Monday, June 30, 2008
CSA’s contract is up in October 2009, and I hope that whoever is re-bidding will consider the fact that 1) there is no need to pay that amount of money; and 2) perhaps you don’t need to get an almost complete staff of high-paid Westerners (many of whom don’t even have a lot of work to do and would like to do more). Where is the ethical responsibility?
Back to the problems in our local real estate market.
I’m going to see shitholes at KD 400 per month. It is ridiculous. Some of these places still have squat toilets and I can’t even tell you how bad they smell when you walk in. For that, you pay prime real estate prices. I walked into one last night and I immediately sensed that someone had been murdered in the apartment; it was the kind of place where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. As my friend said, “Look, they have 2 doors to the apartment; an extra one so that you can run out the back when the police come to the front….” ICK.
I’m also extremely peeved about being labeled as a "morally-challenged" single woman. One real estate agent actually said, “Well, the owners don’t know what kind of people you would be bringing over…” Before I hung up IN HIS FACE, I said, “I’m a manager with a rather large company. I’ve been in Kuwait over 10 years. I’m not on a weekend trip down from Basra….” I thought that kind of mentality went out years ago in Kuwait. Are we suddenly so conservative?
So, I got online and found some marriage certificates I can download – just incase. If they want a piece of paper: BADA BING. Just like when I went to Malaysia on a trip I won and needed to be “married” to the guy who I was going with. Done.
I’m looking at some apartments in houses and what I want to know is – what is the owners’ name? I’m not going to just walk in and stay in someone’s apartment and they have a terrible reputation in Kuwait. If these loser real estate guys can ask ME for my personal information, damned if I’m not going to ask about the owners.
I can’t find a decent-sized apartment with a balcony. The balcony comes first and foremost because Desert Dawg has to have a retreat during the day when I’m at work. Either that, or I hire a live-in maid. Well, I wouldn’t go to that extreme. I enjoy the privacy of walkin around buck neked. Anyways, a large balcony gives me (at least) the impression that the apartment is airy.
I went to see a very nice 2 bedroom apartment last night in Mishrif. It was very pretty (at KD 360); however, it had several problems. First, the balcony was off the bedroom. It was very large, but I would have to have the door open so that Desert Dawg could get out and it would be hot. I could already sense that it would be a problem with the home owners. Next, there were bars on some of the windows. That freaks me out. Maybe I was a prisoner in a former existence. I just can’t do bars. The kitchen and bathroom weren’t great and the window in the living room was too small.
Okay, so I might be a little picky.
You know what you want. You know what kind of home will make you happy to live in. When I walked into my current apartment 11 years ago, I felt comfortable and happy.
They say that by about the 10th place you’ve looked at, you find one that you like. I have exceeded that number.
Let me just say that my FRIEND who has been taking me around to look at these places has been an angel. I don’t really know why he is doing it for me. I think we are mending fences. Life is very odd and ironic.
I am happy he is helping me, but at the same time, this is someone who I remember as a completely different person. Now, I look at him and I don’t see that person there. It is like I know him, but I don’t know him. It makes me sad. I want to shake him and say, “Say something! Do something! Let me know you are really you.” Maybe he’s not him anymore. Maybe people go through life experiences that change them. I just feel like I am looking at someone who isn’t that person anymore – kind of like a pod person now – and it makes me want to cry.
Sometimes I have a really hard time understanding (remembering) that people don’t always think like you do. That maybe they change or are different. I’m the same and I just don’t get it.
Anyways, I’m really thankful for the help because even though I am now working with NINE realtors, none of them have been able to accomplish in a month what my FRIEND has in a day.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I don’t write about work, so I won’t (really). I’m just irked. WTF does “DRAFT” mean to you? When I put DRAFT all over a document, I generally mean that I am open to (I encourage) changes and remarks. Why do people take things so personally – especially at work? I don’t get it. I’m not trying to belittle or degrade people when I write a document – I’m just writing a frickin document. Why do they get their panties in a bunch? I know that it is mostly cultural. ‘ooooh, I’m sooooo sorry, did I offend you when I wrote a description of your project which was not to your liking?’ I just do my job – do your job. Bada BING. If you don’t like it, grab a pen and make my day.
This is so not my week. Bu Merdas loved his gifts – and said so – via SMS. Yo soy not amused. An SMS. Now that’s clayaaaassss, baybeee. I decided to send his gifts with the driver anyhoo because once I buy a gift for a particular person; it belongs to them. I will give it to them regardless of the circumstance.
I think that there is something in the air this week. All my girlfriends are having the same problems: Disappearing “Men”. First, real men don’t disappear: They communicate. TALK MOFO!!!! TALK!!!!
The kind of zeg that has been going on with men et moi this week is of jaw-dropping proportions. It is too tiring to explain. As my girlfriends say, "I'm speechless". Which - if any of you knew my girlfriends - is tantamount to the end of the world.
I am in such a rut/funk/mood/depression that I get home and throw ALL of my clothes on the floor. Yesterday, I lost Desert Dawg. My bedroom looks like a 70% sale at souq shaabi...
Calgon, TAKE ME AWAY!
My mother (God love her) received (what she termed) “a very strange phone call from a woman who said she knew you from years ago….” My mother is intimidated by technology. “She said that she Googled you and found my address.” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Google because I Google myself all the time (sometimes several times a day if it is really good) and there isn’t that much out there. Anyhoo, God love her, she was so worried that the strange woman was on a mission to find me and kill me and steal my identity – after an obvious invasion of our privacy - that she never got her contact details. OMG!
