Persian Gulf sunscapes

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Persian Gulf Sunset from Ras Salmiya in Kuwait

One of my favorite thing  to do  on Fridays back then in Kuwait is just watching the splendor of the sunsets along the Ras Salmiya strip . People jog or run here but it is a great place as well to walk on late afternoons.Here I can have  the best views of the Persian Gulf or also known as Arabian Gulf. It’s always guaranteed to have a great picture, all you need is the frame.You know it’s gonna be a great day when the temperature is just right ( better ones are in Mid October~March ) and of course, free from sandstorms.This is the most photographed site in in Kuwait aside from the Icon of Architecture in Kuwait, the Kuwait Towers.

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Arabian Gulf sunsets -Expat stories in Kuwait

I had beautiful memories of the metamorphosis of the sky turning into a wonderful work of art within seconds.My mind just drift away whenever I’m watching the calm waves gushing along the waterfront of Scientific Center in Salmiya.

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Arabian Gulf Sunsets-canvass in the sky

Couldn’t believe that the same waters have been the battlefield from 1980~1988. Would you appreciate this if its filled with oil spills and dark with gloom during the oil fires from Kuwait invasion?

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Arabian gulf sunset-Canvas painting in the sky  

If the weather is dust free you can even have a rare beautiful view of the Kuwait Towers further along the Marina crescent. This is the best time to sit along the banks and just leisurely watch the jet-skiers do their moves and enjoy an afternoon dip in the beach.

Aren’t simple things are the best ones? natural beauty, unspoilt.

Take it from me, no sunset is the same as the other. Everyone is different from the rest.

Where is your best sunset memories in your area?

 

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Achtung! Stumbling Stone {Stolpersteine}pt. 2

 

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Wandertag quest : Finding the Stolspersteine in Ingolstadt, Germany

I was really looking forward for the weekend so I could have  time to find the rest of the Stolspersteine in Ingolstadt. Yesterday was Sunday, as usual a Ruhetag here in Germany where practically half of the town is still sleeping around 8 a.m . We began our Wandertag-Sonntag to look for the 5 Stolspersteine . I like this time because the streets are quiet and not crowded. I previously wrote about this fascinating art project by Gunter Demnig that has been regarded as the largest memorial project in the whole world. I am grateful at the same time feeling fulfilled that I was able to see these ‘stumbling stones’ in  my own eyes.

All that travel could give you, more than delight is the  priceless experience of  exploring the charm of this quaint Bavarian town of Ingolstadt. It’s really more than Audi cars, Neues Schloss and the  Donau River.

Here’s the trail we did to find the  5 Stolspersteine’s sights. Most of these stumbling stones are laid in the old town and within the city center of Ingolstadt.

Beckerstrasse 27

Paradeplatz 5

 

Theresienstrasse 28

Griesmülstrasse 6

 

Luftgasse 2

 

We ended the trail by visiting the memorial site in the Luitpoldpark by Dagmar Pachtner to honor the victims of the Nazi regime in Ingolstadt.We discover this during one of our strolls in the woods.The blue panels are not hard to miss if you are either cycling or just passing by Luitpoldpark.

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Nazi victims memorial site in Luitpoldpark
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Project initiated by Dagmar Pachtner for National Socialism ‘s victims in Ingolstadt, Germany.

 “A person is only forgotten, if his name is forgotten.”

{Gunter Demnig, Artist -Stolpersteine Project }

How did you spend your weekend?  Did you do anything fun?

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Kuwait as we see it | Frame

Looking back on our early days in Kuwait we see a different world which other Expats don’t see. A place of rare opportunities, answered prayers, and a calm beauty against its harsh climate. Lying along Arabian gulf is Al-Kout’s waterfront, a mixed used complex that is frequented by Expats and locals on usual Friday outings.It has a beachfront lined with Date trees, fancy restaurants, a mall, a line of coffee shops and a rather charming look out Tower where you can have great views of the sea.

 

A scenic view from Al Kout’s look out tower, here we saw one of Kuwait’s precious gem–a quiet spot where you see boats docked in the water-line bordering the fountains & the calm waters of Arabian Gulf. Here they play choreographed music while the dancing fountain makes the young ones and adult stare with glee for hours.

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Kuwait as we see it from the look out tower in Al-Kout waterfront in Fahaheel

A leisure waterfront that maximize the beauty of the Arabian Gulf. Just imagine if Kuwait doesn’t lie along Arabian Gulf and all it has is the barren desert?

