Thursday, September 4, 2008

Al Corniche...




Went to the bank for a second try today… it was again around 110 degrees and an obstacle course to get there (see yesterday’s post)… waited around 20 minutes to talk to a teller and she told me my account had been closed despite just having signed up to open an account a week ago… started the whole process all over again and the teller told me to come back in another three working days… did not do much else today but bought some more plain rice and soda and checked out a health club… since no one walks, jogs or bikes in Kuwait… and few swim in the sea (I’ve heard that the beach is usually very dirty with garbage, seaweed and dead fish)… exclusive health clubs are very popular… this seems to go hand and hand with the strong sense of “class” in Kuwait… the south-east Asians do the manual labor but get paid very little… the Kuwaitis and Westerners get paid very well and should never do manual labor… the minute you try to carry something, not just at the hotel, but in any shop, a south-east Asian worker grabs it for you and carries it… in grocery stores it is not uncommon to see south-east Asian worker pushing around grocery carts for patrons… you are just expected to give some little change after they bring it out to your car… we went out to the Al Corniche club today… it is one of the most expensive in Kuwait… it’s of course great… an exclusive beach with impeccable sand… a half dozen workout rooms, a sauna (feels just like outside), a whirlpool, tennis and racket ball courts, a cooled pool that is mixed- a rarity in Kuwait where most gyms and pools are segregated by sex… we got free four day passes and waited until they served iftar, or fast-breaking… it is the smallish meal taken at dusk when the fast is over. Traditionally, a date is the first thing to be consumed when the fast is broken. Besides the numerous different kinds of dates, they also served Arabian coffee (tasted like tea with cardamom), buttermilk, samosas and sweat breads… Many Muslims believe that feeding someone Iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding. You see tents all around Kuwait where the company is providing free Iftar… you even see it in smaller versions in shopping malls with men serving dates and coffee after dusk...

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