Love Affair with Everywhere--Kuwait

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Flag of Kuwait  ,
Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kuwait is probably not on most people's tourist maps, so if you are in Kuwait, it is likely because you were sent there on business.

There is not much to see or do here, so I always plan my trip to arrive on a weekday and leave on a weekday. If you have a choice, it is better to spend the weekend in Dubai or another GCC city before heading over to KWI.

Visas can be purchased at the airport for 3 KD (USD ~10), but I would recommend calling your hotel in advance to arrange for it. If they do it directly through the ministry, it will be around 8KD, but it is worth it to not have to waste hours in line waiting for your turn. Of course this time I had so many schedule changes and then forgot to send it before Friday (the weekend) when I was set to arrive Sunday am.

Speaking of hotels, I stayed at the JW Marriott The staff is what you would expect at a Marriott, incredibly friendly and helpful. They offer free airport transfer, but like the visa, make sure to book in advance. The JW has some on site restaurants and is just down the street from the Corniche, so when the road is not torn up from the construction like it is right now, it is nice to take an evening (since it is unbearable in this 45+ degree heat during the day) walk down to the Corniche and hang out amongst the locals. The JW is also connected to a very upscale shopping mall.

The only good part of being in Kuwait is the food. Since there is really little else to do and Kuwaitis value family time and outings, there is a huge selection of places to eat. For obvious historical and political reasons, Kuwaitis generally like Americans and American exports, so you will see McDs, Little Caesars, Dominos, Baskin Robbins, Chilis, Applebees, and the list continues...everywhere. As is my policy when traveling, unless a customer or my host takes me there or I am feeling slightly homesick and just want some good ole american food, I will not choose to eat at these venues, but instead try something new.

Just a side note in case you are wondering, Kuwait is DRY, and I am not talking about the dry desert heat here. Until I came to Kuwait for the first time 3 years ago, I didn't know Budweiser and Heineken make non-alcholic beer.

My favorite restaurant in Kuwait is the Fish Market on the Corniche, next to the Kuwait Towers (which look like the eyesores I referenced in the Shanghai and Berlin entries). The staff is friendly and the food, fantastic. You select your fresh fish and then choose how you would like the chef to cook it. My favorite of course is anything with chilli :) I almost always order calamari and hammour (a local gulf fish). I couldn't find a website, but here is their facebook page:

Back to Dubai......
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