I will admit that I was shocked several times in Kuwait. I hadn’t really known what to expect, but I didn’t expect much of what I got.
Before the trip, I knew Kuwait from the Gulf War of the 90s, it has a bunch of oil, falls into the “we are rich so all the workers here are foreigners” category, it’s hot, and it’s an Arab / Muslim country. Now that I’ve been, I saw much beyond that.
Kuwait is visa-free for a lot of westerners, but you still have to do some paperwork to get the approval on arrival, and that ate up some time. I jumped in a taxi and was off to my hotel to check in. It was also dinner time, so I just wanted to check in and find food.
I stayed a the Residence Inn, which is designed for feeling home-like for long-term stays, so nothing overly impressive. It was the cheapest use of points in Kuwait City, and they were surprised to see a Platinum member staying for a short period. Seems like it doesn’t happen there much.
I found a vegan café called Vterra only a few blocks away, located in a super modern mall, and it was incredible. I had mac & cheese with bacon bits and green tea cheesecake.
Now that I was full, I walked around rather aimlessly just enjoying the city’s mix of modern and traditional.
Before going to bed, I noticed some late night soccer action, since it’s too hot for them to play during the day.
I also had a view towards the Kuwait Towers from my window.
The next morning, I walked towards some places I wanted to see and found this Spanish-named beach club really amusing.
This sign thanks the Allies for their help against Iraq, and it looks like it’s been this way since the early 90s.
These are part of the government buildings complex along my path.
I went to the Grand Mosque and just wanted to take a few pictures. I was led to a meeting room and told in really bad English that there would be a tour. Tour? I’m not paying to go in.
They wound up calling someone who explained to me that the tour is free but will last an hour. I planned to start and then disappear at some point.
I wound up staying for the whole hour, because the guide was really interesting. She’s a middle-aged British woman who converted to Islam, moved to the Middle East, got married and stayed. Never looked back.
The mosque was really beautiful, also. During Ramadan, they can’t fit everyone inside, so they have some people praying outside. Being Kuwait, they have those machines that spray cool mist and some special kind of marble flooring that doesn’t get hot.
They also spent something like $40 million US building this mosque. Glad to hear there were literally no other uses you could think of for that money.
This is apparently one of the oldest written Korans. People who had memorized the teachings of Mohammed got together and all recited it together, correcting whenever one of them said something. Then, that became the Koran. Repeat to make more copies.
From here, I walked towards a cultural/historical/co-op of weavers,
and it was a letdown. Interesting only for 3 minutes, tops.
I walked towards the Parliament
But I couldn’t get any good photos, since 1) I wasn’t sure it was allowed, and 2) it was hard to fit it in, being right next to the sidewalk.
From here, it was back to the hotel.
I’d asked for a late checkout and used up the afternoon in my sightseeing. At checkout, the hotel wanted to know why I hadn’t contacted them for a free ride from the airport, since I’m a Platinum member. I had…they just never replied to my email.
“Oh, sorry about that. Let us give you a ride to the airport in a Mercedes S-Class to make it up to you.”
I’ve heard Kuwait City is only interesting for a few days, so exploring for a night, morning, then afternoon might be close to the maximum people want to spend. I’d go back for another day and take the trip up in the Kuwait Towers.
And Salah is still super famous in the Middle East.This entry was posted in asia, Kuwait, Kuwait City, Middle East