This is a friend that I knew years ago who I have been writing to and never have received a response. I would love to reconnect with her. She is probably writing to me because her daughter’s babydaddy is Kuwaiti and I’m sure she wants to find out about him. Her daughter should be around 21 by now. She actually went to court to prove paternity and then the dude skipped back to Kuwait after the court appearance. The judge looked at the baby, then at the daddy and said, “You don’t see the resemblance? I do!” (My friend has very very fair skin and bright red hair. Babydaddy is very dark haired with dark complextion and big brown eyes - as is the baby - who is now a young lady. All she really has to do is to talk to people at the embassy. She has probably filed more cases in her local court. Ooops! (Dude, you might not want to travel to the US.....) It might just be more fun trying to track him in Kuwait, however. teee hee. I remember her babydaddy, "I would NEVER marry an American!" (said with a certain degree of disgust.) Yeah, but it was okay to impregnate one, right? Did you like run across the room, slip and fall on top of her??? Sure, I would be haaaaaaaaaaaappy to help her.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Too bad that I’m probably not going to be with him on his birthday because he has managed to piss me off yet again. “I forgot my phone in the desert” - my ass. That line so lame that even I wouldn’t use it.
I’m sending the birthday gifts to him via my driver at work: Impersonal when you send a driver. I’m sure he’ll get my point. He only lives 10 minutes from my office. I only wish that we had a gay driver at work. I would send him....
We went to Kabd again this weekend with the girls. Very nice weather under the moon. A “cute little blonde mouse” (as The Romanian said) ran into the diwaniya. I don’t understand why SOME grown men can tolerate cockroaches, but see a mouse and they go apeshit. Why is that? I see a cockroach and I’m clinging to the ceiling fan (which, as we all know, is only a cleaver holding device for stiletto heels during times of high passion).
Oh, here is something fascinating (speaking of stilettos): There is a blonde woman who works on the 1st floor at The International Clinic. I have seen her there many times; usually wearing something low-cut, short and slutty with a white doctor's coat over it - open; her hair is loose (Jessica Simpson style); she's got an ankle tatoo; and she wears (kid you not because I KNOW heel-height), 4 inch stiletto heels every time I see her. I went in to see my doctor yesterday and I asked the nurse who she was. Get this - she's NOT a doctor; she's a beautician! She helps the dermatologist with procedures (me guesses laser hair removal). What is THAT all about? It doesn't really instill great credibility in the real medical staff when the impression is that she is Dr. Slutty. Looks like she could be on the set of a porno. Nasty Nurses or something like that.
By the by: Mowasat's service is sucking bigtime (you make the connection should you choose to do so from the last paragraph). I have complained several times about their horrible service. They have taken the information desk on the ground floor away. Now, you have to walk up to whatever floor your doctor is on and find a receptionist. Most times, there IS no receptionist and no sign directing you to another area (40 fils per copy dudes, figure it out). When you get to the other receptionist, he/she is so overworked and underpaid that they don't even look up at you. I was going to my dermatologist and the receptionist just wanted my insurance card. I don't like to give it to them because it means that you are paying. then, they don't know how many patients are in line in front of you; how long the wait is, etc. I waited for a doctor there for 2 hours one time before walking out - and they couldn't credit my insurance card. This time, the nasty receptionist answered "I don't know" to every single one of my questions (without eye contact or even looking up at me). I gave up and went downstairs to the Patient Relations department where after much bitching and yelling, I got a supervisor to go upstairs with me. They finally told me that my doctor was on vacation for a week. HOW frickin long were they planning to let me sit there???? The PR supervisor could only giggle nervously. No wonder all the expats are in the International Clinic. Wonder how much of THAT private insurance money is financing IC and not Mowasat's expansion.
I went to Buffalo's Cafe for dinner last night. If you haven't been there in a while - DON'T GO BACK. I got sick before I even left there. My "Freedom Fries" were undercooked and soggy, my medium-rare hamburger was not cooked AT ALL. Waitress dudette forgot my salad. My friend's shrimp penne was terrible: they dumped a whole container of salt into it and the shrimp were so overcooked that they were chewy. I couldn't even bring the stuff home for Desert Dawg - she would have gotten sick. Other customers sent their food back every few minutes. The service wasn't better: 400 Filipinos standing around talking to each other rather than actually serving the customers. Oh - and there were kids there that screamed and screamed in the play area and none of the management asked any of them to stop. Kids ran throughout the dining room without their shoes on. It went on for an hour.
I’m so totally bored right now that even complaining isn't giving me my usual thrill. I want to go downstairs to the yummy kebab place for lunch, but the operations manager that I flirt with isn’t in Kuwait. It just isn’t any fun without him there.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I'm bored!!!!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
'Kuwait will not admit whores'
Published Date: June 22, 2008
KUWAIT: Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled, the Minister of Interior, said that the decision to grant visit visas to residents in GCC countries would not make Kuwait easily accessible to prostitutes. Kuwait will remain a clean country, reported Al-Rai. He also emphasized that visas would be limited to people "holding high profile jobs and visiting Kuwait for business," he said. Women will not be allowed to enter Kuwait unless accompanied by her husband or she is arriving for official business with a major company," he reassured. Meanwhile, Chairman of the parliamentary committee for 'alien practices,' MP Jamaan Al-Harbash warned of the possible consequences of randomly allowing GCC residents to enter Kuwait. Further, Al-Harbash said that he had already field a parliamentary enquiry on the matter two weeks ago.
DG Questions (inquiring minds need to know):
The title: "Kuwait will not admit whores". Does that mean that they won't admit that they have whores? (Again, it isn't me - it is the way it is written - verbatum - in the paper.)
“Women will not be allowed to enter Kuwait unless accompanied by her husband or she is arriving for official business with a major company” Does this reference mean that all other women are whores? Are all other single women whores? Who made this assumption?
What about male whores? Are those guys (Deuce Bigalo types) just allowed to "dominate"/"penetrate" the Kuwait whore market?
