Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

New Warden Message Kuwait

Kuwait City, Kuwait
March 31, 2011

To: All American Wardens

From: Consular Section

Subject: Warden Notice 2011 – 8

Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all U.S. citizens within your area of responsibility.

According to the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior, demonstrations may take place
Friday, April 1 outside the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Embassy is located in the
Bayan Section of Kuwait City. Traffic patterns in the area may be affected. In
light of this, the embassy recommends that this area be avoided.

Spontaneous and/or planned demonstrations take place in Kuwait from time to time
in response to world events or local developments. At times, even
demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly
escalate into violence. Avoid the areas of demonstrations, if possible, and
exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad
should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs
Internet website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel
Alerts, as well as the Country Specific Information for Kuwait can be found.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling
1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside
the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These
numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through
Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

If you are a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance in Kuwait, you may
reach the U.S. Embassy by calling +965-2259-1001 and requesting the duty

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Kuwait are encouraged to enroll in the
Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that they can obtain
updated information on travel and security. U.S. citizens without Internet
access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By
enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact
them in case of emergency. For additional information, please refer to “A Safe
Trip Abroad”.

This message may be accessed on the Embassy website,

Please note that the Consular Section is closed for U.S. and most local
holidays. The current holiday schedule for 2011 is posted on

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Kuwait | Leave a comment

Stormy Beach Day

Oyster platter at Flounders:

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Florida, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Photos, Weather | 6 Comments

Spring Break in Pensacola

Just sad:

Breaker’s car? This car has eyelashes attached above the headlights!

March 29, 2011 Posted by | Pensacola | | Leave a comment

Like Cats

I was talking with a friend who had started in a new church about a year ago, around the same time we started at our church. I was telling her about the Service to Others Committee, and how I like everyone working on it, we were all kind of nerds, my favorite kind of people.

She looked a little down, and told me it seemed to be taking some time for her to find her niche in the church, and so I had to share with her my cat theory.

When you bring a new cat into a house where you already have a cat, you have to keep them separated for a while. You put the new cat in a separate room, with separate feeding dishes and litter box. Even so, the original cat is going to be a little wary. He can smell the new cat, it is something new and something strange, and it makes him uneasy.

People, it seems to me, are a little the same way, especially people who are settled. When a new person comes in, it just won’t do to try to be accepted. You just have to come in quietly, don’t intrude, let people get used to you. Little by little, people reach out to you. It can be discouragingly slow. If you have patience, it pays off.

Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, you meet someone with a widely accepting outlook, and this time, I was lucky, I met a friend at the church who is just so full of life she bubbles with it. She makes things happen. She doesn’t have time for gossip or negative thoughts, and if you are willing to help, that’s good enough for her. She is organized and she is busy, and I feel really lucky to be her friend.

Slowly, people are starting to realize we are not visitors at the church, but here to stay, and are reaching out to greet us. It’s a good feeling.

Tomorrow, we have our first of two sets of house guests arriving. When our first guest leaves, I have 18 hours to get the room and bathroom cleaned, clean sheets on the bed, etc. They are all really good friends, very old friends, and all coming to escape the chill of a seemingly endless winter and enjoy a little sunshine. If you don’t hear much from me, it’s because I’m out playing. 🙂

March 27, 2011 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Relationships, Travel | 3 Comments

Failure in Kuwait

This morning, as I was getting out sheets for the guest room, I had a happy surprise – one last 10-pack of personal tissue packets, with an Oud scent.

The first time I bought them, it was an accident. Our son and his wife were visiting, she had a cold, so I ran in to the store, grabbed a packet, (paid) and ran back out to the car. Later in the day, I wondered what perfume she was wearing, I could catch a whiff now and then. I asked her, and she said she didn’t have any perfume on, and she couldn’t smell anything.

We finally figured out it was the tissue. It smells like Oud.

From then on, I bought the Oud tissues. When it came time to leave ‘for good,’ I stocked up. A year later, I thought I had used them all, and I searched every store in Kuwait while I was there to stock up on some more, but – alas! – no one had them in stock.

So it was a truly happy surprise this morning when in the very back of my linen closet, I found this one last remaining 10-pack. I will try to stay as healthy as I can, so I don’t have to use them all up before I can figure out where I can find them around here. The package says they come from Dubai and (wooo HOOOO!) there is a website!

March 27, 2011 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping | 13 Comments

News from Better Books and Cafe in Kuwait

I found this in my e-mail this morning, and I am happy to share it with you – another book store in Kuwait, and this one sounds like it has wonderful books.

I am only curious about one thing . . . they sent it to me by my real name. At my real-name e-mail address. . . How do they know me (she ponders . . .)?

