to Dubai - not even worthy of blogposting.  I guess because we werent' hanging with people who lived there.  This time, it was so much fun.

People, anytime I come to work early, looking good, it means I'm overcompensating for something I've done baaaaaad over the weekend.  Just to let you know.  I feel like crap, but I've got to show them (powers that be)  that I can make it through the work day without being shattered.  Mostly, nobody cares but me.  I figure if you've got a raging hangover, or even slightly still inebriated, you fit right in with the level of consciousness over here.  Just sayin. 

We flew down by FlyDubai - which is a great airline, once you get seated on the plane.  Before then, however, it is a frickin goat rodeo.  It was almost a riot scene to board the plane and in this country of foreign domestic workers flying low-cost carriers such as this, there is no such thing as personal space.  BACK OFF!  Like everything else around here - it's like no one is in control.

I'm pretty sure I had bodily fluids on me from the bump-and-grind that dude did up against me trying(supposedly) to get onto the flight. I usually randomly shout out in crowds (even at work), "Don't touch me!" as a joke, but not this time.   I loved how protective Special K was, "Hey!  If you touch her again I'm going to phuckin HIT you, you understand me??"  He got more perturbed than I did (Why the F can't I have a boyfriend like that?  Instead, I get the kind who get a kick out of the voyeurism of it instead of reacting. Be a man and DO something, chicken shit!)  Special K is Kuwaiti and he's all like, "They wouldn't do that to you if you were an Arab woman.  What makes them think...."  LOVE IT!!!!  If only Stealth had been there too they both would have jumped on him and beat the crap out of him - right there in the line.   (Stealth goes off even for stupid stuff like restaurants who forget to bring the pickles.  Tee hee.)

Anyways, once we got on the plane and paid for our sandwiches and 5 drinks, we were good to go. 

We got there kinda late and by the time we hit the pub/restaurant, all we could do was order G&T and french fries.  (It was a trend - fried food and alcohol).

Cheesecake Girl has a baGORGEOUS apartment overlooking Dubai Marina.  It is so pretty and she made me feel like she's lived there forever (although it has only been a few months).  She seems to know everywhere and everybody.  Ya know, I meet people through the blog who become really really good friends and I've got to say that she is such a dear person to me.  I just love her - and so do my friends.

Cheesecake Girl's Proper Kitchen Cabinet

Friday morning, tequila shots for breakfast and then on to brunch at Double Decker (in a Rotana Hotel near Dubai Mall I think); where you can get all you can eat buffet AND drinks for one low price (13kd - which is around 1/4 the cost of a bottle of Johnny in Kuwait).  Game on.  My friend, Kaz, who I have known for over 3 decades HAD to have crispy bacon with his drinks, so it became a matter of crispy bacon and gin, crispy bacon and vodka, crispy bacon and (what the F were those shots?  Midori and Baileys?), crispy bacon and (oh!  they DO have tequila) tequila shots, crispy bacon and .... dayum... I don't remember anymore... oh yeah!!!  Dancing!!!  At 4pm, the live band starts outside.  For some reason, there was a table of furries there (you know - fetish people who wear furry animal costumes) and they started a conga line.  They moved the tables away on inside and everybody started dancing.  That's right; the ugly drunk dance.  Yo!  Then some guy kissed me because it "was my birthday" and Kaz's lovely girlfriend got me some flowers and a cake and everybody sang happy birthday (this birthday does not END!!!  Woo hoo.)  Cheesecake Girl dropped her drink and it broke at one point and the entire place erupted in cheers and jubulence.  I couldn't stop laughing.  That place was SO MUCH FUN!!!  Awesome.  The food was really good too.  The buffet is mostly to British palates, but that's cool; there was a whole wall of pork.  Amazing.

So then, naptime for a few hours, followed by (you guessed it) more tequila shots and Chinese food.  Then, off to Hedkandi rave on the beach at Barasti.  Holy snap!  I was wearing inappropriate footwear (did anybody mention that it was going to be on a beach?) and it was so hot that my jeans were sticking to parts they shouldn't.  My hair... I don't know what happened there.  Ok, but I had the BEST time.  Special K probably couldn't tell because I sat on the beach drinking fat frogs (WTF WAS THAT???) and staring, but seriously, at that point, it was all I could do.

Most of the guys were average looking at best, but OMG the women (I should say "girls" because they all looked about 12) were stunningly beautiful.  I think this is where models/strippers/dance instructors go to party.  Holy snap.  One girl - I swear - was not human.  She looked like an avitar. 

Are you thinking that I'm too old for all this?  yeah, I am too.  But wow.

I made it back to Kuwait.  (I'm not going to write about the "incident" that got us there because that would seem ungracious, but let me just say, Special K, that the phucked up things in life are the ones that you remember later and laugh about - like today - ROFL!!)  The whole plane was asleep/recovering except for one obnoxious American woman loudly speaking in babytalk and singing Barny-style to her 2 year old.  SHUT UUUUUUUP!  Nobody cares that your kid is The Most Precious In The World.  We're trying to sleep!  (This woman put localfolk  to shame.  People were staring - and not in a good way.)

