The Dhow ship: Kuwait’s timeless Heritage

img_1581
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.

IMG_8233
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

Into the desert | The road taken

fullsizerender-38
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

99 Names of God | Grand Mosque in Kuwait

The dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait is probably one of the most beautiful things created by man and the architecture influenced by Islamic faith in Kuwait.This unforgettable sight is also the center of this mosque (masjid al- kabeer ) and contains the 99 Names of God written around it.The dome of the mosque is 26 metres (85 ft) in diameter and 43 metres (141 ft) high, and is decorated with the Asma al-hosna.

1209405_712544448761840_148623008_n
Dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait where the 99 Names of God is written.

According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎‎) “Beautiful Names of God” (also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā “Beautiful Names”).

I have made hundreds of photos in my 4 times visiting this Mosque together with my family and friends and each time, I always find so many notable architecture details worth mentioning. Now, as I remember my Expat days back then in Kuwait and exploring the local sightings, the Islamic touch always fascinates me, totally unforgettable .

What about you, what kind of local attractions attracts you the most?

This post is in response to this week’s DP photo challenge |Names

My tiny human’s Little feet

img_4954
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.

img_0934
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

After the Sandstorm

fullsizerender-91
Traces of Sandstorm

I stumbled upon this photo when I was looking through my archives tonight. This was taken after a sandstorm in Kuwait. This was the sight in the floor at work. Pretty normal during those days. Our office janitor would just shrug his shoulder and say : Alhamdullilah!

After  sandstorm which could last for days, I just stare at the traces all around me. The palm trees are soaked in dust, the windows, and the cars! Everything is drenched in dust, you can smell the pungent dust everywhere.If you notice the architecture in Kuwait, the buildings and facade are normally painted with shades close to this–Beige, rust, or somewhat close to 1011 (Brown beige) or 1015 ( Light Ivory).

The other day, I was cleaning our roller shutters and windows  and this thought made me smile. Here in Germany, almost all windows  are white, painted with 9010 ( Pure white) and you can see tons of cleaning products in the grocery shops. I was thinking that if it’s so dirty in Kuwait because of frequent sandstorms then why I only see Dettol  ?

Maybe they realize that its useless to wipe out & clean when in the following morning its gonna be dusty again.It makes sense.

img_5852
My views during Sandstorm days back in Kuwait

I wrote before how Sandstorm happens in Kuwait and my experience of it. It’s a typical scenario and not surprising anymore for me. I guess when you live with it for years and years,  it becomes normal to you. One of the things that will happen to you when you move to Kuwait is that you will never wear clean shoes anymore. The soles of your shoes will always be dusty. There is dust in the pavement, in the road, almost everywhere. Flip flops? Oh forget it, it won’t work while you walk in the streets because your feet will only look like ginger soak in muddy puddles. If you stay in your car and never get out or walk, then you’re good.

After the sandstorm, we clean, we dust off and move on. That’s how life goes on.

 

 

Mushroom H2O Towers in Kuwait

photo12Nope, they are not  funnels, they are water Towers. They are storage tanks for H2O in Kuwait.

These  huge  33  Torres mushroom towers  are  designed by VBB, Sune Lindström , Joe Lindström &  Stig Egnells and holds a combined storage capacity of 102.000m3  and are the most visible symbol of the storage system and water distribution in Kuwait City. Aside from the glamorous Kuwait Towers, they are next prominent landmark of Kuwait. I think they are really a distinct design which I can only identify to this country.

Kuwait may have abundant electric power supply and they have oil, lots of it, but water in Kuwait is like diamonds. It´s a precious commodity and as far as I remember, the tap water is not suitable for drinking so we always buy tons and tons of bottled water everyday. I would carry them up to our flat villa since the elevator works only up to the 2nd floor. To tell you frankly, I think, the prices of oil is cheaper than bottled water!

I have lived in Kuwait for 8 long years and seeing these Water Towers ever single day is always part of my daily sightings, I see them on good fine weathers, on dusty and sandstormy ones, and they always bring me fond memories whenever I reflect on them.The blue and white stripe colors is really a great contrast on an arid weather that we always have there. They shined so bright and you can see them from a far so easily. Going to work, I see these mushrooms alongside the Bayan Palace in the 5th Ring Road. Of all the Towers spread all over Kuwait, I think they are the most striking; probably second to the beautiful Kuwait Towers! But then it is only on my opinion. I love it as well when they repainted it during the Hala February celebrations and put on some crazy lights in all the months of the festivities. Especially at night, they could really looked amazing!

photo8

Each reservoir has a standard capacity of 3000m3 and are supported by shafts of different heights.

The number of towers in each group varies between 6 and 9 and is determined by the consumption of each area. The towers are groups formed by pillars open rooms, which provide shades to the garden areas that develops underneath. Only two of the groups have landscaped gardens which are accessible to public.

How would I compared this structure to water consumption with my brand new life here in Germany? Well, a lot actually. Expat lifestyle is also very different.Kuwait is a desert country but rich in oil. I could count numerous times where I can’t take shower because we don’t have water in the 7th floor. I had to laugh when I remember that I had to wash my daughter’s poppy ass with bottled water. Typical scenario,right? Ordering boxes of water from a nearby Bakala is also typical for most households.

Here is Germany, I could just grab a glass of water directly from the faucet. It’s clean & drinkable. But did I told you about the high calcium deposits? Yes, we got anti-calc solution to take care of this.So when I think of water, I’ve got different perspectives from different worlds. In some areas, its scarce, in some place, it’s abundant.

But yes, these Mushroom Towers are rather fascinating, one of a kind.Only in Kuwait I must say. I wonder how it looks nowadays? I have heard that there are new modern buildings and infrastractures that has been built from the past years…

What do you find fascinating in your new country?

This post is in response to this week’s Photo Challenge |H2O

Have you enjoyed this post?  Make sure to hit the Follow button for more Expat stories on this Blog, and Hey, if you are an Expat Mama, you might want to be featured in this Blog for our series on Expat Mamas around the World! Drop me an email at justbluedutch@gmail.com.

Are you on Twitter?  follow me on my  Twitter  and my Instagram  for more updates on my Expat Life in Bavaria.Thanks!

Persian Gulf sunscapes

IMG_1377
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.

IMG_6937
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.

IMG_1376
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?

IMG_6918
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?

 

Are you on Twitter? Follow my Expat Life in my Twitter Page.

 

Only in Kuwait!

 

 

IMG_1221
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 .

IMG_1188
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!

IMG_8818
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.

IMG_0900
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.

IMG_1220
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 .

IMG_3998
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.

IMG_1201
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