Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More pic's from Memorial Museum

I am attaching few more pictures from Memorial museum....I tried in my earlier post but could not attach them. Hope I am successful this time.

People from Kuwait went to Turkey for safety

Painting depicting people fighting for their P.O.W

Dress of an AMERICAN officer on display

Jeet standing near a statue of a Kuwaiti officer

Photos of Bangladeshi soldiers who died in the war

Speech of then President of USA, George Bush which he gave after Kuwait's Liberation

Some of the pictures have not been loaded correctly cant understand.Hope the problem doesn't continue...just clueless.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kuwait House of National Memorial Museum

We first visited the Museum during Ramadan period but it was closed (we didn’t know about the Ramadan Timings). We visited again later and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Kuwait House of National Memorial Museum is a memorial to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and the ensuing Gulf War. The museum tries to recreate the horror of the Iraqi invasion; the sacrifices that ordinary Kuwaiti citizens, the Kuwaiti military and the allies made in order to beat back Saddam's forces. The exhibits comprise a set of well-crafted models of the city that are illuminated in time with an audio recording in English. The experience of walking through the darkened corridors, lit only by simulated gun blasts and mortar attacks, and focusing on the heroism of the few for the safety of the many is a unique experience.

As you approach the museum, you will see Iraqi tanks displayed outside. As you enter, you will come across a diwaniya, where you can sit and take rest for some time. As my husband entered the office of the museum to enquire, I stroll in the front yard. I was drawn by a model of a house being torpedoed. The name Saddam is painted on the torpedo. Flags of the nations that helped Kuwait in its hour of need surround the monument.

My husband comes out paying the entry fee (1 KD per person) and the office bearer takes us to the museum. The first room has hand-drawn pictures of the rulers of Kuwait from the late Sheikh Mubarak Al Kabeer to the present Emir. It also displays a large map of Kuwait made of colored glass. Then follows a section devoted to the discovery of oil and the early days of prosperity. This hall is call the Kuwait Heritage Hall. In this hall, through voice recordings, old folk songs and miniature models of old Kuwaiti buildings, the visitors will gain insight into the ancient history of Kuwait. There is a nice narration on progress Kuwait made under its various rulers. It also explains how after discovery of oil in 1936, Kuwait underwent transition from a small Emirate to an internationally influential modern and planned state with high living standards. In On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes between the United Kingdom and the then Amir of Kuwait, Abdullah III Al Salim Al Sabah. And 11th November 1962 is when the Kuwaiti Constitution was ratified by the late Sh. Abdulla Al Salem Al Sabah followed by the formation of the Parliament on 23rd January 1963. The Gulf rupee, issued by the
 Reserve Bank of India, was replaced by the Kuwaiti dinar. The discovery of large oil fields, especially the Burgan filed, triggered a large influx of foreign investments into Kuwait. The massive growth of the petroleum industry transformed Kuwait from a poor pearl farming community into one of the richest countries in the Arabian Peninsula and by 1952; the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Egypt and India. All these events are well described. Also there are pictures of Kuwaiti flag, its changes from 1914 to the present times.
Model of old Q8

New Q8 after discovery of Oil

Q8-ti currency...old n new

Just before dawn on 2 August 1990, an army of some 100,000 Iraqi troops supported by tanks stormed into Kuwait and seized the country in just five hours. The sound of battle, guns, army tanks, attack on the Dasman palace, Al Qurain house, Kuwaiti children and ladies shouting for help, Kuwaiti ladies coming out in the road to fight for their country, Kuwaiti people running away from Kuwait to a safer place( most of them run to Turkey)and carrying whatever they could in their cars, Kuwaiti soldiers cooking in their tents, oil fields burning , guns blasting, helicopters whirring overhead, people screaming, bombs are dropped, houses set on fire, machine guns rattle, etc are all beautifully and vividly recreated through using models, audio recordings, smoke, sound and light effects. It all seems very realistic – and tells the story through Kuwaiti eyes. A total of 737 oil wells burnt and 6 million barrels of oil thrown to the Arabian Sea by the Iraqi forces. Then comes liberation of Kuwait from seven months of traumatic Iraqi occupation on February 26, 1991. This historic day is also superbly recreated. This part is the main attraction of the museum and it is call the Invasion Tunnel.
Invasion Tunnel

