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Pictures from Kuwait May 27, 2008

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.


Last month, I had the opportunity to travel overseas for work. This time, it was to Kuwait City. I was there for two weeks and it was really very interesting. The picture above is of the Grand Mosque in downtown Kuwait City. As you can probably tell by looking at the vehicles parked just outside, it was huge.


Periodically throughout the day, loud speakers would broadcast prayers from atop each Mosque. I had thought that everything would stop during prayer times, but things continued as normal. Although Kuwait is officially a Islamic state, their interpretation is not as strict as some other countries.


I was working a few building away from the Kuwait Stock Exchange. So I stopped by one day during lunch to see what it was like. I even had lunch in the cafeteria.


Inside lots of men were intently watching the markets.


Since the oil industry is nationalized in Kuwait, most everyone I met there knew a great deal about the oil market.They knew how many barrels per day were being produced, what the going rate per barrel was, and Kuwait’s percentage of overall OPEC production levels. It was something like the housing market or interest rates here in the U.S. Ships were docked and being pumped full of oil at various places around the city. It takes almost 24 hours to pump the water out of the hold and to then fill it with oil.


These are the Kuwaiti Towers. There is an observation deck and restaurant in one of the balls. You can see for miles from inside. During Iraq’s invasion during the 1990’s these two towers were a target of many of the Iraqi war planes, not for strategic or tactical purposes, but symbolic reasons – destroying a symbol of Kuwait’s identity. One of the seldom used palaces just across the street from the Kuwaiti Towers was also a target of the Iraqi aggressions.


Getting a picture of the skyline of Kuwait is difficult because it’s very spread out. There are plenty of skyscrapers, and many more under construction. But unlike most U. S. cities, they are not confined to just one “downtown” area; they are scattered out over broad areas.


Most of the buildings in Kuwait are what I would call designer buildings. They were not just standard rectangular buildings of 30 to 50 stories. They have unique shapes and curves.


I went to a mall there. It was remarkably similar to what you’d find in the U.S., except that in addition to a parking lot, it also had a marina attached.




I was told that Kuwait has approximately 3 million people and 2/3 of them are ex-patriots from other countries. English seems to the common language that most people can understand.

The thing I remember most about my visit was the work culture. It was completely different than here in the U.S. People were relaxed at work. They smiled all the time and seemed to truly enjoy themselves. There was lots of what appeared to be socializing, yet they some how produced the same quantity and often better quality of work as we do in our stress filled offices in the states. Amazing.

Two weeks was a long time for me to be away from home. But I really did enjoy it and I’m glad to have done it.



1. Dreamer - May 27, 2008

That is so cool. What an amazing opportunity. Though I understand the worry Laura must have had about such a trip.

I’ve heard the square upon square motif as seen on the sign outside the stock exchange has some significance in the Islamic world. Do you know what it is?

2. Joe - May 27, 2008

I don’t. I wish I had had more time to read and learn about Kuwait before visiting. I’m sure there were lots of things that I didn’t notice out of ignorance.

3. Layla - May 28, 2008

Your life seems interesting lots of adventurous opportunities, so what do you do for living, if I may ask?

4. Grams - May 29, 2008

Joe: You had mentioned the sudden sand storms to me.
Is that what we are seeing in a couple of the hazy pix?

5. Joe - May 29, 2008

When the nightly news routinely broadcasted from the region during the gulf wars, I had thought that the haze was from the oil fires or artillery. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Most days that I was there were very hazy; you couldn’t see more than a couple of miles due to the dust in the air. This spring is particularly bad for it they told me since they got very little rain over the winter.

During a dust storm you cannot see more than 100-200 feet. There was one while I was there that blew in one afternoon. You could see it coming like a wall of orange. When it arrived, I could barely see the ground from the 10th floor of the office building in which I was working.

Once it blew through, the sky was as clear as could be. I could actually see the horizon.

6. Joe - May 29, 2008

Hi Layla –

Thanks for stopping by and reading the blog! I don’t mind at telling you about my day job.

For the past 12 years or so, I’ve been self employed as a database consultant. My recent visit to Kuwait was to help a client resolve some performance issues they were experiencing with a Microsoft SQL Server system.

Fortunately I don’t have to travel too much, just enough to keep it interesting I suppose. I certainly would not want to live out of a suitcase!

When I do travel abroad, it’s very interesting to see how other cultures live and think. It broadens my perspective a bit.

For those interested in things technical, I have a separate blog for my professional life. It’s http://weblogs.sqlteam.com/joew/.

7. Laura - May 29, 2008

Doesn’t travel much? Hmmm…

Ask his wife and children. 🙂

8. Dana Salem Al-Ghadourii - August 31, 2008

Hii This is Dana From Kuwait i am Making research for the tourist tour in kuwait during the summer i would luv if i can get your point of view about your tour around kuwait i wrote my e-mail down shkran ;p~
>> KingBigDee@Live.com

9. hamad - September 17, 2008

joe – nice post. here are some comments:

* to the person that asked about the square shape: the octagon is a common motif in islamic architecture and art and influences many other art forms outside the arab region. im no expert but you will find much online about it likely.
* the dust storms in 2008 were the worst in recent memory (20 to 30 years or so) because, as you rightly put it, there was a very dry winter season. we probably had ten times more duststorms than usual this year.

glad you got a chance to look around.


PS – one more point: its expatriates not ex-patriots. the latter sound like they should be executed for treason 🙂

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