Saturday, August 30, 2008

development...



right across from my fancy hotel, the grand mosque and the prestigious American University of Kuwait (AUK) is this bizarre block of abandoned buildings covered in graffiti... strange that they are allowed to stand as such... in such sharp contrast to the luxury, wealth and prestige of everything around them... I am staying in Al Salmiya or usually just called Salmiya by foreigners. It is said to be Kuwait City's model district being a major cultural and commercial hub. I am right on Salem Al-Mubarak Street, which runs down the center of Salmiya. It is one of the largest shopping districts of Kuwait and also varies from extremely westernized in the strip malls to the old traditional markets, or Souk, on some of the back streets. Walking about, I've noticed more and more blocks of abandoned more traditional buildings, all covered in graffiti, that are apparently marked for destruction... soon to be replaced by modern western (or postmodern?) extravagant malls and skyscrapers of glamorous apartments.... odd that the graffiti ALSO looks just like it was transported right out of any big American city...

I did not do much today since I've become even more ill, a continuous runny nose and getting worse stomach problems... just had toast and tea for breakfast, worked on the blog all day, and then was invited out to Marina World, Kuwait's second largest shopping and entertainment complex, and one of the most exclusive... some of the other new faculty that I just met took me... they were taken there as part of the HR tour that I missed (I just found the one email that was supposed to inform me of the training and it has the dates listed as "24-26 of September"!!!)... anyways, they helped me get at least something accomplished - I got a cell phone and a SIM card (it is a pay as you go deal-this seems to be what most people do here-price was cheaper than the same in the States-a first!) and they both had other shopping to do... there was also a food court that had everything from sushi to a whole shop selling dozens of kinds of samosas, to KFC and Krispy Kreme... I just had a plate of plain white rice and a soda... we took a taxi to the mall but decided to walk back since it had become a little cooler... along the way we stopped at a great electronic store, fresh juice stand (I got a large cup of freshly squeezed mango juice for 1 KD (about $3.72)), and they also showed me an amazing AND inexpensive middle-eastern restaurant (I will have to try when my stomach gets better...) (FOR everyone that keeps giving me advice to take it easy on the local cuisine-I've unfortunately barely even tried any yet! I'm primarily eating plain rice, toast with jelly, eggs, and fruit... I did have a big double hamburger and strawberry malt my first day but that was not local at all... I only tried a few very small portions of hummus, baba ganoush, fava beans and goat cheese with local flat bread the first two days for breakfast... I am sure that it simply is that I ate something that was not clean...)
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