DimeTravel Kuwait Podcast

My feelings on Kuwait are mixed.  I would not go there for fun, but for work it was ok.  I lived in Kuwait for one year for work.  The money was good but it is not a place I would visit for fun.  There are some crazy drivers there.  There is actually a lot of beauty there.  I wish there was more infrastructure to help the immigrants workers.

American in Kuwait: From the Outside Looking In

Kuwait Avenues

Kuwait Outside looking in

American in Kuwait

One year ago, I wrote about living in Kuwait.  After two years, and on my way out of Kuwait, I have a more well rounded perspective of the people, government and country as a whole.

Kuwait is many things to many people.  To a Kuwaiti, its home; to an American its a pretty good paycheck and less taxes.  As middle east countries go, its not a bad place to work, but Kuwait tourism is NOT great for non GCC foreigners (in my humble opinion).  Since there is not much to do you can save more than working in Dubai and its not even close to being as strict as Saudi Arabia.

You can get Kuwait girls, alcohol and even private parties.

Here is a quick summary:

PROs of KUWAIT

1 – Decent jobs backed by the worlds biggest currency; the Kuwait Dinar (KD) – The money brings people from all over the world.  For Americans, the companies pay a little better and there is a tax benefit with foreign earned income exclusion.

2 – Not A Super Strict Middle East Country – Kuwait is a place where you will see Shia & Sunni, different nations, different races living close together with mostly petty grievances against each other rather than violent protests or miniature civil wars and acts of terrorism cropping up.  Even though its illegal to drink or distribute alcohol, people still do it discretely in their homes or in private get together.

3 – Close to Many Tourist Spots – Kuwait has cheap flights to Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bahrain and many other countries.  So you can spend vacations in these countries and have a great time.

http://dimetravel.org/american-in-kuwait/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sheeps parade

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UCaGO0E1_g

CONs of KUWAIT

1 – Not Much to do – The main hang out spots are the malls and coffee shops.  There are no clubs to dance, no alcohol, not much extracurricular activities.

2 – VERY dangerous roads – According  to Chairperson of Traffic Safety Society in Kuwait, “Kuwait has broken the world record in the number of traffic deaths. He said 17 deaths are recorded in every 100,000 accidents” – See more at: http://www.bananaq8.com/cars/traffic-accidents-rank-no-8-for-deaths/#sthash.vThC7wWk.dpuf

3 – Anti-foreigner laws – As of 2012, the laws in Kuwait started getting a little unfriendly to expats.  “The ministry will take decisions and measures aimed at reducing the number of expatriate workers by 100,000 every year for 10 years to reach one million” (kuwait). Expats deported for serious traffic violations (indiankuwait news).  Its also difficult to bring loved ones when working in Kuwait.

These laws are due to the ratio of foreigners to Kuwaiti.  Foreigners make up almost 70% of the population.  Most of the 70% are low skilled laborers from India and other countries.  Foreigners take most of the jobs Kuwaiti’s would not take.

How Do Kuwaiti’s feel about Americans:

It was about 5:30 am.  We were a car full of Americans not fully awake on our way to work.  We pull into a gas station in Amadhi, Kuwait.  A Bangladeshi gas attendant approaches the car.

“Fill it up. Premium,”  My co-worker hands him a corporate gas card and he starts to fill the tank.

A young man in a car across from us is yelling to get our attention.  He is Kuwaiti, “Hey! Hey, excuse me.”  His English is broken but very clear, “Where are you from?”

“I’m from America,”  he says.

“I love America.  You are great.  Everything about it,”  He smiles and gives a thumbs up.

Many of the young Kuwait adults think like Westerners, so its no wonder Americans get along very well with them.  I know at least two co-workers in Kuwait happily married to young kuwaitis with children both are moderate Muslim Americans with great love for the people of Kuwait.

You may get the occasional rude person getting in front of you inline in a restaurant or ATM, but most of the frustration, ignorance and blatant recklessness will be found on the dangerous road of Kuwait.  The roads and terrible government should not be a gauge for the rest of Kuwaiti people.

Filipinos, Indians, Bangladeshi, Sri Lanka, Nepali, Palestinians and others are not treated well in Kuwait.  While many are happy to have the opportunity that Kuwaits job provides, they are not happy about the overall treatment of some that see them as less than human.  The feeling from Kuwaitis is that “if you don’t like Kuwait, then leave.”  Make no mistake, if these people had an alternative, they would leave.

Overall, Kuwait is a place with so much potential to be an internationally loved hub of greatness shining bright in the middle east.  But I am not sure international is what they strive to be.  The country is still defining itself.