Women coming out to the streets to fight for the country

Oil fields burning

Al Qurain house

Q8-ti soldiers cooking in their tent

After the models, smoke and sound effect description is over, you come across a hall where there is provision to show movies on Iraqi invasion. With the seating capacity of 100, the theater is also used to conduct lectures and seminars. The office bearer comes and takes us to another passage where there is pictures and description of all 34 countries that helped Kuwait in their flight against Saddam. There are pictures of the Bangladeshi/ Egyptian and other countries soldiers who sacrificed their life for liberation and rebuilding of Kuwait. Also there are pictures of the various government Departments that were destructed during the war. They include picture of Ministry of Public Works, Kuwait Public Transport Co, Ministry of Defence, Fire Services, Kuwait University, Public Authority, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Central Bank of Kuwait, Touristic Enterprises Co, Public Authority for Industry, Kuwait Red Crescent Society, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Environmental Public Authority and the worst hit was the Agriculture Affairs and Fish resources. There is also pictures of Kuwaiti oil wells burning, destruction on the environment, destroyed aircraft and engine, destruction of Bayan Palace and Seif Palace , destruction caused to various restaurants,  toy shops. Also some of the guns, rifle/gun cartridges used during the war are also displayed. Also very disturbing photos/ paintings of torture centers at Iraqi police stations and young children killed by poisoned gas, martyrs, outcome of chemical gases used during the war, Kuwaiti women martyrs, names of Kuwaiti city’s changed by invaders, destruction caused to marine life due to oil been dumped in the sea is also vividly shown through paintings. The last room of the museum describes Saddam as the tormentor, murderer and his atrocities displayed.

Q8ti people celebrating liberation infront of the Parliament

Women martyrs

Passage where there are paintings of martyrs,pow and injured children

Invaders changed the names of Kuwaiti roads/streets

Pictures of the various departments that were damaged during the war

Pictures of soldiers from Syria that took part in the war

Similarly pictures of soldiers and various assistance provided by all the 34 countries to Kuwait during the war is displayed. I really appreciate the way Kuwait has shown gratefulness to all the countries that helped them in their war against Saddam and his forces

Japan provided the largest amount of financial help

Flags of all 34 countires displayed on the wall

Pictures of Ministry of Health that was badly affected.Mehr was afraid to look at them.

Despite the nationalist propaganda, the museum is worth the visit.

Entry Fee: 1 KD

Time: 9am-1pm
Ramadan Timing: 8-10am……9-11pm

Address: Northern Shuwaikh
Villa No 32, next to the Shabi Theater
Phone: 24845335, 24846336

How to reach: Go by Gulf Road towards Shuwaikh and take the U-turn in front of KPC (Kuwait Petroleum Corporation) headquarters and then take the first right turn. As you move you will see Shabi Theater, and next to it is the Memorial Museum. You will not miss the museum as two tanks used by Iraqi’s are placed in front of the museum.

WE didnot face difficulty in finding out the museum. Still you can have a look at the google map for reference.

Contact no of places of interest,Q8

Touristic Enterprises Company
Al-Jahra Street
Ops. Kuwait Sporting Club
P.O.Box: 23310
Safat 13094 Kuwait
Tel.: (965) 24965555
Fax: (965) 24965055

Information Center
Gulf Street, Salmiya, near Sultan Center Restaurant
Tel.: (965) 25627230-25627269

