From where I stand

From where I stand … here somewhere along the way fascinated with Manholes.
Journal about Manholes around the World

Do you love taking photos of your feet?

As I sorted out my gallery, I noticed that I have quite a few photos that shows where I stand, like a compass indicating my bearings. It’s funny because I haven’t realized that I’ve got this habit of looking down and when I see something interesting, I snap my phone and take photo. I’ve thought about the idea of collecting these photos and make a post out of it showing that wandering can be life changing.

This photo brings back lovely memories in me. The first year of my life as a Mother and I think the last year before we moved to Germany. My favorite pastime— I usually do morning run and long walks along the shores of Arabian Gulf. Watching nature and sunrises are my thing. Every week it gives me different panoramic views of the beach and the sound of the waves was really something therapeutic.
From where I stand here in the sand patterns of Arabian Gulf in Kuwait
From where I stand on top of Kuwait Towers

Isn’t it wonderful that we make a pause in order to admire where we are walking and not always in haste?

Well the road system and pavements and everything is totally different from Kuwait to Germany. Here, the roads are better, smoother, and well paved. There are actually plenty of foot paths and the manholes are worthwhile to look. Not so in Kuwait where it is very hot outside and there are no beautiful thing to look down on the ground, only dust.

The feel of sand on your toes…

I started taking photographs of manholes or drainage lately and develop a habit of looking down for some things that is mostly written down.When I came to Germany, I followed the path of “Stumbling stones“or Stolpersteine which wakens my curiosity about its interesting story about the victims of World War II and Nazi in Germany. There is so much more than these stumbling stones. Even if I grew up on the other side of the world, it really makes me grateful that dark past is over and I have the freedom to walk out in the streets without fear.

Standing in front of Humboldt University in Berlin, 2018.
This is the place where they burn books during the time of Nazi period. It is unbelievably tragic to know that later on they also burn people to death.
Standing where Germany was once divided.
Tag der Deutschen Einheit ( or Day of Unification is celebrated on October 3 and is observed as National Holiday in Germany)
Standing from where the old Berlin Wall stands. This wall tells us many stories, even more untold stories from the people who were divided because of this wall.

I don’t know exactly where did this fashion for feet-photography came from.Do you agree that internet is a great influence, it’s the source of all fad just like Photo Challenges here in WordPress. It’s the same as “Selfie” or “From where I stand ” type photos came out as soon as smartphones were born. I also love those people who photographed themselves with plants. These green-type photography is something that I do as well.

We’re standing where we watched the Handprints of Stars in Olympic Stadion in Munich, 2017
We love the Fantastischen Vier and all other artists who had their hands imprinted on the cemented ground.

From where I stand… after cruising through two rivers, August 2019
These rocks came from the limestone mountains of the Danube Gorge that were changed and eroded through millions of years.
From where I stand… somewhere in Bavaria, 2018
Last year’s Autumn in Germany
I spent many times doing long walks and watch the various colors of leaves on the ground. I call them “Natural carpet”

From where I sit, ( can’t stand) maybe?
It’s hard to stand on top of these concrete blocks breakwater along the Arabian Gulf in Kuwait

In life, we also stand where big changes in our lives happen, or situations where we stand in a line between important decisions and choices.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
Here standing where I said “I do ” on my wedding Day.
Isn’t the carpet nice?
RadissonBlu, Kuwait 2014

Where are the most memorable place and situations that you stood your ground and took photos?

Do you have any particular subject for photography?

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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

The Green windows of Failaka’s Heritage Village

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Green windows in Failaka’s Heritage houses

I visited Failaka Island in Kuwait sometime during one Eid celebrations.I think I have been to almost all of Kuwait so one time, out of boredom, we booked our trip for Catamaran under Heritage tours to visit Failaka island. I love island hopping and beach getaways but a trip to Failaka is totally off-beaten.

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Heritage houses circa 1950.

Well,if you don’t know, Failaka is an island , 20km off the coast of Kuwait city.Before the war, people used to live there.This island was totally deserted by its inhabitants since the Gulf conflict and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.It literally looks like a ghost town, totally different from the skycrapers of the Kuwait skyline as you approach the city. If you are into war relics, desert life and archeology, Failaka might give you a pleasant experience.Of course, seeing the wild camels and eating inside a traditional tent is also a treat!

One of the memorable sights I have seen in Failaka was visiting the Heritage Houses with green windows  and doors as well.In Failaka Heritage Village, there are 40 Heritage houses. Visitors who wanted to spend a day or more here can rent these houses which can accommodate 5-15 guests.