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#Kuwait as I see it
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View from the scaffolding’s frames of  Arabian Gulf waterfront from Pearl Marzouk,Ras Salmiya- Kuwait

Where to catch the best panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf? where else but from the Penthouse Floor of one of the Iconic luxury apartment building –Pearl Marzouk ( Lolo’at Al Marzouk ) which has been undergoing a serious restoration up until now.My husband worked on to this project before when He was still working in Kuwait. Here we saw Kuwait’s pride, another  streamlined beautiful waterfront. A view that anyone would dreamed of having once they woke up in the morning.We always take a walk along this waterfront along Ras Salmiya. Here we chase sunsets & sunrises and have seen the magical charm of  dusk & dawns.We see this azure blue waters everyday once we look out from the window. The first beach that my daughter had played on & swim on. Despite the scaffolding frames, this view is impregnated in my mind.Bluer than blue.

But if you don’t live in Kuwait, this next view is always tainted, (hidden from your eyes) the waterfront in Souk Sharq ‘s view that we have learned to accept as part of our stay in this country. A view that even the locals abhor. A view of Kuwait in its greyish-brown dust frame-Sandstorm day. The skycrapers behind loomed in gloom.

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Same country , same beachfront,  but  a skyline masked with dust. #Kuwaitinoureyes.

They say you need to see the bad before you can see the beauty.

Kuwait has it both.

If given the chance, do you think you can live in Kuwait? Tell me what you think..

In response to today’s Photo Challenge |Frame

 

Toddler Tantrums & Terrible Twos!

As we all know, Little Miss Independent is happiest when she can call the shots, but when she’s not allowed to do it..There she goes!

Screaming bloody horror .

 

Nowadays, she behave like this for some moments in the grocery shop, she hates it! in  the mall, in the bathroom , while changing her diaper that becomes a daily battle, during dinner that could last up to an hour, or even just watering the plants.She wants to do it her way. Her own way!

This is the aftermath of our struggle. Her. on the floor.

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The point of No Surrender ,normally last for the next 40-60 seconds of bloody murder screaming and crying as if the whole world is falling apart. #RaisingNatalie

 

While we’re at our Creative Dancing Class, everyone was leaping and smiling with glee. Our teacher was teaching new moves so the tiny tots can imitate.My daughter ran out from the circle and ran over to the corner where the costumes and sticks are stacked. She began to climb one chair and pull one stick, then another. Call me helicopter Mama, but of course I ran over to get her & return all the sticks. Those are sharp and could hurt her.

“Not a toy “,  I said.

Then she ran to the couch and throws all the pillows all over the place.Then she just dropped there on the floor, screaming in horror and crying out up to her lungs.I tried to pick her up but then she kicked me, whining, and she keeps on wiggling so I let her go and leave her alone in her performance. I tried to ignore the stares of the other parents.

Whew, when did she become  so strong?

This is the time for Tantrums &  Meltdown they say.

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Life with Balls -Freeze the moments when she’s sane! #ToddlerLife

One moment she’s an adorable sweet little munchkin. All smiles and kissing you all over. Rubbing your hands and back , cuddling you. But now suddenly..she began to transform into a brat, from throwing toys and food, into banging her head on the floor.

Oh ok, pretty normal. Development stage.

There is HOPE and these things too, shall Pass.

 

 For those who can relate–

 

“You get two big windows of opportunity in your life to do stuff like build castles, lick pebbles, watch Super Simple songs and Baby Shark Shark, and just plain play: the first when you are a child, the second when you have ONE. Don’t get too busy or wrapped up in the grown-up stuff to miss it.”

How was your life with a Toddler? Have you had times like these? X

7 Signs that shows you’re becoming like Dutch

Well, some of you already  knows that I’m married to a Dutch guy , Oh Yes, the Almighty Dutch syndrome is in my system and I can’t deny it. My daughter is even growing up more and more like Dutch , and no one’s to blame, she’s Dutch for a fact. It’s in her genes. I have tried feeding her more rice and Adobo   but she prefers bread (Brood ) of course with chocolate Sprinkles –Hagelslag!  What a way to raise a chocoholic, don’t you think?

Over the years, I found myself turning into somewhat like my husband. I couldn’t believe it’s happening before my eyes.I am Liking what He likes, and end up doing what  he normally does. Does this sound weird?

But NO– I would never be converted into eating the raw Haring and Drop.

