Kuwait is yet another very small and very wealthy middle east country. It’s shaped like a triangle and is wedged in between Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north. Most of the world surely remembers the Gulf War, which was triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Since then, much has been done to rebuild and modernize Kuwait. The Kuwaiti’s have no shortage of money because of their huge oil reserves. In fact, there’s so much oil under the desert that at some places it simply bubbles up to the surface and then dries to form oil “lakes”, one of which is pictured below with some of my GE colleagues standing on it. As with most of the wealthy middle east countries, the total population is dominated by immigrant workers from USA, India, Philippines, and many others (though not Pakistan as the two governments don’t see eye-to-eye).
The landscape is rather bleak since it is mostly just barren desert, but the Kuwaiti’s have done a great job building attractive cityscapes that highlight the beauty of the desert for those who can appreciate it. And of course, there’s no shortage of traditional camel herders roaming the land with their herds, which happens to be (not surprising) one of my favorite memories from Kuwait (the camels).
Camels are simply amazing, calm, friendly, and hungry creatures. I found their favorite foods to include bananas and apples, but not oranges. We stopped often on the road between our hotel and the power plant to offer fruit snacks to the local herds. While at first they were quite timid, after one brave camel came to enjoy a banana, we were soon swarmed by other hungry members of the herd. As shown below, there was no shortage of chances for getting up close and personal, and a bit slimed, but all in good taste and spirits.
And the desert sunsets made the close of each day special. The abundance of sand dust in the air seemed to make for really brilliant sunsets. Perhaps the camels and sunsets don’t add up to placing Kuwait on the top of the vacation destination itinerary, but if in the region, a stop-over in Kuwait is well worth the time.
On top of the camels and sunsets the Kuwaitis have a strong belief in the value of education on their countries future. Just near the airport, they are building what’s touted to be the largest university in the region, which is sure to attract and perhaps retain some of the most intelligent educators and young scholars that the world has to offer.