Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dow Deal

KUWAIT: The Cabinet has decided to set up a probe panel to look into everything related to the controversial K-Down deal between Kuwait's state-owned Petrochemical Industry Company (PIC) and American Dow Chemicals….

Kuwait has a continuing policy of, “shut the barn door after all the horses have escaped”.  Panels, committees, councils = Zero.  Talk is cheap.  Well, oops, not really:   This deal back-out may have just cost 2.16 billionin fines (not to mention something like 5,000 jobs for Kuwaitis). 

For those of us actually trying to bring business to Kuwait, it is extremely disheartening.  How can you promote Kuwait to foreign organizations when the case studies against good business practices mount up every year?  Disgraceful.

Alwatan Newspaper has a very good editorial today by Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa, titled, “Encroaching on the Jurisdictions of Other Authorities."   I like his thinking a lot. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back to Kuwait Again

I got back to Kuwait yesterday and alls I can say is 'YUK'!  I went from green to brown.  Ew.  Virginia and San Antonio were all flowers and greenness and then  - WABAM!  I land in the middle of a sandstorm.  I knew I was back when 3 old fat guys (with "I'm married and well-fed"  bellies) tried to give me their numbers at the airport.  Girls, that's the place to go if you wants to catch you a husband (as long as quality doesn't matter much to you).

My journey began at Dulles airport.   I arrived 4 hours early.  It was my sister's birthday and they had dinner reservations, so I opted to go early.  Let me just say that the United counter people are NOT nice (and I was the ONLY person in line).  It is just as easy to be kind and friendly than rude and bitchy.  The plane was delayed by 2 hours.  And... to make it even more of a lovely  experience... somehow they must have left my bags on the rainy tarmac because both of them came back soaked through with water.  Phuquers!  Whyyyyy?  Because they're pink?  None of the military duffle bags were wet.  Why my Barbie cases?  Whyyyyy???

At Dulles, there was an overweight woman in front of me at the gate in a wheelchair.  The porter dude was having a hard time pushing her and pulling her carry-on bag. I offered to help.   He wheeled her into the plane and for the rest of the flight - and upon landing in Kuwait - she was walking about freely.  I probably shouldn't judge - maybe she just couldn't make it through Dulles and all the long walks.  Maybe her feet hurt or her back or whatever.  But... to be wheeled ONTO the plane?  That is a bit much when she seemed to be fine from that point on.

Some people take advantage (like the time I faked being pregnant at Heathrow to get a ride on the golf cart thingy to the Heathrow Hilton - which is about a 15 minute walk.  ....Bygones.  I'm pretty sure karma bit me in the ass later.)

...Cut to the Kuwait customs portion  of our journey.  She's in front of me going through the x-tray machine.  She gets stopped and is obviously (sigh) a newbie.  Now newbies, listen up....  there is a right and a wrong way to pack to come to Kuwait:

Place all of your toiletries and other items you might want "overlooked" (in plastic - 100% plastic with no metal tops if you get my drift)  into a large cosmetics case. Smaller containers (like the travel-sized shampoo bottles you can buy at the drugstore) are better.  Big sized bottles no gooood.  Bundle:   Do NOT strew items about your suitcase like you are packing to go work at the flea market for the day.  That will make the customs agents want to check your bag - as happened to her.  [If you pack say... a water bottle (which is 1/2 a litre, by the way) next to a shampoo bottle in your cosmetics case and then throw in some eye shadows and a few lipsticks, people will understand that better than perhaps a large bottle of "mouthwash" in the corner of your case under your Wonder Bra.  (Men, unless you are trannies, I have very little advice for you. Sorry.  I guess you could fake being a trannie... )]

Mo' advice:  Do not hold direct eye contact with the customs agents.  I usually turn to talk jibberish to the porter dudes.  Think of the Queen.  Think of your dad in his underwear.  Think of something that will take your mind off your bags.  Unless customs dude is waaaaaaaaaaaay bagorgeous - there is really no need to strike up a conversation.

Wheelchair Lady got stopped and they were going through every little item in her case, poor thing.  Perhaps it was karma (again, je shouldn't judge, but I'm just sayin.....)


I miss my family.  I know that my sister probably wanted to have the house back to theyselves and all things have a shelf-life (fish begins to smell after a few days... yada), but still....  I miss them a lot.  I wish I was closer to my younger sister.  She does so much for me (and everybody else), but the thing I miss most is just hanging with her and laughing. We did some of that in San Antonio with my older sister too.  We don't get to hang out just the 3 of us very often.  I guess the last time was a trip we took to California in 2005.  Time flies when life gets in the way, doesn't it?

