Sunday, July 16, 2017

Female Expat Beaten at Animal Hospital

I don't know if you've seen the film clip being circulated on social media, but it is a short video taken in Royal Animal Hospital in Rai.  A man in dishtasha was arguing with a blonde lady at the reception desk, when he suddenly spits in her face (not once, not twice, but three times) before taking off his aghal and hitting her with it.

Lovely and oh so respectful.  To a woman.

Then, other staff members joined in trying to usher the man out of the hospital lobby, wherein the man's wife suddenly jumped in on the action and started beating people.  Classy.

All of this is recorded on a variety of their CCTV cameras (his furious face clearly visible)- and turned over to the police.  The man has since been arrested and the whole country is abuzz over how despicable his actions were.

Person held for beating receptionist in animal hospitalArab Times KuwaitKUWAIT CITY, July 15: An unidentified person wearing the national dress has been detained for interrogation for beating a female receptionist at a hospital in Kuwait that is taking care of animals, reports Al- Qabas daily. The incident has been recorded by the hospital’s surveillance camera. The man appears angry and is seen asking something to the receptionist before attacking her and other hospital staff with his Oqal. The man reportedly got angry when the receptionist, angry at the man’s behavior asked him to leave. It is not known why the man turned angry.


So here is my point:  If the people at the highest levels of lawmaking (parliament members) in the country are going to incite hatred of expats, I expect more of this type of behavior from the dredges of society who have now been validated to express their racial hatred publicly.  (I can say the same of the top politicians of my own country as well of course.)  I do find it rather ironic (appropriate even?) that the 2-legged animals chose to manifest their violence in a 4-legged animal venue, however.  The 4-legged animals were well behaved and did not partake in the mayhem.

God save civilization.


Canine Clubs in Kuwait: Trash Talk and More

I'm not naming names, but OMG the drama that goes on in the dog clubs in Kuwait.  I try to equally promote different canine clubs and activities because I think everyone is working towards the same goal: education and promotion of the sport in Kuwait.  They've made huge strides over the years and there is a lot more dog-ownership and subsequent service business operation in the country.  But... everybody talks trash about each other.  It is constant.  In general (like many other aspects of our community), there is no unity.  It is sad. And it is occasionally just downright vicious.

There is a huge row going on right now and legal action is being taken.  I'm going to be intentionally vague but I'll give you a metaphorical anecdote as to the situation:

Once upon a time, there was a shop owner.  He bought the shop and paid for it with his own money. Kept it running for years.  Everybody enjoyed the benefits of the shop and people enjoyed visiting to get advice.   Over time, several people volunteered at the shop.  Perhaps some of the visitors even liked the volunteers better. They did great work.  They brought in more customers.  Everything was going well until....

The volunteers decided to take over the shop and claim it as their own.  They went to (the equivalent of) the city council and said, "We held an election and everyone decided it is ours now." and suddenly, the shop keeper was no longer welcome in his own place.

Now, it is great that the volunteers are doing so much.  Everyone welcomes their hard work and dedication.  However, if the shop is not yours; why not just open another shop and go into friendly competition?  Why is it necessary to use the same branding as the man's shop and to push him out of something that he has built, paid for and is legally his?

As a strong believer in karma (and hey "what's right and what's wrong" for that matter), I'm waiting with popcorn in hand to see how this is going to play out.  Such drama. Such a small country.  I'm rooting for the shop keeper.  At the same time, I hope that the volunteers will start their own organization and get on with it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Labor Hotline: Kuwait Society for Human Rights



Arab Times
July 12, 2017

KUWAIT CITY, July 11: Kuwait Society for Human Rights has launched a “hotline 22215150” to raise awareness of migrant workers in Kuwait of their various legal rights and duties. Khalid Al-Hamidi, Chairman of the board of Kuwait Society for Human Rights, said that the hotline operates in five different languages: “Arabic, English, Filipino, Hindi and Urdu” in order to receive as many inquiries as possible about labor laws, ministerial decisions and legal procedures to protect rights.
He pointed out that this contributes to the reduction of abuses and violations that occur against migrant workers. He also added, “Through the hotline, legal advice can be sought as it will be answered by specialized experts and it provides a service of responding to all the migrant workers’ questions on laws and procedures concerning labor rights”.


