I would love to tell you that my journey to Kuwait and first day here were exciting and full of crazy new experiences, but they weren’t. Warning: this may be a dry blog (no pun intended).
This is my second trip to Kuwait, and the flight itinerary was the same as it was when I came here for my job interview in June: fly from London (Ontario) to Chicago (I still do love O’Hare!) where I quickly grab snacks (Combos and my favourite American “candy” bar: PayDay) and McDonalds (NEVER a good decision). Next I fly Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany and am reminded that German sounds so beautiful that it destroys the stereotype, and my ignorant belief, that German is a harsh-sounding language. In Frankfurt, I head to the currency exchange booth where I try to be okay with exchanging a lot of Canadian dollars into very few Kuwaiti dinar ($3.47 CAD=1 Kuwaiti dinar). Since I can’t see what Germany is really like from the airport (it looks suspiciously like the landscape around Pearson), I simply head to my gate, cover-up with my trusty travel blanket and pass out until it’s time to board the last flight. I usually wake up on this last flight when people start clapping once we’ve landed: A way of showing thanks to God (and our pilots) that we’ve arrived safely? I don’t know, but I mentally thank God. However, it’s at that point when I remember I still have to get into a vehicle. I start saying my prayers since driving in Kuwait can be terrifying (NOT an understatement).
I still have mixed feelings about the airport in Kuwait. Dealing with different rules that you aren’t familiar with is frustrating. The most irksome to me is that there aren’t any real lines anywhere, just clumps of people hovering. There is a swarm of people by customs, another by the visa counter and yet another around immigration. A person cutting in front of you is normal and accepted. The other pain? The luggage carousel is a hotspot and people have no qualms about pushing you out of the way to get their luggage. This isn’t how my mama raised me! The nice things about it? 1.) There’s always a very kind man willing to help me lift my 50-pound suitcase off of the conveyer belt, 2.) Any counter (phone distributors, limousine services, etc.) will let you use their phone to make a local call, 3.) The airport itself is extremely easy to navigate (only a little more difficult than the airport in Victoria, BC-seriously), and 4.) The exit is ALWAYS full of people waiting with flowers and open arms. In fact, I've never seen an exit at an airport sooo jam-packed. There are even more people at the exit than the luggage carousel! *Chuckling to myself at my bad joke*
My new (although temporary) flat is beautiful and huge! However, being indoors today was too much for me, so I decided to go for it and venture outside for a few household items I needed. The gentlemen who work at the front door don’t speak a speck of English, and so when I asked where the electronics store was, one of the men actually walked me there-giving directions wasn’t going to cut it, I guess. He then took me to the grocery store. I forgot my razor in Canada and needed toilet paper. This led to extremely uncomfortable communication; I was practising my hand gestures in an attempt to explain what I needed to buy…I felt for that man. I now know that I can survive anywhere if I can get the message across that I need toilet paper and a razor. *Insert hilarious images of Mikiko waving her hands around, running to the bathroom and pointing to the toilet paper roll while simultaneously trying to air draw a roll of toilet paper* Thank God I don’t embarrass easily, but the poor man looked like he wished he was somewhere else. I know what you’re all going to say, but, uh, yeah, I didn’t bring an Arabic dictionary. This event confirmed that I’ll definitely need to learn Arabic…And buy an English-Arabic dictionary.
The gentleman stocking food at the grocery store spoke English and kindly assisted me-sans a disturbing game of charades. He’s from Iran and is in the process of obtaining a visa to move to Canada; I thought that was ironic. I know that many people can only dream of moving to Canada. The flip side is, of course, that some of us Canadians keep moving abroad. Why is it that we move? For me, it’s solely about a job opportunity that I cannot secure in Canada right now. We’ll see what the future has in store. I do know that as much as I love to travel, I’m not happy that I had to leave the people I love the most on another continent. That being said, I expect visitors :)
The view of the flat from the front door (check out the welcome basket full of food from Marks & Spencer!).
The front door, dining area and entrance to the kitchen (view from the living area).
The kitchen (from the kitchen entrance door). The washer and dryer are on the left and the fridge is to the right.
The guest bedroom (the room I use).
The master bedroom with the second bathroom...Yes, two bedrooms and two bathrooms...Two, too many for just a single me.