Saturday, January 30, 2010

You've got to be kidding me!

(This is an Oprah interview with Zain Al Sabah a few years back her commoner husband is from Boodai family, a rich common family

All Kuwaiti people are rich? Someone tell my hubby that.Hmmm am I missing something? After people see this they all think the people here are rich. That's why I always hear "Oh you live in Kuwait where all the rich people are". Well, there are rich people but I have met very few of them and the ones I've met are not quality type people. Yes, it does seem that everyone drives Mercedes and Jags but does everyone know that they are on payment or rental cars used to pick up chicks?

Does everyone know that the rich get richer and the other people stay the same? Yes health care for Kuwaiti's is free but have you seen the hospitals and clinic? Rich people don't visit government hospitals, rich people don't send their kids to government schools. There are poor Kuwaiti people who get the food hand outs during Ramadaan. Taboo. There is a giant gap between rich and regular people but most people will never know unless you live amongst the normal folks as I do.

Oprah makes a big deal about the "12,000 dollars" the government gives the Kuwaiti people when they get married. That only applies if both of them are Kuwaiti and what does 4000 kd get you? It's equal to $4000.00 in the states if not less. They don't realize what the cost of living is here. I wish people knew about the real Kuwait. Oprah gives a one-sided version and people think everyone in Kuwait has an oil well and gold toilets. NOT!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

People who come to Kuwait quickly realize driving here is unlike anywhere in the world. Everyone should be required to take defensive driving classes before getting their license here. Flashing lights, horns blowing and bumper riding are an everyday occurrence here. You just have to learn how to move out of their way without getting into an accident trying to avoid them. Some people are not as lucky as we can see from the pictures.

This was an accident in Mangaf. There's a U turn that you have to take to get to the highway. Needless to say someone wasn't paying attention or going way too fast. Typical scene in Kuwait.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Payless in the Avenues

I was totally excited when Payless shoe store opened in The Avenues. My family and I went there when it first opened. We were checking out the shoes and the prices. I was telling my sister that the prices were just a little bit more expensive than the states. All of the sudden the British manager of the store jumps into our conversation to let us know that the prices were the same as the states and was going on about the shoes. What does he know about the states and why did he feel the need to jump into a private conversation. How rude! How Payless has grown I can remember when shoes were no more than 8 or 9 dollars now they have some different brands and are much much more expensive now. Another "progress" story?

Payless has opened up another location in Salmiya next to Sultan center in the BHS store. I wish one day I would see a Wal-Mart popping up here, fat chance but something to wish for. Even India has one, it's not the same as the states but at least they have it. How about Waffle House? Simple setting with great food. In n Out from Cali oh yah! I would even settle for a Carrefour in this area, I like that store but again it is soo far away. Considering the jamiyas (Arabic grocery store)are raising their prices and have little variety I'm sure Carrefour would work out here. Sultan Center is good of course but the prices are so high. Yes, yes the products are imported I know but 4.500 kd for Parmesan cheese? Ouch.

I'm getting hungry now. Ciao.

Monday, January 25, 2010

No balloons in this country?

Well it was my daughter's sweet 16 a couple weeks ago and unfortunately there is no celebration here like back home. I wanted to get a custom cake and get balloons and flowers, easier said than done. I started off a week before looking for all the items I needed.

First stop Cake N' Bake to order the cake. After looking through their pictures I decided on a chocolate cake that was black and red which are her fav colors. OK that was easy.

Next stop: Find balloons. That was like finding a needle in a haystack. I started off in Fahaheel at the flower shops. When I asked for balloons the guy looked at me like huh? He didn't speak too much English and certainly didn't understand me or my mother. Unfortunately my broken Arabic didn't help either. We left. I went to Salmiya looking for balloons, finally finding them at Sultan center but they didn't have the exact thing I was looking for, sweet 16 is unheard of here so of course there aren't any balloons fitting that subject. Finally I traveled to Shuwaikh to Party World. Totally over priced items. They have wrapping paper which has the dollar amount of $2.99 but they charge 2 kd and it wasn't even pretty. I did find a devil balloon that I bought. It was marked 2 kd and she tried to charge me 4 kd, sorry it was price 2 kd so of course that's what I paid for it.

I got the balloons and some over priced tissue paper which would replace the wrapping paper. I decided to have the balloons blown up on the day of the party. My daughter wanted Japanese food for her b-day so we made reservations at Sakura for the buffet. The day of the party arrives and I was running mad trying to get the balloons blown. Finally I found a place in Salmiya the 101 dalmatians place, God what a cheesy name. They charged me 1 kd to blow the devil balloon and 100 fils for each of the smaller ones. The guy blowing up the balloons popped 2 of them Ahhhhh nothing goes right in this country. The silver balloon had no hole for the helium machine, now I'm getting really ticked off. I cut a hole in it and somehow he tied it up with some ribbon. Now it's off to get flowers. There is a flower shop close to Mowasat, nice guy, nice flowers and a good price. Flowers, check, Balloons, check.

