Kuwait’s jet ski generation

A substantial part of my holidays was spent at the beach. With all friends at work, I was there often alone. Or well, not really alone. Every day the guy from A Kuwaiti Declaration of Love stopped by. Then there was the elderly Egyptian gentleman, who had offered himself as my protector, to chase away all…

The Kuwaiti fascination for all things Western

In the Middle East people sometimes seem to have a love-hate relationship with the West, and particularly the United States. On the one hand they love the West: they travel there, they study there, and many wish that they could permanently move there. Not only does the West often provide them with better economic opportunities, it…

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…