My nephew is graduating from high school next month. I'm going to try to get there (maybe just for 4 days).  I've been in Kuwait since he was 2 years old; his whole life.  Dayum.  I often wonder what I've accomplished in all this time, but I would be wondering that anywhere. I'm blessed.  I know that.  With all the vacations we get here, I probably see them more often than I would if I was working in the States.  But, it is the routine, everyday things like having dinner together or calling to share our day that I miss.  (Or looking out the window and seeing paradise on Earth.)  Alas, once you go expat, it is hard to go back.  It's a gypsy thing.   Maybe I'm just getting old and looking at things differently.  Je ne sais pas, mon amis.

Maybe it's just jetlag and the raging cold that I think I caught on the plane.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The day I'm returning to Kuwait

So I'm at my mom's house on Lake Thoreau, looking out at the water through her front window.  A pontoon boat is floating by.  It has an enormous American flag flying off the back, a fat white, shirtless guy at the helm and it is trailing what appears to be a dinghy.   But why?  It is a pontoon boat.  It doesn't need a dinghy.  The lake isn't that big and it isn't as if they are going to go down in a big storm.  Then, I notice the big dog at the end of the pontoon boat, wearing a life jacket, staring at the dinghy.  It is only then that I realize that there is another dog - a bulldog - also wearing a life jacket, being pulled in the dinghy.  He appears to be lovin life with his head over the side, staring at the world floating by.  The larger dog is the life guard/spotter.

... God, I am going to miss this place.  You don't see this kind of entertainment from my window in Rumaithiya.  No sireee.

Friday, May 11, 2012

On the River Walk in San Antonio

I'm down here for the GSA convention with Stella.  It is baGORGEOUS.  Everything is green and we're right on the river walk.  My older sister lives here, so my younger sister flew down with me (she in the front of the plane and me in the back - not that it was a tremendous difference because it was such a small plane).  We're all hangin together; them drinking wine (as usual) and me with my tequila.  Go figure - they get sloshed and I don't, as much as I try. 

Why is it that my sisters are of the belief that "adults don't do tequila shots in the morning?"  Emmm.... I don't get that and I certainly don't adhere to the philosophy.  "Hair of the dog that bit you" usually helps me immensely.  Like just this morning, when I had the DT shakes.... one good throw-down of Jose and bada BING:  all gone.

Oh, back to my fassssscinating stories (do all my stories revolve around alcohol these days???  Apparently so.  Je ne giveashit pas.)

There were several couples of Middle-Eastern people on the plane.  I guess the guys are either students or down here training at one of the air force bases.  I struck up a conversation in Arabic with a very nice young Saudi couple (in Arabic) while I waited for my gy-normous Pepto-pink suitcase (it embarrasses the bejezus out of my sister).  A lot of the older cowboys turned around to stare - not at the Saudi couple, but more likely trying to figure me out.  How is it that I'm speaking Arabic?  Imagine that.

Stella is at the hotel and I haven't seen her yet.  I think we're going to meet for happy hour this evening.  Her daughters are meeting her here for the weekend also.  (Yes, we ARE here to do business.  Really.  Honest.) 

This trip is so much fun already.

Today, we had lunch at a restaurant on the River Walk called "Boudro's".  Awesome place.  They make their own guacamole at your table (which is hard when it is packed with fat people and ducks).  I was about to order a margarita... but I just couldn't do it and be in the sun.  I love the River Walk.  It is so pretty.  There are flowers and the river is full of duck couples with leeetle baby ducklings.  (Why does my mind immediately head towards duck pate?  So wrong.)  There are live oak trees hanging over the water and everything is so green.

I just can't get used to any form of humidity after living so long in Kuwait in dry heat.  Down here, my hair looks like the before shot of some make-over show.  It is awful.  I don't have any choice than to let it go natural, but what a mess.  I'm getting another Copola keratin treatment at Arden as soon as I get to DC.  Enough of this crap.

The beds at the Westin are great and I've been sleeping really well - except for last night when I had a bad dream (okay it wasn't scary or so bad, but the feeling was bad) about The Man last night. I never dream about him.  However - I can always hear him thinking of me and he has been doing a lot of that lately.  (Yep, that's right - I hear you.  Why do you have to go all telepathy when it is so much easier just to pick up a phone than to send me an ESP message.  I hear you and  you can stop sending me the messages.   but I'm angry as phuck at you for what you did, so you owe me in a huge way.  You're talking to other people about how guilty you feel - and she agrees with me, I'm sure - when you should be expending your energy on saying it to ME. And guess what:  There IS no such thing as "I'll make it up to you."  I'm NOT that girl.  Stay OUT of my extremely-comfortable-Westin-5-star-bed sleep!)

