Peek |Sneak preview of the “What Ifs?”

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We all love to have a sneak peek of all the What-Ifs” of life… It’s normal, ingrained in our human nature.

I , myself have a habit of having a sneak peek of almost everything, especially when I have the chance to do it. But, I am not so fond of taking a look through the lenses of the viewing binoculars to admire a view from a top. I don’t know why.

For me, I prefer to gaze through the vast expanse and look at a view from my own vantage point.I like this way of having perspective of things in front of me.

It’s common to see these coin-operated binoculars in any observatory deck. Even on top of Zugspitze, from the top of Alps, you can have a stunning view through these binoculars. Most of the towers I have visited in Kuwait have this same  amenities where aside from enjoying the view from above, visitors are given a chance to look further, for an intent close up of any sight they wanted to explore, for sight seeing purposes.

I had the chance to visit the Liberation Tower in Kuwait. It was one of the striking tower where you can see a great skyline of Kuwait in between skycrapers. The tour was privately arranged, and in Arabic, but I don’t really mind. I’ve always wanted to visit this tower so I grabbed the chance when the tour was offered by Aware Center.  At 372 m, the Liberation Tower is the world’s 38th tallest free-standing structure, by pinnacle height. It is standing proud & big symbolizing Kuwait’s liberation from Iraqi invasion. When we reached the 150th floor, within span of seconds, these views from the photos below  greeted me. I can’t really recall how fast it took for us to be on the top observation deck, all I know is that it was fast. Although the weather was fine, it was not a clear view because of the glass windows. Unfortunately, they are dirty, smudgy, and dusty, which is actually common in Kuwait because of frequent dust storms.

But then, it was a great experience to see the skyline of Kuwait from a view on top, almost desert. The buildings, the urban panoramic setting, with all of its beige tone dwellings. I can almost see the rummage  with all the trash piled up. The busy city center, in between the skyscrapers, and the crowded Souks (market place), and yes, the traffic jam. It’s surreal to see that this country is so small and yet managed to rise up, developed its own identity when it comes to architecture and modernization.

While I was still living in this place, I’ve always been a stranger on a daily basis, always roaming around, exploring like locals, and discovering the many facets of this city. I wanted to have a sneak preview of  everyday life in Kuwait, naturally. This particular view from the Liberation tower is no exception.

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Sometimes its good to look through the binoculars, to see things at a large range. But then, which is really a better view? After quite some time, your views will change eventually. Real experiences unfolds each facade of the postcard beauty you see .

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Sightseeing from above the tower is like a sneak peek of  “what is life in Kuwait?” It gives you a swift scan of all the what ifs of living in this place, dust, heat and all.

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In the end, it takes one to experience a certain culture in order to really know one.

Have you ever tried visiting a new place, and taking a look into the Observation binoculars and thought “what is it to live in this place? ”

This post is inspired by this week’s Daily Photo Challenge |Peek

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Rounded | Bavarian Kachelöfen

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Traditional Kachelöfen in Bavaria

Are your heaters on already?

When I first saw this thing in Abensberg, I thought its some kind of a weird corner decoration, I thought for a minute that its  just a ceramic or brick patch work, with bowls plastered to create a unique texture. I was mistaken. I didn’t know that this is a “Kachelöfen” or simply , “a heater”, a built-in  heating system in an old-fashioned way.

Very timely, as almost all of the leaves of trees are falling down outside, the cold chilly weather and the gloom arrived here in Bavaria and  “Heaters” (or Heizung in German ) are definitely essential to every home. You’ve got to have your heating system working properly if you want to survive the looongggg German winter.

The Kachelöfen  as a means of heating and a lot more dates back to the Middle Ages. Stoves  became a central part of the household, erected in the  ‘Stube’, the hub of family life. Not only did it give warmth, it was also used to dry clothes, keep food warm or even cook it in it and to sleep on a platform on top of it during the winter as was the case in Russia.In Eastern and Northern Europe and North Asia, these kachelofens (or steinofens) evolved in many different forms and names: for example the Russian Stove/Fireplace (RussianРусская печь), the Finnish Stove (in Finnish: pystyuuni or kaakeliuuni, “tile oven”) and the Swedish Stove (in Swedish: kakelugn, “tile stove” or “contra-flow stove”) associated with Carl Johan Cronstedt. The Chinese developed the same principle into their Kang bed-stove. The masonry heater has gained renewed domestic popularity recently because of its heating efficiency. No wonder that here in Bavaria, many of traditional homes still have this type of heating system.