Kuwait Towers
Gulf Street.
Tel.: (965) 22444021-22444038

Ice Skating Rink
Tel.: (965) 22411151-22411152

Entertainment City
Tel.: (965) 24871875-24876639

Messila Beach
Tel.: (965) 25641864 – 25650642

Oqialah Beach
Tel.: (965) 23900583

The Sea Front
Tel.: (965) 25622600

Shaab Sea Club
Tel.: (965) 25641953

Ras Al Ard Sea Club
Tel.: (965) 225719086

Yacht Club
Tel.: (965) 25656741-25651979

Swimming Pool Complex
Tel.: (965) 25622600

Green Island
Tel.: (965) 22573542

Musical Fountain
Tel.: (965) 22428394

Touristic Gardens
Tel.: (965) 24349383

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oxygen Bar Q8

Oxygen Bars started in Japan in the 1990's and spread to America where their popularity attracted global curiosity about what exactly an oxygen bar is and what it does.

Today Kuwait has its first oxygen bar located in the country's high-end salon,NSTYLE.

The way it works is that useres basically sit on a padded stool  faced with a contraption that looks something like an oversized,multicoloured respirator,and they then insert into their nostrils a personal breathing hose which extends from the bar's oxygen tubes.The bar is built to hold four separate tubes comprised of concentrated oxygen which comes in various flavours. One of the flavours,Tranquility is meant to relax the user's nerves;Zen stimulate the system,Purity cleanses it and Calming, the last choice on the menu is meant to relieve emotional stress.

The use of Oxygen Bar is meant to make clients feel more energized,uplifted and relieved of headaches and other common results of stress manifestation.
My friend who visited it was totally relaxed after using it. Actually she had gone for a hair cut and while waiting for her turn she decided to give it a try. Hope to visit it myself very soon.
(Inputs from a friend n Bazaar)

Nstyle is located in Al Bustan Complex on Salim AL Mubarak Street in Salmiya. For more info can call 25719050

Monday, September 20, 2010

Qti Handicrafts

Making and selling "Bisht", a ceremonial overcoat is one of the oldest , still alive costumes in Kuwait.

I have come across a nice website on "Bisht". Here's the link

To know more about Arabic/ Kuwaiti handicrafts, you can check my earlier post on Al Sadu House and Bedioun Craft.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to School Q8

'Back to School' shopping in Kuwait, is one of the biggest shopping period of the year with parents spending hundreds, even thousands for school clothes, equipment and stationary. When schools reopen across Kuwait after the summer holidays, parents get busy with the preparations that go along with this annual event, such as buying stationery and other supplies for the coming term.

I liked two of my students bag's and wanted to buy to carry Mehr's things. When I asked them they said, "Ma'm you will get it during Back to School period." I was little confused because though I have been living here for the last three years I never gave much significance to the period. But now that I will be sending my princess to play-school soon, I have started  looking for bags, tiffins, water bottles etc. And wherever I go from big malls to small shops, all have the section "Back to School" where they sell all types of school bags, stationaries, copies etc. I thought they give discount during this period but prices seem to increase day-by-day.

Change in weather inspires outdoor activities Q8

A little while ago it was impossible to find people walking the streets of Kuwait or sitting outside at a cafe. Nowadays though people are participating in such activities, especially at the seaside cafes of Marina mall or on street cafes in Salmiya. In the evenings there are no more comments about the extremely hot and humid weather, the comments have changed dramatically.

This is something a person should seriously consider when living in a country like Kuwait, where the weather is extremely hot for eight months of the year. Now is a good time for those who enjoy participating in outdoor, evening activities, before it gets too cold. Those who enjoy fishing can practice their hobby without being too worried about the weather.

Amir Fakhreddine, a regular cafe attendee, expressed his pleasure and surprise with the sudden change in weather. "It's rare to find such weather in Kuwait," he said. He and his friends can now enjoy outdoor activities. "We missed sitting outside," he said, describing indoor cafes and restaurants as being too crowded and smoky.He explained that he and his friends have changed their activities so that they can take advantage of the weather. They eat late now so that they can sit outside by the beach in the fresh air. He added that he and his friends often go fishing without complaining too much about the weather.
Nasser Massoud has changed his activities from going to the mall to play pool or eat at restaurants to going on picnics by the sea. "It is amazing weather, suitable for outdoor activities," he said. "People have stopped going to the Aqua Park and have started visiting Shaab Garden," he said.He pointed out that families are less likely to go to the Aqua Park now that the weather is too cold for water slides. Parents prefer to take their children to Shaab Garden for the entertaining outdoor activities there.

