National Kuwait Day & Liberation Day

9 Mar

Gulf Road is the main drag along …wait for it…the gulf, it is normally filled with cars, bumper to bumper for the celebrations. Fireworks are creating beautiful displays of color in the skies. Children are covered from head to toe with the green, red, white and black of Kuwait’s flag. Even some cars are covered in the flags. The children carry around an assortment of water guns, spraying into the cars and the people singing and dancing in the streets. This continues for two days. One to celebrate the National day, which represents when Kuwait gained independence from the British in 1961. And second day to celebrate their liberation from Iraq in 1991.

I did not get to personally witness this type of celebration, just like any place in the world celebrating isn’t a cookie cutter event. I must admit I was caught off guard with the invitation to the farm in the middle of the work week. There have been celebrations the entire month, so I wasn’t completely surprised, but Meshari and I gladly accepted.

We packed our bags to stay overnight. I packed my camera and laptop because I still had a few designs to finish, and if work needed me they could reach me.

The farm is 45min outside the city. It’s amazing how quickly and dramatically the landscape changes from huge glass and concrete buildings to tents and sand.

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The quiet was so nice. In the city the constent noise is nothing like a slow moving river, or a gentle breeze though the trees. Some people claim that cities have their own song. Their own music. My experience has given me the impression that this city is just a city filled with cars. People are not talking. There is no music coming from shops or cafes. Vendors are not welcoming you to see their wares. Just cars. Angry honking. Impatient honking. Enough where I have had half a mind to slash every tire in this entire country. Maybe one day I will hear it as a sweet melody… But that day is not today.

So back to the farm, chickens are happily clucking. You can hear goats bleating in the distance. Every other sounds are bird songs I don’t recognize and the wind. Voices of people talking and laughing. It’s a place where all friends are welcome. A place where you can really relax, almost as if time moves slower here.

We played football in the yard and didn’t bother to keep score. Just chasing and kicking. The best kind of sport.

When lunch on the first day rolled around food began to appear. Lamb ribs, chicken, lamb kabobs, grilled onions, garlic and potatoes. Seared pieces of fat that just melted in your mouth. Warm pieces of bread that made perfect mini sandwiches. Colorful salads and desserts. Everything was delicious and delightful. All the food over the holiday was like that. And after all the meals a huge display of fruits and nuts would be placed on the table outside.

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As night fell on the first night we started playing music from one of the vehicles. Everyone was talking and laughing. We enjoyed another huge meal after evening prayer. Meshari and I took a walk, we watched as a man was trying to get, what must of been a new horse, used to the trouble maker of the group. We were at the edge of the desert so night much darker than in the city. And we could see an oil field on the horizon burning. With all the dust and sand in the air the fire looked like something out of Mordor. In the nicest way…

Once we got back most of the women were dancing. The men were smoking shesha and laughing. I danced, a bit of my style mixed with some of the moves the women were showing me. I tried to get Meshari to dance but he didn’t want to. They were saying I must have “arab in my blood” based on how I jiggy down. Throughout the night there was continuous eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, and just good laughs. As some people started to head back to the city, a hand full of us went to one of the large tents to play hand. (It’s a card game similar to rummy…but only by a little bit.) More fruits and nuts were brought out, some continued to smoke shesha. It was starting to make me dizzy, which is why I think I was doing so poorly during the game. It’s was around 1:30am that Meshari and I turned in for the night.

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This holiday was almost two weeks ago. I thought for a long time of how I should write it, what to include and what would be better left unsaid. I’m not one for lying. I’m not one for sugar coating. And I received an e-mail from a beloved friend she wrote…

“Write. Write a lot. Photograph things and post them – don’t edit yourself – be real, be raw and be all of you, even when that can only be true through your blog site – use the blog to rediscover your spirit – and you are not being negative, you are just being honest. There is a difference.”

Meshari and I woke suddenly to doors slamming, and many voice yelling. All in arabic. We sat up in bed, just listening. Was it a fight? An argument? The main voice was so angry I couldn’t quite pin point who was so upset. I started pulling words out mainly because they were being repeated. “Stop!” and “Enough!” We both wanted to go see/help/understand what was happening, but without actually knowing what was being said made the decision difficult. Meshari quietly put himself between the door and myself. The voices left…we whispered to each other…we had no idea what could have made him so angry. All I could think about was how this must be similar to what it’s like to be in a verbally abusive family. I felt very small. If I understood the language I’m sure I would of felt and acted differently…looking back there are so many what ifs in this situation…I felt embarrassed for the man. Being around his friends and throwing a tantrum. Not being able to control yourself and being civil. The voices returned…doors were slamming again, and then all was quiet.

The next morning we saw that the angry man, his family and maid were gone. We went outside and said our good mornings…it was as if it never happened. Ignore the problem and it will go away. We started drinking coffee before I asked “Is everything all right?” From what we are told, and what we all pieced together…the wife had hurt her hand/wrist. She was on pain meds. From what I witnessed she also enjoyed being the center of attention. The mixing of the medication, and shesha was not a good idea. Staying awake into the wee hours of the morning when you should be resting is not a good idea. On top of having a very protective, competitive husband. In a country where you can beat your maids/servants if you want to. PLUS the notion that a gold watch went missing…if it was even brought in the first place, who can say. A formula just waiting to explode. Still uncalled for.

The rest of the holiday was calm. We cleaned the dust off the pouch with many buckets of water and sqeeggy booms.

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We continued to play games and eat. We took walks around to other peoples farms. There was a fair mix of horses, goats, chickens and camels.

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I wanted to find a camel to pet, so we drove out to the main rode. On our way there we found a dead horse just laying on the side of the rode. You can see that there are wires around his back hooves. So either he died and was dragged…or he was just dragged we don’t know.

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As we reached the main road, we could see a trail of dust raising up in the distance. Once we got closer we could see that it wasn’t just one, but two trails of dust. Two 4-wheelers were chasing a horse. And as we got even closer we could make out a man leading a beautiful white mare and the horse that was being chased was her baby. By the time we stopped in front of them the two children 7-8 years old. (little punks) Had gotten one of the 4-wheelers stuck in some loose sand. (Karma is a bitch) But the gentleman stopped and let me pet the mare. The baby kept his/her distance, which I can understand.

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The sun was setting so we had to quickly find a herd if we wanted a chance to pet some camels. And as we were looking for a turn around point, boom camels!

We stopped and asked if it was ok to take pictures. As soon as I stopped walking and put my eye up to my camera, I see a huge dark camel plodding his way over to me. One of the men who were with the herd whips out some bread and slows him down as he still moved closer to me. They didn’t speak any English but is was clear that they wanted me to pet (maybe) his prize camel. He did have a personality that’s for sure. They are just and awesome animal. They are so tall, and their fur is so soft and curly, I love it. The camel kept trying to eat my hand, but growing up around horses and cows, I wasn’t worried, even though with my hand flat he could almost fit it in his mouth. From middle finger tip to the bottom of my palm…so yeah camels have huge mouths.

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We started heading back but before we could a man had also found some loose sand and had gotten his SUV stuck. With an odd mix of english and arabic we lent our pushing power. From the looks of it getting stuck in sand is very much like getting stuck in mud. You want to move slow and not dig yourself deeper.

The rest of the holiday was the same, games, music, food, drinks, more food, more games.

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I started putting small sentences together. “The horse eats grass.”, “My name is Alesha.”, “I am an American.”

And that is that.

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