First, the stoves were big but rather plain, but in the 14th century, the tiles were  decorated and the simple Kachelöfen often became a work of art. Castles featured elaborately carved Kachelöfen as standard equipment and masters of masonry created  pieces of great value.

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Kachelöfen in Austria

I remember from our holiday in Austria where we had the pleasure of dining in one of the restaurant in the city center, I noticed something similar to this. At first glance, you won’t see it as a heating device, but rather, again, as an eye-catching ornament built in the corner of the room. It creates such a homey atmosphere. Some can even be touched by hand. I think this looks far better than the mundane rectangular heating device in steel or cast iron that we have nowadays.

What do you think of Kachelöfen?

Would you fancy having one in your home?

This post is inspired by the Daily Post’s Photo Challenge |Rounded

Glow of the Dawn

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Morning day break ( Bavaria, Germany)

This is the best shot from my phone camera  out of a rush this morning. As we prepared to go on with our day and about to bring my daughter to Kita, I couldn’t help but to stop and admire this glowing  daybreak— the real Autumn pink skies are back! I am no fan of using filters in my photos, but this one is no exception—no filters needed.

Within 2 minutes, there is this amazing slide show of the sky.  The glow of the Dawn. What a glorious day break. It was pink, glorious orange, against the bluish grey skies and the fluffy clouds looks like a watercolor wash painting I am trying to replicate many times! This is the first time I captured for this season and I am sure will be more to follow  in the coming days as we approach Winter.

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Autumn palette

Even my daughter was smiling while she’s gazing up in the sky. Trying to describe the natural beauty that she see. But after like 2 minutes or so, the sky is changing once again in its hues. The grey clouds are starting to form into darker shades , hovering the sun.

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Morning slide show

Just like that and the skies showed us one fleeting moment. I’m just grateful that before we finally go through our day, the glow of the dawn shined upon us, within 2 minutes!

Have you seen something like this lately?

 

Inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge |Glow

Pedestrian with a view

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Flower mania Pedestrian traffic!

When there’s the bulbs, there’s traffic.

It’s probably bicycles and Tulips which are obviously  one of the great statistics coming from the Netherlands, not to mention the Great Dutch masters and painters. But when it comes to Flower-mania, the pedestrian crowd in the Keukenhof gardens is something that I really find fascinating.Look, my photos maybe didn’t do justice but these photos says it all.

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Taking it all in because of the killer views above the windmill.

Few weeks ago, as a jump-start for Autumn, thousands of tulips bulbs were once again prepared for planting  in the Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, The Netherlands for the preparation for the Spring  Garden season opening in March 2018. Looking back from our last visit last Spring, these was my pedestrian experience when we are in this place, add the fact that it was also an Easter holiday! Tulips are as common as Biergartens here in Germany. It flocks everywhere, in gardens, balconies, along the road, and even on the wild outskirts.

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A bad weather is not an obstacle to admire the flowers.

But the most extravagant au-naturelle display of the tulips grandeur is along the side of the road, where flower enthusiasts and botanical addicts just like me, likes to wander and linger, for free. I’m telling you, the crowds are huge, the traffic is crazy. More than the crazy crowds I’ve seen during grand sale in Avenues in my life in Kuwait. People are in constant motion. Photographs are endless!

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Pedestrian lane with a view.

Wherever you go in the neighborhood in Lisse in the Netherlands, you are always guaranteed with a view. Tourists and locals, are rewarded with a scenic view of the tulip fields, acres and acres of flower fields, blooming like a rainbow plastered on the ground, which gives endless panoramic vistas even to passers- by or in-transit passengers.

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Pedestrian lane with a view

Pedestrian lanes in the Netherlands has a signature of this. You can’t take your eyes off from the beauty of nature in front of you. Seriously, whether you are driving, cycling or walking, it really doesn’t matter.

It is a journey always guaranteed to be pleasant and any pedestrian is rewarded with a view !

How about you, Do you like crowds?

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge : Pedestrian

Aintazar (انتظر) | Waiting

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Old man waiting for costumers inside the Old Souk Mubarakiya

“Everybody gets tired of waiting ..”

Aintazar…

This is the image I captured during my numerous visits in the Old Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait. Vendors normally sits in vain, helplessly killing the time and enormously looking so bored waiting for costumers to passed by, if luck comes by, buy some goods that they sell.

It is so true, a picture says a thousand words…the face, the expressions shows a myriad of mysterious cloud of thoughts, feelings and emotions. No one, but only the old man knows what he is thinking.

