A weekend in the desert and then some

So the week referred to before turned out to be a 2 day week…Sun. and Mon. only. Monday we had a horrendous rainstorm (the worst in 15+ years) that brought water into my apartment on the 4th floor–through the windows), Tuesday was declared off due to the Afro-Arab summit that was in town. Wed was off for students (I think this was still due to the Afro-Arab summit) and we had parent/teacher conferences that afternoon. Thursday was parent/teacher conferences all day.

Then on Sunday, November 24 (Happy Birthday Parker!!) I left school early to begin the saga of closing on my house. I took a taxi to the US Embassy where they charged me (robbed me) $50/seal for notarizing 3 documents (I was under the illusion that the Embassy was here FOR its citizens. Silly me.). Then back in the taxi to find DHL, where I paid about $100 to overnight the papers to the closing attorney (supposed to close on the 26th). DHL was late getting the papers delivered, so closing happened on the 27th, but of course that being Thanksgiving weekend, the banks were closed and the payoff didn’t happen until Tuesday, Dec. 3. In spite of all this, and a continuing dispute with DHL over payment, my house is sold and I am officially without a home in the US. Very mixed feelings on that one.

Yesterday (11/29) was going to be an adventure to Failaka Island http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failaka_Island by ferry, but there was no return trip until the next day and we were not prepared for an overnight.

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too full ferry for Failaka

So we went out for breakfast and decided to drive to the Saudi border.

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after breakfast with Annemarie and Gabe

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Saudi border

We toured around the Wafra farm district http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafra, which was amazingly green and rather amazing in the middle of a desert. Just compare the Saudi border picture with the green one. These are in the exact same area. It is clear that water can cause growth even in the desert.

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green!! of Wafra area

We also drove around the Khiran resort area. http://www.khiranresort.com/resortmap.htm

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Khiran Resort entrance

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some of the chalets

Many of the rich families in the city have “chalets” out in the desert. The resort is quite posh and around it is springing up fast with many large homes on dozens of human-made inlets. Then we went to one of the desert camps,

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desert camp

which is a group of tents—BIG tents, fenced and very comfortable (not camping). The bedroom tents had king size beds in them,

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This is camping??!

the diwaniya (living room) tent had couches all around the outside edge with about a 42” TV and music.

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diwaniya

The fencing around the outside had lights on each post, and there were spotlights on stands all fed by a generator.  Potties flushed into deep holes dug behind them.

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camping bathroom

These camps are set up as the weather cools and left up until it gets really cold (I think, though they might leave them up until it starts to get hot instead).  The guy who owned the camp we went to rents it out every weekend, often to groups, and he had a couple of small 4-wheelers. It was fun to buzz around on them.  Then we headed home tired from all the driving.

The next day (11/30) we were going to the camel races in the afternoon. We stopped by school first and then headed back out into the desert. We passed many a camel farm (I guess that’s what they were–anyway LOTS of camels).

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camels

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This fellow was scratching himself against the wire. 🙂

When we got to the racetrack it was deserted. So we began to drive around the track (it is enormously long) and saw a couple men working. One of our group speaks fluent Arabic, so she asked about the camels and was told they raced last weekend and would next weekend and who knows, maybe they’re in Qatar. We laughed and continued to explore the racetrack.

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As near as we could figure this is the starting gate and the finish line.

Then we headed back into town and stopped to look at the construction of the world’s largest (self proclaimed) university campus. It is absolutely gigantic – like a small city!

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Kuwait University new campus construction

As we came back into town, we stopped at the Al-Sawaber Complex, an experimental housing unit that was botched and is now a prime example of urban decay.

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Al Sawaber housing complex

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The city at sunset

Then we went to my favorite restaurant in Kuwait. It is Ethiopian and the food and the people are wonderful!

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blurry, but this is the Ethiopian restaurant that I love!

Whew, busy weekend.

Not sure if it was all the activity of last weekend that made this week seem so long. The kids were really squirrelly toward the end of the week, and the last class kept me awake last night thinking about what to do. I think I’ve figured out a plan and I’m thankful for this low-key weekend to catch up.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Manning
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 12:54:23

    It’s SO good to read your stories and see pictures of such a foreign place. The desert habitat seems so desolate but amazes me in that people have figured out how to live there. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this adventure!
    Love you always and always, Ellen

    Reply

  2. Rose Jarrett
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 13:43:34

    Wow! This really is an adventure! I’m curious….how fast do camels go in a race?:) I’m glad you’ve been able to meet lots of new friends. We miss you at PEO and look forward to a detailed travelogue when you get back. I think I heard you’ll be in Vienna for Xmas? How exciting!!
    Love, Rose

    Reply

    • allaboardforadventure
      Dec 06, 2013 @ 15:24:52

      I haven’t seen the camels race, so I will have to wait until I am able to make it out to the track again when the camels are there. I am figuring the detailed travelogue is this blog, so I am willing to give a cliff notes version when I get back. Haha! I will actually be in Prague for Xmas and meeting my son there! I’m pretty excited!

      Reply

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