Sunday 8 March 2015

Who goes to Kuwait for half term?

We do! well, we did in November 2014. 
Cleggy had a couple of days work at an English school there so we thought we'd tag along. Nice warm weather...on the coast...time bad can it be?
 It wasn't bad - but it was a bit weird.

We flew with KLM so enjoyed a couple of hours in Amsterdam airport on the way, and 'dutch' food on the flight!
 When we arrived at the airport in the early hours we had to sort our visas out. The man in charge was eating chocolate and watching the TV but pointed in the general direction of a photocopying booth. 

Luckily, having been a teacher Cleggy knew how to work it all. I hadn't a clue. Nor did the people who followed us there - in fact Cleggy had to get out of there quick as he soon appeared to tourists from all over the world to be 'in charge'!!
 At this point we had an idea how it might be in Kuwait. 
We weren't wrong.

We had arranged for the hotel to send a taxi - which they did. But there weren't enough seats. This seemed to trouble us far more than the driver, who simply suggested we sit on knees. For the hair raising speed through the city. I couldn't look.
The hotel lobby was reassuringly ok - belying the weirdness of the rooms we ended up in. I'd chosen an apartment hotel quite far out of the city to give us more space and ability to cook if need be. But, like Brunei the previous year, the 'kitchen' contained no equipment whatsoever - so pretty pointless! Luckily there was a plethora of restaurants within walking distance - I wasn't that keen on getting back in a car!
The other reason I chose this particular hotel was that it was on the beach and had some pools. What it also had was a major building renovation going on. Clearly health and safety isn't as big a deal as it it elsewhere in the world.
To be fair, if you turned your chair in the direction of the beach, and ignored the noise, you could reasonably believe you were enjoying the view.
Until a massive dumper truck appeared.
 Luckily there were no children on the beach at that moment!

In fact we were pretty much the only people there. So the boys enjoyed the pool and I had a little crochet.
The hotel had the obligatory 'international buffet' which the boys always love. It changed each day and had the strangest combinations of food I think I've ever seen in one room. Sometimes my plate looked positively exotic:
 and other times purely beige. I think this was actually breakfast!

Of course there were cakes and sweets galore - the boys had to eat a bit of fruit for every bit of cake!!
 Rim water anyone??
 They thought these ring pulls were ace - 
they'd never seen them before!
 The waffles were good, as was the lentil daal type thing (again for breakfast) and my favourite was mint and lemon juice.
  We did venture out a few times - the best day being to the souk - it was amazing. Exactly as you'd expect; noisy, busy, full of the most bizarre objects, no other tourists, friendly people and unusual smells.
(they are WAY ahead with their bare lightbulbs!)
 I resisted picking a little something up for Mabel and Hettie!
Each area was identifiable by a sign.
Presumably this was the alpine dairy area?
 We ate there too 
(much to the horror of the teachers at the English school!)
 It was deeeeelicious.
 The boys loved the cheap knock off watches... and pants!
 and I loved how sociable and friendly they were. Which only made some of the souk sellers even friendlier!
By mid week both Al and I had seriously bad tummy upsets (which Alfie had also had BEFORE lunch at the souk!) so didn't partake in much eating after that. The boys however loved the American Cheesecake factory
While Cleggy was working I took the boys to the Marina (where we stumbled across a 'World's Strongest Man competition'?!)
and also to a shopping mall where they had some time to wander. While I very much enjoyed a Costa!!
 We had arranged for the taxi driver who took us to pick us up but he didn't appear. So we just got a random cab. Unfortunately the driver spoke (literally) no English and I had real trouble trying to get him to understand where we needed to go. 

He kept saying he understood - but my (bizarrely) good sense of direction kept telling me we were going in the wrong direction. I was right!

I thought about panicking...but since I was on my own with the boys I gave myself a good talking to and asked him to pull over so we could sort out where we were going.
Eventually he phoned his friend who did speak a little English, who I then spoke to on the phone, and (some time later) we got back to the hotel . 

I had thought it was a ruse to extort a huge amount of money from hapless tourists but he was very apologetic and only charged us the original fare.

And (very unusually) I gained some serious kudos from all three boys for staying calm and getting us 'home'!
All in all it was far more of an experience than a holiday. I was glad we had gone, but I wouldn't go back. Not least because although it was hot it was also grey and muggy so rather than come back looking well rested I came back with tummy pains and dark circles under my eyes!!

The bathroom was being done while we were away. Or that was the plan. 
Our old house is never without it's idiosyncrasies and our friend Neale had had all sorts of problems along the way. 

So instead of being finished it looked like this:
(just what you need when three of you need the toilet more than usual!!)
Apart from washing in the kitchen sink (!) the only other notable thing we did in November was visit Al's brother, his family and their Mum, who also now lives in Edinburgh since Grandad died last year.
 As always it wasn't nearly long enough.
We had a little time to catch up, saw Grandma's new home, a mooch round the excellent charity shops in Morningside...
 (those chairs are on the wall!!)
 and the cousins enjoyed each others company and, as they tend to do, made a short film together!
It's always lovely to see them all...

Fee x


  1. Fee, I grew up in a part of Virginia, in the States, where if someone asked where your family was from, they meant which county of Virginia. It was not until after university graduation that I left for New York, and began to meet folks from many other parts of the world and to do a bit of traveling myself.

    I write those words to let you know how fortunate I think that your boys are to have all the varied travel experiences become part of their own growing up years. What worldly young men they are becoming, with marvelous parents leading the way.


  2. Great, great stories and pictures as usual Fee: Fabulous! :-)


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fee x