It is just the beginning of Kuwait's yearly weather transformation. This change in weather could be an inspiring new start for a country that was somehow paralyzed during the dry summer months.
Kuwait Times

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arabic Sweets

Arabic Sweets.......Very tasty and toothsome, they are mainly made from chocolates, coconut, dry fruits and dates.

Weekends in Q8(4)

Just like any normal weekend, we started our weekend exploring. We have explored many areas of Kuwait for the last three years but every weekend we feel there is lot to know about the various areas of Kuwait.

We are enjoying doing our weekly marketing at the various co-operatives in Kuwait and since I am inviting few friends for lunch on Saturday, we decided to go to Salwa co-operative. A Kuwaiti area, with lot of lovely villas. But one thing I have noticed about the villas is that they are quite big, two-three storied like a small apartment. No doubt they are just too attractive. As I did not get much of the things I wanted in the co-operative, we decided to go to a different area. The Salwa co-operative is not that big nor is their vegetable and frozen section that strong. But there are lot of eateries, play area, book shops, pastery shop, watch shop, perfume shop and mothercare in the building and Salwa Mall is next to the co-operative.

We wanted to go to Shamieh- Shuwaikh co-operative as we have till now found it the best place to purchase vegetables, fruits, grocery items, chicken etc. Jeet loves to try out new roads and he took a different road to this co-operative. We felt we have taken a wrong road, but we enjoyed driving through the area. The villas of the areas are too big, beautiful, lovely to describe in words. They appeared to me like a Hindi-movie set where we have v. big houses with lot of statues and fountains. The balcony area of most of the houses has beautiful designer lights. I just wanted to stop and take few pictures but Jeet didn’t allow as people might misunderstand us. We at last came to the co-operative of the area and it is Dahiat Abdullah Al Salem and Al Mansourieh Co-operative society. A not so big co-operative but the frozen and fresh “chicken” section of the co-operative is quite strong. We purchased few fresh chickens and moved to Shamieh-Shuwaikh co-opeartive.

Both these two co-operatives are not very far from each other and are near Kuwait city. In Shamieh –Shuwaikh co-operative we did our marketing and returned home.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Q8 National Flower

National Flowers are a symbol of the representing country. Some national flowers have cultural or religious roots that go back hundreds or even thousands of years.

Rhanterum epapposum, or locally called Arfaj, it became the national flower of Kuwait in 1983. In the past this plant not only served as fodder for the rhem gazelle(also known as the Slender-horned Gazelle or the Sand Gazelle, is a slender-horned gazelle, most adapted to desert life) and domestic animals, but also was a source of fuel. Prominent in the central and northeastern part of the desert, this small aromatic shrub displays silvery branches and small green leaves in autumn and during spring it has a profusion of golden yellow flowers. Now this flower is a great source of water for camels during the dry spells.

The selection of the national flower is not a random one, and the choice involves consideration of environmental aspects, historical roots and abundance, as well as economic value to the state. Despite the fierce competition between desert flora, it was the Arfaj that claimed the crown and became known as the national flower.

French botanist Renato Desfontaines, in his encyclopedia "Flora Atlantica," described the Arfaj as one of the best types of flora in the area, noting that while it was rare in many countries, it covered 30 percent of Kuwait's surface area around the year. He also notes that the plant is thorn-free and has a sweet fragrant.

Arabic Food

As we move around exploring Kuwait and enjoying the Eid carnivals and celebrations, we purchased Arabic snacks and juices, had it in our car before driving to our next destination.

So you thought Arabic cuisine began and ended with Hummous, think again. Arabic cuisine is rich and diverse and to a large extent uses dates, wheat, barley, rice and meats. There’s a ton of wonderful delights to try and enjoy. The food is fresh, not too heavily spiced and generally delicious.

