Monday, September 11, 2017

Kuwait's landmarks of childhood disappear By Nawara Fattahova

Below is an article on a subject I have thought of often - especially driving around Salmiya.  Kuwait is changing fast and many of our old landmarks have disappeared.  It's unfortunate, but a sign of "progress."  Personally, I liked the old, laid-back Kuwait of yester-year (and by that, I mean even 10-15 years ago).  Even before that, I remember the gender-divided restaurants (which were FUN because they actually had more flirt-appeal).  Bachelors sat on one side and families on the other.  I remember buying a shawarma for 250 fils!   And families with kids had plenty of places to go. But now it seems like the country that was referred to as "kid-friendly" is loosing many of the kid-friendly places.  

Like the trees in Kuwait, places are being chopped-down, but not replaced.

Good article, Nawara!  You stated what a lot of us are thinking.

Kuwait's landmarks of childhood disappear
By Nawara Fattahova
Kuwait Times

It's a sad feeling not being able to go to places we used to enjoy visiting when we were kids.  Change is a part of life, but when the change removes most or all of your favorite entertainment places and stores, it hurts.  The trend started by demolishing Showbiz, the most popular entertainment park in Kuwait during the 1970s and 1980s, before Entertainment City was built in Doha. The place also housed a mini­zoo, pony rides and other attractions. Green Hill opposite Showbiz disappeared much earlier.

Then came the demolition of one of the two complexes of the old Salmiya Souq on Salem Al-Mubarak Street. This complex had many of my favorite shops including Waleed Toys, Family Bookshop, Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor, Hardees fast food and many others. Ten years after it was razed, a new building is being built and the entire street will change in the future to become a promenade where cars will be banned.  At least the complex on the opposite side is still standing, so some childhood memories are alive, although the popular toy store disappeared after the liberation in 1991.

The drive-in cinemas, which were not available anywhere else in the region, were also demolished. The main one on the Sixth Ring Road was replaced with 360 Mall. The other smaller one was in Ahmadi. Many other cinemas disappeared too, including Salmiya Cinema next to the post office and Abdulhussein Abdulredha Theatre, AI-Hamra Cinema that used to be in the place of the AI-Hamra Tower, and Garnata Cinema in Khaitan, which has been replaced by a mall.

Last year, Entertainment City, which was the first and largest of its kind in the GCC when it was built in 1984, was closed for maintenance. Rumors swirled that it would reopen after a few months, but this didn't happen.  Some unofficial reports said that it will be demolished completely and rebuilt and may reopen in 2021.

The other popular entertainment park was Shaab Park on Gulf Road. This park suddenly shut down last month due to a dispute over its license and some other legal issues.  It seems it will surely be gone, and visitors of this park have lost the many rides, ice skating rink, roller blading, pony riding and the only bungee jumping place in Kuwait.

Children now can only play in small entertainment areas in some malls that are not attractive to teenagers and young people.  Or they can go to public parks, which many find boring and unsuitable to visit in this hot weather. Where wiII their childhood memories of Kuwait be created?

1 comment:

controlled chaos said...

Funny you should write about this subject. Hubby is a super old ok, middle aged Kuwaiti who routinely shows me ALL the places That used to be his school, hospital of birth, favorite falafel place, movie theaters ,open market etc. of his childhood. The ONLY place left standing is a mosque where his grandfather would often go. While I American (Colorado) smartie pants often boast that my old parks, hospitals, shopping areas, schools etc. etc.EVERYTHING are still in place, so much so that the phone numbers in the schools are still the same and honey I am wicked old.

Oh yeah and Shaab park not only deserved to be shut down it should of been burned down. My daughter was almost killed, and that is not an exaggeration on one of the rides there a couple years ago on a school field trip. I had no idea the equipment was such junk. On a ride her safety belt broke and the other girls held her down so she didn't fly out.