 

Great Comments from Kuwait Unplugged:

arabianfox6/4/12 3:44 pm

‘Having been’ the 3rd generation in Kuwait it is safe to say I have huge respect for the country, enjoyed it and hold it in good regard outside.

But its hard to ignore genuine cases of racism and kind of a general apathy towards manners on the road or in a queue.

I still visit (painful procedure) and its pleasant in short bursts like a week or 2 tops, but alas it may be only for another 5 years or so till my family retires and ‘settles’ elsewhere.

Kuwait Unplugged

 

 

 

Kuwait Girls

Looking for Kuwait Girls?

Kuwait civil law states: common-law relationships, homosexual relations, adultery and prostitution are illegal so if you bring your significant other to Kuwait as a couple make sure you are legally married before residing there.

If you want a Kuwait girl you will have to go underground to find her.  Whether you are looking for a girl in Kuwait or an actual Kuwaiti girl there are a few common places to go looking.  You may be told when coming into Kuwait, that you cannot have casual sex with a woman you are not married to, you cannot even LOOK at a Kuwaiti woman, you cannot live with a woman you are not married too.  After being here two years, I have seen people of all races and nationalities do ALL of that and more.

As in all cultures, its the people that determine what civil laws are kept and which laws are civilly disobeyed.

Kuwaiti Girls

Kuwaiti girls are treated like a forbidden fruit!!  And what is more mouth watering than fruit that you cannot have?

I was told in two separate briefings on my way to Kuwait that I should not even look at ANY Arab women ANYwhere in Kuwait.  “Sounds like Saudi,” I thought.. “nice. :(“..

Then I got to Kuwait went to the mall and noticed Kuwaiti women staring at me like I was a slab of medium well done halal steak.. I was like “WTF!! is going on..”  I got nervous and confused.  “If this place is like Saudi, why are so many young Kuwaiti girls staring and staring..”

Then I found out that many (non-Arab guys) have dated Kuwaiti girls, but very discretely.  Technically, NO Kuwaiti is supposed to “date”.  But there are many acts of civil disobedience going on.

You should NOT just walk up to a Kuwaiti girl in a public area and ask her out, because its considered disrespectful to some of the more traditional Kuwaiti’s.  This may go for most traditional Arab women.. but I am not sure.

I have been told numerous stories about Americans and other nationalities being chased, beaten or threatened for interacting with Arab/Kuwaiti women.  Some of it is true, but now that I am here I see that its totally ok to be with a Kuwaiti woman but there are certain rules especially if you want to be serious.  Rule #1, for getting serious with a Kuwaiti woman – be muslim… (hey, i did not say it would be easy).   Rule #2, Discretion = respect of them and their family.

$$$Why would you WANT a Kuwaiti girl??  WHY indeed!!?  Walk around the malls and you will find model quality women.  They are not going to ask your broke ass for money, because more than likely, they have access to WAYYY more than you.  There is a possibility that you will be HER bitch… I am not making any promises, just reciting things I have “heard”.  The very naughty one that are very traditional will not allow anything but entrance into the “backdoor” since they want to maintain virginity… again.. don’t believe me, this is all shit I heard from random male whores that frequent Kuwait malls and coffee shops.

kuwait-girls

Discretion on a random hook up: slide her your number, send bluetooth messages (bluejacking)

desert girl has a great article about it.  You can find these girls on dating sites.

Filipina in Kuwait –

Filipina’s have probably the worst reputation in Kuwait.  The loose acts of a few have forced a generalized view of ALL.  And its really not FAIR, because literally the best wives I have seen have been Filipina.  I have met some great Filipinas here in Kuwait.  Each of them were religious (muslim or christian) and very conservative, super sweet, hard working with no time for a ‘boyfriend’ since they are tired of games.  Usually the more mature ones their late 2o’s and already very mature.

The bad reputation comes from the Filipinas I have met in Kuwait that have not been good at all.  These ‘bad girls’ had no less than three guys they were fucking or in some sort of relationship to get money.   They lie to each guy and create a romance scam.  Since they had so much practice, they are great in bed, expert liars and dedicated to getting money.  Americans in Kuwait are willing to pay them for “favors” but so are Arab men.  Many ‘bad Filipinas’ have at least one guy (bf, husband, fiance) back in the Philippines, and two guys that don’t know about each other in Kuwait or abroad.

Before you make contact, just realize that they only want your financial support.  They already have plenty of dick and are way to jaded to ever be with a single guy.  Don’t believe their lies about love just realize its all business, protect yourself and you will be fine. If you do plan on getting serious give the relationship time.  And give yourself time to observe her actions.  Trust but verify.

$$$ – They will ask for things like rent, money for food and family, visa, borrow.. so it varies.