News from Better Books and Cafe – Kuwait’s only used bookstore and cafe (don’t miss the contest!):

Collectible and Rare Books for Sale: 10 KD – 300 KD to include The Arab of the Desert by H.R. Dickson and 40 Years in Kuwait by Violet Dickson. Also, a book signed by President John F. Kennedy.
Return Policy: Return a book bought from us and get 1/2 purchase price back in store credit for your next purchase. Read, return and save.
Book Buying Policy: We give store credit for most books. Bring them in for evaluation.
Hours/Phone/Location: 10am-8 pm daily. Cell 66637351. Behind Al Rashid Hospital.
Take 4th Ring Road to Salmiya
Past Highway 30
Past Fire Station on Right
At light – Amman Street – take right
through next light
See Al Rashid Hospital on Left
At Roundabout take a U-turn
Now see attached map
Look for RED/ORANGE door (photo attached)


Desert Pioneers Club 2nd and 4th Tuesday 7.15 – 9.05 pm
Timbre Talkers 1st and 3rd Tuesday 7.15 – 9.05 pm
Capitol Speakers 1st and 3rd Saturday 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Bright Horizons 2nd and 4th Friday 9.30 – 11 am.

GAVEL CLUB MEETINGS Every Friday Night 5.30 – 7.30 pm.
In April, there will be Healing, Meditation, and Reiki classes at Better Books. Email or call 99315825 for more details.
Better Books is now on FACEBOOK! Click THIS and ‘like’ us for regular updates – new arrivals, events etc.
Better Books sells 1 KD books on FREE DELIVERY

Contest from Better Books and Cafe:

Answer the following questions correctly and be among the first five correct email replies to receive 1 KD off your next purchase.
1. Who wrote 40 Years in Kuwait?
a. H.R. Dickson
b. Violet Dickson

2. What organization do ‘The Capitol Speakers, Desert Pioneers, Bright Horizons and Timbre Talkers’ belong?
a. Toastmasters
b. Gavel Club

3. What well known British saying adorns a red poster at Better Books?
a. Keep Calm and Carry On
b. When going through hell, keep going

Just return this email with answers to 1, 2, and 3.

Feel free to forward this email to your friends.

Here is what the entrance looks like:

If I were in Kuwait, I would be on their waiting list for copies of The History of Architecture in Old Kuwait City by Saleh Abdulghani Al-Mutawa, one of the most interesting books I read in Kuwait about how houses used to be built, why, and why modern architects need to pay attention to the lessons of the past.

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Books, Kuwait | 6 Comments

Kuwait National Seismic Network

I don’t know why I am suddenly getting a lot of hits on an old post I wrote when we had an earthquake in Kuwait, and discovered that Kuwait was vulnerable. Somehow, we thought Kuwait was a low risk earthquake area. I thought about it a lot, on the 10th floor of my tower in Fintas, as I watched how other tall buildings were being constructed. 😦

If you need information on earthquakes and / or tsunamis in Kuwait, here is the best place to start: click the blue type

Kuwait National Seismic Network

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Blogging, Building, Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore | 6 Comments

Alexander McCall Smith and The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

Just back from a wonderful two day trip to Botswana, visiting my dear and beloved friend Precious Ramotswe, who owns the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. For her, I make an exception to the paperback book rule (buy paperbacks because hard covers can hurt you if you fall asleep and they fall over) and get on the pre-publication order list so that Amazon will send me the book as soon as it comes out.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party arrived Wednesday night. My husband was expecting a friend, and when the doorbell rang I thought “oh my, he is really early!” but it was the UPS guy, who had left a book-sized package on my doorstep. I had just finished an easy but fun book (The Map Thief by Heather Terrell) and was at odd ends as to what to read next, and this was an easy answer. As my husband drank Arabic coffee and sweet sweet Arabic tea, and ate delicate Middle Eastern treats downstairs, I got to start The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.

You know the books. They aren’t difficult to read, but while you are reading, you are transported to another world. Precious Ramotswe’s Botswana is not a world without problems, but the solutions to the problems are often found in softer gentler ways, ways that would seem counter-intuitive in our culture, but make total sense when you are raised in Botswana. There is a value placed on peaceable interaction, and maintaining relationships, on forgiveness, and going to extra mile. It’s a sweet world, and a great escape.

As usual, there are several intertwining plot lines with ingenious and unexpected solutions. I suspect that is what keeps me glued to this series – I cannot anticipate the solutions. That, and the gentleness of her outlook, the sweetness of life in Botswana, and the dignity and integrity of McCall’s primary characters.

I don’t know how McCall manages to keep the series fresh, but he avoids the formulaic and I find each book a treat. My favorite part of this book is how Mma Potokwane manages to wangle and invitation to Mma Makutsi’s wedding:

Mma Potokwane noticed the other woman’s uncertainty. “Yes,” she continued. “There’s that problem. And then there’s another problem. Problems come in threes, I find, Mma. So the next one – Problem number two, so to speak – is the cooking of food. You know what I find, Mma, it is this: the people doing the cooking never have enough pots. They say they do, but they do not. And right at the last moment they discover that there are not enough pots, or, more likely, the pots they have are too small. A pot may be big enough to cook your meat and pap at home, just for a family, but do not imagine that it will be big enough to cook for a couple of hundred people. You need big, catering-size pots for that.”

