Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kuwait, Al Kuwait

Ok, few days ago I moved to do some tasks in Kuwait. I flew with Fly Emirates and yey, what an Airline. On 1,35h flight I got served like a king. It was this huge Airbus (no, not the 380), and the food was delicious. Three courses, compare that to sandwich I get on 1.1h flight to Denmark with CSA (I still like CSA a lot though;) ).

First thing I really enjoyed was the TAXI ride from Airport to the hotel. Perhaps it was because I tried to look like I do not care (or better like 'I own the world' - which was btw another advise from my Danish colleagues ! They said, every Arab behaves like that :)) this guy has impressed me. Driving old Ford (but with at least 5.0L engine) we were in 140+Kmh (or was it Mph?) going on the motorway from one lane to another and honking everyone around. What a ride, say WOW!

Al Kuwait city centre from the Marina Mall.

During a day I was mainly working and because the sunset is about 6:30pm most of the pictures were shot at night when I wondered around the city. Hotel was great and I spent a lot of time in this place ;)

Hotel's pool on top floor (23rd).

Most of the week I was starving. Ramadan in Kuwait is a litlle bit more seriously taken (at least when it comes to people just visiting the place) then in UAE. If they catch you drinking or eating during a day (Iftar starts about at 6 pm) you pay fine of 1000 KWD (about 4000$) and you go to jail until end of Ramadan (about three weeks from now). I really tried my best to not to miss my vacation. So the first day I was very happy to see the hotel service to forgot to clean my room. There were some leftovers from the breakfast .)

In the evening I tried to explore the surrounding areas but at the first sight there is just nothing in Al Kuwait. Only a few people wondering around, lot of dust and heat. This is what the Mall looks like at 7PM. At 10PM it got quite crowded.

Yesterday I got little bit of tired of thinking of Al Kuwait as a bad place to live. I asked the people where the locals go, there has to be some markets right? So I went to Souk Mubarakia. And that changed my mind completely. Temperature got down to about 37 degrees at night so it was 'comfy' to walk around in my full cotton trousers.
The whole markets is consisted of hundreds of small streets connected together. Those streets are full of small shops of various kinds. Interestingly same types of shops are close to each other. From spice shops, dates shops, fish market, meat streets to all kind of groceries shops.

Gold district :0 I am not into gold, but this place is magnificent.

Dinning place, I've really enjoyed local fish with rice, Arabic bread, salads, mango juice and Čaj a lot. Eva would be proud of me for the way I cut this fish and got rid of the fishbones (she is the real master in this!). And all this just for 2KWD, I could barely walk after eating here, delicious!

On the streets one can see the REAL cars! In some way the time is ticking slower than other places. What I also found interesting were the people. Very friendly. And you go somewhere, you think there has to be something special because you see crowds of people there and when you get close, you realize they are just standing there. Talking and nothing more.

I even managed to get to the Liberation Tower and everybody told me it is possible to go up and see the city from the top. Well that turned out not to be so true. Anyway it is magnificent construction, tallest in Kuwait. I've enjoyed the markets a lot, bought a lot of junk (like night vision binoculars which of course do not work and zooming 1:1, but don't buy it if it was 3KWD).

Well, time to say good bye to Kuwait. My flight to back to Dubai is in about 4 hours, then transit to Amsterdam and then back to Prague, home sweet home. Full album is here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

On the trip again, this time Dubai, UAE

There was not enough of wind in Denmark so I took the opportunity to try Dubai.

(the picture is pretty bad, I know)

People said things like this is not a good time to come here (temperature, humidity and Ramadan). A lot of that is true. Yesterday on the beach, I got new kite F-one Revolt 13m and was desperate to try it. But the wind was only about 5-7 knots (about 3m/s) and it was not flying at all of course. The water was so hot, it almost felt like a shower temperature Eva is used to ;) I tried to stay in the shade of the kite, but was sweating too much. By coincidence there was a 'ultimate survival' show on national geography that evening that showed how to squeeze a seaweed to get some water, will try that next time.

Then you get into taxi, and you get cold immediately. I think Taxis here are like public fridges. The temperature in it is close to zero. Everything here is air conditioned, so while you are in the building, Dubai looks like a great place, until you go out of course. Like trying to catch a taxi for 30 minutes makes you learn how to swear in Arabic. My colleague says, it is ok, you just get a shower three times a day. I agree.

My Danish colleagues also said a lot of other things that you cannot wear shorts on public, one cannot see womens face and more of that stuff. It took me several days of sweating in the trousers to figure out this is not true at all (they were just joking, like always). Dubai is actually quite open minded in those terms. People are very friendly. Just respect some basic rules and you are ok. It is Ramadan, so do not eat or drink on public as that is a sign of disrespect to those who are fasting them selfs. But takeaway is doable (just use the curtains in the hotel room).

Food here is great, you can pick from Indian, Pakistan, Japanese (I recommend Wagamama restaurant ), Arabic and many other cuisines. Price are affordable. What is really cheap is the oil (of course) and the cars. Friend told me a new VW Touareg costs around 110 000,- Dhs (around 20 000 Euro). Unfortunatelly you can't bring them back to Europe. Shops are huge, the only one I was to is Mall of Emirates, but that is enough.

I can't take photos, it is too humid here these days. This is the best I got to.

The temperature is close to 40 in the shade, I am heading off to Kuwait in two days. There is 50+, will see.

While in Dubai I met another Czech guy living in there. His name is Honza, he is kiting a lot, likes bikes and he is a great company, follow his story here. His friend is Passi (Finish guy, I hope I got it right) and he gave mi a ride in his Chevy Corvette. That car has 505HP and can do 0-100Kms in 3.6s (I witnessed it ;) With them I visited a place called Barasti Bar. One of the top rated bars in the world, check it out if you are in Dubai.

Ok, off to Kuwait now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

and she said Yes

Well it is probably time to tell everyone. Nine years ago I fell in love with Eva.

Our life together until now was like a video game with all the ups and downs. However last time I was in Czech, we took the boat and in the middle of the Máchas lake she said Yes.

And now, the game is over :)

(thanks to my lovely family for the perfect gift)