These scam artists are EASY to find: filipinocupid.com

Chinese girls in Kuwait –

kuwait girl - chinese hooker

kuwait girl – chinese hooker

Unfortunately (fortunately?), most of the Chinese girls in Kuwait are prostitutes.  God only knows how many men they have fucked and how many diseases they have.  They will approach you on the street in the mall, on the toilet.. it does not matter.

You can find them walking near areas they give regular service.  Usually, around the malls, Mahaboula in the American areas.  They are pretty upfront which is surprising with all the “crack downs” in Kuwait.  Its almost like cops completely ignore them MOST of the time.   Its almost like the cops are paid to ignore these sex workers that violate the Kuwait civil laws in public..  There is a little anger about the Chinese prostitutes.  Often foreigners are blamed for giving sex workers so much business, but the truth is that there is no way they could even come to Kuwait without consent from a Kuwaiti official and they certainly could not walk the streets without the Kuwaiti Police allowing it.

$$$ – Anyway, they are usually not that attractive and cost around 20 – 30KD ($80 – $100).

Ethiopian girls –

“If you want an Ethiopian girl its best to go the factory (Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia) where they are made.”  One of my coworkers (connoisseur of fine Ethiopian ladies) once told me.  In Kuwait, has many Ethiopian women working and living all over the place.  Their exotic looks and voluptuous bodies really makes them stand out.  Men of all nationalities break their necks to turn and see them just walking down the street.

Most Ethiopian girls are quite conservative and looking for a good guy to care for them.   In a similar situation as Filipinas in that they are here due to impoverished conditions in their own country, they come to Kuwait and struggle.  So they often seek an Arab, European or American guy to care for them in exchange for sex.  There are some Ethiopian prostitutes, but I have no idea where people find them.

Pros of Ethiopian girls:  They are very kind, you can trust them, usually only have one guy  don’t sleep around (much), very beautiful REDONKULOUS body!!

Cons of Ethiopian girls:  VERY clingy, needy, conservative in bed

You can find Ethiopian girls at Salamiya mall and online at Ethiospot.com social network.

$$$ – They will ask for things like rent, money for food and family, visa, borrow.. so it varies.

There are many girls of Kuwait that I simply don’t have enough information to talk about:  Western girls (American/Canadian/UK/Hungarian etc), Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Nepali, Sri Lankan.  There are lots of teachers here from all over the world teaching at the colleges or international schools.  These are very smart, humble, and down to earth women.  These teacher find it hard to find a decent guy.  There are lots of nice looking Indian nurses that might be open for a relationship.  There are lots of opportunities to hook up with girls in Kuwait just be discrete, ask around, be clear about what you want and what they want.

 

Kuwait Tourism

I have been in Kuwait for two years and it is one of the best middle eastern countries to work.  I have been to Oman, Bahrain, Saudi, Afghanistan and Qatar.  I must be honest, its not the best tourist spot under the current conditions.  But I did see some sheep in Kuwait 🙂

Lack of Manners, Respect & Consideration of others (mostly foreigners)

Some people in Kuwait are extremely rude with a lack of general concern for others around them.  I think it has to do with cultural differences and tension between foreigners of the many nations here and the locals.  Foreigners make up almost 70% of the population, so most of my experience with rude people with no manners are actually other foreigners, who are being paid extremely low wages, stressed out, and living from pay check to pay check to feed their family in another country.  The only consistent negative experience I have with actual Kuwaiti citizens is on the road.  The roads are filled with reckless, careless road hogs determined to kill themselves and/or others.

If are are coming to work, Kuwait is great.  If you are coming to visit and you don’t know a Kuwaiti with “wastah” (power/influence), then stay in your own country.

Kuwait was named as one of the world’s least friendly countries towards tourists in a global travel and tourism competitiveness survey by the World Economic Forum released this week.

Kuwait among Top 5 Unfriendliest Countries to Visit:

Attitude of population toward foreign visitors

(1 = very unwelcome; 7 = very welcome)

Unfriendly

1. Bolivia  4.1

2. Venezuela  4.5

3. Russian Federation  5.0

4. Kuwait  5.2

5. Latvia  5.2

6. Iran  5.2

7. Pakistan  5.3

8. Slovak Republic  5.5

9. Bulgaria  5.5

10. Mongolia  5.5

 

Friendliest

1. Iceland  6.8

2. New Zealand  6.8

3. Morocco  6.7

4. Macedonia, FYR  6.7

5. Austria  6.7

6. Senegal  6.7

7. Portugal  6.6

8. Bosnia and Herzegovina  6.6

9. Ireland  6.6

10. Burkina Faso  6.6

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/14/travel/friendly-countries

Why So Unfriendly in Kuwait?

