Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Shooting Tux

One of my sister’s cats won’t stay still – or when he does settle down, his favorite chair is black, he is black – not such a great shot.

Shooting Tux is a challenge. He spent quite a while with me yesterday as I wrapped packages, and I had to shoot about twelve shots to finally get one that worked – he moves too fast. Here are some samples of “shooting Tux.”

Wrong angle:

Typical shot – he moves too fast!

And he gets too close!

Finally, one clear shot. It’s all I need:

November 21, 2007 Posted by | Pets, Seattle | | 7 Comments

Warden Notice Kuwait

Normally, the warden notices are so oblique you can hardly glean anything of use from them, or they refer to incidents that are old, although there are recent aggravations that cause problems. This one is unusual for its clarity.

My niece in Beirut says she is glad to get the Kuwait ones, because the AmEmb in Beirut hardly sends anything at all, and it is never timely!

The Embassy would like to highlight two recent incidents in Kuwait and recommend how to handle similar situations:

Incident 1 – Recently, an American spouse was at the Carrefour store at the Avenues Mall when she was harassed by an Arab male making inappropriate comments. The spouse departed the store to avoid the harassment and was followed by the man to her vehicle who tried to enter it. The spouse was not hurt during the attempted vehicle entry and the she departed the area.

Recommended action: In a case as this, attempt to contact the store management or security personnel or go to an area where there are cashiers or other patrons. Do not go to a location where there are no other people (the parking garage) or lead the individual to your vehicle.

Incident 2 – An American observed what appeared to be an Arab male harassing females walking. The American stopped his car to assist the women, which enraged the Arab male, who then chased him with his vehicle. The American was cut off by the Arab male, at which time the American exited his vehicle to engage in conversation. The Arab male reversed his vehicle and drove over the American, breaking his leg.

Recommended Action: Although the American acted with a great degree of chivalry, there is no upside to getting involved in a situation like this. It is better to report the behavior and location to the authorities, stay in your vehicle, get a license plate number and physical description of the vehicle and driver, and never attempt to engage the other party.

Here are several best practices you can use to help stay safe while living in Kuwait:

♂ Keep your car windows closed and doors locked when driving, and always leave room to maneuver your vehicle in traffic, not allowing yourself to be blocked in.

♂ Always let someone know your travel plans if you are traveling alone, including what time you expect to return and how they can reach you.

♂ Carry your cell phone and keep it where it is quickly available (do not use it while driving).

♂ Have several contact numbers pre-programmed into your phone so you can call in the event of an emergency. Dial 777 for Kuwaiti police and emergency services.

♂ If confronted by a stranger while driving, remain in your vehicle; this will provide a considerable
level of safety and mobility.
♂ If you believe you are being followed, DO NOT DRIVE TO YOUR HOME; go to a safe area such as a police station or a public area such as a mall. Make noise and draw attention to yourself to ward off suspicious persons. On your next trip to a place you go frequently, take note of where you might go if you were being followed. Playing the “what if” game could save your life and will give you something to do while sitting in traffic.

♂ If someone approaches you claiming to be a police officer, ask for identification. Even when shown ID, remain vigilant.

♂ If told to go with someone to a police station, insist on going in your own car and following the officer. Use your mobile phone to call someone and tell them to meet you at the station; also provide the police car license number to your contact, especially if it is an unmarked vehicle.

It is important to remember most criminal or terrorist activity begins with some type of surveillance. This surveillance may last a few seconds (purse snatching) or months (planning an attack on a building).

Pay attention to your surroundings at all times, especially when entering/exiting your vehicle. Mentally record license plate numbers and physical descriptions of suspicious persons or vehicles, and use your camera phone or digital camera if possible to document suspicious persons or vehicles in Kuwait. Common sense will go a long way to keep you safe.

If a situation does not seem right, attempt to get away and call for help. Your personal security takes priority, but if you are safely able to record information of harassing or suspicious individuals, this can greatly aid investigative efforts.

November 21, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Shopping, Social Issues | 8 Comments

Not Your Kuwait Gas Station

Yesterday I took my Mom (and my Mom’s car) to the COSTCO gas station, where people are lined up to fill the tank at prices slightly less than the normal gas station prices in preparation for the upcoming long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

I shivered as I stood out in the cool windy weather, filling the tank. I thought about Kuwait, where there is always a friendly face waiting to fill your tank – “Supreme or Premium, madam?” – at about 80 cents a gallon. I always have a smile when I leave the gas station in Kuwait.

Not so, here. Thought you in Kuwait might like to see what Seattleites are paying for gas:


November 21, 2007 Posted by | Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Holiday, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping, Social Issues, Statistics, Travel, Weather | , | 6 Comments

Stroller Brigade

People laugh – or worse, look like I am crazy – when I tell them living in Kuwait is not unlike living in Alaska in terms of climate. When the climate gets extreme – too cold has the same impact as too hot – people stay at home more, going from their heated/chilled homes to their heated/chilled cars to the heated/chilled stores and malls or theatres. When the milder weather comes, everyone spends every minute they can outside.

In Kuwait, there are groups that head for the malls early in the morning for some serious walking when it is too hot to walk outside.

In Seattle, I ran into another group of serious walkers, but here, they are avoiding the rain and cold. When you see the stroller brigade – and there were between fifteen and twenty women with their babies – you had better get out of the way! These are some serious strollers!


November 21, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Seattle, Shopping, Social Issues | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fast Food To Feel Good About

I’m still adjusting to the local time, and there are odd times when I am suddenly starving. Delighted to be in Seattle, I know where all the Ivar’s restaurants are. Some are go-in-and-sit-at-a-table kind of Ivar’s, with waiters and fabulous entrees, and then there are the fast-food Ivars, where you can get fish and chips, salmon and chips, halibut and chips, clam chowder, crab cocktail, and my favorites – smoked salmon chowder, and grilled salmon Ceasar. Oh, yummmmmmmmy!

Most of all, it delights my heart to see so many people eating fast food that might even be good for you.



November 21, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, Eating Out, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Seattle | , , , , , | 6 Comments