I spent yesterday morning exploring. I found a Starbucks, combed the beach for sea glass, and took a taxi to the market, where I bought some beautiful fruits and veggies, flat bread and hummus, coffee and tea.
I didn’t get lost, which is a feat since yesterday I didn’t even know the name of the city I was in. I’ve since learned that I’m in Mangaf, and my street address is Block 4 Street 28.
There. Now I can never get lost.
Today, after I counted up my remaining KD and did the dollar conversion math in my head (borrow from the 0… carry the 1…) I took a taxi to the Al-Kout Mall and the markets surrounding it.
The Al-Kout Mall and Sultan Center has a separate market for everything: dates, nuts, vegetables, spices; fish, crabs, and shrimp piled high in plastic laundry buckets, live chickens in cages, pecking grain, butchered goats hanging in bloody rows in halal shops. I had my picture taken with a butcher in front of a row of butchered goats hanging head down in his shop window, but my camera cord is (of course) back in Texas, so I can’t download it.
I bought smoked pecans from a nut shop where the saleswoman thrust samples on me faster than I could eat them. There are shops which only sell dates, in every variety. Other shops sell baklava and similar pastries. In a waterside cafe I drank tiny cups of Turkish coffee, thick and sweet and pungent with cardamom.
I need to find a safe brand of bottled water. The tap water here is undrinkable, and some of the bottled brands are so mineralized they can give you kidney stones within a few months (so says my husband Tony, who was here last year). I’ve already bought 18 liters of a strange brand and drunk half of it, so now I’m obsessively checking myself for twinges in my back.
Not really, but since I drink a gallon of water a day I probably need to find some Aquafina.
I’m still not working, and still at the Taj-maSheika for the foreseeable future. Until the Holy Grail of my access badge is processed there’s no moving forward. I got word that it might–might–be done tomorrow.
I experienced the tiniest moment of panic at the thought that I might be left sitting where I am indefinitely. Wandering the city only takes up a few hours a day. And the 100+ degree heat means no one who can help it stays outside in the afternoon. Long hours alone inevitably mean the real threat of boredom, homesickness, and loneliness. Also, until the badge comes through, I’m not earning any money.
Fortunately, two accidental discoveries brightened my afternoon. First, I found the kitchen light switch. It’s behind the refrigerator. Of course. Where else would it be? No more cooking in the dark! Second, I figured out how to reset the satellite TV, which had, until now, just stared blankly at me. Now I have a friendly voice in the background of my apartment while I read, write, or nap.
I’m sleeping a lot, but my body seems to need it. I’m also taking a lot of Airborne and Cold-Eze to boost my immune system, since half the people on the plane were sneezing in my direction.
Speaking of which, it’s bed time here.
And that’s the state of things in Kuwait. Hopefully my next post will be titled “Access Badge Granted!”