He pointed out that the hotline received many complaints, including: “cancellation and transfer, recovery of passport, claim for financial dues, final cancellation of travel and a number of problems faced by migrant workers.” He said that, during the past period 802 complaints have been received of which 259 are of cancellation and transfer, 175 of claims for financial dues, 122 of passport recovery, 78 of malicious absence, 68 of work suspension without payment, 46 of final cancellation of travel with claim for financial dues, 38 of violation of contract items by the employer to increase working hours more than stipulated in the Labor Law and 16 of work injury. He noted that the complaints were distributed according to the language into “243 in Hindi, 101 in Urdu, 306 in Arabic and 152 in English.” 

The hotline is one of the activities of the project “Together to educate migrant workers in Kuwait”, which is being implemented in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kuwait to educate workers in Kuwait on their legal rights and mitigate the violations they face as most of them result from the workers’ lack of knowledge of their rights.

--- end ---

I think this is a great step in the right direction.  It's also fabulous that a foreign country (The Netherlands) has stepped in and helped implement this project for Kuwait.  Outstanding work.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tanfastic Salon

The former owner of Tanfastic Salon, Maja, asked me many years ago to stop by and I never did.  Maja has sold it and moved on.  Last night, I finally went in for a mani/pedi and spray tan.  They're located right behind Fanar Mall in Salmiya.

It's a nice salon in black, white and grey colors, with half a dozen professional pedicure chairs with massage.  Those chairs are a huge selling point for me.  I literally hate being bent over a tub of water to have someone do my feet.  It is much more relaxing to be able to recline and have the chair massage me.

I asked for a French shallac mani and a regular French pedi.  Great job on the hands.  The feet - not so much.  Two different ladies working on feet and hands. I don't think the pedi lady knew what she was doing.  She put on one coat of base first and then the white line.  She seemed totally mystified when she went back to do the second base coat, covering the white line, as to why you couldn't see it anymore.  WTF?!  I've also never had a pedicure when Vaseline was applied on the wet nails directly after.

Great Shallac mani.  No issues. She knew her stuff.

There were several other customers coming and going and the mani/pedi took FOREVER to finish because these 2 ladies were the only ones working there!  They constantly stopped to answer the phone or to help other customers.  I have a feeling if Maja was still there, things would have gone differently.

The spray tan was probably the best I've ever had anywhere on any continent (in terms of product).  Streak free and the lady (same one doing the pedi) has 8 years experience.  I didn't come out orange and the coverage is great.  I had a few small issues with the procedure - mainly that it took so long and I had to stand naked in front of a house fan for 30+ minutes, left alone, until it dried. Also, something to think about:  If you are large-breasted, you're going to need to bring a tube or strapless bra to hold up the girls to have the undercarriage sprayed; otherwise, you will end up with "D" shaped white areas underneath.  Not cool.

The main issue that I had with the spray tan was the environment.  Holy shit.  The room itself is fine, but the door they have is frosted glass with lines of transparency through them.  And no door lock. I was more exposed at this salon than I ever have been at my GYN's office, so the least they could do would be to have decent privacy for customers.  While I was there, other customers were walking by the door and looking in at me holding up the twins, buck neked.  To make matters worse, anytime the spray lady walked out of the room, she obviously got great joy in leaving the door open so anyone walking by could see me standing there - either holding my boobies (for an hour in total) or spread-eagle standing in front of the fan.  That is just WRONG.  (If you go there, bring a roll of masking tape so  you can cover the transparent parts on the door.)   I shouted at her finally to close the door and so she then left me standing there for (no joke) 40 minutes while she went to change out of her uniform to go home for the day (no doubt, SHE changed somewhere with better privacy).  It is a large salon and there were no other customers so I guess she didn't hear me calling her.  A lot.  And loud.

