An old-fashioned Orientalist in Kuwait

Visiting friends abroad does have some advantages. As you are there only for a short time, everyone wants to make you happy and you get to pick the places you want to go to. Being an old-fashioned Orientalist with a fascination for everything Middle Eastern (sorry, Edward Said) I usually ask for Arabic places. After…

More than just a mall

An ordinary working day. My friends are all at work, and I take the opportunity to check out my favourite mall in Kuwait, the Avenues. And no, not just for shopping. Don’t be mistaken: a mall in the Gulf is never really just a mall. It is an air-conditioned space where you can spend the day…

Two brave women in Kuwait

“Excuse me madam?”. The Filipino shopping assistant at my favourite shop at my favourite mall is obviously bored. There are hardly any customers around on this ordinary Tuesday afternoon, when most other people are at work. We have already done some small talk about the shoes that I am trying on and the skirt that…

Kuwait’s only tourist

Kuwait is not your typical tourist destination. Quite the contrary: it is one of the countries receiving the fewest tourists worldwide. Although the majority of the people you will come across here are foreigners, chances are small they are visiting. Instead they operate this country: from the managers to the doctors and the engineers, the…

A Kuwaiti declaration of love

The first day of Eid. My usual beach companions are either travelling or fasting. I myself however am not daunted by the perspective of having to visit the beach on my own, and I decide to cross the street and make myself comfortable at Salmiya’s public beach. ‘Are you sure about this??’. E., the fasting…

Welcome to Kuwait!

2.15 am. With some delay Pegasus Airlines flight PC858 lands in Kuwait Airport, on board a very exciting young girl, returning to the desert country after an absence of more than two years. The only thing standing between her and a reunion with her desert home? A visa. It’s not busy when I enter the…