What makes whoring an 'alien practice’ to Kuwait? What about domestic whoring?
"Kuwait will remain a clean country..." Ummmmmm..... "remain"? If they "...won't admit whores" then will they admit that they are unclean?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Let me tell you my sister, Cait’s, story and how incredibly proud of her I am.
This is a long story, so I am going to try to break it up into several parts. It is all factual/non-fiction.
I am posting this on my blog for several reasons: It is very personal and I don't think anyone would publish it as such. It is also very long.
I don’t know why I decided to sit down and write this – TODAY, NOW. Sometimes the mood strikes when it does (even years after an event happens) and you have to go for it. I have written very little about Cait and her story. Maybe I feel guilty because I haven’t called her for a long time. Since our dad died a few years ago, we haven’t been as close as we were. I wish that I could do something to change that. I will try.
Mashallah. Mashallah. Mashallah. Always thank God for your blessings.
I have always been close to my sister. We are “Irish twins” – meaning born in quick succession. I was born in April; Cait was born the following May. Until Cait turned 18, we had always slept in the same room. My mother used to say that one of us would talk in our sleep and the other would answer. Similar to twins, we know what each other is thinking, feeling, going through.
I decided to make a major life change in 1993 and move to Kuwait (not because I wanted to escape from anything, but because I wanted to discover something), but a nagging voice inside my head told me to wait. I had planned it for years. I don’t know why, but when I was made my first job offer here by an IT company (with all the benefits and aspects I was looking for – including relocation), I turned it down. I told the GM, “The timing is not right.”
The next year in 1994, Cait was 8 1/2 months pregnant and had ahard time breathing at night. She went to a doctor who advised her to deliver the baby first and then have a chest x-ray. 2 weeks after she had my nephew, the doctor found a tumor that was “the size of a large coffee can” – pushing her lungs and wrapped around her heart.
Her son was born healthy and smiling. On the starry, clear night he arrived, a deer ran in front of my car on the way to the hospital. It stopped in front of me, seemingly to look directly at me, and disappeared into the trees. I have always taken it as an omen; perhaps of good things to come; perhaps of the type of person that my nephew has to become – graceful, concerned and observant like his mother.
Cait and her husband worked for the same company as sales people. They did IT recruitment sales. She had taken maternity leave, but needed to take more time off to start chemotherapy. The company told her that she would have to take leave without pay or quit (an illegal action by an employer in the States, but sometimes difficult to enforce).
They made a decision that they would both quit – that the ethics of the situation required an immediate move. What kind of company would do that to anyone with a newborn and a new mother going through cancer?
Both Cait and her husband had non-compete clauses in their employment contracts which wouldn’t allow them to work for a competitive company (as sales people in placement companies) within a 50 mile radius of Washington, DC. The next big city to Washington is Baltimore and to get there every morning would have meant a 2 hour drive each way. Cait’s husband decided with a newborn at home and a wife going through chemo, he should risk it and go to work locally for a competitor. Cait was still at the company, trying to determine where to go/what to do next.
The company still gave her a hard time, making it more and more difficult for her to take time off for any reason. She spoke to many lawyers – most who didn’t want to take her case because it would be lengthy and expensive. She finally found someone who would help her. The company said that if Cait sued, they would counter-sue her husband for breach of his non-compete.
At about the same time, Cait started negotiations with one of her former clients, Carl (not his real name). Carl offered to start-up a business for Cait. Placement/recruitment companies have a very low overhead: all you really need is a desk, a phone, and a pad of paper. She started working with Carl; she did the work, Carl did the books.
This was all while Cait went through chemotherapy with an infant. She had lost all of her hair, but was an amazing fighter. I went with her when she had to buy a wig. We tried on different kinds and had laughs (“…this one is for the boardroom, this one is for the boudoir…”), but it was serious.
There are so many things that you learn about cancer – and so fast – when someone you love is diagnosed. I noticed the way people looked at Cait when she had cancer; as if all hope was gone. You can see it in the eyes – it is a particular look people get when they know someone has cancer. You can’t do that. It has a very negative affect on the cancer patient. I tried my best never to treat her like she had “it”; to maintain the same mannerisms I always had with her. Cait told me that my mother treated her like she was a china doll about to break; and that her husband pushed her to do too much; but that I had remained the same.
Almost all the way through the treatments, Cait didn’t want anyone with her except for her husband. She is very independent and didn’t even want people to go shopping for her. She’s a rock.
The day that Cait was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma (which is one of the most treatable forms of cancer – again, thank God), my mother called to tell me. She was crying and she said, “I’m so afraid Caitie is going to die.” I thought about it for just a minute and my immediate reaction was, “No she isn’t. God wants her to get through this for something better.” I didn’t just say it, I knew it; I felt it.
For the next 9 months, I had recurring dreams. It started out nightmarish: I was in a small wooden crate, hugging Cait. The water was dark, murky, and cold. It was getting through gaps in the wood planks of the crate and we were both cold and scared. The shore was far away and the waves were very high. As the dreams progressed (and so did Cait’s chemo treatments), the boat got progressively bigger and more solid. The water got calmer. Less water leaked into the vessel. We always hugged each other. The boat got closer to the shore. … almost there, but not quite.
(I’m sitting here at my desk with tears in my eyes because it was as if it happened yesterday. I can still feel the water and the emotions.)
Cait left her former company and decided not to sue. They decided to leave her husband alone. Cait started up her new company with the help of her partner.
Cait’s son, Alex, was an incredibly healthy (Mashallah) baby. Our family was so happy to finally have a youngster in our midst. We are a small family and there were very few children around. As Cait said, she thinks that Alex protected her from the cancer while he was forming as a strong human (that he has become today).