Anyway, here  I’d to share with you 7 top signs that shows you’re becoming like Dutch, what has become of Me-like I am slowly being Dutchie-fied!

  • You eat potatoes. Everyday– Fried. Smashed. Boiled.Baked. Name it all. Friet. Frieten.Patat. Pommes. Goodness gracious, If  we don’t have potatoes in a week, we are going to be doomed. Even for the chips snacks, we preferred potato chips, but only Paprika flavor simply because in The Netherlands, the only flavor of chips that Dutch most adored is Paprika! I’ve never eaten so much potatoes in my entire life since I’ve been married to a Dutch guy.
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Potatoes, french fries, friets, anything goes with it . Schnitzel with pommes, why not?

 

  • You cycle everywhere you go. No matter what.- It’s universal truth-the Netherlands is the cycling capital of the world. Nothing beats them when it comes to cycling. You are practically married to your bike or in Dutch they call it ‘Fiets’(pronounced as ‘feets’). Every Dutch has a bike, even more than one. The first functional gift you could ever give to a Dutch toddler is a wooden bike or a walking bike. Only the Dutch parents can prove to the whole world that it is both legal and alright to transport another human being along with their bags and groceries, plants, & pets at the same time. Talk about genius when you see their ‘Bakfiets’.  Everything goes in two wheels. When you move to the Netherlands, you will definitely buy a bike. When my husband moved to Kuwait with me, his bike also fly to Kuwait to be with him. Best Buddies eh!
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Just turned 2 and already a Cycling enthusiast! 

 

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Typical Dutch Mama with her ‘Bakfiets’ and kids..and canals-Welcome to the Netherlands! (Photo credit to wojofoto on flickr)
  • You give Three (3) Kisses Right cheek, left cheek, right cheek. This is the right way to give Three Dutch kisses. If a Dutch like you, they give you three kisses.  Today I met a new German friend,she was so nice and we had a great time chatting and as we part ways and say Tsüss, I found myself giving her 3 kisses. She just looked at me smilingly and I thought, I just really like her.Period.

 

  • You can run in steep stairs even in pitch dark nights – Ja, I did it and I don’t mind. I could run and climb these stairs without vertigo. You need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s in the 2nd floor-No problem!  My daughter climb these very steep stairs from my parents-in-law when she was about to turn 1. Wonder how in the world Dutch people put those furniture up there in the upper level of the house? It runs in the family. Have you seen steep stairs of Dutch houses yourself?

 

 

  • You own one of these. A Dutch staple during showers.- A washcloth or Washandjes. Don’t panic, this is only a piece of a towel which Dutchies use in showers.While I grew up using Loofa, sponges and stone, my husband introduced to me the use of these wash cloths. They are very handy,hygienic, easy to use and don’t easily fall, easy to wash, and great if you have babies. You can use it as long as the threads doesn’t fall off, not like the sponges that you need to toss after 2-3 weeks of use, or else, it’s Yuck!
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Dutch’s Washandjes- they even have a disposable one. Very handy for travelling with toddlers.

 

  • You memorized the Dutch’s Birthday congratulations and song – Ever been to a Dutch’s birthday party? One of the first things I’ve memorized so far and sing in Dutch. This is probably one of my culture shock since I got married and learn about Dutchiness. It’s totally different from the Birthday celebrations in Philippines or in Kuwait. I have never attended a birthday party before eating only cake & coffee.Yes- Only in the Netherlands!
  • On any given occasions, you put balls in your mouth– Why it’s round I don’t know, the Bitterballen, Ollieballen, Meatballs, ( Gehaktballen) Kroket etc. Dutch tends to loved deep-fried good old balls and sticks. It’s always a clean plate whenever we have these. My daughter’s personal favorite is the Krentenbollen.Yum! Anything I have missed? I must say that I mastered the art of making ‘meatballs’and ‘Gehakt spices’has become a mainstay in our kitchen.
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Typical Dutch Food you must try !

 

 

What Dutch things you have loved yourself? I’m curious, what do you use during your showers? 🙂

 

 

Achtung! Stumbling stone! {Stolpersteine} pt.1

IMG_1436 “A person is only forgotten, if his name is forgotten.”

{Gunter Demnig, Artist -Stolpersteine Project }

Have you heard about ‘Stolpersteine’?

Neither did I.

