Friday, November 16, 2007
Journey to Kuwait's Failaka Island
The following happened four or five weeks ago, but I've only begun writing about it now. I'll definitely be returning to Failaka Island. Pictured is Texas Jeff, another social studies teacher in the UAS high school.
Failaka Island sits in the "Arabian" Gulf about an hour's ferry ride from Kuwiat City. Twenty years ago the island was a bustling resort town brimming with beachside vacation condos ringing its sandy shores from all angles. But during the invasion in 1990, the Iraqis moved in and occupied Kuwait, including Failaka Island. The Iraqi Army waged an especially brutal campaign to take and occupy the island.
When the Americans came in to liberate the island, they had to shoot it up pretty good as well. For some odd reason though, the Kuwaiti government hasn't allowed the island to be repopulated. Ostensibly, there is a danger from landmines off of major roads, but other than that, Kuwait's decision to keep the island closed is somewhat baffling to me. Perhaps concern over its strategic position in front of the bay?
Whatever their reasons may be, I much prefer the deserted island with remnants of another era. Instead of another bland, uninspiring tourist trap hoovering money out of your pocket, the island is now the biggest ghost town I've ever seen. What a great playground! There are a couple ferries to the island and one hotel open. One doesn't have to venture far to wander through a post apocalyptic landscape of empty concrete buildings. My friend Jeff and I rented a quad ATV and drove all over the place wandering through empty buildings filled with dust and construction debris.
Above are pictures of us climbing to the top of a mosque's minaret! The building below was ostensibly the police headquarters. You can see the obvious damage from the firefight. Considering it was invaded twice, most of the other buildings were shockingly untouched. Rows and rows of resort bungalows lined the beach and there wasn't a soul in any of them.
Some may be interested to know the person in the picture is Universal American School's Jeff Wallick, (see his blog here) who teaches world history in the High School. More pictures coming soon!