I am glad that my aunt was alive to see Alex before she passed. My aunt Virginia was the family matriarch; she was more like my grandmother than an elderly aunt. She taught us strength and extreme loyalty. She stuck by her convictions and could usually get things done by sheer willpower alone. She died the winter after Alex was born.
Several days later, Cait went in to check on the progress of the tumor. When things are bad, doctors and nurses leave the room. Cait was left alone to worry while the doctor and technicians checked the x-ray. They said that something must have been wrong. They did the test again. They finally came out to tell Cait that they thought they had made a mistake because they couldn’t find the tumor on the x-ray. It was gone. (Mashallah, mashallah, mashallah).
We believe that my aunt must have had a chat with the angels when she arrived in Heaven.
My last dream of my sister’s ordeal: Cait and I walked along the beach, looking out at a vibrant pink sunset over glass-flat water. It was warm. I could hear a strange thumping noise in the distance, but didn’t think much of it. I asked Cait if she would like to stay with me for a while near the water. She said that she was off to have a dinner with her husband, so I lingered a while as she left. I continued my way down the beach and the thumping noise got louder. I looked over at a very old, wrinkled, white-haired man who was hammering on an object on the beach. He looked at me and smiled as if I had known him forever. Only then I saw what he was working on: He was taking the wooden boat apart.
It actually takes less time to call than it would to send a letter. A phone call is also a lot more personal – especially if someone like the woman who called me takes the time to call.
If the Ambassador knows about my blog, it means that someone at the embassy is preparing research reports on what is happening around Kuwait - including what is being said on the blogs. This fascinates me. I know that the Emir's staff has done the same for him for years (not so much on the blogs, but that is changing) - and that he is actually quite educated on current social trends and goings-on (and takes the time to read the comments that have been left on the Amiri Diwan website). To know that our own embassy is doing similar research is outstanding. (I was sorry to see that the US Embassy’s website online option of “send a message to the Ambassador” is no longer there.)
I always tell newcomers to Kuwait that to get to know your new host country, you should keep informed through the blogs (unfortunately kuwaitblogs.com listing hasn’t been kept updated and a lot of the blogs listed are quite old).
My mother doesn’t believe that blogs are a good thing because the writers don’t have researchers and fact-checkers and that they could write anything which others could read and believe as truth. I don’t agree with that. I think that blogging is similar to writing an opinion piece for a magazine or newspaper; it is about your perspective. It is a given that people won’t do in-depth research and fact-checking.
But hey – if you have ever written for any newspaper in Kuwait, you’ll know that there is no fact checking in the media. I wrote a script for KTV2 years ago on the fish kill problem. It wasn’t an exact science; in fact, we didn’t have enough copy to stretch out for the entire program. So, I sat in the studio next to the director and wrote more. I could have said just about anything – and it would have been broadcast. I also did the voice-over, so I probably could have adlibbed a LOT. (By the by –after doing research about what killed the thousands of tons of fish in Kuwait Bay in 2001: my opinion is that it will happen again. You’ll never see me swimming in the Bay – ICK!)
I told my mom about the phone call yesterday. I also told her that I occasionally poke “fun” at the embassy (UASS etc.). She told me that I should behave as a representative of my country… etc. etc. I don’t discriminate. I make fun of everyone. One of my absolute favorite things about Kuwait and Kuwaitis is their innate ability to laugh at themselves. (You won’t find that in many other Arab countries; and in some cases where people have had a laugh at the country, they’ve ended up in jail.) I think more Americans should be like the Kuwaitis in that respect. We’re not allowed to laugh at our own foibles? I think too many Americans have taken patriotism to the nth and decided that we are the best – without any negative aspects to our society or political system. As they say in Kuwait, “Yeh!” Dudes, loosen up.
Look at how successful the “Axis of Evil” comedy tour has been. It bridges common ground. It is OKAY to laugh at your political system or culture (perhaps not yet in China.... although I do work with the Chinese and they are very funny guys when they want to be).
One thing that I liked about Ambassador Jones was that she seems to be armed with the same change-making ammunition that I am: a sense of humor. You can do so much if you make people laugh or make them happy. It disarms them immediately. It is all about finding a common ground with your audience. I didn’t find her haughty or unapproachable – at all. In fact, I felt that I could be myself around her (which as my friends will tell you is not always a good thing). I’m sure it’s not just me. Judging from pictures I have seen of her lately in the media with Kuwaiti decision-makers, she is having the same affect on them.
As a woman, it is even more important in this society because you need to immediately find a common ground – and sometimes it isn’t always easy to do. I see Nouriyah Sabieh working the humor angle: She always looks like she is telling someone the BEST joke; everyone is happy and at ease. People want to be around her. Even people who don’t know her (like me) want to be in her presence. I’ve tried to use the humor angle with the long-bearded dudes at times; they usually come around, even if they don’t want to. You can catch a smile or a look and you know that you’re “in”. All of a sudden, you become human to someone who might have just viewed you as the opposition.
My sister uses a fascinating tactic in her business. She’s been in sales for years and owns a huge healthcare/IT placement company (that was just voted as THE best place to work in Washington DC - YOU GO GIRL!). She has amazingly gorgeous blue eyes; dazzling at times. She has always won business by being sincere – and part of that is direct eye contact. When talking to clients, she tries to position herself so that the sun or light shines directly into her eyes, illuminating them. I’ve seen her do it. When they say, “a twinkle in her eye,” it is literal. It is “captivating” and she knows that she has her client’s full attention. (This tactic doesn’t work with my family. We are onto her… I have blue eyes too.)