The other day,  my ever-charming husband and I were talking about random things about Germany, and then he mentioned it. For a minute I asked him, ‘can you spell that for me?’ He sent me a link in English (of course!) then my mind travels and marvels on  this interesting project. He said I could write about it but I replied : ” I cannot write for something I do not know, seen or experienced.”

To tell you frankly, I don’t know anything much about Germany , Nazi and Holocaust either. I mean, I am from the Far East, on the other side of the planetI know Germany is nice,beautiful country with great cars & sausages that’s it. My knowledge about WW II’s aftermath is not as wide as the concentration camps and astounding stats of the victims. What has been taught to us in school ( from what I remembered ) is the battles with Japanese & Americans, and the Battle of Corregidor. The ones lingered in my mind is Pearl Harbor, Douglas  MacArthur & Japanese invasion but NO- Never I have heard of Holocaust.

I’ve watched the films ( and I loved them) The Pianist & Schindler’s List but I never imagined that travelling could allow me to gain knowledge about what happened in the past along with my eagerness to learn about German culture & History now as part of integration. When I told my mother that we are moving to Germany, she clumsily retorted – ‘ Hitler,  Germans are cruel-or bad people! ‘ Same with the comments I’ve got from my friends. They don’t know anything either. Please excuse this ignorance. I couldn’t blame them. I was once like this and these events happened long before I was born.

You see, when you begin to learn something about what happened in the past and relate it to the present then your mind is being opened. You begin to understand. As a tourist  you don’t dig deep on those inscriptions in the monuments or memorials. From a short trip you only bring home photographs. But History is a great thing.

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Stolperstein –A person is only forgotten -if his name is forgotten.

But  from what I have observed here, it’s not publicly talked about, nobody wants to open old wounds. Even the mention of “He who must not be named and talked about ” is not something you talk over a cup of tea or beer. Stolpersteine let me understand more the symbolic way of learning about the dark past of Germany & Holocaust victims. From zero knowledge of the Jews and National Socialism, I began to understand.

‘Stolpersteine’ ( stumbling stone in English)  are literally stones, plaques, or blocks–whatever you may call it but it’s mainly a Holocaust memorial stones laid across Europe. They are special stumbling stones. The English translation is relative of course since it’s basically laid on the ground and in the place where the victim’s last home. Laid along a path with busy traffic of people walking around, to ‘stumbled on’. I find it interesting that the artist thought of these stones as depicting the victims of Holocaust were humans-with names ( and not just a number in the stats) who once walked the same paths were the stones were laid . Same path I was walking now.This is by far the largest decentralized memorial project in the world!

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Stumbling blocks nothing special on the outside. Gunter Demnig says: You are not Forgotten unless your name is forgotten. So true.

These 4 inch² brass plaques indicates Holocaust victim’s name, date of birth, date of arrest, camp(s) deported to and fate. The Stolpersteine project began in 1996 as a symbolic art project by German Gunter Demnig. Although this project is to commemorate all Holocaust victims, most of the Stolpersteine are dedicated to Jews. Since then it had grown to around 50,000 Stolpersteine have been placed across Europe, from Norway to Italy,and from The Netherlands to Ukraine.
Gunter Demnig has always been aware that it will never be possible to lay  Stolpersteine for the millions of victims of the Nazis – thus his project remains symbolic.
Each Stolperstein is made and laid by hand. Michael Friedrichs-Friedländer makes and embossed some 450 Stolpersteine a month . The artist,Gunter Demnig travels across Germany and Europe and  personally lays them.

Today, I was out  doing some errands and I decided to take my daughter to the nearby ‘Trampoline’ in Paradeplatz  opposite of the New Castle ( Neues Schloss ) .We’ve been here numerous times since she loved it there. From the time we decided to head back home, my daughter’s pacifier fell on the ground and while I was about to pick it up, I stared at the cobbled stone ground that I was standing on and shrieked in surprise. Stolspersteine!

I’ve found one.

I saw one of the Stolpersteine. In Ingolstadt. In Paradepltz 5.

There are more  “stumbling blocks” in Ingolstadt. This was initiated by history teacher Dr. Fritz Schaffer with 14 students of Christoph Scheiner-Gymnasium. You can found our trail for finding the 5 Stolpersteine in Ingolstadt Here.

Do you live in Europe?  Do you want to search and see for yourself the Stolspersteine? You can check this Timetable for places you can find them.

Maybe it’s just in the streets  where you pass every day. I know in The Netherlands , there are special tours for viewing all the Stolpersteine  in Amsterdam. You can check it while you visit Anne Frank’s house in Merwedeplein 37 . I would definitely look for this If I visited Amsterdam again.

