Below is a sample of life in glorious Kuwait.
is a picture of Kuwait City centre. The greenery in the centre is known to
expats as "Suicide Roundabout" Not to be confused with "Death
Roundabout" (Salmiya - End of 5th Ring Road) or "Lesser Death
Roundabout" (Salmiya - Gulf Street) -Entering this circus of certain death
is not for the faint hearted; as you can see it closely resembles Indy, only the
cars around this circuit tend to go faster than your average Penske Lola! A
close inspection of the picture will reveal at least four crashes and a pedestrian hit
and run victim.
The towers in the foreground are along the Gulf Street (known as the "Corniche" in other Arabian countries). Photography of them is actively encouraged ("Look mum, here I am in Kuwait") however photography from them was, until recently, frowned upon as they overlooked one of the palaces. This has been abated somewhat with the building of two new palaces - Seif Palace and Bayan Palace, both costing several million Dinars apiece.
There are three towers - the one with the two big balls has an observation deck, snack bar and restaurant; the one big ball is a water tower and the third one (obscured here) is a lighting tower for the other two.
Left is a night time shot of the Liberation tower. Construction was actually started before the Iraqi invasion and has had several names in between, but as it was finished after liberation the name stuck. It is owned by the Ministry of Communication (MOC) and is basically a comms tower. The smaller of the two upper structures was built as a revolving restaurant, but in my six years here it has only opened once a year, during the Lliberation Day holiday celebration, however it is still unused as nobody can afford the outrageous franchise price asked by MOC.
Right is Green Island - owned by Touristic Enterprises (Kuwait tourism department) and is intended to be a family orientated park. Also owned by the same group is Entertainment City and various smaller fun fairs - again these are all family orientated - however, they are all maintained by TCN labour in a country where the word "maintenance" doesn't exist (honestly!) and as such, no self respecting expat would be seen near them.
On the Road:
Driving in Kuwait is not to be taken lightly (See the roundabout above). There are traffic rules, but they are rarely obeyed - often resulting in some horrific accidents. Seat belts, whilst compulsory are seldom worn and crunchy air bags* are prevalent everywhere. Below are the abridged traffic rules of Kuwait with a few results of not following them.
*(Children on front seat driver/passenger's lap)
Traffic rules of Kuwait
1. Right of way
Right of way belongs to the vehicle which has itís bumper 5cm ahead of another, irrespective of whether approaching from the left or right.
2. The Kuwait scissors
When in 3 lanes of traffic, all traffic wishing to turn right should occupy the left hand lane and vice versa. One must then wait until the last possible moment before crossing the other two lanes at right angles to the traffic flow, to do so too early is to lose face.
There are four ways to get past the car in front; to the left, to the right, over the top and underneath, also known as undertaking.
4. The weave
Never hold a steady speed in one lane. You can gain as much as 20 meters over a distance of 10 kilometers by continuously swerving from one lane to another whilst invoking rules 1 and 10. The minimum speed for this maneuver is 150kph.
5. Right of way (buses)
Buses do not have right of way; they just take it. Bus horns are frighteningly louder than any others. There are someofficial boarding and alighting points but the buses will drop off and/or pick up passengers at any place, any time, in traffic, provided that the passenger is sufficiently fleet of foot and oblivious to the threat of traffic flowing around him.
These may cross the road when, where, and however they wish. Be they old, young, agile or decrepit, they have the right to step into the traffic and dodge, dance or merely stolidly move across. However, motorists are encouraged to do their best to hit them, preferably at speed. (Even on the pavement) Motorist should note that most motorway bridges are 1000m apart and that pedestrians will cross at 500m intervals.
7. Traffic lights
There are nine possible combinations of traffic lights in use in Kuwait, they being; red, amber, green, red plus amber, red plus green, green plus amber, red plus green plus amber, flashing amber, and all off. Any selection of these can be found on any one set of traffic lights. The meanings of the various arrangements are not known, but if crossing when the lights are red (or any other combination) and you see a car crossing in front of you, make sure you hit it squarely in the side, if possible, at speed.
These are used for changing direction and carriageway. If possible try not to pull out if a car is going past in the outside lane of the carriageway you want to pull into. If you are in a hurry, the somersault and roll method is a quicker way of achieving the same result, but avoid the lamp posts in the central reservation.
These are not, contrary to popular belief, for looking for vehicles behind you, but are for grooming, adjusting gutrahís & seeing where the parsley is stuck to your teeth.
Want more accidents?
Visit http://www.crazyshit.org/Crash/ for some truly memorable smashes
Head on into a road sign.
(on the pavement)
Kuwait Location Report:
For a serious, comprehensive (large) report on real expat living in Kuwait - Click Here
To find out what the local girls wear under the abaya - Click Here
To check on the Kuwait bobsled team in training - Click Here
There are a lot of arseholes in Kuwait - to see the factory where they are made - Click Here
Extra, Extra, Read all about it!
To read What's in the news in Kuwait - Click Here
Another sideways look at Kuwait?