I picked up the cake and headed off to Sakura. So it was almost 2:30 when we arrived, close to the buffet closing. The food was awful. Everything was stale and cold. I don't like Japanese food too much anyways and this just killed it permanently. The girls liked it and had a good time. Next is cake cutting time. The cake was narrow and stacked 5 layers high. All I wanted was a good old fashioned cake from the grocery store but that was only a dream. Give me back the good old days of renting a helium machine and blowing up my own balloons while make that donald duck voice after sucking a little helium. Where is Wal-Mart to supply endless wrapping options and party items. Well I hope she liked it because I worked my butt off for it.

I really never knew how hard it would be to find balloons and gift wrapping. Isn't anything easy in this country??

Ladies Gyms in Mahboula Area

I live in the Mahboula (which means crazy lady in Arabic) area, the ghetto of Kuwait. When I moved here 6 years ago people in Salmiya didn't even know where it was and those who did cringed at the thought of living here. Oh well I liked it because there wasn't alot of traffic back then but flash forward to today and it is getting to be the same as Salmiya. I guess it's called "progress". The traffic and people have grown but the up keep of the area still lacks. Holes in the road that will swallow your car. No water, only trucked in water that is full of God knows what. It's really bad for my hair but what to do.

Anyways let's talk about the gyms available here for women. I know most westerns are contractors and live in furnished buildings with gyms and pools but for those of us that are just normal folks living day to day we have to find a gym outside.

Not too long ago a sheikha opened up Pilates and more on the corner of Mareena Towers. I must say it is a really nice gym with new equipment and employees who actually know what they are doing. At that time the full package was 360 kd which included massages, vibrating equipment that's supposed to help you tone, I found it only shook up what I already had. They had classes and free water which was cool. Then I got pregnant and my membership ended. Now that I'm ready to get back I went there to see how much the membership was now. Drum roll please........... it's now 640 kd for a year. Gasp! That doesn't include the 40 kd membership fee, I was told I could talk to the manager for a discount because I was a member before. How much does that account for 5 kd? You can take one month for 80 kd "cough".

My sister told me about Body Style gym in Alia and Ghalia towers. I went to check it out. You have to go down to the basement so be careful of the stairs they narrow at the end. To the right is the men's gym and to your left is the women's side. Well the staff is not nearly as professional as Pilates and the gym is so humid you break a sweat just walking in. So the equipment is like 20 years old and some machines don't work but hey for 40 kd a month and 110 kd for 3 months what do you expect? They have a spa and a jacuzzi but I don't think I will be using them, they don't have the feeling of cleanliness ew! I'm just thinking of the 40 kd per month so I will overlook that. The staff, which are philipino kinda look at you with a blank stare when you ask them questions and it takes a couple tries to understand them but being in Kuwait for so long I can understand just about any accent. I ended up joining to give it a try and because it's cheap. I find it better to go in the morning, they open up at 9.

I know there is also the gym at the Hilton but I think it's co-ed so I don't want my goodies shown to strange men. The gym is small but the equipment is pretty good. I think it's around 450 kd a year but I'm not 100% sure. I just hate going through the security check and having to answer the "where are you going" question from the Egyptian guy. Sometimes I tell them I'm going to McDonald's just to have them think about it for a minute, mean I know but fun. I had a massage at the Hilton which was pretty good. They ask me if I'm staying at the hotel, if I gave them some random room number would they charge it to their account? I decided to pay cash and be on my way. The massage was 20 kd that was a couple years ago, I'm sure the price has increased as everything in Kuwait has been inflated.

If anyone has any other gym suggestions let me know and I will post them for everyone to see.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


Woohoo my first post! Scary thing happened the other night while driving along the 30 from Fahaheel. My husband and I were coming back from the store driving in the fast lane on the 30 heading home. We could see a car flashing his lights like he was crazy, not having anywhere to go we stayed in the lane, the driver decided to go around us in the emergency lane hitting the side mirror and ripping the thing completely off. Well they were in a Range Rover Sport and we were in a typical GMC Yukon. My husband decided to chase after him, unfortunately we learned that night that the Yukon has no huevos. Needless to say he had the pedal to the metal but the poor Yukon could not keep up. We watched the lights of the Range gently disappear. How do you explain that to the police?