Tell me, how can you say you’ve not forgotten someone if you can’t even remember his or her name?

Thank you for reading my friends, If you have your own quest stories like this please feel free to share it in comments .

 

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Beauty along the way | Wandertag

One of the things that I loved about Germans is their passion for walking. If you love running/ walking, then you will adore Germany. It was a bit shock to me seeing how people just loved to walk. Nordic walking is quite  popular  and Volkslauf on the weekends in the forest paths are long part of German culture. Walking is a lifestyle and Wandertags are simply delightful for families,and  something that I always look forward to do once given a chance. It makes me smile seeing ‘older’ people walking relentlessly, with their hiking sticks and trekking stuffs. They are so active, so full of life. No matter what the weather is,they are out there, walking. Just don’t walk on their cycling paths, it’s a different story!

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‘Shadow cast’

Since the time that we’ve moved here, there’s never a day that we didn’t take a walk. Minus the days that the weather is so gloomy and grey. Even if it’s just in the neighborhood to calm the cranky toddler. Aside from the usual weekend strolls we always paved to post-dinner walks. I got used to seeing that it’s  still bright at 8pm, still nice to be out. Working hours is less  stressful compared to Kuwait so I find it perfect to have  quality time with family even after work.

Another reason to be out walking is to see the beauty after it rained. Lately these are the treasures I find while roaming around.

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Finding beauty along the way. Like a tiny drop of water from a flower soon– it will disappear. This moment should be frozen. In a photo like this.

Coming from the Middle East that most people shun the sight of sun because it’s too hot to leisurely walk outside, especially from  summer months of April~October, walking is not a norm. The soles of your shoes will soon fall out!

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A Refreshing view of the buds still wet from the morning mist of rain showers. Simple life treasures to behold.

Let alone that  footpaths are not a norm nor  cycling paths. In the PH, either you walk while you drenched in sweat because of humidity or you just wanna kill time. Either way, walking is something of a personal choice.It’s something that you do because you need to do it, not because you enjoy doing it.

What I like about Wandertags is the access of finding the Beauty along the Way. Calling it rather as your subconscious exploration , or whatever. Have you noticed how your thoughts wander while you walk? There’s so much beauty of nature for me to appreciate. I am always amazed. I never get too tired to gaze upon it.

This is why I love how Johanna shares her “Monday Walk” adventures . Walking alone is rejuvenating if you crave peace & quiet but walking with company is even more exciting. Have you  tried finding inner peace while walking & roaming just like RestlessJo ‘s passion?

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Nature’s pallete–  A ray of different colors in one flower. A metamorphosis of beauty that only the patient soul can find.

I was even more motivated to follow this path knowing that it brings good to your soul. There’s something about walking and discovering beauty in all its forms in any way. Just like the way  Annette of Beauty Along The Road ‘s approach to life, savoring life’s simple pleasures.

I wouldn’t discover these  if I had not taken the guts to walk, sweat out & explore by having the right attitude. I am glad that in these exploration, I was able to freeze the moment where nature just magically display its splendor. I’m glad my iPhone is always handy to take photos of these sights.I called them iSights.

In the end, I said to myself, that I don’t really  have the right to complain about life. There’s so much goodness in it. So much beauty. Along the Way.

What’s your opinion about walking? Do you like it?

Tell me how you find it as  more than a form of exercise. I’m looking forward to hear your own stories if you have.

Thank you for reading my friends and Happy Walking!

 

 

Only in Kuwait!

 

 

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Only in Kuwait | by Justbluedutch

Why Kuwait is such a controversial country? It’s a tiny oil-rich magnet in the Gulf and yet  holds a profound mystery for some who haven’t been there, and a nonchalant charm for Expats who have toiled there every single day.The other day I was reading the recent study by Internations citing that Kuwait (along with Nigeria & Greece )  is still on the bottom sink for “Worst Country for Expats “. I dunno how to feel about this but somehow, I knew, stats are based on facts too. I , for example, how is it to live there day after day.

Being an Expat allows you to see things in both ways. More of a culture shock for some but normally it is how you  see things, accepting it  and adapting to a new culture. Integration happens when you began to pick it up and live with it , and not for the sake of  comparison to your own roots. I have seen strange things in Kuwait. Some that is so odd that makes me crazy.Who doesn’t? For locals, it all seems normal for them.Nothing to argue about. As simple as : If you don’t like it here –pack your bags & Leave!