Ok, it is Thursday and for some reason, I am waaaaaaaaaaaay too chatty (coffee). It looks like we will have another dusty weekend/week/month. Alas, I must think of fun and interesting indoor activities. By the by – I am trying to figure out a fun employee event. I was going to do a “fun day out”, but now I have had to re-think it as a “fun day in”. Any recommendations from the peanut gallery?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I had a call today and nearly fell backwards out of my chair (people where I work already think I'm crazy ENOUGH).... A very nice woman from the embassy called me to thank me for the letter I sent to the Ambassador, Mrs. Jones (saying how nice it was to meet her). She also made reference to Desert Girl [which is, as we know, my alter-ego - similar to Marshall Mathers' (Eminem's) "Slim Shady"]. Perhaps it is not the side which one would wish their mother to meet - and yet again - not someone who you hold in as-high esteem. Not only did I almost fall OUT of my chair (backwards), but I did so blushing.
I do not blush easily.
Let me just restate that the US AMBASSADOR TO KUWAIT ROCKS. I can’t remember when I’ve been so delighted (and I NEVER use that word) to receive a phone call. I literally had to scramble to call Slaperella (who was on Arifjan -- most likely in a short skirt in this dust).
Is that not the coolest thing ever? I am totally chuffed (that’s Briddish for “really happy”).
The next thing I did (after falling over, blushing, scrambling, and chuffing) was to go through all my archives to figure out what the heck I had said in previous posts. I admit – I do sound “trailer park” (Brits et al – that is ‘merican for low-class or hailag), especially since I have been known to use the F word as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb…. (I can’t help it! It’s descriptive!). I’m going to have to watch that.
Disclaimer: I was not raised in, on, or near a trailer park. We did, however, have an aging Winnebago trailer, but it was only used for trips and all of the tires were in working condition. For those of you living in trailer parks, I apologize for being un-PC. I’m sure they are very nice homes. Although I may sound low-class at times: I was raised by my mother who is a proper, retired award-winning journalist and we weren’t allowed to swear in the house. No F-ing way!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Ten minutes later, mid-tobico roll, I saw a gorgeous, tall man walking around the corner and I was within nanoseconds of gzzzing my own man! LOL. The Romanian didn’t even recognize him and she was seconds away from saying, “Do you know that guy?”
He cracks me up.
He had to go to the diwaniya to be a referee for the little girls he plays cards with. Grown men fighting over cards! They must have really bad marriages to be at the diwaniya taking their frustration out on each other. Bu Merdas ended up throwing ALL the cards in the diwaniya in the trash.
Again, he cracks me up.
If anybody is interested, I came across a really good lease deal at Aayan. For the month of June, you only put 99 KD down. Check out their promotion. 2008 Yukons at 225 KD/mo, Altimas at 125 KD/mo, Envoys at 159 KD/mo. I was thinking Mercedes or Mustang, but I know how badly I would trash nice cars here and it just isn’t worth it. Maybe later. Dunno. I can have a lease on one and buy another if I want it. It could happen: big car, little car…. Oooooooo …. I just checked out Ford Kuwait’s website and with their payment calculator, a Mustang GT is approximately the same price as a lease one an Envoy. Hmmmmmmmmmmm…. Should I get another sports car here? If I was in the US, I would drive one……. GT GT GT….
Sunday, June 15, 2008
KUWAIT: A Salafist MP held meetings with some prominent Islamist clerics during which they discussed implementing Islamic laws, a source close to the Islamic Salafist Alliance said. The clerics have prepared the law and the MPs will submit it to the National Assembly later. The law will cover different aspects like enforcing the veil and Islamic dress on women, restricting women's travel without the approval from father or husband. A special committee will be formed to check if women need to travel at all.
IS THIS KUWAIT????? For a minute there, I thought I was in Teleban-led Afghanistan. What is happening to Kuwait??? Why not just annex Kuwait to Saudi Arabia?
Ya Bu Nasser, help us!
I was in Kabd Thursday night (don’t ask, don’t tell) with the girls. Not only was it dusty, but I was stupid and drank something “of questionable origin”. Rather than being my normal happy-go-lucky refreshment-drinking person, I was The Bitch (as in the American tense of the word) Queen. I never throw hissy fits and I am never rude to hosts – especially when they have been overwhelmingly kind and courteous. I owe them a major apology. It was bad. I saw a stalker-cockroach of gargantuan proportions, had a shrieking fit (again, SO unlike me – I’m not the girlie-shrieky type) and got in my car to leave. WTF???? How did THAT happen?
The Romanian was totally angry at me and didn’t even talk to me all Friday. I don’t blame her. I was bad. Me sorry. Wallah, Wallah, me sorry!
Add to that getting busted by Bu Merdas. According to his BS, he doesn’t mind that I go to parties (“I trust you, baby.”), but he does mind when I don’t pick up the phone. (He is so totally into reverse psychology and he thinks it will work with me. Tee hee. Isn’t that cute? He’ll learn.) Well, being The Bitch Queen that night, I was in no mood. He does mind that I go to parties. It pisses him off to the core and I can feel the waves right below the surface. Well sheeeeet, if he wanted to come with me, he could. If he wanted to take me somewhere that would be fine with me too. As Slaps says, fill my need for socialization.
None of that matters because he was busy all Thursday night going to the diwaniya. You do your thang, I’ll do mine.
Socializing: Okay, truth-be-told, I don’t even like going to parties, but I do love hanging around with my girlfriends and having a good laugh at the end of the week. I am generally only good for about 2 hours before I whine that I want to go home (always take my own car). I am no good in the dark with loud music; I find it unpleasant to the senses. I have been to many parties in Kuwait over the past 12 years; and I can count on 1 hand (and not even a complete hand) the number of times I have actually taken a phone number. Out of that statistic, I seriously can’t remember even one that I had a romantic interest in. Mostly, it was just because I thought that someone would be a nice friend and that’s it. I don’t go to parties to “hook up”: C’est not my style. [My Party Creed is (and I have said it to many a host at many a party): ‘We are here to drink all your alcohol and eat your food, then we are going home. If you have a problem with that, we’ll leave now. If not, we are here to have fun.’] I go to parties to make fun of my deranged friends. You know – stuff you can use against them later; preferably at some stuffy family event or when they are running for political office (I’m still waiting, Cynthia…… the day will come….. I have pictures...).