Have you ever wondered how you looked when you are waiting for something?

This post is inspired by this week’s WPC  Photo Challenge |Waiting

Ooh Shiny: What summer means to me, the Sunflower fields

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What summer really means to me : Sunflower fields!

Ohhhh Sunflowers! 

William Blake – 
“Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller’s journey is done.
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire,
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

I have never seen sunflowers in my life for I think more than 8 years and seeing them once again brings back summer memories. Back then in my home country,  I saw them quite often but not in Kuwait. Yes, I saw some bulbs in flower shops, but not really the same wild sunflower fields that I knew.

The last few weeks here in Bavaria have been pretty toasty weather. Great time to stay outdoors, more water fun, and when its sunny, the sight of summer flowers can be refreshing. Fields of  blooming sunflower is what summer means to me here in Germany! These golden-yellow shiny beauties are my favorite summer flowers and here in the southern part where we are rewarded with more sunshine, they grew beautifully wild in many fields. I’m telling you, it’s such a beautiful sight. They are a complete distraction when we cycle along the countryside. I don’t know with you but the sight of them makes me happy, makes me somehow excited. Something about them  gives sunshine to my soul.

Standing in front of them, while you can hear the  sounds of nature, crisp winds,  buzzing of the bees, swaying of the golden glow of strong, fresh sunflowers against the blue sky is to die for. I love the peace and serenity it brings. So simple, so raw, a pure nature’s delight. They are the brightest replica image of the sun. They simply brings warmth!

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Sunflower fields in Bavaria on a bright sunny day

For me summer is no summer without the bright, shiny , golden sunflower fields! Remember how I shared with you how I bursts out in excitement when I saw the tulip fields in Keukenhof, and gazing at those gazillions of multi-colored tulips?

Or my delight when we visited the Rapeseeds? almost as golden-yellow of goodness as the hundreds of sunflowers looking up through the sun. I actually cycled for many times going through the same fields, I can’t get enough  of them. I need to indulge in them before Fall comes and turn these fields into grey, empty and dullness of hibernating earth.

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Summer goodness

I guess this summer we explored so many fields, not only of summer blooms, but also of many different crops. Just beside every sunflower fields we drowned into the acres of sweet corns too. I noticed by now the certain crops that grow in each season. This sunflower fields is the same Rape seed fields that we’ve been ogling for months last Springtime!

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My sunshine

You can see that my daughter was quite enamored of the big yellow sunflower. But hey, she is just as crazy as the wasps who flutters around it! She’s bent on chasing them! Brought her in many sunflower fields many times and she knows how to bring the sunshine home.

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Cycling with my most favorite travel Buddy along the Sunflower fields

A bike ride with this Little One makes it even more special and I can’t complain for anything. Visiting sunflower fields on hot,summer months gives us that holiday feeling for an ordinary day .Here in Bavaria, we have plentiful of these and you can pick them up by yourself and self-pay. The flower fields also have so many different kinds of lilies, and other summer flowers.

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Wandering in the sunflower fields

Sunflowers become one of my painting inspiration. Their image is left in my mind so I decided to paint and make some cards out of it, of course, I didn’t forget to get some bulbs to brighten up our living room.Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This interesting behavior, known as phototropism, inspired a motif that has appeared in many ancient works.

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Flower art therapy

Though they are a crop planted with a purpose, their bright colours spread an instant happiness and positive energies. They look pretty, they give us healthy seeds to eat and oil for our cars.  Sunflowers are the ultimate sign of summer and I love their simplicity and versatility.

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Some of the cards I’ve made  inspired by sunflower

Do you also have a sunflower story? I think for a flower that reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics, it isn’t surprising that people enjoy basking in the sunflower’s warming glow so much, just like I do.

How about you? How are you spending your summer?

What’s your favorite summer flower?

This post is inspired by this weeks’ photo Challenge |Ooh, Shiny!

La Grande Schmierage V { Hall of Fame Graffiti Art Spray Party}

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Es lebe die Schmierage! 

All for the love of Graffiti Street Artworks !

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Hall of Fame Street Spray Art in Germany

Do you like Graffiti Art? Do you even think its an Art?

Fo a fact, I must say that from a point of view of an artist, you can never contain Art.

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Just like this 250- meter old boring walls of an underpass bridge that becomes a world spectacle of art, talent and spray bottle becomes the medium of artistic expression. I love how a simple place like wall bridges turns into a beautiful display of unique designs and artistic expression—all in a form of the rebellious GRAFFITI!