I think anybody comes to the Netherlands , or in Germany, even in Philippines would also have something to say about the “not so ordinary “in their eyes as an Expat. Looking back at the 8 years I spent in Kuwait, for some things I don’t really get why and How on earth they are doing it. I have written the Guide to Expating in Kuwait and for those who are new to this country’s arid climate “How to beat the heat in Kuwait “ you might as well chuckle with me as you know exactly how is it .

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Shuno Hada! No Parking , both in Arabic & English signages. What are these cars doing in here?

1.Only in Kuwait that the Handicapped parking spaces are seized by ordinary people.Even the ones with a clear signage.Only in Kuwait that you could be beaten by a mob because of a dispute in a parking lot. Why do I get the feeling that pedestrians never felt safe along roads in Kuwait. Sure thing, SUV rules!

2. I love coffee, absolutely but I don’t get it why they drink tea almost every hour and drink coffee or Arabic coffee {gahwah}  in small cups 3 rounds in one sitting. Why not just get a mug? Did you know that only in Kuwait that a tea boy is called “Office Boy”?

Did you know that in the Avenues alone, ( the largest super mall there) there are 6 Starbucks , in all over Kuwait there are 76 branches! I am sure this list will be updated soon. I tell you, people there always need  a caffeine fix. What about Costa Coffee, Coffee Bean & Leaf, Caribou, Second Cup,Tim Hortons etc., the lists go on.

Coffee and Tea in Kuwait will never get boring. So as the sweets, cakes & pastry shops!

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I swear this is a typical scenario in the streets of Kuwait!

3.I don’t understand why  maniacal drivers  put up their feet on the dashboard and let babies do the steering. Is it the new toy?  In 120-140 km/h.In the Gulf road, and some things that this speed is still so lame!

Yes, without seat belt.

Wearing seat belt seems like more of an offensive rather than defensive. Taxi drivers have 2-3 phones being used simultaneously WHILE Driving! It’s a bonus if you found one having Skype calls to any point in the world. You have the whole story all throughout your ride.

4.Seriously it’s only in Kuwait where I saw camels, sheep, lamb & goats being transported and paraded in the highway. Especially in the busy roads of Al- Ghazali  road going to Shuwaikh, in front of a shopping mall Centerpoint.  I know the Friday market is out there but still, it is an odd sight for me. It’s a thing when you see these poor animals paraded to slaughterhouse. Right there, in front of your car. You can even smell the camels from your window.Way to the desert area, you see camels strutting their stuff in the roads going to Wafra /Kabd /Khiran/Abdali area and yet you don’t see any road sign for you to watch out for animals.

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Sabah al kheir Kuwait! Camel herd in Wafra farms.

5.People don’t mind incorrect spelling of signage of shops, menus of the restaurant and even directions. You’re so smart if you figure it out yourself. Well as for food, you need to eat like a local for you to know where is the best Shawerma or best done kebab & grilled stuff. With burgers, people seems to know where it is no matter what the hour is.

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Only in Kuwait. laundry shop in Abraq Khaitan.

6.The make up Oh God. Talk about make-up and Loads of it. I have never seen that much heavily make-up women here in Europe, but only in Kuwait that women wears make up even going to a Bakala in 50 degrees .

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One Authority of the Soft small / big please?

7.Only in Kuwait that the sky changes from bluish to grey to orange to brown to almost pitch black due to sandstorms. But sometimes, this mighty M is always visible.

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Watching the sandstorm looms over McDonald’s.

 

How are things over there? Do you also  find ‘Strange’ things such as these?

How do you deal with it? I would love to hear your comments .

Be it from food, behavior of people, how locals interact with you, customs and traditional way of life, at work, even just the country itself.You really see diversity at large. Kuwait is one small country but booming with Expats you it’s no wonder that you can find an Asian store right next to the block next to an Indian restaurant and opposite to a Turkish pastry shop and just a few meters away to an American boutique. A Kaleidoscope indeed.

For the new Expats in Kuwait, welcome and enjoy your stay.

Are you on Twitter, Follow my Expat life escapades in my Twitter page Here !

ExpatsBlog.com - Where Expats Blog

Olympic Park Munich : Beautiful yet tainted by a dark past

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Olympic Park in Munich | Tainted with a dark past #One day in September

The eighth stop on the U3 train is labeled Olympiazentrum, adorned by five gray interlocking ring and you don’t need translations.You are in Olympic Park, as well as be taken into 1972 Massacre site.