Thursday night wasn’t even a party – it was a gaada with the guys playing the oud and the organ, good food and generally having a nice time (ok, until the 4” cockroach appeared and I lost my frickin mind).
What I really don’t like is when my girlfriends start laying on the guilt when I want to go home to my pillow. “Noooooooo! Come on, (Desert Girl), you HAVE to stay….” Uh no, actually I have to go home. Sheikha Minor has left bruises on my arms where she literally tries to pull me back in (damn, she’s got boney fingers!). Leave me be, woman! Then comes the guilt: “Oh, you’re leaving because some man told you to go home? Is that it?” Puhleeze. I wanna go hooooooooooome.
The Analysis. Slapperella says it is cultural: that it isn’t even that men here don’t want you to go to a party and have a good time; they just can’t take it when another man looks at you. Men look at me all the time and it is highly unlikely that at the parties here they can even SEE me; It is always too dark. (It isn’t like I’m wearing anything revealing at a party either. The most effort that I put into it is changing my shoes; I have spectacular shoes. I don’t do the whole tight, trollop clothes. Nothing on me is hanging out. It is all very normal: shirt and jeans. I’m of the opinion that “what you see is what you get” is enough.) Men see me at the mall, at restaurants, driving down the street. Big phuckin deal. Unless Clooney is the one looking, I usually don’t care for any reason much more than an ego boost. (Oh, okay, except for the Guy With The Wolf Eyes at the Crowne Plaza this weekend. Holy shit – it was love at first sight – and I let him go! I should have thrown him my mobile… ok, totally different story….)
Back to the content of my story: I had this problem in the start of my relationshit with The Man. We had battles – not fights. It was vicious. However, it was different with him because we were always going places either with my friends or his, so I had no need to socialize in any other way (if I’m close, I’m never far, right? Works for me.). I’m a social creature. I like the interaction.
I guess I am going to have to compromise – as is Bu Merdas. I’m not staying home waiting for any guy, but I guess I can probably give in to something that he obviously hates me doing – even through all of his BS reverse-psychology.
I don’t want to upset someone who is close to me. At the same time, however, my girlfriends are close to me too. It is a difficult call.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I was “related” a story about someone I know (superficially – not well) who is married to a (Person of Means or “POM” for short). There is a 40-year age gap between them. She married basically to get freedom – both financially and figuratively. She no longer has to wear niqab and she isn’t watched by a “protective” family 24/7. He married to piss off his first wife (divorced) with a younger woman. Ah, the stage was set and love was in the air.
Can you smell it?
Years and abusive sex later, she (I’m going to call her Flana) has 5 children with old dude. She lives in a dump; while he “visits” his x-wife with their children every night at his former palatial residence. He goes “home” to Flana/POM's 3-bedroom decrepit 3rd-floor walk-up apartment and sleeps with Flana and their kids. Sorted.
Flana’s "allowance" for the household is 100 kd per month. The apartment where she and her kids live has holes in the wall and furniture that could have been bought at the Friday Market’s used furniture section at discounted rates. She drives a car that regularly breaks down. POM doesn’t help.
POM regularly travels outside the country. While he’s away, Flana goes to parties and even spends the night with her long-time boyfriend (I want to call him “asshole” but that would be wrong too. Let’s just call him Sam). Flana and POM are white. Sam is black.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Flana was happy when she was pregnant with her 6th child. When the little guy was born, POM asked Flana’s friends and family repeatedly, “Why is he so dark?” Hmmmmm.
Shortly thereafter, Sam, who had been with Flana for years, suddenly tells her that he is marrying someone else and disappears.
POM goes on yet another vacation trip, but before leaving, divorces Flana in the court, discontinues payment to their 5 kids’ private schools, and arranges to have her fired from her job.
POM’s daughter from his first marriage calls to say that their family doesn’t believe that ANY of Flana’s children are POM’s, so they are arranging for DNA tests for the entire family (as they stand to inherit a considerable amount of money when POM kicks off - which might be sooner rather than later, given the circumstances).
So, in light of this, what are Flana's options? If she returns to her own family, her “protective” brothers will literally end her life, leaving her mother to raise her 6 children. Until things are resolved legally, Flana has no way of supporting her kids. She could push POM through the court; however, he could push back and she could go to jail.
In the meantime, all of the children (including new little guy – let’s call him LG) are affected. They are innocents. They are just asking where their daddy is.
It is a horrible story. Personally, I was quick to judge Flana, but what a life! It was a trade-off between a life of virtual imprisonment to a life of unhappiness. I do wonder why she didn’t use birth control. I don’t think I would even have had children with old-dude POM (maybe just one) and certainly not at all if I was unsure of the babydaddy.
And the morale of the story is… I don’t know, really. I guess "count your blessings". Sometimes I think I have problems, but then...
And now for a SAPPY E-MAIL someone sent me:
I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.
My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This Is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are Received."
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.
Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."
I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the Door of a very small station To my great surprise, only one angel was Seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the acknowledgment Section," My angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed "How Is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked For, very few send back acknowledgments ."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy ."
"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."
" If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day ."
"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation .. You are ahead of 700 million people in the world."
"If you can attend a house of worship without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people In the world ."
"If your parents are still alive and still married ...you are rare."
"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair."
If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I have worked on a mountainous file of documentation for her for the past month …. And dude didn’t even glance at it!
