Sunday, August 31, 2008

fifth day...



finding some of the same funny spelling on advertising and menus that I found also common in China-we called it Chinglish there, not sure what to call it here? Arablish? ...got up very late, 12:30pm... missed breakfast so went down and asked the front desk where I could get a bowl of plain rice, as well as laundry done (both are available at the hotel but the staff told me they were about half price outside)... a local Indian restaurant was recommended that was close to some laundry places, and I was off... everyone has been telling me that the heat in Kuwait is so "dry" so it's not so bad... but the humidity was around 50% today and although it was only 109 degrees, it felt a lot worse (I even zipped off the leggings of my traveling pants to make shorts-men do not wear shorts here-I've only seen kids and teens wear shorts)... found the Indian place right away and had a huge plate of basmati rice and a coke, only around $1.48 USD-cheap! ...but walked around and around trying to find a laundry, everyone kept telling me that there were a number of them right in the neighborhood, there was one just "down the street," "right around the corner," etc. everyone I asked pointed in a different direction... after walked around 5 or 6 blocks, I found one... closed, of course, since it was Saturday (Friday and Saturday are the weekend) and by the time I walked back to the hotel the clothes that I had been wearing were totally drenched in sweat... although now I knew where it was, not sure if saving a few dollars would be worth the walk... anyways, just did laundry in the bathtub today-I'm still in "backpacker mode" of travel and had not exchanged that much money yet... I did not think I would go through so much money the first few days... although I should start making big bucks soon, the high prices scare me (many items around double what they would be in the States)...

also pictured here are tents being set up on the AUK campus for Ramadan... I don't know that much about it, but they hold huge feasts every night of Ramadan to break the day's fast... I guess many work places sponsor these parties for free for their largely poor and foreign employees... I just happened to bump into Hanas, a new AUK professor in economics... he had mentioned last night at Marina World the love in Kuwait of elaborate brass and silver decoration... as I turned the corner from the Indian restaurant, I knew what he was talking about. On the corner was this stark modernist box of an apartment building, but its doors were covered in elaborate baroque brass work... and there was Hanas! It was his new apartment building... he reluctantly showed me the apartment he just rented... it was nice, but the former tenant left it in a mess (the fishy smelling garbage was the worst) although it was close enough to AUK to walk, it was the same price as the new AUK housing, but did not come furnished and Hanas was going through a lot of trouble and extra expenses to close the deal and get the place cleaned (he paid around $270 USD for a guy to just find the place for him)... Hanas is from Sri Lanka so at least he can speak the language of much of the cleaning and building staff (all from Sri Lanka or southern India)... but it seems like a big hassle and he has been dealing with this apartment for already a few full days now... everyday some new complexity comes up for him... at least Hanas got to tell me a lot of stories about the inequity between the native Kuwaitis and much of the subordinates, who primarily come from the Indian subcontinent, and the difficulties they face working in Kuwait (more on this later...)
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