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This morning , we went with our weekly Wandertag and hop into our bikes. It’s a cloudy Sunday and we have high hopes that it won’t rain.On our way , we made a little detour and it was a lucky start I must say, because as we are approaching the underpass of Unserherrn, near Ringsee, we saw people gathering under the bridge and Graffiti Artists are already absorbed in their work. We made it into the “La Grande Schmierage V “, Hall of Fame, the biggest Graffiti Spray Party happening now in Germany!

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Yes, the boring underpass becomes so alive and colorful with all the life-size wall sprayed- artwork of the talented artists, it was like walking into a street gallery!

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Artists came from  different countries — from Montréal, Barcelona, ​​Moscow, Bergamo, Slovakia and various cities in Germany, also from top-class artists of the international spray scene. From yesterday,  1st of July, and today, they all meet in the so-called “Hall of Fame”  to redesign the 250-meter wall surface of the underpass bridge. 

Graffiti  is something illicit, more like a rebellious symbol of expressing one’s ideas through drawings, writing or scribbling on public areas. Not everyone like it. If someone sprayed on your beloved personal wall, I bet you might be furious. You can never call it an art, its more of an invasion of your private place.

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Spraying can be an assault and may cause  damage to property. Others find  lubrication and illegal spraying so invasive and illegal, whether for the sake of  so-called hip art form , it’s still  something vulgar and oppressive. But not so here in Germany, here in our region in Bavaria, Graffiti spraying is legalized. Legal Spraying and Graffiti Art has established itself increasingly in urban areas as an expression of lifestyle and worldliness .

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As early as 1995 the gray concrete walls of the railway underpass were cleared for graffiti by the city of Ingolstadt and the spraying in the Hall of Fame was legalized. Since then, the walls are constantly being sprayed again, the hall often changes its appearance – and still counts as one of the largest legal halls in Germany.

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Meet the Artists through their artworks!

They are bunch of normal, messy, hip-looking men and women you can see in the streets. But once they hold their Spray, the world is their audience. Notable artists for the 2017 Spray meeting are as follows:  Five Eight from Montréal, Saturno from Barcelona, ​​Kram from Barcelona, ​​Zmogk from Moscow, Verbo from Bergamo, Kaisy from Slovakia, Omsk from Saxony, Bond Truluv from Leipzig , Rusl from Constance and Dater from Koblenz. In addition, two sprayers from the partner town of Kragujevac are expected. 

You can see their full profiles Here.

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I am so thrilled that even though I don’t know them each by their faces, I have seen them in their spray action. They are really amazing and full of talent! I could watch their drawings and draw unlimited meanings. Once you see their work, you will never see the same “old boring walls”the same as before– it’s like they have brought something to life. People stop and take a look, and observe. These walls deserve a look. No wonder it’s an international event! Some of notable Graffiti work that are worth to see are Here. My favorite was the work of Inti, a giant Don Quixote mural in Quintanar de la Orden, Spain.

The La Grande Schmierage graffiti meeting was launched in 2008 under the organization  of the City Youth Initiative and in close collaboration with Boris Schmelter. The organization and support of the artists are located at the FRONTE79 Youth Cultural Center in Ingolstadt.

 

Do you like looking at street wall art? Which one is your favorite?

If you want to read more about the La Grande Schmierage, here are some useful links:

www.schmierage.de

www.tumultfestival.de

 

Free Bird | Transient

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I am a free bird just having a pit stop for another adventure

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see
But, if I stayed here with you, girl
Things just couldn’t be the same
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you can not change

{ Free Bird // Lynyrd Skynyrd}

I love this song, it’s an oldie but goodie and I thought that it goes perfect with this photo I took from our trip in Nürnberg last weekend. We were waiting for the Dolphin show and we saw these small birds kept on perching on the rocks in front of us. Eager as they seemed to be, but nonetheless a wonderful sight. From time to time they wait for little children to feed them, but with a blink of an eye, they are gone, off to their new destination. Indeed there are too many places to see, too little time, but with the free bird, it’s just one pit-stop to another adventure!

This post is inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge | Transient

The taste of Dusk | Evanescent

“Dawn comes slowly, but Dusk is rapid..”