Sometimes breastssss and a nice smile are a good thing. (I know, I know – that is extremely sexist. Do I care? I have found that boobies have never been a hindrance really.)
She said that while she was waiting for her turn, she noted that a lot of Kuwaitis were being rejected. Interesting and I don't know why it is. Maybe because many ‘mericans just don’t know the difference between Western names and Arab names: For example, if one dude in Guantanamo’s last name is “Al-Flan” and then another Al-Flan dude goes to the embassy to apply for a visa, he might be rejected. Not many Westerners understand that tribe names are frickin huge. I dunno – that is just an assumption on my part. I don’t know why they would be rejected. Maybe they didn't have help filling out their online applications. That seems to be important.
I couldn't go into the interview with her - I had to sit outside in the Little Waiting Hut with a DHL desk in the back. It is air conditioned and has a camera and speaker to announce (in a reeeeally thick accent) the names/numbers of people so that they can then proceed to the Little Window.
The Little Window People (Filipino guards) check their IDs, and motion applicants through the metal detectors and through the gate to the embassy courtyard; where a Nepali guard motions the way into the Consular section. At that door, there is yet another metal detector and another Filipino guard who directs people either to the American Citizen services side or to the "Visa" side.
Not many Americans work at the US Embassy. That has always irked me. I interviewed for a position there once and it paid way below market value. As if. Back to our story...
After they stamp her paperwork and give her a red sticker, she had to go back to the Waiting Hut where she had to stand in line so that DHL can take her information and have her passport delivered to her at home - or the place of her choice for a fee of 5 kd. I wonder how DHL landed that particular contract as a sole source delivery service. Before, people could pick their passports up at the embassy, but I guess now they don't want the traffic. What is really ironic is that 99.9% of people living in Kuwait don't know their home address - even the Kuwaitis. Everyone has a post office box (which DHL won't accept). So, for that reason, they keep a phone at the end of the room (you have to leave your mobile phone and anything electronic in your car) and people were frantically calling and asking in Arabic, "What's our address?" The DHL people have resorted to checking civil ID cards for people’s addresses, but a lot of times, that information isn’t current (like mine). The Romanian doesn't know hers either, so they’ll deliver it to my office.
DHL does actually employ Americans and there was a very nice DHL lady who helped us. I asked her if their drivers really do find people’s houses and she said that they do – which, by the way is UNLIKE ARAMEX (which I will elaborate more about later). I told Very Nice DHL Lady that if I had her job filling out forms for morons all day, I would shoot myself. She just laughed. She obviously has a good attitude. I wasn’t meant to be in the service industry apparently. Bang bang!
So, now it is on. We are going to have so much fun. Cruisin in the Mercedes, dinner with my family, French martinis, “real” lobster, tequila by the CASE, SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING, TARGET!!!!, the beach, the pool, the malls…. BOYZ….
Slapperella is supposed to come with us, but she is tardy in her plans. Bad, bad Slapperella. Do you not know the potential for shoe shopping, drinking, carrying on and merriment? Damn, girl!
Sunday, June 08, 2008
I was expecting a shipment and so I sent the Ops Manager an e-mail (as per the information I found on the Aramex main website for the Kuwait Office) on May 26. He had a vacation reply, so I sent it to the next guy on the list - who is apparently also out of the office.
Shop & Ship contacts for Kuwait are not listed on the Aramex site - making it difficult to find people who are responsible.
I finally get a response from a customer service person who said that if there was aaaaanything she could do to assist, she was there(ooozing kindness; also known as "covering your azz"). So, I sent her an explaination that I would like the package NOT to be delivered to my home, but to my new office (I sent her a map in both .pdf and .jpg formats). I told her that I changed my customer profile on Aramex's website to reflect the same.
4 days go by....
I call her. She has no clue who I am. She opens my e-mail. She still has no clue who I am. She has the map to my office in front of her. She says she can't open it, but that the driver has gone to my apartment and couldn't find me. No shit. I'm not home. That's what the map to my office and the 5 e-mails were about.
Is it just me???
Previously, I had problems with argumentative drivers, drivers who decided to "tag" the wall outside my apartment with graffiti (gangstah style) with large letters "SNS" denoting the Shop & Shit logo, drivers who didn't find my work schedule convenient for THEM (and said as much), etc. etc.
Aramex took 2.5 hours to deliver a package less than 5 miles: From their office in Ardiya to my office in Rai. Delivery Dude started calling at 8:00 am (a missed call - thanks) and after lots of shouting and a phone call (again) to a nice lady in their customer relations department (who could only nervously giggle at this point because she really couldn't do anything about how ignorant her colleagues are), Dude arrived on the scene at 10:30 am.
While the managers I spoke to were very nice and they did drop the 2.5 kd delivery fee, I just wonder if they are EVER going to get their act together? At least I know that they maintain the same standard of quality: CONSISTENTLY BAD.
Aramex - one word: TRAINING TRAINING TRAINING TRAINING TRAININGAnd one more word: RETRAINING... and when you think you have trained enough, add additional TRAINING.
Other bloggers have had problems too:
check out http://www.248am.com/?s=aramex
Seafood is the Key to Happiness.... I went with the crazy Kuwaiti girlfriends and The Romanian to Housny this weekend. I love that place. They have the best shrimp in Kuwait; the seafood is amazing and at lower prices than almost every other seafood restaurant in Kuwait. They also have sheesha for all the sheesh-heads out there. They are directly across the street from the Ministry of Communications (tower building) in Hawalli, upstairs from Centre Point. If I could eat crabs and drink tequila at the same time…. Well, I would be a lot friendlier. Life would be ideal.
