I dont know how to explain the sandstorms well to you all, but you can compare the pictures, taken from the same place, same time and same quality of camera flash. Sandstorm is really common here throughout the year. It may be often between winter to summer time. A windy day will lead to the sandstorm on the following day. For the grade 4 sandstorm , it will be started by the hail sometimes!!!!! Hardly once or twice a year. Grade 1 and 2 use to be happened several times a year. The worse ones grade 3-4 only few time a year. Maximum 2-3 times annualy. Bring masks or anything as your nose cover during the sandstorms. Zero visibility may happen during stage 4. It will be better to stop driving and look for the parking place when it happens when you drive. Car lights should be on during stage 3-4 when you drive for your safety. My advice will be : STAY INDOOR DURING THE SANDSTORMS.
There are some illegal workers in Kuwait so you may see many police checking points in Kuwait. The checking points mostly will be on Arabian Gulf Road, Kuwait City Area and Some Circles On the Main Streets. BRING YOUR IDENTIFICATION CARDS EVERYTIME YOU WILL GO OUT FROM YOUR HOME. It could be CIVIL ID when you already have one or PASSPORT WITH THE VISA or `PERMIT TO STAY` for those who are working on their residency formalities. Police may ask you , `CIVIL ID or ID or WARAGGA (Arabic). If YOU COULDN`T SHOW ANY ID (S) YOU WILL BE BROUGHT TO THE POLICE STATION!!! BE CAREFUL WITH `A SINGLE POLICE OFFICER` WHO DO HIS OWN CHECKING AT THE `UNCOMMON SITES OF CHECKING POINT`. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO SHOW YOUR VALID ID TO THE POLICE, REFUSE TO COME WITH `QUESTIONABLE POLICE OFFICER` TO HIS CAR. Especially WHEN YOU ARE IN A QUIET PLACES WHERE ONLY YOU AND THE `OFFICER` present. The checking points WILL BE IN THE PUBLIC AREA OR ON THE MAIN STREETS. When you work in Kuwait, get your employer phone number in case your identity card paperwork still on processing. When you have a problem on the checking point, that is the number you have to call.
Since I arrived, there has been more than 10 incidents involving terrorist attacks against US (And in one instance Canadian) citizens. There was also the 29 missile launches during the opening days of the latest war in the region. I was awakened many nights by the air raid sirens. Quickly grabbed my Chemical mask, body armor and helmet, threw the blankets back over me, and went back to sleep (Tried to at least) until the "All clear" siren sounded.
As with other areas of the Middle East, there are some strong feelings regarding issues religious and political. Some people take it to the extreme. Add on top of that a war that is in progress...No need to draw a picture, right?
The Kuwaiti People are in the vast majority a friendly and polite people. As in all places, there are always a few bad (Mad) apples.
(Note: The above was written in 2003). One other memebr wrote that this is out of date, it is indeed...the war is mainly in Iraq now. Unfortunatley, the esteemed gentleman from France does not receive the US State Department warden messages, as I do, for Kuwait. I am required to travel to Kuwait (and Iraq) as part of my job, and it is still indeed a place to be wary of if you are a westerner. This is not a tourist spot, and if you ever travel in Al Jahra, you may see what I mean. How a place "Feels" is not always what really lies beneath the surface.
Going out alone for a girl is not a good idea here,especially for the asians or anybody look like an asian.You could be gank raped by teenage boys here.Salmiya,Shuwaikh,and around Kuwait city are quiet safe places in here.Don`t you dare to walk alone in Fahahael and Jahra area.Even boys could be kidnapped and raped in here.You may be laughing but my friend experinced it.When you see arabic noisy boys in group around,just avoid them.The crimes will be happened in front of everybody.Only few people will be helping you,if you are lucky.Ironically,some people will just watch you being hitted and robbed on the street. Many rape crimes to the housemaids are not treated legally. How much more you can expect for the street raping? Riding on the public transportation will be ok for the girls as long as you dress yourself appropriately. Anyway, I won`t recommend you to ride on the bus for long distance journey alone.