Famous Arabic snacks/ delights are Shawarma (a wrap of any shaved meat or a halal mixture of meats), Ful Medamas (a breakfast delicacy made from fava beans), Shish Kebab, Maqluba (a rice and egg-plant casserole), Couscous (made from semolina or hard wheat), Dolma (a stuffed vegetable dish), Lahm Ba'ajeen (a pizza lookalike), Manakish (also a pizza lookalike), Kabsa (a rice preparation), Kebbeh (made from a cereal called Burgul and chopped meat), Ma'amoul (pastries with dry food fillings), Matboha (a spicy salad made from tomatoes and bell peppers), Baba Ghanoush (an eggplant dish), Hummus, shahan Ful (an accompaniment made from fava beans), Basbousa (a sweetmeat made from semolina), Labneh (strained yoghurt), Ka'ak (Arabic versions of cake), Baklawa (pastries0, Luqmat al-qadi (pastries), Qatayef (crepes), Shish taouk (a kebab), Toum (a garlic sauce), Fattoush (a salad made from bread), Sambusak (Arabic samosas), Falafel and Kleicha (cookies).

Try them out...will surely enjoy the Arabic food.

Eid Celebration Q8

Kuwait is a Muslim country and so Eid is celebrated with lot of pomp and activities. During Eid, we go to different areas to check out the celebrations. For the last three years we had been doing so and this time was no different. But the best part was Mehr was with us this time.

There are lot of Eid carnivals or mela’s {as we call in India} that are held. During Eid, which ever area you go it becomes very difficult to park your car. You can hardly find a place and it appears that the entire Kuwait( citizens and expatriate) is out enjoying. I wanted to buy a sunglass for Mehr from Mothercare and so went to Al Bairaq Mall. Though I couldnot get the sunglass (stock over….the saleswoman said there is lot of sale) , we ended up watching magic show. Infact when we entered there was Arabic music been played and after sometime we saw a magician performing tricks. Both Mehr and ourselves enjoyed the show. We couldn’t stay till the end as we had to go to Mastanji’s house for Eid dinner.
Magic Show

Next day while going to Anupam da’s house for dinner, we saw lot of activities, people and cars parked in Kuwait Magic mall. We couldn’t visit it that day but visited the next day. An Eid carnival was held and lot of people were enjoying it. Lot of games, food stall, toy shops were there. Just enjoyed the ambience.

We also went to 360 Mall and stumbled upon Zain‘s Eid Spectacular. The event included: Face painting, Caricature drawing, Clown Shows, Games and Prizes and Dressed-up entertainers walking around.

We planned to go to Al Kout or Al Manshar Mall but couldnot get a place to park our car. For nearly an hour we moved around and ultimately when we couldnot find a parking place we moved to Ajiwal Mall. We took Mehr to Future Kids where she played some games and enjoyed. There were lot of children along with their parents enjoying. We moved around Fahaheel , ate swarma and returned.

As we went to Lulu Hypermarket @ Qurain we met dress up entertainers( in Disney characters) and they were also distributing choclates.

We even went to Kuwait city. Though every nook and corner of the country has a celebratory mood, but the best place to experience the traditional atmosphere of Ramadan in Kuwait, is in the old souks of Mubarakiya in Kuwait city. It’s a unique experience to move in the narrow lanes of the souks and be part of hundreds of shoppers that throng the narrow lanes.

On our way, we came across Kuwait City’s Centrepoint and decided to stop and have a look. Here purchased Mehr’s sunglass (of her choice)..…now-a-days kids have their own choices even at such tender age.

Q8 working to cancel the 'sponsorship' system

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several other government bodies are working on a comprehensive report in response to a report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), rebutting the UNHCR's criticisms and explaining the new procedures to be introduced which will protect the rights of workers and prevent violations.

