I grabbed the small white blanket and the red pillow to sleep with – one under my head and the other over my feet, leaving Hello Kitty pajamas to cover the rest of me. I had my alarm set, but would wake up before it. I thought I heard them moving around at 7:45 and passed the time reading ‘The Castle’ by Franz Kafka. They had offered to take me to some of their favorite places today, and I’d be napping at 9:30 when Misha emerges.
She makes eggs with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Ben washes dishes, and I make toast and tea. I spread plum jam on one and peanut butter on another. I add milk and honey to my cup. We grab our plates and walk upstairs to the roof to enjoy breakfast in the sun with a view of the construction of a building that will block the bit of ocean seen over the other apartments. Sometimes they enjoy watching the men at work as a pastime.
Back inside, I shower in their bathroom because the guest one has no hot water. There’s not much pressure either and I’m grateful for short hair and realize this is what will take Misha so long – she has thick and longish hair. I use this time to read some more. I can’t tell if I’m intrigued or want to put the book down, but the protagonist has me hooked on the mystery of his drama.
Meanwhile, we’ve decided to join a group of people going to Al Khiran, just 18km from the Saudi border, to spend the day at the beach – partly because it’s a 40 minute drive one-way and already noon, and because I had planned to spend the day on a boat and under water diving with Nautilus at either Kubbar or Qaruh. The trip was cancelled due to high winds (only on weekends) and I was grateful I had called and saved myself bringing a bag full of gear I wouldn’t use.
The convoy arrives at 12:45pm and the couple rides in one car and I get in the back of another. My driver introduces himself as Mostafa, but his friends call him Steve. He’s from Egypt and his other passengers, Özge and Gonca, are Turkish. They’ve all been here less than a year and I give them an earful to listen to till we decide on music to get us through the desert covered with power lines, dotted with tents, with all the residential areas and factories along the coast.
The resort is clearly marked, from the highway, but the road we take leaves us guessing if we’re in the right place. We park in the dirt lot, grab our stuff (if the car carrying it has arrived), and walk past the construction ditch and tarp area to the clean sand with two other groups on it. They’re to the right, so we go left. I’ve put on sunscreen and brought my shawl, and though the group might’ve forgotten to bring cooking materials, there’s not a lack of shade for me to sit under with the two large umbrellas – if we can keep them standing in the wind.
Steve has brought paddle tether ball, Misha and Ben brought their dual line kite, and those of us not getting in the water are snacking – on a Greek sandwich and a juice box. Some will read, walk, sing, snack again – two green apples and a rainbow popsicle to give me the energy for talking, taking pictures, and waiting for the food to arrive at 5:30. Some people agreed to go for burgers and Chicken 65 and we will dance ourselves into the darkness.
The dad that brought his kids will help unbury his son and help clean the sand out of his eyes that his brother dropped on his face while the rest of us pose for a memorable photo of the strangers we called friends for an afternoon. We grab our trash and chairs and say our Arabic goodbyes in the parking lot. I get back in Steve’s car. He lives close to my next hostess and has agreed to drop me after stopping at Misha’s for my bag.
We reach Fintas at 7:45pm and agree to meet Hussein and Ashraf at Layali Al-Helmeya (also the name of a popular Egyptian drama series) after dropping Özge and Gonca to their place. Lioba, a teacher I’ve messaged via couchsurfing, and her friend Theona, will meet us at the cafe. We share a rice pudding with ice cream, and then we share another. Lioba will get one for her dinner and I order hummus Beiruty and take most of the bread with me when we leave at 11pm.
The other guys have gone, but Steve agrees to drop us each at our own after taking us to see the Kuwait Towers at night. They’re open till 11:30pm, but no admittance with only five minutes left. I don’t blame them; we can come back tomorrow. Shelley, a Canadian transplant, has called Kuwait home for ten years. She was ready for bed, but is up and delightful when I arrive at midnight.
Her house is as colorful as her personality and as soon as I’m shown the toilet and the couch, she’s off to sleep. I admire all the handmade rugs (not her craft though) and the magnets on her fridge. I find a bright Bazaar Magazine Kuwait and will read through it about art, travel, and food to unwind. There are events here – if you can find the people and ads that know about them – such is the case in the Middle East.
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