Bu Merdas (Mashallah, Mashallah, Mashallah)… sigh… He says that I have hot eyes, so I am constantly saying Mashallah – and God forbid if I don’t. I’m superstitious too, but he is just worse. You know what’s great – he hates computers. That works as a blessing because he will never find my blog! LOL. I don’t think any of his friends are really that much into computers either. Most of the time, he is up working on his place in Kabd (Mashallah, Mashallah, Mashallah) or doing things for his family.
I was with him this weekend when the girls were up in Kabd at their friends’ place having fresh machboos and listening to the guys play oud and drums. Damn! I love that kind of stuff. I’ll go the next time. It was worth missing this time, however. I turned my phone off after the 4th time the bitches called me (trying to interrupt my groove) by begging me to go to them. The day-after voice messages were hysterical (I’m saving them as evidence): "Pizza, Pizza! Yalla taaaaaaleeeeee ya mara. I had 3 glasses... Hickey had 4 glassess... yal-laaaaaaa!
Erguseeeeeee." Tee hee.
Sheikha Minor and Hickey (don’t ask me how she got that name, but that is her nickname) can party for days on end. The Romanian is only good for about 1 night before she crashes. Me, I don’t even last that long: I have a few drinks, get a headache, and can fall asleep anywhere.
It scares Bu Merdas because I will be having a conversation with him at night and I suddenly fall asleep on his shoulder. He kept waking me up one night, thinking that I was dead or dying. I giggle. Men are funny creatures, aren’t they? I might call him (y'anee mithilin) and tell him that I fell down and have a gushing bloody head wound and he'd say something like, "Ok baby. I'm in the diwaniya. I'll call you later," but if I fall asleep while he's talking - he's all worried about me like I'm gonna die? What's THAT? Oh, ok... I get it.... maybe he thinks he's responsible...
Sheikha Major has disappeared. We all miss her, but her family busted her for being out late and partying with her friends. It wasn’t our (girls) fault: we are generally “innocent”, but she just so happened to be out with a man (we don't know) when she got busted (again, not our fault) and it was guilt-by-association, so I think we are on her family’s shitlist now.
One of the other girls in our group has also disappeared. We heard that she got religious all of a sudden, but I find that very hard to believe given the circumstances. Oh well, people come and go. I’m sure she’ll be back around when it gets cooler and we’re out in the desert again.
There is only one girl in our group of friends that I really don’t like and that’s because she’s a freekin psycho. She’s got really wild, freaky eyes and wild hair and she dances like she's in some kind of voodoo-induced spastic spell. She has also invaded my personal space more than once (stand BACK when you talk to me - no need to get allupinmyface!) The Romanian is constantly warning me that she’s a witch and that I should stay away from her(possibly because witch-chick "likes" me). Hey – no problem there. I try to distance myself from psychos (unless they look like Clooney and then whogivesashit, you know? He doesn't have to talk...).
Psychic Bedu called me at 5:48 this morning, speaking of psychos. WTF!!!! I haven’t talked to him in a long time because he’s just a pathological liar. Why bother? Anyhoo, I should call him back just to ask him if he has any revelations about this month (since he did tell me that something would happen with/to/about The Man this month). He told me exactly 18 months ago that it would be this month. I can’t believe how fast time goes. Curiosity kills me: Inquiring minds want to know. Not that I care about The Man one way or another. He doesn’t even bother to say hello to me (salam min Allah, dude!) and I guess he forgot that we used to have a relationshit. Oye tha bahsterd.
And now, for something completely different…
I got a bootleg copy of “Sex and The City” movie. It is such poor quality that you can actually hear the guy-who-went-to-the-cinema with his camcorder burp during one of the scenes. I can’t see anything and the sound is so awful that I keep turning it off. Regardless, I still want to see it. I LOVE Mr. Big.
My Extremely Sexy Red Carlos Santana shoes (grrrrrr baby) are supposed to arrive this week from Shop & Ship. I can’t WAIT. I didn't even know Carlos Santana made shoes until I saw an ad for them in a fashion mag. Ok, seafood, tequila, men, and sexy shoes are the key to all happiness. There is no greater love than a sexy pair of shoes. It just makes my heart pitter-patter.
And yes, if you want to know, I wear shoes like this in the desert too. I don't care. My damn feet are GOING to look sexy!!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I'm so tired from the heat lately that I don't even have a really good handle on what I am accomplishing these days. Ok, add to that the confusion of having to search for a new home and having to decypher the inner workings of the male mind (Bu Merdas). Somebody please hand me some Prozac!
Why is it that one minute, you are totally ready to jump on a man and the next you just want to smack the shit out of him? Does anyone have a good answer for that? Maybe I should jump him and smack him (I did actually - he likes). "Come here, baby." Yummmmmmm.
Is it the hot weather or are men just more excitable than usual lately? My God - I can't go anywhere these days without coming home with a fistfulla numbers. Of course, 85% are weirdos and crackpots, but still. I haven't bought a Wonderbra in a while, so I know it can't be me. Today, I didn't even bother to wash my hair (I am NEVER at work on time and this morning it was critical) and I came to work looking like a freak and one of the other managers told me that I look "wild and sexy". What is UP with that??? Maybe tomorrow I'll come in with no make up and smudge some dirt on my face.
A few years ago, I bought some of those really ugly gag "Billybob" teeth from Spencer Gifts (or somewhere equally as stupid) at the mall. I kept them in my car and every time a youngster started following me, I would pop them in and give him a big ole smile.... That was, of course, until I came to the realization that THEY DON'T CARE. It doesn't matter HOW you look... they are still going to try to "get" you. One charmer actually gave me the thumbs-up. The only guy who was smart enough to (literally) burn rubber out of the vicinity was a guy who had Bahraini plates. Obviously, Bahraini youngins have more sense. Kuwait: Where the men are men and the sheep are scared. (I'm just playing - no hate mail please. I love Kuwaiti men... read my archives.) Baaaaaaaaaa