The foreign ministry's report will also list the serious measures to be taken in order to eliminate Kuwait's current sponsorship system, commonly known as the 'kafeel' system, reported Al-Qabas. It is believed that replacing this system with another more reliable one will help to eliminate the arbitrary violations committed by some sponsors against their employees, as well as helping eradicate the illegal trade in residency visas.

Among the procedures to be listed in the foreign ministry's report are plans to establish shelters for workers arbitrarily dismissed from their jobs, as well as legislation banning the employment of juveniles and steps to improve the living standards of Bedoon (stateless) residents.
Kuwait Times

New Lulu Hypermarket @ Qurain

We have visited the new Lulu Hypermarket few times which was opened on 28July 2010 at Al Qurain commercial city and have liked it. The hypermarket’s expansive 20,000 sq m of retail space offers an ultra-modern retail atmosphere that includes every conceivable need of shoppers under one roof. In addition to displaying a panoply of international and regional brands, the hypermarket provides a dedicated play area for children, a food court, a money exchange and bank counters, as well as a huge parking lot that can accommodate in excess of 3,000 vehicles. With its well-stocked shelves, beautifully laid-out counters, wide aisles and banks of checkouts on each floor, the new hypermarket provides customers with the largest assortment of high quality products at the most affordable prices and a unique shopping experience.

On the ground floor, you will find roastry bakery, sea food, fresh meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. On the basement you will find electronics, home appliances, crystal, kitchen appliances and grocery. And on the mezzanine floor you will find mens wear, ladies wear, kids wear, luggage, shoes, lingerie, stationary, watch's, jewellery, sports items,toys, shoes, silks and churidars.

The new Lulu Hypermarket, which will cover the residential areas of Jaber Al Ali, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Qurain, Qusoor, Ahmadi, Fahaheel, South Surra, Adan and Sabah Al-Salem, will attract huge interest among not only the local populace but also from shoppers from neighboring suburbs.
The brand, which has a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to understanding customers’ retail needs, uses this unique knowledge to operate under the successful corporate philosophy of providing customers with the “right products in the right place at the right time.
To get to Lulu you take the 40th and then exit on the 208 heading towards the Wataniya Airways airport. It’s located on the main road so you won’t miss it.

Catering to over 320,000 customers every day, the Lulu brand has grown to become the shopping center of choice for hundreds of citizens and expats today who look for quality retailing.

Weekend's in Q8(3)

The Eid holidays are over and now all is back to normal routine from tomorrow. Getting up at 5.30am, making breakfast, tiffin for Jeet etc etc. They got five days holidays and we tried to make use of it the most. Apart from the invitations from Muslim friends for lunch and dinner, few Assamese friends too invited us. So we had been eating a lot and when we got few free time we went out exploring Kuwait as usual and attended few Eid Carnival’s or Mela’s( what we can in India). These carnivals are fun to visit and Mehr just loved it.

Once we drove to Firdous where one of Jeet’s Kuwait friend lives. It’s a Kuwaiti area with lot of nice big new and old villa’s. From there we drove to Jleeb Al Shuwaik and to Abbasia( neighbourhood area’s). Both the area’s are full with Indians and Bangladeshi people. Infact shops of most of the shops and supermarkets have Indian names. In Jleeb Al Shuwaik, the roads are narrow, apartments very near to each other, saw lot of bachelors moving around. Abbasiya we saw lot of Indians and felt the area little better then Jleeb Al Shuwaik, though both the area’s are cramped.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The National Fish of Q8

The other day we went to Sharq Fish Market and had a chance to take few pictures. Few pictures were of the national fish of Kuwait call Zubaidi (Pomfret in English).

The Zubaidi / Promfret

The national fish of Q8

It taste just tooooo good, when prepared the true Kuwaiti way, grilled with all the amazing spices that are so popular in the Kuwaiti culture.

The fish markets here in Kuwait are just too clean , something which is unimaginable in India / Assam. Air conditioned, neat, spotlessly clean is something unbelievable back home. So when people from home visits us Jeet takes them to show the fish markets here. They too enjoyed buying fish here.

Here are some more pictures I took in the Sharq Fish market.......