I look at the photos on my camera and phone and oooohh  shiiiiiiiiiiiiiii    when did I take that?  I am CRACKING myself up looking at the videos.  It is like the scene at the end of "The Hangover"when they find the camera and can't remember what's on it.  That's US this weekend in Dubai. Ridiculously fun.

Do-over? ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Greed and Waste: 4-year-old Al-Manshar Mall Being Demolished

Al-manshar mall in Fahaheel is only 4 years old.  It is a lovely little place with small souvenir shops, restaurants, etc, across the street from Kout Mall.  All the shop owners have been asked to vacate by June so that the mall can be demolished for the creation of yet ANOTHER mall with higher rents.

What a waste.

Instead of tearing lovely malls down, why not get creative and try to re-work what you have?  Malls throughout Kuwait have lots of foot traffic with very little being sold.  Al-Manshar at least has places where you can buy gift items from Kuwait (or about Kuwait).

It is owned by the same people who own the 360 Mall;  another pretty mall that lots of people don't frequent - unless it is to go to the restaurants or coffee shops.  Perhaps it is time to change the business model....

I would love to see a Mubarakia-style mall in Al-Manshar; traditional which would draw people. Lots of expats live in Fintas/Fahaheel/Mahboula - why not cater to that market?

So sad that Kuwait is obsessed with making money (and obviously - NOT with planning).

Please tell me that at the very least the building materials will be recycled.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Ok so my mom has been trying to figure out who Stealth reminds her of.  Then she remembered:  Furio Giunta from the Sopranos.  (Giggles).   Furio was the hitman from Sicily who fell in love with Tony's wife, Carmella.

Maybe the hair.... Definitely not the nose.

Federico Castelluccio aka "Furio")

Seeing things differently now that my mom is around

I've been having a great time since my mom got here.  She's only here on a short visit; never wants to stay more than 2 weeks so she can get back to her lovely home on the lake.  I can understand that. I don't like being away from my own space very long.  But... I wish she was staying a lot longer.  I love having her around.  I don't realize how much I miss her until she's right next to me (although I spend a lot of time missing her anyways).

I also like having her around to see things through her perspective.  I try to include her in things that involve my friends.  I want her to get to know them - and them her.  It is important for others to know where  you come from; who your people are; who they have come to know without knowing the whole picture of who you really are.  I love that she has chosen to be friends with the people in my Kuwaiti life who I love.

And I love how I see the same picture in a different light.

On the positive side, she reinforces my belief in my dear friends and knows - as I do - that they are here to support me and care for me should I ever need them.

But with positive comes negative, doesn't it?  It isn't always good and sometimes people who you believe are there to support you sometimes disappoint....   When my mother first came to visit me - about 18 months after I moved here - she was invited to my Kuwaiti friends' family homes. We were busy constantly with invitations; We spent a long time with Kuwaiti friends' families,  and the kids, wives, husbands - the entire extended family.  For those friends who didn't have large homes/families, there were endless invitations out to dinner.  My mother was revered for being a mother; and that is a huge form of respect to me.  She noted that during those days, she was respected as an older person while out in public; people smiled and were courteous.  (Now people push past her as if she's too slow).  Those days have passed.  It is a different Kuwait.

Old Friends:  Kuwaiti friends who I have known for years and years are suddenly too busy to invite my mother for a meal while she is here.  Invitations to my dinners in my home in her honor are ignored or bypassed as if it was an everyday occurrence.  People who I know, know better.  I want to know what is happening to customs?  It makes me sad.    Is everything casual?  Does anyone know what "ayeb" means anymore?  I maintain friendships.  I treasure them.  I take it seriously.  Respect my family and you respect me.

New Friends:  Tonight I had dinner at the invitation of Special K and his family with our friends at his home in South Surra.  His mother cooked.  His dad and mom spoke to my mother at length.  I felt truly respected because they respected my mother so much.  Special K has been out of the country for 16 years and is Kuwaiti (maybe he remained "old Kuwaiti" while the pulse of the country's customs changed while he was away.)  The total length of time for the dinner was about 3 hours; and that 3 hours  meant so much to me because it was true Kuwaiti hospitality as I remember it; as I know it should be.  (Thanks, K, and your whole family.  You know how much I adore all of you.  You are dear, dear friends and thank you for making my mother happy.)

As my mom says, people change and life goes on.  Maybe your newer friends are better friends.  Maybe friendships do have an expiration date and God lets you know when it is time to move on.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Send Emilio a letter from Kuwait

I thought this was interesting and I have never received this kind of request before, so I'm posting it.  I hope some of you will send him letters/stamps as well. :)...

"Good morning how are you? My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world. I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet.

A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favour: Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Kuwait? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Kuwait in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world.