Spray Lady recommended (3-4 times actually) that I get into the UV tan machine to dry off the spray.  I explained to her (3-4 times actually) that skin cancer runs in my family and that if I didn't go out in the sun because I don't want to destroy my skin - why should I get into a UV tan machine??  Right.Over.Her.Head.

Sidenote:  Women (mostly Kuwaiti) who go to the UV tan machine more than the recommended 15 minutes per day:  Are you fricking CRAZY?!  Do you know how bad that is for you?  Do you have any idea how bad you are going to look later in life (that is IF you survive the cancer)?  OMG.  There was one woman who came into the salon and the workers told me that she comes in 2 times a day for 30 minute sessions.  Her skin is going to look like leather.  And then they're going to have to cut out those basil cells with a scalpel and she'll have big chunks of skin missing.  I had no idea that people were still that stupid.  But hey - nothing should surprise me anymore.

So now I have a dilema; go back for more great tan (with a roll of masking tape and something to keep the door closed), or never to return.  Does anyone have recommendations of other spray tanning salons that are good?


Monday, June 19, 2017

NO Import

Former friend who shall remain nameless cause I can't stand her.... (Oh yeah - I recall that I referred to her as "Mare" because she looks like Mare Wittingham, the actress... anyhoo...)   When she dumped her x-boyfriend, he got in touch (I suppose so I could be his one girl support system).  Boo hoo, she did him wrong.  Took money from him.  Dumped him.  He should have known better as he said.  He was warned by her x, x-boyfriend..  Yada yada.  (Yuh, he shoulda known.  He's married with 2-3 kids - I can't remember, but married.  Dumbass.)

Never met the guy in person for his therapy sessions.  Never wanted to, but listened to his drama for a while before he found another girl (I'm sure) and didn't need the support anymore.  Whatever.  Yawn.

So, once in a while he gets in touch.  I assume because he wants something. (This time, about a year since I last heard from him...)  It all starts like this, "How are you?  How's your family?  How's your job?  Is everything ok?" (interject some more chit chat BS small talk conversation here.)  Then, they finally get to the point.  Maybe during the call.  Maybe on the next call.  But it always comes....

So he texted me.  "I'm shy to ask you this, but can you help me with something?"   They're always "shy" (so why f-ing ASK?!)  Then, much later, they finally get to the point.  I had to wait an hour (musta thought that was a respectable amount of time between the introductory text and the actual voice call...)

"Can you help me with something?"
'Inshallah'
"You make me more shy with 'Inshallah"
'Kheir, inshallah.'
"C'mon!"
'Maashi.  Allah Kareem.'

THIS is how you should answer those in dire need (of something really stupid that they haven't gotten to yet),  It is the standard response to put a favor-beggar in his/her place.

(Yawn)

"Do you have a contract with the Army?"
'Why?'

Here
It
Comes
Hold on.....

"Can you bring in sex toys for my friend?"  (Yeah riiiiiight - your "friend")

What
The
Phuck?!
It's Ramadan!  It's bad enough that he's just totally insulted me in several ways, but... It's RAMADAN - and the last few DAYS of RAMADAN.  Have some respect.

(I didn't want to ask what KIND of sex toys.)

So he went on and on about, "You're American.  You can't bring them in?"  I'm like, 'You're a Kuwaiti ranking officer in the police force.  YOU can't bring them in?'

Technology is GREAT.  BLOCK/DELETE.



(Disclaimer:  To the best of my knowledge, the US Army does NOT import sex toys.  But if they did, it would make trips to the PX just THAT much more fun!)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Just go out!

Since my Rumaithiya Apartment Ordeal of 2015, I have become somewhat of a hermit.  My apartment isn't really what I would want it to be for entertaining.  Small living room.  Kind of weird entrance....  very quiet building where I can hear my neighbors and I'm sure they can hear me....  My former apartment was da bomb for gatherings and having people over.  No question.  It had a lovely terrace and a huge open plan living/dining/kitchen area.  It was in the basement so no one could really hear me.  Easy private entrance where no one could see comings and goings.