The architecture is totally different, mostly made of timber, wood and rough finish. It’s the green windows that really captures my attention since it is so simple, really a cultural heritage.Heritage house is the typical Kuwaiti traditional house, it is the norm of dwelling for local Kuwaitis since 1950’s. These vacation rental houses can’t be considered as hotel or even star awarded due to their very heritage nature.They are periodically enhanced and restored by skilled craftsmen to retain its character.

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Green windows, a unique architecture feature in Kuwait’s Heritage house.

The traditional houses are the only genuine article in Kuwait and also GCC countries. They are all set into the village streets (Fereej) , all the streets and houses having their own names.Look at the shadow cast from these windows, totally enchanting.In the hot, humid summer months, the sight of green windows and doors can give a refreshing look.

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Green vine, green windows 

Notice also that in Kuwait, the use of grills (or bars) in windows is very typical. When I saw this, I felt like I am behind bars, making you feel like a prisoner.These type of windows are called “double casement”which opens from the middle.Totally closed, maybe for functional use because of the climate.

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Heritage house built in 1950’s.

When life was slower and simpler, these type of houses gives warmth and comfort to the locals.Placed against an earth tone wall finish, it looks like a breath of life.

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Green windows in the Heritage house in Failaka, Kuwait

I would recommend to visit this place if you are in K-town. It may not be a super attraction, but it is really a place where the past speaks louder than the sights. The war-torn almost barren landscape, the rusty war tanks, the bullet shots in every wall, and the memories of the war is actually the air you breathe.

Green color is the color of life, a symbol of renewal, of nature . Just like these windows that reminds me that out from a gloomy past, the future could still be bright, that life in Failaka can still be safe.

Also,want to know why you should not miss the sunset in Failaka?Read more Here.

How do you feel when visiting war-torn places? How was your experience?

 

This post is inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge :It IS Easy Being Green!

Into the desert | The road taken

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Into the desert in Kuwait

One of my fondest memories while living in Kuwait was exploring the roads into the desert. We had desert camping where the police check on us 3 times until ordered us to pack our things and go home. We’ve done fishing, picnics, and visited many farms near the desert. Yes–there are farms in Kuwait. There are farms with vegetation,and some with camels and other animals which is popular destination especially during the slightly ‘colder’months in winter .I have tried to milk a camel there and shoot with a rifle in one of these farms.

The road going to Abdaly farms, Wafra and Yasmin farms all the way up to the border of Iraq is surely a lonely, wide, hot arena of arid desert. With only the rows of power lines and palm trees as your view, and of course, watching in anguish, the car-racing maniac drivers who drive as fast as 200 kmph, obviously ignoring the cameras! But surprisingly, if you are adventurous enough,you are rewarded with a close encounter with camels, and  a chat with some locals with his pack of goats and sheep.

What’s your ideal road-trip like?

This post is inspired by DP Photo Challenge |The Road Taken

Mobile lifestyle in Kuwait

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Umbrella and mobile phone : A good match to survive the heat

Expats outnumbered the locals in Kuwait, with 70% of its  population is composed of expatriates. So expat life is rather diversified compared here in Germany. One typical street sight in Kuwait is summed up in the photo above. It doesn’t matter where you are and who you are and what you do in life. An office janitor can have the latest gadget phones same as his Modir ( Boss) as well as anybody.  Everyone seemed to be glued in their mobile phones anytime of the day. It seems like if you don’t own a smart phone, you are left out and isolated. It becomes a necessity and at the same time a hazard especially for reckless drivers who are pinned to their phones while driving. Taxi drivers,mostly Egyptians, Indians, Bangladeshi or Syrians, have 2-3 phones to manage while they go on their work. Crazy, right? but its true. They are talking to their families and friends while driving around. Insane as it may sound but Kuwait becomes fanatic to smartphones and internet calls. Before I was in wonder, but now, no more, horrific and fatal  car accidents  happens everyday, especially in the Gulf road and 5th ring road where drivers drive like maniac. Everyday life revolves around internet, social media and chatting. You should take a look at this article to see how far it goes. If you’re living in Kuwait, I know how it feels, it sucks!

If you’re an expat, having a smart phone with internet is a must. It’s a  materialistic symbolism too. One can easily  get an internet line provided that they have a civil ID to present when they purchase. One’s number is linked to your personal data in the country’s ID system. Another particular sight in  is how Kuwait evolved into mobile parenting.While out in the mall or park, you can see that children have iPads and tablet to keep the child occupied in their buggies while busy parents do their errands. Kuwait has become a symbol for parenting in the iPhone stage. When you move to Kuwait, a way to combat homesickness, your mobile lifestyle becomes elevated and your life revolves in your phone.

