Living in Kuwait can be culturally rewarding, but can be a frustrating experience as well. Four years in Kuwait is a milestone of sorts.
Being an expatriate, I experienced a totally different outlook to the ways of life.
Geographically speaking, Kuwait lies at the head of the Arabian gulf between latitudes 28 degrees and 30 degrees North, longitudes 46 degrees and 48 degrees east. Its local time is 3 hours ahead of the GMT. It has no rivers or lakes. In the peak summer months of July and August the official temperature is 50 degrees Celsius whereas the unofficial temperature touches 55 degrees. What may surprise you is how cold a winter morning can be? It has been known to approach 0 degree Celsius. Sandstorms are a regular feature in the summers while rain is almost non-existent.
What gives us the expatriates from non-Islamic countries a culture shock is the segregation of sexes, which is a fact of life and Arabs well defend their opinion on the subject with all fervor. Ironically, in a relatively liberal and cosmopolitan Kuwait some females have to wear the veil (most of them go in for Christian Dior and other designer brands!!!) and many wear the abayah.
Interestingly, the import, production and sale of alcohol is prohibited (it still happens!!!) and is a good business for many.
For a visitor, especially from a developing country, the roads look good and wide but in fact they are deceptive. The slow lane on the three lane road is the middle one, also making for interesting negotiations as the traffic merging from the right immediately crosses two lanes of faster moving traffic!! Racial discrimination rules the road. A Kuwaiti is never at fault, even if he/ she rear ends you. But (sarcastically!!), even if an American runs into the rear of say an Asian, then the Asian is at fault!! It is totally biased and unfair but it happens in Kuwait!! Laughable petrol price is 60/ 65 fils per liter (approx. Indian Rs.8 per liter).
Hijra calendar marks the Holy month of Ramadan which according to lunar eclipse should run for 28days. Muslims fast by the day, however they makeup for this by partying all night. There is complete prohibition on eating, drinking or smoking during daylight for everyone.
People celebrate Eid with full ravishment and entrancement. Rich food in this jubilant mood can intoxicate anyone with its aroma and one can’t help putting on more calories!!
The peregrination of Kuwait perpetuates!!