Facing the customer services in Kuwait will be a headache for you, especially the one you are dealing with is a Kuwaity. The feedback system for the customer services` satisfaction is not funtional. When you have to fix something complicated on your mobile network or banking system, the main office customer service will be your only option. Only one or two know what they job really are in customer services actually. It will be agitating to see the customer service man spends hours of talking with their friend who comes to visit as `a customer`. They will spend 1-2hours talking while drinking tea, do not care for other customers on the line waiting as the number is not moving at all. They are not really bothered to improve their customer systems quality at all. As far as I know, only a few ones have good customer services such as Gulf Bank, Wataniya Telecom, and The Sultan Center.
Kuwait seems to be a clean country for you. Wrong guess :-))It is not because of its people but it happens because they have many cleaners all over around the country. When you observe its people, they do litter everywhere. They even throw their things from their windows while driving!! Oh my.Guess what, this picture was taken in Kuwait City. Many great buildings like malls, luxury apartment, hospitals, government offices will be looked fantastic from the front side. Try to look at their back or non public areas. You will be very surprised. :-))
Friday is the holiday for most of the workers here in Kuwait.Sunday will be the church day and the two main churches are located in the Kuwait City area.Though Kuwait is a moslem country, many expatriates are Christians.Do not try to drive through the city complex if you do not want to be trapped in a traffic.On Friday and Sunday afternoon, the city will be very crowded with people and cars. If you have to go to the city on these days, DO NOT DRESS PROVOCATIVELY. FOR GIRLS, TRY TO AVOID THE CROWD ON SMALL STREETS.Some crazy people will come to force and rush you in the middle of the crowd so they will be able to touch you. Bring somebody as your companion (s) and do not stand nearby the KFC girls, many prostitutes will be there too. Well, as a conclussion I may say : GIRLS, AVOID SPEND MORE TIME IN KUWAIT CITY ON FRIDAY AND SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
Sandstorms are a relatively common occurrence in Kuwait. My first day here, we suffered through a relatively minor sandstorm that covered much of the region. It lasted about 18 hours with stinging stands, high winds and low visibility. May is the worst month for sandstorms in the Middle East.
We had strong winds and blowing sand at least once a week or so throughout the summer, and significant sandstorms causing "brownout" conditions with 100 foot visibility or less at least once a month.
Yes.Taxis could be dangerous here.Arabic taxi drivers can not speak English and they could ask the ladies passengers number all over the way.Indian taxi drivers sometimes have a very bad body odor.Don`t take ilegal taxi,the ones without yellow car plat numbers and without names.You could be brought to the desert and be raped and robbed.This is for both male and female!For ladies,it will be better to ride in the taxi after the men and go down from the taxi first.Asia Call Taxi is a good choice.All the driver can speak English,polite,know all the places in Kuwait,and safe;though it will be more expensive than other taxies.Once you get the good taxi driver,get the number so you can call them anytime.
Kuwaiti men seem to oblige themselves to follow women. Most people will advise you to wear a ring on the wedding ring finger, but to be honest this is rarely a deterrent. My wife was frequently 'cruised' by young (and old) lads as she walked with our son in a pushchair and despite being five months pregnant. Women are often followed in cars which is scary. If you feel threatened in such a situation, do not speak with, gesture or even look at the guy, just drive to the nearest police station or alternatively any busy area. Local women will help if they see you are genuinely in distress, but if you are dressed 'inappropriately' they may shrug it off as being your own fault. Don't let them follow you home. Some guys are even brave enough to follow you into shops, etc. but will eventually lose interest. If it's any consolation, it's not only scantily clad westerners that are targetted - some local lads even gawp at the local girls dressed all in black as though they are naked. Of course, some Kuwaitis are gay/bisexual (even though the governement will tell you this is a western disease) and will even follow, stare at and proposition men although this is less common and usually more discreet. The best advice for everyone is to dress conservatively, get used to being looked at and ignore any potential situations.