Hungry? just log in and check into Talabat or call for delivery from Canary for mushakel and  kebab. Even if the  Matam ( restaurant ) is just around the corner of your flat.I am writing this because I have never seen such incidents like this here in Germany. A total culture clash I must say. Or maybe not yet…

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Hala February Festival and National Day in Kuwait

Oh well, Happy National Day Kuwait!

For expats out there, enjoy the long weekend with the Hala February festivities and stay away from the Gulf road or you’ll end up harassed by the water gun fanatics!

Want to know more about Expat life in  the Gulf? Here are some related further reading :

Hala February Festival in Kuwait

Only in Kuwait : National Spraying gun day!

Kuwait : National Identity symbol

 

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via Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Identity symbol, the Kuwaiti style

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Local Sightings : A Giant Kuwait Flag hang in the street during Hala February celebrations in Kuwait

You know you’re an Expat in Kuwait when the sight of the colors red, green, black and white has become a norm wherever you go.

One of the things that stands out and I particularly noticed while living in Kuwait for years was the local’s love of their national flag. It just sprouts everywhere! In the shopping malls, bridges, in the motorway, in almost all building’s facade,in cars and yachts,and oh even in the shirt that people wear! I’m telling you, visiting Kuwait during the festive month of February is quite an experience. As the biggest festival of Hala February approaches, around 4 weeks before the event, almost all houses including office buildings are heavily decorated with life-size Kuwaiti flag. The face of the Amir & the Crown Prince is also almost e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

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You can’t get lost. These signs will be your guide that you’re still in the country’s premises.

In the Miya-Miya shops ( 100 fils shop or like the Euro shops), tons of things are being sold with designs of the flag as well. From head scarfs, earrings, hats, glasses, pins, dresses, almost anything that you can wear on yourself!  In my old neighborhood alone, where most of my neighbors are Kuwaitis, all villas have this giant size flag hanging from their roof top down to their basement. It’s like their identity symbol. A competition of the biggest flag and I don’t really know who’s winning. Children wear dresses made out of the Kuwaiti flag colors. The colors green,white and red are made into a frenzy lights that dazzled at night. Kuwait loves sparkling, dancing, and almost surreal light displays.Well if you’re in an oil-rich country like Kuwait, you will put lights everywhere,too. This country is really a must see especially in February when they are celebrating their culture, national pride and liberation in their National Day.

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A girl dressed in Kuwaiti colors

I have never seen this kind of patriotism and pride which ever you may call it. Young children are part of this and they enjoyed it the most,for the fun part. In my home country, or in the Netherlands or even here in Germany on a daily basis. Even a Bakala in Kuwait has a flag in their doors. In the Philippines, flags and the ways that its being used is somewhat only  in sanctified functions.Here, I know that a surge of display of flags and symbolism comes very timely during sport tournaments and of course, during Football season and its fanfare.

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Hala Hala Kuwait!

What local sightings do you appreciate or see in your neighborhood?

Are you in Instagram? Follow my account Here for more photos of the local sightings I post about  my Expat life. Thank you for stopping by!

 

 

Window Shopping in Kuwait

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Window Display in the Souk al-Kabeer in Kuwait

Window shopping and sighting in Kuwait is definitely a treat.It certainly gives you a window of the local culture. From the posh window displays inside the high-end luxury shops inside the Avenues mall  up to the cosmic traditional Souks, the sight of unique display could bring a smile on your face. Take for example this particular display inside the Souk Al Kabeer. For Kuwaitis on the bigger sizes, it certainly offers the suitable clothing for a fact that there are no changing rooms inside the Souk.

Kuwait is ranked first with 42.8 %, Saudi Arabia (35.2 %), the Kingdom of Belize (34.9), Egypt (34.6), Jordan (34.3), the UAE (33.7) South Africa (33.5), Qatar (33.1), Mexico (32.8) and the United States (31.8) when it comes to Obesity and overweight people.

Kuwait’s love for fast food is one of the factor of the obese lifestyle. Where else can you find where there are more than number of Burger chains you can found in such a small country. Even the Starbucks giant is located almost in every corner. From my neighborhood before alone, we have 4-5 Starbucks within 500 meters range!  It’s no wonder that Kuwait also has high rates of Stomach Stapling than any country–Another American branding that landed on Kuwait.

 

 

 

Inspiring Spire: Liberation Tower

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower against the vast blue skies.

The spire of the Liberation tower in Kuwait looks so small against the vast expanse of the Kuwaiti skies. More like a tiny needle. Tiny as it may seem compared to world’s super tall structures, 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.

