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Day Two and Three in Kuwait

KUWAIT | Monday, 22 February 2010 | Views [325]

Abdullah. I spent the day with Abdullah, a Kuwaiti introduced to me by a colleague at work. He rolled up to the hotel in his VW Scirroco looking very continental. "Hey, man, get in!" He took me to the old souk for lunch. I told him I wanted real food. We went to a plaza with lots of ourdoor tables - families, workers and got some great Persian bread, matubbel, rice with lamb and fatoush (bread salad). Very nice. We wondered around the souk a little and Abdullah expressed his frustration with the modern Kuwaiti lifestyle - laziness, overconsumption, no respect for education, hard work.  He mentioned the hypocracy of the government. He pointed out the new 'Liberation Tower" built smack in the center of downtown. He said it was a waste - no place to park, bad location, the restaurant at the top was abandoned due to fire hazard, etc. I said it looked like a big hypodermic needle. He said, "Yeah, stuck right in the ass of Kuwait!"

He took me to The Avenues - one of the latest mega-malls built in the outskirts of Kuwait City - a square of temple to consumption filled with high -end boutiques, a gigantic French supermarket and a massive Ikea. I said, "Ikea? Kuwaitis don't seem like do-it-yourselfers to me." He said, "No, they pay someone to put it together."

We toured the mall which was packed watching the variations in dress, crazy high heels, overdone makeup, elongated hair styles. He claimed to hate the mall, but went there when it was really hot. We had a nice chat at the Dean and Deluca fine food store (not a Dean and Deluca rip-off) and over lattes, he told me of his doomed marriage to a German woman and his hopes for a better future for Kuwait.It was a very revealing and deep conversation.

He fought the crazy traffic to get me back to the hotel and after a moonlit swim in an empty pool and a little reading by the beach, I crashed.

The next morning the ISN roller coaster with visits to three schools - Indian Education School (mostly interested in medicine and engineering), the American Academy for Girls (Kuwaiti girls acting very westernized) and the Gulf English School (Brit system- A levels?? huh?). Back to the hotel, had another shwarma on the beach and collapsed.

We set up for the Expo and had a briefing from the US. Dept of COmmerce about the nature of Kuwaiti students, ELI got an award for being such a good exporter of education and the expo began. Some interesting people - very unique educational plans. One guy was very odd - "I can't like Utah.  How can you make me like Utah?  Here are my transcripts. Can't you give me admission now? Then later, " I think Utah is the best." Odd!

It was exhausting, but finally I'm packed and ready to move on to a new country, UAE, tomorrow.

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