Don't take photos of or around oil facilities, government buildings, embassies, military installations or even banks. There are three landmark banking buildings in the city which around the time of National and Liberation days (25/26 February) are bedecked with lights in the shape of huge Kuwaiti flags. A European friend of mine was hauled in by the police for photographing these structures - they wanted to know exactly what she was up to, etc. In the end they made her delete the photos from her digital camera.
Also before photographing people, especially women, ask first. It can really offend people if you don't. If you ask, most apart from the really conservative would be tickled pink that a foreigner wants to photograph them. Whilst people here are generally very helpful, men are best advised to avoid talking to local women, particularly lone ones or ones dressed in black abbayas. If you do, don't be offended if she does not answer and scurries away - some are still very traditional and it is not the one thing to be seen talking to strange men. Exceptions are on markets, where local women (usually Bedouin) sell stuff or in goverment offices.
It gets extremely hot in Kuwait... Though I haven't seen 140 degrees F yet, in mid-May we were getting temps above 110 degrees F every day. By August it was 120 degrees everyday with the high occasionally 125.
Drink lots of water, stay indoors or in the shade, and limit strenuous activity to morning and evening hours. It is just too dang hot!
When the wind kicks up and the sand starts flying, you'll feel like you are in the center of hell.
it seems jumping red lights is a 'dare' sports amongst youngsters ...
major traffic lights has warning in arabic ...
translation in english reads ...
'penalty for .... is death or jail' ...
my kuwaiti host assured me penalty could be worse ....
and explained that the death penalty is the self-inflicted part arising from car crash ...
and if one survive the crash, penalty is jail ...
danger avoidance tip : watch out for fast-moving cars at traffic lights ... it's things that move that crashes ....
NOTE : would appreciate pix of warning sign from VTer living in kuwait ... can't find pix i took then ..
so what could be worse than death or jail ????
.... death AND jail !!!!!.....
A few Do’s and Don’ts:
Do expect Arabs to sit, talk, and stand closer than people in the West do. What Westerners consider an
intimate distance is here only social and friendly.
Do expect to be touched more frequently by members of the same sex. This is an expression of friendship.
Do accept as normal the occasional use of influential connections to accomplish tasks more rapidly.
Do not venture into some of the less western areas wearing inappropriate attire, this also applies to standing outside mosques and visiting the Grand Mosque.
Do expect to shake hands much more frequently. On entering a room or meeting a group of people, it is
expected that you will shake hands with everyone, except small children. On social occasions, you will probably also need to shake hands again when you leave.
Do not expect all promises or decisions to be put in writing. In some situations, you will have to accept an oral promise. This is partly because the written word carries a weight of meaning greater than Westerners are accustomed to.
Do not be surprised at being given an indirect answer of insha' Allah (God willing). Insha' Allah usually indicates the good intentions of the speaker.
Do accept 'chai' - tea when offered - it is considered impolite when refused (note: the cup is usually the size of an egg cup and contains about three heaped teaspoons of sugar and sometimes honey and lemon)
Do avoid some subjects in public. Certain topics are generally not considered appropriate or acceptable for
discussion in public. These may include political issues, religion, alcohol, total women's liberation, abortion, and male-female relationships, such as dating. Many people are very sensitive about these topics, and problems could arise should you try to discuss them.
Driving in Kuwait can be quite the experience. Be careful. Generaly the main roads are in good condition but if you are on the side streets watch out for speed bumps and pot holes. The speed limits here vary and are rarely obeyed. Accidents are many and usually pretty serious. Be careful!!!!!!!!
Well, I can't really complain about this place because I was able to stay here for free several...more
This hotel is located very near Kuwait City Intl Airport. It is a short ride to Salmiya and Marina...more
Very nice place, highly recommended place. I had a good time for a week. Helpful staff, clean rooms.more