Note:  I still hate those former landlord people.  I shouldn't carry that negative energy around, but I do.  If they had only told me that they wanted more money, I would have paid it.  I paid 450.  I would have gone up to 7.  Monsters!  You didn't have to threaten and terrorize me!  Anyways, bygones.

Really, I see what that did to me.  It put me into a kind of PTSD where I am worried about who I can and can't trust here.  And I didn't want to socialize anymore. When you go through some really awful, traumatic stuff in your life, you immediately find out who your friends are and who they are not.  The people that I thought I could trust and depend on the most suddenly disappeared or inflicted additional drama on me.  I lost who I considered to be very good friends in 2015.  And I consider it all a blessing.  The truth may hurt, but at least I saw it.

Cut to 2017.

I get invited by friends or distant friends or even acquaintances quite often.  Most often, I turn down the invitations in favor of staying home in the peaceful comfort of my apartment with my dog and my cat. Yeah, that's some old lady shit, isn't it?  But it's true.  It doesn't take much to push me out of my comfort zone these days; even something as silly as, 'How far do I have to park away from your house?'  And then if it is too far or too inconvenient,  I find an excuse.  I'm making constant mental excuses to just stay home all the time.  And that's wrong.

I'm an active person (ok, well, used to be.  I guess mid-2016 was kind of my cut-off point for activity).  I used to go to parties. I used to go to business functions.  I used to do a lot of things.  (And I used to have a lot more to post about here.  When you are doing routine things like K9 training or surfing Apple TV for movies, there really isn't a lot of material, is there?)

Now, I reason in my head about how much traffic/road rage there will be just leaving my neighborhood. Should I really bother?

Recently, while at my favorite salon, Mirror Mirror, I met the new Executive Director of the American Business Council of Kuwait, Teresa.  She was kind and bubbly and literally talked me into attending an ABCK function.  I hadn't been in several years.  The owner of Mirror Mirror, Wendy (who has become a really dear friend) said she was going as well and wanted me to join her (she ended up paying for my ticket and I thought that was so sweet!).  Anyways, I went and saw people I hadn't seen in years.  I had a great time.  It was held at the Millenium Hotel and it was my first time there.  The food was FABULOUS and I was really impressed by the hotel.  And - BTW - the ABCK has changed a lot.  There is a new female Chairwoman and it is no longer the old white dude in blue suit organization that it used to be.  They have a lot more activities and the whole vibe was good.  Thank you, Wendy and Teresa, for pulling me out.

That was my first social outing.  Baby steps, Desert Girl....

My second outing was last night.  Kim (from Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait blog) has been inviting me for (no joke) maybe the past 3 years.  Being Hermit Girl, I found excuses when I could have just pushed myself to go.  Last night, I accepted a dinner invitation and I'm so glad.  She's got a lovely family and her apartment was more like a comfortable villa somewhere.  It was gorgeous and the whole night was lovely. I'm so glad I went and even though we talked for what - maybe 5 hours - I still felt like I could have continued (but had to work today!).

These occasions have given me hope for myself.  Maybe all is not lost.  Maybe I can actually  push myself to do more.  It's a start.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

KSPATH is Closing




I'm sorry, but WTF?  The only government-licensed animal shelter in Kuwait closing it's doors???

Official notice from KSPATH:

Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah announces closure of Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH)

  • Says “We worked very hard to improve animal welfare standards and set an example for new animal groups in Kuwait”

Sheikha Fatima Mubarak Al Sabah, the Chairperson of Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH) announced this morning the decision to close K’S PATH by the end of six months that is December 2017. All animals at the K’S PATH shelter will be adopted out in Kuwait or will be rehomed in international shelters. No animals will be put down.