So then, after the convention, it is going to be back to DC where I will spend a few more days in the company of my moms (crabs!!!  Yummm), and shopping - just to ensure that I leave the states with like zero fils left in my KFH bank account. 

So far, only 3 pairs of shoes.  One pair doesn't count, however, as they are flip-flops (chanclettas) which everybody knows are just "foot covering" in the WWW of shoes.

Ok, it is 2:00.  Time to get off here and start drinking again, Texas-style.  Wooo hooo.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

en.v: Promoting Social Activism & Youth Engagement in Kuwait

A reader asked me to post this, so here goes.  It sounds like an interesting group and I'm all about promoting efforts that I believe in - especially if it is for the betterment of Kuwait, my second home.  (Call it my "give back" after  previous posts in reference general drunkenness and debauchery.  ROCK ON!)  On a more serious note, I find it  little sad that grass-roots groups like this working for the betterment of their own country, can get grants through the US Department of State and not their own governments.  More should be done to that end.  (Perhaps I'm wrong and there are grant initiatives going on in Kuwait that I'm not aware of - if you know, write to me.)

Voice for Success: Promoting Social Activism & Youth Engagement in Kuwait
What is “success”? For most people, success is having a high-paying job, a fancy car, or a nice house. But at en.v, we believe in a different definition of success. It’s undeniable that Kuwait today faces many challenges. Yet, most of us tend to rant rather than take decisive action. There are, however, a growing number of committed individuals and young organizations who are ready to take up the challenge for a better tomorrow. Voice for Success, a program initiated by en.v in collaboration with The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), aims to celebrate these people’s achievements and give them greater visibility in hopes of inspiring others, particularly Kuwaiti youth, to follow in their footsteps.

Through the Voice for Success program, en.v has been developing short videos and articles illustrating initiatives that contribute to the social development of Kuwait. en.v then promotes this content on its online news portal as well as through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube amongst others. Let us begin our journey with Faisal Al Fuhaid, founder of EQUAIT, who in his video report tells us about how and why he decided to get involved in the fight against bullying and discrimination in Kuwaiti schools. PhD Candidate Dalal Al Abdulrazzak also tells us an insightful story about the devastating consequences of practices like shrimp trawling and over-fishing on Kuwait’s marine life. Eighteen-year-old Hiba Arshad is the founder of I AM Challenge Kuwait – an initiative in which young people commit themselves to wearing the same T-Shirt for a whole year! Through their volunteering efforts, Abdullah al Khonaini and Mohammad Al Mulla of Sout Al Kuwait educate the general public about their constitutional rights and the role of civic participation in protecting them. In a series of Voice for Success Articles, we feature Shamlan Al Bahar, a young Kuwaiti social entrepreneur who has dedicated his professional career to the promotion of youth entrepreneurship. Fajer Qasem, creator of the Goodwill Calendar and the Green Habits Campaign, is also a model citizen that tirelessly attempts to promote greater awareness and activism amongst her fellow Kuwaitis.

Show your support for these inspiring young activists by sharing their achievements with your network of friends and family!
Want further inspiration? Check out all of the videos and articles created to date for the Voice for Success program at:

About Voice for Success
Voice for Success is a program initiated by en.v in collaboration with The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). It aims to promote social activism in Kuwait by giving promising young activists greater visibility through targeted media platforms and campaigns throughout the course of 2011 and 2012.The main objectives of the program are to raise awareness about the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time and encourage creativity, innovation and greater civic participation amongst the younger generations.
About en.v
en.v (a subsidiary of El Boutique Creative Group is an initiative dedicated to social responsibility in the Arab world. en.v’s primary objective is to seek out public sector bodies, private sector and civil society organizations in the region, document their efforts, and create interactivity between them towards developing a more thought-conscious society. Using formats that are appealing to the masses, en.v strives to develop mediums that entities can utilize as platforms for communicating their social efforts and engaging their respective stakeholder communities.
About MEPI
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a unique program designed to engage directly with and invest in the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI works to create vibrant partnerships with citizens to foster the development of pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies throughout the MENA region. MEPI partners with local, regional and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and governments. More information about MEPI can be found at:
To Learn More:


Join en.v

Join the en.v Facebook Fan Page:

Follow us on

Watch us on Youtube:

For more information please contact:

The en.v Initiative
Tel: +965 2252- 4614
Fax: +965 2252-4615

SHIFT: Kuwaiti Film Night - May 8/9 Garnata Cinema

For info/Tickets, write to