I hope that, wherever you are in the world, your jet lag isn’t as bad as mine! I have been getting, on average, about 2 hours of sleep a night. For a girl who is borderline anemic and in love with sleeping – this isn’t ideal. I’ve noticed that my natural hunger cycle isn’t doing a good job of catching up with my new routine here in Kuwait, either. I’m hoping that my body figures itself out before Sunday – because it’s the first day of school!
I have been spending most of my days catching up on my sleep, setting up my apartment, Skyping with P & my mom & R (yes, my pup is a Skype aficionado), and doing minimal exploring with different friends I’ve met along the way. This week has been reserved for classroom preparation, department meetings, lesson planning and an overall hyping myself up for school. I’m truly excited for Sunday to arrive so I can meet my new grade seven students!
It is because I have two weeks worth of lesson plans due that I am writing to you now. (Resident procrastinator, reporting for duty.) I recently constructed my “To Do” List while in Kuwait and surrounding areas. And frankly, I’m brimming with ideas for different trips to all sorts of places and all types of excursions.
For now though, I thought I would share with you my list (in no particular order) of important must-sees in Kuwait. I haven’t fully flushed it out and I will likely continue to add to this list over the coming months. For those of you who have visited Kuwait or have lived here – please feel free to add any suggestions for both Must-Sees and Stay-Aways!
- Dhow Harbor: it is here that we can view old sailing ships and dhows that were used for coastal trading, fishing and pearl diving in the past. The largest and only surviving wooden dhow from the pre-oil days of Kuwait, the “Fateh El-Kheir”, allows tourists to climb aboard and explore.
- Dickson House: the huge history nerd in me is clamouring to visit the house of the first British political agent in Kuwait. It was built in 1870 for a Kuwaiti merchant. The namesake of the house, the Dicksons, moved into the house in 1929. After the invasion, the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature restored the house and opened it for visitors.
- Failaka Island: this famous historical island of Kuwait has a taste of the old and the new. It holds historical landmarks from a variety of different ages, as early as the end of the 3rd millennium B.C. right up to the modern age.
- Kuwait Towers: we drive by them on our way to and from school each morning and they are as stunning as I imagined them to be. They look like they are covered in green and teal sequins! The largest tower contains a revolving panoramic view of Kuwait. The middle tower holds millions of gallons of water and the smallest tower helps to generate electricity.
- Musical Fountain: is actually a garden which boasts 220 fountains distributed among three leveled pools. It is the 4th largest fountain in the world and it has light and sound shows each evening!
- National Museum: a huge museum enthusiast, I try to see absolutely as many museums as I can when traveling. This museum’s collection includes: ancient fossils, bones, Islamic artifacts, flint and pottery tools. Also: Tereq Rajab Museum & Al-Qurain Martyrs’ Museum.
- Sadu House: a place where we can view traditional Bedouin weavers. Sadu is the Bedouin art of weaving geometric designs, spun by hand and dyed with colored wool and made into carpets, rugs and tent screens.
- Desert Camping: there are a number of companies that will take you and a group of friends camping in the desert during the winter. You are provided with dinner, camping gear and a ‘social tent’ for you and your 31 other friends that you can take with you. They provide you with portable washrooms as well as transportation to and from the desert! This looks amazing!
- Grand Mosque or Masjed Al-Kabir: it’s the largest of the 800 Mosques within Kuwait. It’s minaret is 74m tall and it can fit a whopping 5000 worshippers indoors and another 7000 in its courtyard outside.
- Old Souk – traditional Kuwaiti marketplace complete with the time-honoured tradition of haggling.
- Old City Gates (as discussed in my previous Blog)
I haven’t even scraped the surface of all of the neat things that Kuwait has in store and I am excited for all of the upcoming adventures to be had in this desert land!
Three facts about Kuwait:
- The population of Kuwait is roughly 2,589,000 – 2.9 million people
- There are more expatriates living in Kuwait than Kuwaiti nationals.
- The country is tiny! The entire area of the country is 17,818 sq km (6,880 sq miles) which is just slightly larger than the state of Connecticut (5,544 sq miles).
New (to me) Arabic Word:
Dishdasha – The garb or traditional dress that many Kuwaiti men wear. It is an all white, ankle-length garmet with long sleeves. Find a picture here.