All things considered, life in Kuwait is pretty easy going. You have a relatively small population, relatively high levels of GDP and HDI (Human development index) when compared to the world at large, and enough restaurants, that to burn through them all would require a near-lifetime commitment. That said, as with everywhere in the world, it can be a prickly pear that demands a delicate hand when peeling back the sharp outer skin to get to the manna beneath. Thus, your definitive guide to the tantalizing world of constant vacillation that is daily life, explored. So, without further ado: your top 5 love/hate relationships with Kuwait.
#5- Malls, Malls, Malls– For an ever-growing number of us, crowds are a nemesis that must be avoided at all costs. Parking, as an extension of the same, when it is complicated, traffic ridden, time consuming, or somehow anything less than an empty stadium parking lot where I get close enough to practically drive through the checkout line, and I will probably find a way to complain. That said, for all my griping, it is fair to say that the selections, the restaurants, and overall ability to get something done at a mall is by far the best thing in town (not to mention, when it is 45+ Celsius outside, that AC feels mighty good). Personally, I like to go in a large group, divide and conquer in different directions, and meet afterwards in some centralized coffee shop to dispense appropriately all the goods acquired. Where else can you get the best of luxury, electronics, household goods, office supplies and more restaurants than you could eat at in a year. Though there are times when you need to sharpen up the ‘ol elbows before heading in, it is still often worth the extra effort; so, relax, make a plan, and make it happen.
#4- Delivery Everything-I know, I should not complain about this at all. The business of delivery in this country is amazing and awe inspiring. The only problem is, I am getting quite fat and sloth-like. I promise, there was a time where I could actually get off the couch myself and go get a bag of ice from the bakala on my own. These days though, I really cannot be bothered. From food, to odds and ends, electronics; the options are over the top. Last week, I came to work with a bit of cold and sans medicine. Inside of an hour I had medicine delivered, cough drop in mouth and a steady stream of tissue at the ready. I am afraid I am being spoiled for the rest of the world.
#3 Hariss– When everything is going great, this guy is your best friend. He helps you when times are tough. He’s watching out for you and keeping an eye on your place while your gone. Sure, he is probably somewhere right now fluffing your pillows and making your bed. But still, when things go wrong, they go real wrong. Do not get him on your bad side or you just might find yourself wondering why it seems like everything in your home is just slightly askew. I recommend gifts, often!
#2 Dust Storms– I know what you are thinking already: of course you can hate dust storms, but how on earth can you love them? Well, my friend (he says while ceremonially picking sand from between his teeth), quite frankly, there is just more to it than the bit of dirt that you track in from a day outside. First, what many don’t realize as they rush to shut the curtains from the incoming rolling-in of the brown cloud, is that the dust brings shade. On a hot day, the dust can easily drop the old barometer by a solid 10 degrees, if not more. Secondly, so many people stay in when the dust comes, that this is a perfect time to get things done. A days worth of errands can be done in a couple hours. Not to mention, should you opt to stay in and just hide yourself away for the day, no one will judge you. It’s expected! Therefore, yes I heart dust storms! There, I said it.
#1 Wasta– Ok this is an easy enough one to get. For those who don’t know (and who could that possibly be), Wasta roughly equates to “influence” or a variation of “nepotisim,” in which basically who you know matters. Thus, it is probably safe to assume that your warm and fuzzy feeling towards the unwritten rule that is Wasta can probably be measured in direct proportion to how much of it you have. Yes indeed, when you are in a line and somebody comes up and gets in front it can irk more than a little bit. Still, when that occasion occurs where all of the sudden you need some sort of paperwork or a normally overly-bureaucratic “thing” done in a jiffy, it is nice to know it can all be handled in a phone call. Wasta, for all its potential to make me disgruntled, is sure nice when you have it. I wonder- whom can I call about that?
The brand-spanking new Love/Hate column is brought to you in equal parts by the bitterly cynical and hopefully naive endowments, with additional funding from smileyhappypeopleeverywhere. Be on the lookout for next month when we bring you Love/Hate: Movies.