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My Expat Life : One fine but swift taste of Dusk in Kuwait

If you live in the Middle East, like for example in Kuwait, you would probably shun the abundance of the sun, but I have never met a sunset that I did not like. With the heat during summer that rises up to 52 degrees C, and that needs to getting used to, the mild 25~30 degrees now that we have here in Germany feels like a tropical summer sans the humidity.But in real life, it’s impossible to completely divorce our perceptions of the sun scenes from our awareness of the hour. These times are both crucial, first getting ready to start our day and the latter is ending it, rushing to get home.

How do you really know the taste of dawn from the taste of dusk?

Back then I used to live in a flat located at the upper floors and I always enjoy watching the sun rising up, slowly, sluggard as the date trees swaying on an early morning dawn. I could take lots of photos while enjoying it changing the horizon from reddish, purplish, to burnt oranges. We have large windows and during sunset, I love the way our place is filled with these colors. A sweet and yet swift moments to enjoy.

I love jogging along the Arabian Gulf on early mornings and watch the sun’s  masterpiece almost every weekend and when I have the chance. If not, our bedroom window is like a giant screen showcasing this beauty. With the sea in the backdrop, life back in Kuwait is full of precious, evanescent  sunsets.

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A fiery show in the sky during dusk here in Bavaria during Fall.

But then thorough watching dusk is a different thing. Or is it only me who notices this. Now I have written before why I adore watching  sunrises and sunsets in my life, whenever I have the chance and wherever. In different place, there is a different magic that happens when the sun sets. It is a swift, rapid, retreat. From coming home from work, I can watch the sky while the sun sets, or when I passes by the sea nearby our home or watch the boats docked in the harbor create a magical atmosphere, like a graffiti artist burst his colors on his canvas. Here in Germany, where we have 9PM sunsets , more often I am too tired to stay outside to watch it or I am too caught up with putting my daughter to bed.

I have read an interesting article how to distinguish the difference of dawn from dusk. I couldn’t really tell if its true or not but it says that the first is in our heads. At sunset, our eyes are daylight adapted and may even be a bit weary from the day’s work, or eyes might be strained already. As the light fades, we cannot adapt as fast as the sky darkens. Some hues may be lost or perceived in a manner peculiar to sunset. At sunrise, however, the night’s darkness has left us with very acute night vision and every faint, minor change in the sky’s color is evident. In short, you may perceive more colors at dawn than at dusk. [Red-Green & Blue-Yellow: The Stunning Colors You Can’t See]

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As swift as a ride back home, the skies changes into a rapid kaleidoscope of colors.

Great thing to know, right?

I’m sure if you are a keen observer, you will distinguish these colors, as evanescent they might be.

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Watching my life away during sunsets in Kuwait

The most important thing is, a peaceful sunset, watching the sun sets can really change the way you feel about your day, a proof that any bad day can still end up beautifully. This is by far the best mantra that I wanna keep.

Do you love this post?

If so, when was the last time you have let yourself get lost in watching the sun sets and tasting Dusk?

This post was inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Evanescent

The Dhow ship: Kuwait’s timeless Heritage

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The timeless Dhow ship of Kuwait, a precious Maritime Heritage

Speaking of Heritage — The Dhow ship is probably my most photographed icon, next to the Kuwait Towers, from my years of stay in the Middle East. A distinct symbol of Kuwaiti culture.

This boat, the Fateh-Al Khair, is a graceful against the winds, beautiful boat, originally used for trading and fishing purposes have long defined this oil-rich country’s identity up to the present times. Wherever you go, the iconic Dhow ship is displayed in many public spaces in Kuwait and there are so many museums dedicated to this heritage.This one in particular is my favorite, next to the gigantic and huge Al Hashemi II, which garnered the coveted Guinness World Records for the largest Dhow ship ever built in the whole world.

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Dhow ships and fishing boats in Souk Sharq

One of the scenic spots in Kuwait where anyone, especially foreigners can have a glimpse of the Dhow ships and fishing boats displayed and docked gracefully in the harbour. This one is taken in  Shouk Sharq, one of the places where I buy fresh local fishes, just adjacent to the fish Market. Here, you can watch the hustle and bustle of the fishermen as they go about their day, making rigorous  bidding for their pricey catch.

An ideal place if you want to catch a beautiful Sunset from the Arabian Gulf.

 

If you are interested about Kuwait ‘s culture and Islamic Heritage, here are further readings which I have written based on my personal escapades while living there.Photo credit to my friend Ramil Sunga for the second photo. I used this photo as my painting inspiration for my series ‘Kuwait’.

 

Diving for pearls with Dhow

Life in the sea in Kuwait

How to beat the 50 degrees Heat in Kuwait !

The Art of Islamic Patterns

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge | Heritage