Dissolution of K’S PATH 
Citing reasons for closing K’S PATH, Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah explains that the K’S PATH team has worked very hard for the past 12 years to protect Kuwait’s animals and the environment and thankfully, much has been achieved through the years. Therefore the decision to close the Society is not based on financial or administrative reasons or as a result of any problem; but this decision was made based on the knowledge that Kuwait’s animals and environment will be cared for by compassionate people in the community. She further adds that the new animal protection and environmental laws passed by Kuwait’s Parliament reflect the progressive approach of the Government authorities to foster future generations that appreciate Kuwait’s natural heritage.
Thanking the Community
Additionally, Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah thanks all members of the community who have supported her and the Society over the past 12 years. She also extends her love and gratitude to the K’S PATH team of staff and volunteers, for their dedication and efforts in contributing to the welfare of Kuwait’s animals and environment; May the Almighty protect Kuwait’s people and animals.
The Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat was officially recognized as Kuwait’s first legal animal welfare and habitat protection society in 2014 by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and was founded in 2005 by Ayeshah Al Humaidhi who first established a shelter in Wafra to protect abandoned, homeless and rescued animals. Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah became a volunteer at K’S PATH in 2009, and became the Chairperson in a few years.
K’S PATH Achievements
In 12 years, K’S PATH has cared for over 18,000 animals across over 41 species including companion animals, farm animals and wildlife. The Society has adopted out over thousands of animals including relocations to regional and international sanctuaries. K’S PATH’s Marine Conservation Program launched in 2011 has conducted over 300 beach, island and desert cleanups, clearing over 80,000 tonnes of terrestrial marine waste, through the support of over 4000 volunteers. It also registered over 800 volunteers to help at the shelter and awareness events. K’S PATH’s Humane Education Program reached over 22,900 students across 40 schools and universities. Its humane animal control program is a compassionate and effective alternative for reducing street cat and stray dog population. K’S PATH is also the official country representative of Kuwait for World Animal Day.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kuwait: Number of empty apartments increases from 20,000 to 37,000

I'm sorry to laugh at this but hahahahahahaha.  Greedy bastards.

If they would drop rents to make it actually liveable here, the apartments would be filled.  I pay the equivalent of a 4 bedroom house mortgage in the US every month for something that I will never own - and hey, may be kicked out of at whim because the tenancy laws are not enforced and decent people like me are terrorized by land owners with ZERO repercussion.

Kuwait!  Be like Bahrain.  You know:  That little island down the way.  Bahrain is allowing foreigners (that's right EXPATS) to buy apartments and with that you get a visa for you and 3 family members for 99 years.  Their economy is picking up.  Expats are (get this, Kuwait) HAPPY.

So let me get this right:  Citizens are BMCing about a housing shortage and meanwhile these apartments are sitting empty?  Aint that a thang.  Why?  Because even Kuwaitis can't afford to live in many of these apartments.  And even if they can, investment companies are building apartments that are SO TINY that normal sized human beings (and their children) can't live in them. I've seen apartments that are so small that I could only fit my bed in the living room.  Greed. Greed. Greed.

Kuwait would rather kick itself in the head repeatedly than to better its own economy.

Arab Times
31 May 2017
Number of empty apartments increases from 20,000 to 37,000


KUWAIT CITY, May 30: With the fast-approaching summer and holiday seasons, the number of empty investment apartments in most parts of the country has been skyrocketing.

Statistics reveal that this number, since the beginning of the year, has increased by 17,000 and many new buildings will enter the market shortly. According to sources, the number of empty apartments increased from 20,000 to 37,000 after a huge number of expatriate workers decided to send their families back to their countries.

Many residential buildings are hunting for tenants, as owners are losing revenues. One of the main reasons behind this problem is the supply of residential apartments is much higher than the demand.
The monthly rent of a normal apartment does not cost less than KD 300, a cost not befitting the pockets of majority of expatriates currently.

The sources revealed that the investment sector witnessed a rapid growth in the past two years. According to data from PACI, there are more than 13,000 investment residential buildings in Kuwait, a number that is deemed big in the local market.


The sources indicated that they are expecting more 10,000 residential apartments throughout the country to enter the market during the second half of the year

--- end ---

So let me get this right?  Citizens are BMCing about a housing shortage and meanwhile these apartments are sitting empty?  Aint that a thang.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hypocrisy: Expat Bashing Alternative View in the Kuwait Times

Glad to see at least a few people taking an alternate view.

