“Their parents drop them.”

While driving along the Fahaheel Highway, just after the junction between Abu-Hulayfa and Mahboula, you can see this yellow building surrounded by three layers of thorny fences. To better locate this building, one must drive by a hairdresser’s salon which claims to deliver:


Yes, you read that right – “Women’s Secrets for Beautifying Ladies”. These are two different species, women and ladies… if you didn’t know. And only ladies need to be “beautified” because of their natural ugliness… Anyway…

This mysterious building has been the object of our discussions since we came here. First of all, a sign on it claims that “Chastity is the ornament of poverty”. We still can’t figure out of this is good or bad. And a shop nearby sells “effective nipple cleanser”… whatever that is… Anyway…

Every morning, you can see groups of cars driving off of the highway at full speed and rolling down into the sandy desert. The men stop in front of the double-layered fence and stand there. They look around; they run around; they talk to each other and wave their arms, their dishdashas flapping in the wind.

“There is some commerce going on there,” my husband repeated suspiciously. “We have to go see…” We went and… saw. The yellow building is actually a school.

The children are passed through a narrow passage in the sand under the fence and also handed above it from parent to teacher. The guard claims that “Their parents drop them”. Maybe they drop them on their heads or something…

And here is, as a bonus, a snapshot of an English textbook massively sold in many Kuwaiti malls:


So… where is your wanted???!!!???

Why Chinese People Eat Roaches and Other Pakistani Ideas from Kuwait

Me with Mr Khan and some Pakistani peopleKuwait is a cosmopolitan state. It has a huge expat community. And within that community, there are many smaller communities of Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Philippino, American, European people. And all these people have transported into Kuwait their likes and dislikes, their ways of life and their customs, and they try to live together. Sometimes this is quite difficult. One colleague told me that I should not define people depending on their nationalities because they may be offended. This is an interesting idea. It means that an Indian may be offended if one calls him an Indian. Even though there are many Bulgarian prostitutes, I would never be offended if someone called me Bulgarian. And even though France has had her hand in quite a number of dirty political affairs, I would never be offended if someone called me French. However, in the words of an Indian (sorry! that’s what you are by passport and I like it…) seller of Arabic perfumes, “If I call you ‘Chinese’ it means that you smell.” So, by definition you should be offended even though, when you think of it, we all smell and there is nothing offensive in that. It’s just the normal state of things…

Pakistani sweetsAnd this is where I come to the picture I have placed above at the beginning of this post… Our new good friend Mr Khan was very angry with us. He wanted to buy us pizza and we did not call him. What is more, we actually rented a car which means that he cannot drive us around (for free) anymore. We called him to show him our new car (and, yes, I admit, we also wanted him to tell us what kind of fuel to put in it because we had no idea what it runs with and we also had no idea how to open the trunk…) and the following conversation in Pakistano-English ensued:

Mr Khan: Why you no take me for driver anymore!?
Me: Now, we shall be YOUR driver!!!
Latchezar: I drive YOU anywhere! You say – I drive.
Me: Yes, yes.
Mr Khan: I wanted to buy you khana (food) but you no here! So I angry.
Me: I have to buy you khana and chai (tea) because tomorrow is my birthday!
Mr Khan: Me chai pia! (I drink tea) Come on!

For the Bulgarian speakers out there, note that “pia” in Pakistani is the same as the Bulgarian “пия”… Strange, isn’t it? There are many others like this… Must be our common Indo-European roots….

WP_20130913_045At that point Mr Khan decided to take us to this terribly, horribly dirty, cockroachy place in a run-down Fahaheel market. But this, not before we passed through the shop of the Indian, Arabic perfume seller (mentioned above) where he tried to buy perfume for me. When we did not let him, he sprayed incredible quantities of a bottle all over me and dragged us out of the shop, slamming the door. The Indian perfume seller ran after us for a few meters shouting something in Arabic, to which Mr Khan replied by shouting “you, dirty, money-monger!”. Inside the Pakistani cafe (owned by the cousin of a cousin, of a cousin, all of them called Khan), only men were sitting at the counters, watching the Pakistani president. By the way, everybody was laughing because we did not recognize the guy… And I have to admit that after the Pakistani president, I was the second best attraction of the evening with Mr Khan attempting to force-feed me (literally by shoving into my mouth) large quantities of Pakistani sweets. Really sweet! All meanings of the word included. And the tea was thick and sugary but according to the people there “It contains all the vitamins! A, B, C, D, E, F, G and all the rest!”

We sat down for a chat and a drink of water and tea. People were running around, serving coffee and swatting the huge, fat rouches.

Mr Khan: Chinese eat them. That is why they smell. They eat dog, cat, hopping and flying things… Anything! You – not smell. I – no smell. They smell.
Me: But, Mr Khan, we eat pork!
Mr Khan: You good woman. You covered, no sexy dress. Stop eating pork – you perfect woman.
Me: Ok, I haven’t eaten pork for 1 week.
Mr Khan: You no smell. Husband of you no smell. Good people. Chinese they do it because they want to smell. They no interested in no smelling. Indian no smell. Unreliable. Bad drivers. No good.
Me: But they are just different, Mr Khan. You have to accept them.
Mr Khan: No no no accept. Everybody who smell, they want to smell and they no bath, no shower, no toilet. Tomorrow we come back here.

This is when we saw this guy:


People say that roaches go only to clean places. I do not know if that is true but tomorrow, we are about to test this theory.

Please note that I like Indians, Chinese, Pakistani, Koweiti and all other people and that I have absolutely no hate in me for them. I am just posting here some opinions that I came across and that I can understand without necessarily adhering to them : ) And all the Indians I know smell nice : )

Three Travel Sententiae from Kuwait

Have you ever wondered why the flag of Pakistan and the flag of Turkey look like they do? When you are in the desert and when you look up, the crescent moon is huge and fine and it is always hanging, tilted under a bright star. This moon is so fine that it looks like the waves of Arabic writing and the star nex to it sparkles so strongly that it looks like the dots calligraphers use to mark their vowels. I now know that Arabic is not mere writing. Arabic is written with stars and crescent moons.

When men and women walk side by side they look royal. The women in black and the men in white are beautiful and handsome, and graceful, and they are matched with one another, and they are meant to walk together, black and white pawns on the chessboard of the world. The game of chess is the game of life.

We know that Allah is great not because it is written in a book but because men have built great and beautiful things in His name, because they sing great music in His name, because they have produced art that fills you with awe, and because their souls are pure when they continue do this in peace with one another.