One of the highlight of our recent Munich trip was the visit to the Olympic Park. We went there  to bring my daughter to her first Aquarium & Sea Life adventure in Europe.She was still too young back then to appreciate the sharks & clown fishes in Kuwait ‘s Scientific Center  but in Sea Life, she definitely had a blast. I highly recommend this for young toddlers, and for a family outing.

Just a reminder : Prepare to WALK!

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Plenty to see and Do

Sea Life in Munich has a variety of more than 4,000 animals in display! They have an Interactive Rockpool where you can touch mollusks, Anemones and starfishes. My daughter loved splashing waters whenever, whatever!This is a great place for an exploring toddler to watch the marine life with a delight in their eyes.It pays off to book tickets online to avoid long lines.

After we’re done with Sea Life, we walked into a green, spacious hilly esplanade , with modern tent-like structures and theme park with a little blue train passing by. It’s like taken from the past, we made it into Olympic Park München.

I did not expect that this place has the World’s highest Rock Museum, Yes, up there in the Olympic Tower! It has tons of memorabilia, from signed guitars, concert tickets, posters, clothes, and so on. I love seeing the Beatles , Deep Purple, David Bowie,and my daughter is poking Pink’s poster with glee.

So much outdoor activities to enjoy. Lots of cycle paths, so you can cycle til you drop.Have you ever tried Flying Fox and roof climb?

Or what about doing a roof climb with Abseil stunt? You think you can brave heights?If you’re like an Architecture buff like my husband (So do I!) then you can just join the Architec tour which focuses more on the buildings & concept of the whole design of this complex.

Near the lake was the Munich  Olympic Walk of Stars (MOWOS). It’s like the Hollywood thing but here is more of National and international legends from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. You can see their precious marks with hands and signets in the concrete and take their place on the Olympic Park’s MOWOS.

 

I have never been to an Olympic park  in my life.Only now! I’m glad that travel allows me to learn something from the past. For those who doesn’t knew, just like me  (before ) this same park with beautiful architecture & filled with joyous laughs  is the same place that hosted the 1972  Munich Olympic Games,wayyyy  back from the past that I was not even born . The place where you see history in blood and naming the dead.

The World’s best Olympic Park even Tainted with a dark past

This post has triggered my curiosity about how host countries famed, struggled       and  ( strained from planning for years ahead) eventually created their marks in history when it comes to Olympic games that is happening every 4 years.Figure this ;

It took Canadian officials 30 years to pay off the cost of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and they’re still stuck with a stadium that’s rarely used. In Atlanta, the scene of the 1996 Olympics, the stadium, which was reduced in size for the Braves baseball team, is being demolished as the team move to the suburbs.

In Athens, where the Olympics returned in 2004, a beach volleyball court, baseball stadium, an 8,000-seat tennis table venue and other buildings are unused and crumbling, sparking public outrage as the Greek economy stagnates. In Beijing, the famed Bird’s Nest stadium that was the central venue for the 2008 Olympics  has no consistent tenants, and costs $11 million in yearly upkeep.

The best turn out for an Olympic Venue with a sad past.

But in Munich, things are different. Even though the Bavarian capital was the scene of one of the darkest days in Olympic history, when Black September  terrorists took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and total of 17 people were killed in 1972, the Olympic Park now looks so alive to be one of Munich’s pride & tourist attraction.Everyone who visited the mogul car giant BMW & its museum most likely  went to this green paradise.It’s worth a visit if you are in Munich area.

The whole site is built with an unusual architectural style, depicting ‘Happy Games ‘ designed by Behnisch and Partners. Viewed from above it looked like a continuous flow same as the rhythmic elevation of the Swiss Alps. The site itself is made up of a number of sporting facilities including an indoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, mini golf, indoor soccer and athletics arena as well as a large park and lake.This lake was lovely. I could sit here all day just watching the ducks swimming and the clear reflection of the clouds & the sky gleaming in the clear waters.Don’t miss out on the Stadium, the great work of Otto Frei. If you’re more into the design, you can read it from Here. It was last regularly used for Bayern Munich matches before Allianz Arena was built for the 2006 World Cup.