(Click on the photo to read)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

What? Not all women are prostitutes?

21 years in Kuwait. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been propositioned for sex for money. (And a multitude of dumbasses asking me for massages through the blog. I give them the number to Salmiya police station!)  Its disgusting.  One time, following a car accident, the guy who hit my car called me a whore in Arabic, thinking that I didn't understand.  BAM.  Instant case. (The fine for him is only 40KD, but its an embarrassment and his long-bearded father was shamed.)   My female friends have had the same problems; men showing them wads of money through the windows of adjacent cars in traffic.  Exchanging phone numbers under the guise of getting to know you and then the instant proposition.   Do these neaderathals believe that all women are prostitutes?  If one man can look at me and instantly call me a whore, what does that make his mother?  His sister? His wife?  I don't dress provacatively and even if I did - that gives no one the right to assume.

I bring this up after a small article in the Arab Times in which a woman files a case against a man for propositioning her.  Good for her.  Good for the authorities for pursuing the case.  Good for the news media for publishing it.  Because most of the time, you don't hear about it, but it is everywhere.

Story goes like this:

Arab expat offers Filipina woman KD 50 for ‘fun’
Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, May 11: A Filipina woman filed a case against an Arab expatriate who insisted she visit him in his flat in Fahaheel area for immoral activities and promised to pay her KD 50.
The woman, who works for a domestic labor office, explained to securitymen that the suspect visited the office and requested for a housemaid. He took her mobile number for discussing details of the transaction.
However, he called her at night and urged her to have a sexual affair with him. When she refused, he visited her the next day at the office and demanded she visit his flat in Fahaheel area, promising to pay her KD 50 for sex.
She refused, requesting him to leave the office. When the suspect kept calling her mobile phone, she decided to go to the nearest police station and file a case against him.
Securitymen called the suspect on his mobile phone but it was switched off. They launched investigations to find and arrest him.

It makes me happy to see that this woman of strong character would stand up.  Doubtful that they will find him or take it any further, but just the fact that it happened and was publicized makes it worth it. Baby steps.

21 May 2017 Addition
Some boy-men here are really F-ing stupid!  

I rarely leave my house at night anymore for several reasons. First and foremost because of the traffic and the rage that everyone is feeling.  I don't want to "accidentally" ram my car into someone because they are an a-hole (it could happen).  Stay home, DG; Save a life.

But also because of the types of creatures that come out at night.  It is open season out there.  Friday night, I went to a wedding and I literally drove around the corner to pick up my friend (when did high heels become so uncomfortable?  I said it would never happen!).  Stuck in traffic next to 2 monkeys who propositioned me for sex with the both of them (through my closed car window).  Niiiiiice.

Went to the beach at Zor on Saturday to meet up with my friend's 16 year old Kuwaiti daughter.  She wanted to hang with me and my dog.  My understanding was that I was going to go with me, but she ended up going with friends and I met her there.  So glad that I took my car.  Did I mention she was 16?  She was wearing a leopard-print thong bikini with her diamond naval piercing thingy in. (I was wearing a summer dress.)  She took me to a not-so-secluded spot where approximately 70 young boys/men (under 20) had their cars on the beach and had music playing.  I felt like a grandmother and my dog was losing it trying to "protect" me (obviously feeling bad vibes).  We were getting a lot of unwanted attention.  I can only imagine what her bikini brought on.  EEEk.  So, I left.  But on the way to the car, I was followed by 3 monkeys not older than maybe 19.  One of them wanted to see my dog.  Ok fine.  Innocent enough. Until he told me that they could take me to another quiet spot on the beach... Then asked me for my phone number.  Me:  No, I'm married and I'm old enough to be your mother.  Monkey#1: I don't care.  Me:  Uh, I DO!...and then little dude stepped next to me and put his arm around my waist like he wanted to move in and kiss me.  Oh.No.He.Di'int!!  I gave Mikey the command.  Ears up; system armed.  Monkeys noticed and backed away.

Both incidents both verify my point that more and more "men" here seem to think that all women are prostitutes.