My personal observation is that it is NOT unfriendly and it is totally FINE to tour kuwait as long as you are not Filipino, Sri Lankan, Bangladesh, Nepali, Pakastani, Palestinian, Afghani, Iraqi… Most other nationalities are fine.. OH, Indian.. not Indians.  Its hard to get into Kuwait and due to the crack downs that started in 2012, its not so friendly to certain foreigners.  You cannot blame the Kuwaiti government for trying to balance out the foreigner to citizen ratio.  The real people is some Kuwaiti “companies” that sponsor in foreigners for cheap labor.

Kuwait Tourism

Kuwait Tourism

The Kuwait Ministry plans to remove 1million foreigners with 10 years.  Right now they are focused on those with expired visas, or otherwise operating within Kuwait illegally.  But they are also cracking down for minor offenses such as traffic citations.  So far, about 12,000 foreigners in total have been ejected from the country over the last two years over driving misdemeanours and KD24m worth of fines issued.

“Kuwait said it will cancel “tens of thousands” of driving licenses belonging to former students and working housewives as part of the Gulf state’s latest crackdown on expats.” — Arab Business

“About 1,300 foreigners were deported last month over traffic violations, while authorities have cracked down on incorrect visas.” — ArabtimesAny foreign national wishing to work in Kuwait MUST have a working visa under a Kuwaiti sponsor.

http://news.kuwaittimes.net/301-arrested-in-ahmadi-raids/

Kuwait guest

MahaboulaKuwait guest

If you are from a GCC country, America, Africa or anywhere in Europe you can have an ok time in Kuwait.  If you are from Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal then you will have a hard time getting here and living here.

I am an American and I have been here in Kuwait one year. I want to give my honest opinion of this country.  First of all, I feel safe in Kuwait. I am a black man and have never had a problem.. I experience more racism in my own country than here.  It seems to be a bonus to be black here.. which is a big surprise because most places I have been in the world are not that way. My filipino, Indian and Bangladesh friends seem to have the opposite feeling about Kuwait.  They don’t have anything good to say about it except that the money is good.. and most times not even that. Its because they are treated bad by locals. I have seen it and its really a shame, because there are some very good moderate Muslims here and I am sure many Kuwaitis are very good people.

With all the positive talk out of the way.. I will be completely frank. There are MANY rude and impatient people here.

Kuwait is a place that I don’t think I would ever visit without having a high paying job here. That being said, its better than some other middle east countries that I have been to. I have enjoyed it more than Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, but I liked Bahrain and Qatar better. It is really not inviting to tourists.

If you are reading this and you are thinking, “then go home to your own country..” don’t worry I will. I am just being completely honest of what I have seen.

But I want to be fair. I think if you are Kuwaiti or know someone with “Wasta” (power) then you could have a pretty good time in Kuwait. I know some that said that they got in good with the locals and had a great time.

The laws make it hard to feel comfortable. Kuwait has a sponsorship system. That means that foreigners must be sponsored by Kuwaiti person to live here. The Kuwaiti citizen takes responsibility for the foreigner.. the kuwaiti then has some control over their passport and whether that person will stay in the country and how long. So this system is abused by many companies and citizens. Domestic Helpers have it very bad because the person that they do house work for is usually a citizen. They are not professionals and have very little accountability. This leaves room for all kinds of physical, sexual, psychological abuse that is common among Domestic Helpers.

It is against the law to distribute alcohol. It is still done and people do drink but very discretely. If you know someone you can get into private parties. There are no clubs in Kuwait but there are private invite only discrete parties. If you know someone that can get you in on that scene.

Its not a tourist type place but if you really want you can have fun here and really experience a unique culture. If you are Filipino, Indian, Bangladesh I would never come here without a good job or someone you know and trust that can care for you. If you are American or from the west, you can come but there is really not much to do here for fun that is not illegal.

What people do here mostly is go to coffee shops, and hang out at the mall. But You could site see at places like Kuwait Towers, you could go golfing on a green in the middle of the desert, you could find private parties on Yachts, you could go camel riding, go to the Aqua Park and some other things.

The last think I will say is that the roads here are deadly. I have seen two people die on the road right before my eyes. I have seen cars on fire and buses flipped. There does not seem to be much of a drivers test and not much regulation of the roads and infrastructure. Also, there are many from third world countries that probably never drove before the came to Kuwait.

Be prepared to be cut when in line.. don’t take it personal.. its their country so they have the right of way.. right?
For some reason a lot of filipinas get raped here.. I really don’t understand that but if you do a quick google search its pretty bad.

So what is good about kuwait? There are great muslims here.. some of the best people I have met have been muslims of every race and every shade. It is really an honor to have met such great people of faith. Also, there is opportunity for progression in careers and/or work.

photo by:


xiquinhosilva