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower

Climbing this tower is one of the significant experience I had while living in Kuwait.While up in the viewing deck of Kuwait Towers, I had feasted my eyes on the azure blue seascape of the Arabian Gulf,but not so with the Liberation Tower. Since it’s situated in the middle of the city, the views are different of course. The views above the revolving sphere is phenomenal if you really like to see Kuwait in a different angle. Kuwait has a promising Skyline though surrounded with a flat, urban dwellings. Up above, looking down at the brown desert landscape makes me think that Kuwait is indeed a tiny place,scarce with natural resources , but incredibly diverse.

Are you afraid of heights? Do you find it interesting to climb towers ?

 

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Arabian Gulf on Fire: Fireworks in Kuwait

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Gulf on Fire : Kuwait Fireworks display  November  10,2012

One of the unforgettable highlight from my Expat life in Kuwait was witnessing the 50th Golden Anniversary of Constitution  with tons of bang & fireworks last November 10,2012.It was the best fireworks display I have ever seen in my entire life! My neck was cramped and felt sore from an hour of looking up into the colorful skies. I have never seen so much beautiful fireworks , only on that particular Saturday night.The Arabian Gulf was really on fire, and looking at the Kuwait Towers, it was an amazing sight.

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Waiting for the show to begin

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Kuwait Towers amidst the fireworks display last Nov.10,2012

This country has more than enough money to throw on a 1-hour fireworks display amounting to $15 Million or approximately 4.163 Million KD! Imagine that…

About 77,282  individual fireworks were launched over a 3-mile-long (5 kilometers) stretch of coastline in Kuwait City over the course of 64 minutes. The intense show was part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the nation’s constitution. The elaborate spectacle broke a previous record set in Portugal in December 2006, when pyrotechnics experts set off some 66,326 fireworks across 37 launch sites on the island of Madeira.

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Kuwait made it into Guinness World records by displaying this extravagant fireworks display ever in the whole world. It’s grandeur can’t be compared to the fireworks displays during New Year or America’s 4th of July! I felt so lucky to witness this event and observed how organized chaos within the crowds could stir up so much excitement. I was one of the thousands of Expatriates and citizens who lined up the shores of Arabian Gulf and waited for hours to witness the show. Young and old, mothers with babies, and every single one waits in much anticipation. The Gulf road was partially closed to accommodate the huge crowds hours before the celebration begins. We went here 3 hours before the celebration because the traffic was so bad and we can’t find a space to park the car. The celebration included various activities to entertain the whole family. During the day, there were airplane shows and sea shows apart from parachute, acrobatic, and kite shows.

Whenever I see fireworks, I can’t help but to remember that one Saturday night in a chilly November, I have seen the Gulf on fire….

This post is in response for Daily Post |Flames

Do you like fireworks?

What is your unforgettable Fireworks experience?

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My tiny human’s Little feet

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My Tiny human’s footprint in the shores of Arabian Gulf

One of the things I missed from living near the beach is having  lazy early morning beach walks. Unhurried, calm, serene and the most special thing, barefoot. Away from the chaos, and free from the hustle and bustle of the city.With the wonderful backdrop of the beach, my thoughts oftentimes drifts away and going places as the gentle wind touches my cheeks while holding my daughter’s hand.

There’s something so therapeutic and calming whenever I step on the soft, ticklish sandy shores along Arabian Gulf.  I’ve always been a beach girl  and you can imagine my glee when the day comes that my tiny human finally put her tiny toes in the shores and feel the waves and sand…for the first time. She loved every second of it. It was such a precious moment. She left her footprint, a precious mark —unscaled and raw . This tiny foot mark that I have excitedly captured in photo before the waves swept it away . Looking at her tiny feet made me realize that she had a big world ahead, waiting for her to explore, and that she had to stand firmly on a big feet in order to thrive.

But right now, she’s still so tiny, her feet still so fragile, yet so special.

That once in her life back in Kuwait, she had walked baby steps there, watched the sunsets, and sunrises too, played  barefoot, and waddled her tiny  feet in the shores…making memories.We  made thousands of  footprints in the beach… a beautiful chapter in our Expat life.

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My tiny human’s little  feet over mine.

With the beach front far from where we live right now, she now walks on different grounds. She’s stomping happily on pebbles & cobbled stone pavements and running though the lush grass fields. She’s making her own stride,taking her time to feel the ground,and walking confidently in her own feet. She even learned to jump into muddy puddles and walked on the crispy autumn leaves. She’s still making foot prints, leaving traces of her childhood-in her own tiny world.

As I’ve said before; the Littlest feet makes the greatest footprints in our hearts.

Do you like walking in the beach with your little ones? How was the experience?

This post is in response to this week’s Daily Post- Photo Challenge |Tiny