Saturday, August 25, 2007

Summarized Happenings in Kuwait

Since I arrived in Kuwait, I've done the following:

1. Developed a tasted for Lebanese and Afghani food. There's some good food here, but none of it is particularly healthy. Lots of fried foods and deep fried foods. Arab food also includes lots of very sweet stuff that is no doubt loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol. I've found some healthy staples, but eating out will no doubt bring about unhealthy habits.

2. Searched around for a health club or Gym to join to replace Peare. Most of the gyms and healthclubs in Kuwait are segregated by sex. So it looks like I'll be joining a gym that's all males.

3. Gone to a number of new teacher in-service sessions, attended meetings, and done a number of tasks to prepare for the upcoming year in school. I've been busy.

4. Done my best to move into my new apartment on my limited funds. I'm now on the fourth floor of what has been dubbed the "Hawali Hilton" by the resident staff of Universal American School. I reside in a small efficiency apartment with only slightly more square footage than my apartment in Japan and only one bedroom.

5. Gone shopping at numerous places for various household necessities. I'm trying to hold off until my first real paycheck, but I have since bought a rice cooker, and a telephone. I'm not sure how to work the phone yet (or if it works).

6. Shopping and looking around at the old Souk (market) here in Kuwait. A friend took me down on the bus for a visit. I scored an old school Iranian coin with the Shah of Iran. The store also had heaps of giant Persian carpets made from silk. Some were positively huge. They featured all sorts of designs, from traditional Persian themes to Hollywood movie stars. I saw one large silk rug with Leonardo D'Caprio in Titanic that was shockingly well rendered. Wish I'd had my camera.

7. Forgetting to bring my camera anywhere I go! I'll have some pictures of various places up soon! Not that there is much to photograph. The area I live in is not exactly Beverly Hills. I live near a computer district filled with dozens (hundreds?) of tiny shops all selling the same 50 computer components and accessories.

8. Taking care of matters for my visa and long awaited civil ID card. All foreigners in Kuwait (most of the country) are required to carry a civil ID. I had to take a chest X-ray, HIV/Hepatitis A test AGAIN, and I just got fingerprinted this morning. This was the most awful part of living in Kuwait so far.
Because I and most of the other teachers are white people from developed countries, we get pushed to the front of the line (8 hours long) in the government offices. Imagine waiting at the DMV for 4 hours and 20-something VIPs come and get to cut in line. The Bangladeshi guy didn't like it either. I felt awful about it, but did what I was told. I hope I don't have to do that again.

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