My postal address is the following one: Emilio Fernandez Esteban Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44 28902 Getafe (Madrid) Spain If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings. Yours Sincerely Emilio Fernandez"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

American Business Council Golf Tournament - May 4

Under the Patronage of The Honorable Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller, ABCK invites you to participate in its 11th Annual Golf tournament, scheduled on Friday, May 4th at the Sahara Club. It is a 4-man 18 Hole Texas Scramble Competition (no handicap). Below are the registration details to sign-up individually or as a team of 4 players. Please note that we have limited numbers for player enrollment, therefore your registration will be based on first-come-first served. Sign-up Registration via return email to toreserve your enrollment in the tournament

March 14 - Last R&R Flight into Dallas Ft. Worth

“Welcome Home” Program Ends after almost 9 years

Since 2004 volunteers gathered to welcome home soldiers at DFW. March 14 marked the last of those incoming flights for Dallas (from Kuwait) and the end of the line for volunteers, some whom never missed a single week and never asked for anything in return. They just wanted to make a difference.

There were in excess of 3,000 people there including several Tuskegee Airmen, and Congressman Sam Johnson a former POW of 7 years, the Sergeant Major of the Army (of which there have only been 14). The Commanding General for Ft. Hood was there as were numerous other General Officers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spoof on Work in Kuwaiti Public Sector

This is yet another short clip from one of my new favorite Kuwaiti comedy groups, Shenoya3nitv on YouTube.  Part of what I love about Kuwaitis is their ability to laugh at themselves; self-deprecating humor at it's best, poking fun at Government workers in Kuwait...

Commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the blog holder (or maybe it does...).

... and another thing.....

Why is it that Kuwaitis never take their sunglasses off indoors?  When you go to the mall, everybody is wearing their sunglasses - even into the dark hours.  My friend, Butterfly and her husband, walked around the mall for hours with their sunglasses on - on purpose - to fit in.  Nobody notices of course but they got a giggle out of it (yeah yeah, cheap thrills in Kuwait).  It's like that 1980's song, Sunglasses at Night.  Dudes.  (I know, I know... geezing.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 2012 Openings for US

I haven't heard anything about these AC First guys, but here it is.


Today my mother arrives in Kuwait.  It has been about 5 years since the last time she visited.  I can't wait for her to get here. 

This year, we don't have to leave The Bubble very often.  When I lived in Salmiya, my mom freaked out about the traffic and almost kissed the ground every time we "made it home alive".  Now that I'm in Rumaithiya, I don't often go to Salmiya at night or when there is a lot of traffic - I work around it.  It has become yet another area like Hawalli or Jabriya that I try to avoid (sorry Slaps but your place is different because it is easy ingres/egres).  I love suburban living in Kuwait.  I'll never ever live in a high rise again.

I got all the "mommy food groups."  We have this thing in our family about having specific foods available for specific family members.  My mom's food group consists of sparkling water, milk, coffee, and usually some kind of breakfast item like scones or croissants (Sultan Center has scones. Does anybody know where else they sell them in Kuwait?).  My food group is real simple: tequila and OJ.  My sister never comes to visit either of us, so I wouldn't know what to get her.  Maybe a leaf of lettus or something like that.

She loves yellow, so I decorated "her" room in yellow and white.  By "her" room, I mean that a while back (18+ months?) Freedom Furniture had a sale on bedroom furniture and I thought it was my "duty" to buy a bedroom set on the off-chance that my mother might come to visit (in a few years...).  What???  It was cute.

I bought some flowering plants for my terrace and my Irish Cousin came over to do "Rent-a-Husband" chores like fixing things in my bathroom and putting up a sun shade so the flowering plants won't die.  There was a huge sale at one of the nurseries on 4th Ring Road and I ended up getting 3 large flowering trees for 15KD each.  One of them, I think I may have already killed.  Don't ask me why.  I just have a brown thumb.  The only plants I can't kill are bamboo sticks that  you put in water.  Anyways, Irish Cousin did an amazing job and I'm gonna have to borrow him more often. tee hee.

I had to call Bunny the next day and confess that another man had used his power tools to drill holes in my wall.  Okay, so I bequeathed the power drill to Bunny several years ago, but then took it back and now it is mine again. I've lent that thing to everybody I know.  Now I know why men are so obsessive about not lending people their power tools!  Sheesh.  I'm missing drill bits all over Kuwait - in all sizes.  What is a girl to do without her drill bits?  What a waste of a perfectly good power tool. 

I digress.

So, Butterfly is going to go with my moms on the Morqab Tours - which reminds me that I need to call them (unless you are reading this and then you already know.  I miss you guys.)

My mom has been here so many times that it will be a struggle for me to take her to anyplace new.  She doesn't like the mall crawl; although I'm going to take her to Dean & Deluca (people watching, "Cirque D'Avenues", and food!) and 360 (because it is beautiful).  I wish I could get her out on the water because she loves it (and not just the 1KD boat either). 

I just pray that the weather is going to be nice and not dusty.

Some days I feel like this

... without the weed.

Pakistani Design Fashion Show

Sunday, April 08, 2012