Chilly blast of north-west Siberian wind forced me to hug myself in defense as I stepped out of the Kuwait Airways Boeing aircraft. Dec-Jan-Feb were known to me as the best months to visit The State of Kuwait and I was starting to believe it. Warmly greeted with “Assalam valekum” by the airport security personnel, my excitement to explore this cultural country only jumped higher. With about 3 million population in 18000 sq.km area, this desert country and its capital share the same name: Kuwait city.
I observed the winters here were prankish. When set out to start the day, you are advised to keep the following in reach: an umbrella, a thick overcoat, a pair of sunglasses and a shawl. Semi cloudy and cold/ cloudy for days without sun/ non-stop rains for days/ comforting sunny day with a soothing chill; play any combination with these and you just might experience it here tomorrow or may be today! Temperature does decrease to 0̊C in the city during nights whereas -1̊C in deserts for days together. Frosts are rare but possible at mid-night hours. Expect hail-storms too.
A drive down the Gulf Street is spectacular with pristine beaches flanked by it, washing the shores with soft waves of Arabian Gulf waters. With your derriere comforted by cool yellow sand on the beach, staring into the horizon, you’ll see, winter sunsets are simply a breath taking view. There are many many beaches; some with name & fame and some not commercialized; either ways, you’ll want to catch a visit to the beach everyday of the trip. Considering the convention is Islam-dominant, you know what to wear to the barbeque beach party which you’ll happen to find at every 200m distance. Roaming around the malls, market, beaches or streets, one thing is sure to go unnoticed, people here live to eat. Sea food is a drooling fan-following cuisine, followed by Iranian, Egyptian, Kuwaiti and Indian cuisines, in the same order. There’s an absolutely aesthetic, typical and mouth watering aroma that’s pre-dominant in the native Arab food.
Job opportunities are both ample and attractive and so we get to see natives of almost every major country, making the country’s atmosphere cosmopolitan and easy. Not only filthy oil-rich, but Kuwait is rich for its beautiful people as well. If Kuwaiti women went to the Miss World contest, they’ll bring the crown to their country’s credit every year for their beauty and poise.
The Kuwait towers are the most attractive asset to the state and a must visit. Architecturally spectacular, 187 m high and being on the sea-front, makes it a perfect outing idea. 120 meters high in that tower, you step on a viewing sphere that revolves and gives you 360̊ view of Kuwait. From that height, you’ll see an extremely well cut routed city, a maze of flyovers, skyscrapers, finicky neat surroundings and beautiful beach expanse. There’s an exquisite fine dining place a few meters below the revolving sphere. Entertainment towns are other thrilling hideouts in Kuwait.
Eid celebrations are mind blowing. The whole city looks like one family. Strangers smilingly embrace each other sharing good wishes and sweets. February is a month hugely celebrated for it’s when the independence & republic day anniversaries fall. Every tree gets decorated. No kidding! Arabic people are exuberantly lavish when they express their ecstasy. Malls and hotels are plushy; grandest I have ever seen and so outrageously drop dead glamorous. You feel you’re a rich emperor enjoying luxurious fortunes and walking in a bewitching dreamland. The Kuwait international airport is actually called the international airport mall too. One of the malls is soon to turn into the largest mall of the Middle East. For everything that you see in this place is purely rich.
If you’re thinking shopping, make sure you are carrying two wallets. Old markets or malls, the striking factor of the materials there is quality. Every tiny thing comes with really the best quality factor you can decipher. To be able to shop in the old markets, you need at least basic understanding of Arabic. Those old markets took me back in memory to the fascinating markets depicted in the Arabian Nights. Men in traditional long white thawb, locally called dishdasha with taqiyah (cap) and women in black abaya (burqah) is the typical dressing style of the localities and other Arabs that reside there.
You cannot miss the Arabic rhythms and music. It’s of the only kind in the whole world. Distinctive is the word! It’s amusing, makes you shake your belly and has fascinating tones you just can’t erase from your memory.
Explore this flattering posh Arab nation! It’s an experience worth possessing.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/essam/1431802316/]