She was now warming to her theme. “And the third problem is the food itself. You may think that you have enough for the feast, and you may be right when it comes to the meat. People usually have enough meat – often rather too much, in fact. But they forget that after their guests have eaten a lot of meat, they need something sweet, and often they have made no arrangements for that. A wedding cake? Yes, but there will only be one small piece of that for each guest – usually not enough. So people find themselves wishing that they had had the foresight to get a supply of ordinary cake for the guests to eat with their tea. And where is this cake? Not there, Mma.”

Mma Ramotswe glanced at Mma Makutsi; this was not the way to speak to a nervous bride, she thought. “I’m sure that everything will work out well,” she said reassuringly. “And if there are any problems, they will surely just be small ones – nothing to worry about.”

Mma Potokwane looked doubtful. “I hope so,” she said. “But in my experience, it never works out like that. I think it’s better to be realistic about these things.”

Mma Makutsi picked up her pencil to add something to her list. “You said something about pots, Mma. Where would I be able to get these big, catering-size pots?”

Mma Potokwane examined her fingernails. “Well, we have them at the orphan farm. Each of the house mothers has a very large pot. I’m sure that we could do something . . . ”

Run to your bookstore and buy The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party!

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Books, Botswana, Character, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Shopping, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 1 Comment

Anniversary and Punch List

It’s been a year since we bought the house. We had to have it entirely rewired before we moved in, and now, we are so glad we took that time and spent that money; the insurance companies have gotten more and more finicky about insuring houses in Florida. One of the newest causes for non-renewal is aluminum wiring, which is what we had taken out and replaced with copper wiring, not cheap, we can tell you.

We are so glad our contractor made that recommendation. For one thing, we sleep well at night, knowing the wiring is new and well-installed. For another thing, it was good to get it done while we had nothing in the house, and the workers had easy access to everywhere they needed to tear out walls, rewire, put back walls, etc.

Do you make lists? I have a list I made in November, and today I finished off the list. It had unfinished tasks going back to the move-in. You prioritize, you know? Even when you have accomplished the most important things, sometimes it is just too overwhelming to tackle the next thing so you take a break . . . and that break can stretch.

The little plumbing things are all done. Every single one. Wooo HOOOO. The final light fixtures are all up. Woooo HOOOOO! The outside watering system is working, woooo HOOO, and we have a guy helping us restart our lawn – wooo HOOOO!

It’s kind of like having a baby. If you think about all the things that need to be done before you do it, you might have second thoughts. It’s all-consuming, and it can be exhausting, emotionally and physically and financially. Just like having a baby!

And, now that I have come to the end of my punch-list, I would celebrate, except that new things are cropping up – the gutters, the drainage, the driveway, the air conditioning . . . nothing that needs to be done, no emergencies, but all which need some attention, some fine tuning, so that we are not dealing with an unexpected disaster.

It’s not like Trust Towers in Kuwait, where we lived in Fintas, or Al Fardan Gardens in Qatar, where we could just call the management if anything went wrong, and someone would show up to fix it. Now, we have to think about what we want, how much we are willing to pay, and we have to make decisions.

We are waiting for the air conditioning man to come. The electricians have told us that the inside and outside units (the expensive pieces) are fine; it is the thermostat that needs replacing, so we have to have the A/C people replace that. Meanwhile, I think I will sit back and enjoy our new light fixture.

Here is what I love. AdventureMan and I are so often on the same track. We wanted traditional – a crystal chandelier – but we didn’t want elaborate, we wanted simple lines, not a lot of embellishment. When we found this, we both knew it at once – welcome home, new light fixture!

And here is one other thing we love. Through our contractor, we met the best people. The plumber is good, and thorough, and honest. The electricians are good, and hard working, and serious. They are all knowledgeable professionals, people we can trust.

The electrician didn’t want to charge us. He said these were leftover tasks from last year. We insisted – a year later, this is on us, not on them. We fiddled around a whole year looking for what we wanted; it’s not fair to not pay after a whole year.

Sometimes we just feel so blessed, having come to this broad and spacious place, Pensacola.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Home Improvements, Living Conditions, Moving, Pensacola, Technical Issue, Values, Work Related Issues | 6 Comments

UWF Festival on the Green

Thank you, EnviroGirl! I would go to this festival just because the poster for it is so gorgeous!

Celebrate spring with a visit to the University of West Florida campus during the 11th Annual Festival on the Green on Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2. Come be a part of Pensacola’s rich history and diverse culture by experiencing a fine arts show, hand-made crafts, music, live performances, a book sale, food and Saturday’s children’s craft festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year’s festival will include a Run with the Dogs 5K and 1 mile fun run and the grand opening of UWF’s Olympic-size swimming pool. Festival on the Green is a FREE and FUN way to spend the weekend. For more information, view the Festival Schedule.

There is a wonderful schedule, which you can read for yourself by clicking here. It includes food, arts, crafts, a book sale, a senior fest and more!

March 23, 2011 Posted by | Cultural, Events, Pensacola | Leave a comment