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Tourist Stuff in Kuwait

April 27, 2012
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About two months ago, Bahiya from Texas hit town with a big, huge splash.  By that, I don’t mean she makes a lot of noise (on the contrary), but rather that she makes these amazing ripples which affect those around her, and in a very positive way.  So it has come as a shock that she’s leaving after this weekend, even tho we always knew she would!

Anyway, that meant that having procrastinated for two months, I finally got round to taking her to a few of the places we had missed.  Coincidentally, for Bahiya’s last weekend we also have a couch surfer staying with us from Canada.  She is called Denise, and she has couch surfed in 175 countries.  She clearly gets waaay too much leave!

Sadu House is the fancy one at the back.

We started with Sadu House, a rebuilt traditional Kuwaiti House, which contains a museum of Sadu weaving.  In fact, Sadu is the traditional Kuwait term for such weaving.  Anyway, it’s pleasant. But new, and very clean.  Fifteen years ago, the Kuwait Textile Association used to hold their monthly speaker meeting there, and the plaster was falling off the walls, there were holes in the floor, and it was ‘real’.  Oh well, mustn’t complain.  If it hadn’t been rebuilt, it would have completely fallen down by now, and there would be a glass office complex in it’s prime place in front of the sea, so it is great that the Kuwaitis are preserving their heritage.

Anyway, Bahiya and Denise are standing outside its plain Shi’ite neighbour, which is more typical of the typical Sunni architecture traditionally found here.  Beit Sadu was apparently built at the same time, but by Sunni Muslims, in the early twentieth century, but destroyed by floods in 1936.

Bahiya inspects some beautiful lace.

Anyway, from there we moved on to the fabric souk, where Bahiya practised her recently acquired (and quickly learned) bartering skills in a few stores, buying some black cotton with Arabic text to make an Abbiya, and some lovely black lace, which I think she’s going to have made into a kaftan.  The lace she managed to get down from KD16 to KD12 – very impressive for a newb!  And, what’s more, the store keepers all seemed to thoroughly enjoy dealing with her.  Now, I get that they have to smile at their customers if they want to sell anything… but I’m pretty sure they were quite happy to be screwed by her!

Now, ain't that sexy?

We also found some amazingly guady fabric… and at KD70 a metre, I am amazed they manage to sell any of it at all!  It was a sort of chiffon, with strips of man made leather attached.  Apparently it goes down well with the locals.  Denise tried on a sample, which I thought might make an awesome grass skirt at the next Caribbean night… but the guy refused to allow me to take the half metre remnant off him for a dinar, so I don’t think I’ll bother!

Anyway, from there to Indian Heritage, where nobody was very impressed with either the stock or the prices (although I did get my awesome padded, green, embroidered jacket from there for only KD5 a few years ago); and then we had to call it a day to get Bahiya back in time for work.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

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