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Free Water

May 3, 2012

In Kuwait, I have heard it said that there are two guaranteed ways to heaven (which I believe is attained if you are a person who does good).  If you have lots of money, then you build a mosque.  If you don’t have lots of money, then you provide a water cooler.  So today, when I was walking the dogs, I got the urge to start taking photos.  Unfortunately, when I took this first one in Salwa park, there was a litter of kittens not 5 metres away, and the dogs were pulling on the leads, so it’s not very focussed, but you get the idea.  Yup, it’s a water bottle, which most visitors find quite amusing!

Water bottle shaped cooler

Typical Ministry Cooler

Second up is the standard ministry issue version.  At least, I think it’s Ministry issue, cos these are the ones you get in the Public Gardens (aka parks); although this one is just down the street from me.  There’s one the same in Fintas Gardens, which has a metal dog bowl chained to its leg… quite unusual in a country which detests hounds, but I once met the American couple who used to walk a pair of floormops there (I think they may have been Spitzes) who chained it in place.  That was years ago, and it’s still there.  We used it today!   Thanks very much to that couple, if you’re reading this!

Water cooler resembling traditional Kuwaiti house

The Traditional Kuwaiti House

Next up, then, is the Traditional Kuwaiti House. This one is right outside Fintas Gardens, and is designed to resemble the traditional, simple Sunni architecture which was commonly found in Kuwait when houses were made from clay!  I just found out today that those stick things which stick out were a gutter, designed to run water off the flat rooves here.  It doesn’t often rain, so most rooves are flat, and used as storage space for water tanks and old furniture, so when it rains the old houses all leak.  ALL of them! And I love those solid doors.  We had a similar one as our gate in Salwa, but Marc wouldn’t let me bring it when we left – he said we didn’t need a door that wouldn’t fit anywhere other than that gateway (it was arched, to be fair)!

Water urn shaped cooler

Water Urn Cooler

Next, then, is the urn shaped cooler, which is again down the road from us (Kuwait is great – unless we’re going out into the desert, you only need to take a half litre coke bottle, and you can fill it as regularly as you like)! This is fairly self-explanatory, I think.  Of slightly more interest is the one on our very own corner.

Haj Water Urn shaped cooler.

Haj Water Urn

It’s in front of the house over the road, and is a replica of the water bottles that pilgrims bring back from Mecca… It even has a lid!  One of my students who went on haj about ten years ago brought me back one of these bottles, and explained that it was filled with holy water.  So, I never completely emptied it… I also left some water in the bottom before refilling it.  But it leaked all over my handbag the one day, so I took it out and put it somewhere safe, and haven’t seen it since.  Shame, but even though I can’t remember that kid’s name or face, I’ll always remember that water bottle!

Anyway, that’s all for today, but I am going to try to remember to photograph more coolers, and I’ll tag them with ‘Water Cooler’.  Just in case you’re actually interested!

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