The focal point of the park is Olympia Hill (Olympiaberg), a man-made mountain which provides a great view over Munich, and in good weather to the Alps in the distance. Interestingly, the hill was largely constructed out of the ruins caused by bombing from Allied forces during World War 2. On the Olympia Hill is Munich’s highest beer garden, the Olympia Alm.Now who doesn’t want to have a beer while enjoying a great view ?

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Olympic Village where the Munich Massacre happened in 1972 | #Building 31

The place where the massacre happens stands up to this day.Just type 31 Connollystraße into Google Maps, and it will lead you to the massacre apartment.The Olympic village was turned into a student housing now and you need the permission of the residents to view it.

Do you want to know what exactly happened on the day of Massacre? You can find it Here .

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Memorial for the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics | #Black September

We climbed the Olympic Tower. Reaching on a height of 190 metres. With a toddler in my arms, I’ve got the best views of Munich, including the majestic Alps.The Olympia Tower (Olympiaturm) is not for the faint-hearted, it has an open air platform on top. If you’re afraid of heights, then think twice. My husband climbed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and yet was squemish about the open air observation deck. The tower is 291m (955ft) in total  height, with an observation platform 190m (623ft) meters above the park. Underneath the observation platform is a rotating restaurant which seats over 200 people.

After seeing Olympic Park and learning about its dark past, it made me thought of Led Zeppelin’s song –Immigrant Song ;

“So now you’d better stop, and rebuild all your ruins.
For peace and trust can win the day, despite of all your losing.”

May we never forget so it won’t happen again.

No one wants to open old wounds. No one wants a remembrance of violence. Or maybe no one wants reminding that no place is safe.I’ve heard laughs and seen smile of people in Olympic Park, but then thought that thinking back of the massacre, doesn’t make much sense nowadays. They were all gone.Only the Names remain.

Do you find this post interesting? If you want to know more about the Summer Olympics Munich Massacre and how the Germans handled it, then you can read further Here and Here.

When was the last time you’ve learned something from your travels? Did you bring home stories from the place you’ve visited or only left with Selfies & photographs?

Would you like to visit Olympic Park in Munich? Tell me what you think , I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

Frauenkirche –the Church with the Devil’s footprint | Der Teufelstritt

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München city model displayed beside the Frauenkirche with notable distinction of the Frauenkirche church to be the highest built structure in the city. | Munich 2016

I have written about the short trip we had in Munich and one of the fascinating things I have learned is that its top emblem and symbol of Bavarian capital – The Frauenkirche ( Cathedral of Our Lady ) has a legend worth telling. I love legends! So good to know even if it’s so unbelievable and has a bit of fantasy.Have you heard about the Devil’s footprint or locally known as Der Teufelstritt?

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Der Teufelstritt or the Devil’s footprint in Frauenkirche | Munich

Seeing the Frauenkirche didn’t brought much appeal to me the day that we’ve seen it. First, because of the ongoing reconstruction, the scaffoldings and the covering of the Tower really dampen our mood upon seeing it.Second, as we entered, it was already packed with tourists on a bright Sunny Saturday. It’s a beautiful church, no doubt about it, with so much history & important facets, but the design & interior is almost similar to the Liebfrauenmünster in Ingolstadt that I had visited sans the intricate ceiling designs. Even the organ loft was almost the same.  But I wanted to share about the Devil’s footprint found just in the entrance of this massive church.

There’s A Right (Presumably !) footprint in a floor tile inside the Frauenkirche and { No, it doesn’t resemble a dinosaur foot or Godzilla } which is said to be the Teufelstritt, or Devil’s footprint. There are several legends of differing details surrounding the footprint, but the basic story goes like this. In 1468, architect Jorg von Halsbach made a deal with the Devil ;  the Devil would provide funds for the cathedral as long as it remained a celebration of darkness. No windows were allowed to be seen in the building .

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View of the Altar Interior of the Frauenkirche | Munich

Upon completion of the building, the Devil entered the church to survey the results.From a vantage point in the vestibule, not a single window could be seen, even though the nave was flooded with light. The Devil was satisfied with the result, but as he stepped further into the church, he realized he had been fooled. Von Halsbach had designed the nave with columns that blocked the side windows from view, and a large central alter piece covered the stained glass windows at the far end of the church. In a fit of fury, the Devil stamped his foot on the ground, leaving an imprint in the floor. He then left the church and transformed himself into a great wind spirit, which rushes around the church towers to this day.

Something to ponder right? This is why I love visiting churches, what about you?

Do you believe this ?

Have you ever been in Frauenkirche and seen this ? How’s your experience?