First make the place smell nice
Then take a nice father-daughter-cat portrait, ok? And don’t forget to smile!
Tomorrow night, or better day-after-tomorrow early morning, me and Dori will be leaving Kuwait for period of time further unknown. My previous hectic week trying to stampify my life didn’t work out in terms of successfully getting rid of any visa problems Dori had – eventually, it did nothing, except cost us several hundreds dinars and some weight on my side.
Well, this is about to be the end of my visit of Czech, I managed – under a handful of stress – to get the stamping done with the last one happening like in an American movie, in the last minutes possible. But done, nevertheless. I have prayed, for the first time in my life, for the taxi driver I’ve picked up on Wenceslas Square to actually behave like a taxi driver – cut in front of others, run over slow walking people, go against the flow so to say, because I was in a dire hurry to get to the embassy before the counsellor casually walks out for the Friday night and leaves me with desperation and things undone standing in front of the closed building. I assume he understood my time limits from me nervously checking my Blackberry every 30 seconds for time, especially when we got stuck in a traffic jam (all right, he didn’t go over the walk path in that case), but he cut the road to the embassy building and went in wrong direction and over red lights just to get there. I swallowed my heart by then, but hey – the stamp is there, on the list. He also made me say “Sweet Jesus” after asking for the fare money ’cause he honestly and completely truly ripped the feathers of my chicken butt (almost 2 KWD a kilometre). He laughed, probably didn’t think a Muslim girl would say that.
Today I’ve finally got some time to get out on the well known clear and fresh air of the region I’m residing in, and snap some very quick pictures on the walk.
It’s right after winter so the nature is defrosting with occasional frost over the night still and some hoarfrost over here and there, but the smell indicates the spring coming, unstoppably.
Me and my mum strolled over the routes we used to take when I was younger, and reminisced a little, and wondered how much things changed in the past few years I haven’t been around the Czech Highlands much. Trees torn down for wood and not replaced, fields widened, roads disappeared, water gone dark and dirty from seasoning tourists swimming all pickled in creams and factors and perfumes, letting the water wash it off and keep it. From azure blue, transparent water in a past quarry I used to swim almost alone years ago, to dark blue, petroleum reminding liquid I wouldn’t touch with my bare foot now. God knows, it might dissolve me. Tax for civilization (read: city people and their trendy magazines) discovering the odds and ends only few kids and villagers used to know about in here.
Apologies to anyone who was worried about us (or me), I just don’t really feel like blogging; the life’s going on with it’s own tempo, most of the things slow paced at the time, with a bit of court running and immigration status uncertainities.
But, more or less, everything’s all right and as it should be.
Hubby took us today out for a bit, as the weather in Kuwait’s finally getting to the human levels (compared to the summer months) in the 30 degrees of Celsius during the day and around 20 in the nights, with a bit of fresh breeze, so the picnic time approached.
The month of Ramadan is in the middle, we’ve finally got used to its own specific rhythm in Kuwait, full of not doing much things (unless really very utterly necessarily needed) during the light time and trying to get everything done after iftaar. Iftaar or fatoor is a special dinner during the fasting month of Ramadan, made usually big and stuffing, it’s a first meal of the day during this time and whole families are gathering for it’s occasion, day by day, the whole month; to wait for the adhan – and in case of Shias wait another few minutes after the muezzin announces the prayer time – and with that break the fasting and enjoy the noisy, vivid meeting of parents, children, grandchildren, spouses and relatives. Needless to say that already crazy people get much crazier, especially drivers, trying to speed up as much as possible to get the first bite; blinkers not working, lights not being valid for them and speed bumps serving as launching pads for shooting the cars to the moon, as many people plainly ignore them and literally fly over them. Kuwaiti speed bumps are big, and the cars suffer.
Than all the cacophony leaves to pray and get again together at a tea, desserts and tons and tons and tons of traditional sweets, watching TV, chit chatting and being really loud once again. People come and leave till the time of suhur, which could be best described as a Ramadan late-dinner-early-breakfast, small meal and drink before the morning prayer comes and starts the whole fasting round again.
All that is happening in a pretty narrow time period, iftaar in Kuwait starts roughly quarter to seven in the evening, and my husband’s family gets suhur between the midnight and two o’clock in the morning, with fajr being shortly after 4 am. I’m not personally sure about till when Sunni sisters and brothers drink or eat, but we’ve got into the custom to end all the meals about half an hour before the adhan sounds, to be sure we didn’t invalidate our fasting.
Sometimes I just feel like Alice in Wonderland, this being my first Ramadan in an Islamic country and getting around this many members of family is exhausting – I’m quite a lone wolf and these meetings get really big and loud. But it’s interesting and fun experience, so different from our very quite, starving days in Britain, where the day is impossibly long and the country doesn’t change it’s tempo for the month unlike here; here the shops and malls and offices change their working hours to much shorter during the forenoon, noon or very early afternoon, and than re-open again after the evening prayer and keep open much longer till the night, ten, eleven, even longer. It makes it possible to make the fasting more pleasant for most of the people, and especially now when the Holy Month comes during the summer time, which is really hot, makes the thirst manageable even if you got some of the errands running.
Some of the less glittery part… I’ve noticed the utter difference among certain housing areas, especially closer to the centre of Kuwait City, which is filled by flat units, there’s a huge contrast in between newly built housing and old, usually unmaintained buildings which at best look as rubble and abandoned, but actually accommodate poorer families.
Be it that the actual owner of the building doesn’t have the money to maintain them, or lets them decay on purpose, hoping for the families living there to finally give up and move out, so he can sell the rubble as land for much more money (one-time boost, though) than it would yield being a tenant building in the long run – these patches of land are mostly gathered, or if big enough, cleaned and on the place are build a new, shiny shops.
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