come here, come to me baby!

The last time I was in Kuwait it was Ramadan, and the city was solemn.  The fast was reflected in austere fashion and lack of available food during the day time.  Even at night when people came out to party after breaking their fast, the malls and the mosques were filled with people wanting to perform extra religious rites.  When we went out shopping it was to buy new scarves and abayas.  Qur’an poured out of car radios and reverberated from every minaret.

This time, it’s summer.  Everyone is on holiday.  And it shows.  We (finally) made it to a mall this evening.  I can’t possibly tell you how many malls there are, but lets just say that the culture here and in many places in the middle east, is to hang out at the mall.  It’s hot.  It’s the desert.  There are no parks.  So what better place to go than an 8,200 square mile airconditioned playground with 15 cinemas, 36 restaurants, 20 lane bowling, 10 Starbucks, and about 200 designer shops? 

I’ve noticed a huge change in the people and the religious culture as well.  Before, I’d hear the call to prayer, pause and reflect in its beauty.  Now I’m more likely to be changing a diaper, struggling to feed Eryn solids, or fending off exuberant family members who are super stoked to see me.  I hear it, but it’s in the back of my mind.  We still pray of course, there’s just a different feel to the city that penetrates everything.  Tonight at the mall, it was pounding Europop streaming from the shops.

The fashion is in full summer mode too.  So while I saw a lot of black hijabs previously, now there are a few plunging necklines, skinny jeans and leggings galore, harem pants (of all things), and colour everywhere.  Kuwaitis always dress up.  It’s normal to be semi-formal 90% of the time (formal in the other 10%) — so I’m feeling out-of-place in my only t-shirt and gap jeans.  Even the food is designer.  I had the BEST falafel sandwich EVER (here’s Eryn checking out the shop).  Fresh, lightly fried falafel, soft pumpernickel bread, shredded carrot salad, cabbage and pomegranate!  Brilliant. (more…)