Hello everyone! I know, I’ve been MIA recently BUT I have a legitimate reason for that: I was away on a really exciting month-long trip to… KUWAIT! It’s a small country in the Middle East, bordering Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It’s perhaps not the most conventional destination to spend Christmas and New Year’s at. However, I actually lived in Kuwait for a while before going to uni so it was an exciting experience to be able to go back there and observe things with a new perspective and see how things have changed.
I booked a 9 hours return flight from London to Kuwait, with a short layover in Istanbul, through Turkish Airlines. I had a really enjoyable trip, until I had to return to London – When my flight suddenly got cancelled because of bad weather!! I’m aware that I shouldn’t have booked a flight leaving 3 days before my first exam but have I mentioned how this was a country where it’s constantly sunny all year round and the temperature rarely goes below 20℃ during the day? Well, out of nowhere, the city suddenly became covered with fog on my last day,making it impossible for the planes to depart safely! Although I luckily managed to board on another plane the next day, the weirdest thing must have been to return to a sunny London, clear of rain – something must have seriously gone haywire with global climate.
But enough of weather chit-chat. As I was there for an entire month, it wasn’t a surprise that I ended up with thousands of pictures. I’m not going to post all of them of course but I’m going to share with you some of the highlights of my trip…
This is a slightly misleading picture because it was right before my giant 800g T-bone steak from Gaucho Grill arrived! This entire trip probably made me forget how hunger felt like. In fact, our days were mostly planned around what we were going to eat. Did I mention how I used to be a fat kid when I lived in Kuwait? I mean how can you resist when there’s literally all kind of franchises that you could possibly think about there. If you look closely at the above picture, you can probably distinguish the signboard for the Cheesecake Factory in the background. I’m not a huge fan per say, but when you think about the fact that the Middle East is the only place outside of America where you could find franchises of the brand… Think about the possibilities! I mean they even have Tim Hortons and IHOP! Enough said.
When in Kuwait…
…Do as the Kuwaitis do! My trip wouldn’t be complete without having a taste of the authentic local cuisine. Through family friends’ recommendations, we went to this really dodgy looking place that looked nothing like a restaurant from the outside. However, once you cross the doors, there were a lot of people inside, queuing to get a table. Once again, we got really full after enjoying our feast! My favourite must have been these middle eastern donuts that people have with tea (second picture) – I think they’re called “luqaimaat”? So yum! I did take a lot more food pictures during this trip but I will spare you this time!
The Friday Market
We went to this place called the Friday Market to have a look at well, various things. In Kuwait, the “weekend” is actually Friday and Saturday – Sunday is actually a working day. So, on the weekend, shop owners would open their stalls in the massive marketplace to sell all kinds of things from fridges, sofas, cookers, clothes, to antiques and collectible items. There was an impressive range of vintage cameras, which I found really cool! I found other random things like beepers (anyone remember those?) and even massive first generation mobile phones which weighted tons! It’s an interesting place to walk around, especially if you’re feeling lucky and want to find some pre 1995 gulf war collectibles.
On the first day of 2014, we went to the desert to have a picnic. I have to admit that throughout the entire time that I had lived in Kuwait – I had never actually spend a day in the remote areas of the desert. It was always within a camp or a building at least. So just sitting outside, grilling and enjoying food on top of a slope in the desert was a really new and exciting experience. It was a pretty cool thing to do on the first day of 2014.
The Fish Market
Apologies for the gory pictures but Fish Markets in Kuwait are definitely worth documenting. If you come there at the right time, you might be able to witness people auction huge buckets of fish (for really affordable prices may I add). It’s pretty incredible. Sometimes, you’d come across the odd shark or giant squid – something that you probably won’t be able to witness in central London. The wide and affordable range of seafood is definitely one of the greatest perks of living in Kuwait (think cheap & affordable sushi)!!
I don’t have a lot of pictures of malls in Kuwait because I was, well, too preoccupied scouring the sales. Heh. These were taken at a tiny mall called Al Kout in Fahaheel. The biggest mall in Kuwait is the Avenues (actually, the picture of me at Gaucho Grill was taken at the Avenues). It houses an extensive range of shops ranging from megastores (such as IKEA, Carrefour, Harvey Nichols,…) to your usual high street retailers (H&M, Zara, Top Shop,..) and high-end luxury stores (Chanel, Dior, Prada,…). I don’t think I’ll list all the food courts and restaurants they have there as well – makes me hungry and desperate to return to Kuwait just thinking about that. I mean you could probably find anything you can think about there and guess what, it’s still under construction! Seriously, shopping malls in the Middle East make Westfield look like a tiny department store…
I got to go back to my old school and meet some of my former teachers and old school mates, which was amazing! However, I want to give a special shout out to these Australian cuties that kept my stay in Kuwait extremely fun and entertaining – Hope we’ll get to meet again soon in the future! Until then, I shall practice to perfect my moustache pose so that I could one day compete with you guys :)