Kuwait – Kuwait City

It looked like our visit to Kuwait (country number 6 out of 8 on our Arabia Overland trip) might not happen. Just a few days before we were scheduled to arrive, Kuwait suddenly announced that despite recent negative covid test results and vaccination status, all visitors arriving after midnight on Christmas Day had to go through a  mandatory 10 day quarantine. So what should have been a leisurely border crossing out of Bahrain and into Saudi Arabia with an overnight bush camp en route to Kuwait turned into a mad dash as we tried our best to make it through 4 border control points in 1 day. This put a huge strain on not only our driver Will but also the truck. Alas, we made it to the Saudi-Kuwait border when the truck shuddered to a stop and refused to start again. It was almost 9 pm and we only had 3 hours to clear the Kuwait border control! Unfortunately, none of us were allowed to travel through no man’s land on foot (the strip of land between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). So Karen advised us all to try to hitchhike with random strangers to see if we could at least enter Kuwait before the midnight deadline. Kuwaiti hospitality came to the rescue as drivers happily stopped and agreed to transport us across no man’s land, clear the health department’s covid test section and wait for us to get stamped into country at immigration control. Once in Kuwait, we were able to hitch a ride for the final 90 minute drive from the border into Kuwait City where our hotel was located. Our driver wasn’t even going to the city but he made a 60 km detour just to drop us off. The kicker was he didn’t want any money for doing this huge favor for us…he just did it to welcome us to Kuwait! What unbelievable kindness and it really made an impression on us. We had two free days to explore Kuwait and spent the first day on a walking tour of the city. The Kuwait Towers were our first stop, followed by the fish market near Souq Sharq. From the market area, we walked over to the Grand Mosque of Kuwait where we took a free tour. Then we walked over to Mubarakiya Souq, which is one of the oldest souqs in Kuwait. There we met a wonderful Kuwaiti man, Thunayan, who offered to be our local tour guide to show us around the souq. We were stunned that he spent several hours of his busy day to show us around and he even treated all of us to an incredibly tasty meal in the market afterwards. Kuwait wins hands down for the  most incredible hospitality! On our second full day, we had to take PCR tests first thing in the morning. Then we visited the Mirror House, which is the creation of an Italian-Kuwaiti artist who became obsessed with covering nearly every space of her home with mirror mosaics, using up to 70 tons of mirrors in the process! Even though we only had 2 days to explore Kuwait, this tiny nation certainly impressed and we were glad that Madventure included it on the tour. Next up will be our final re-entry into Saudi Arabia for a few days before we enter Jordan.

Mohammed graciously agreed to transport us (4 strangers and our bags) in his car across the border into Kuwait! Fishing pier with a view of Kuwait City Kuwait Towers Kuwait license plate Bridge to Souq Sharq Cats on the march; Souq Sharq McDonald's; Souq Sharq Fruits for sale; Kuwait Fresh Fish Market Colorful spices on offer; Kuwait Fresh Fish Market Live chickens await their fate; Kuwait Fish Market Quails for sale; Kuwait Fish Market Dried fish display; Kuwait Fish Market Shrimp seller A Kuwaiti woman ponders which fish to buy; Kuwait Fish Market A fish seller proudly holds up his fish "Welcome to Kuwait" - shrimp seller Locals at the fresh fish market in Kuwait City Fish on ice; Kuwait Fresh Fish Market It takes 2 migrant workers to push up 4 overloaded baskets of shrimp; Kuwait Fresh Fish Market A stray cat chomps down on a free meal of shrimp and fish Traditional fishing boats at the Kuwait Fresh Fish Market Friendly fishermen Boat captain; Kuwait Fish Market A dhow on display near the fish market Grand Mosque of Kuwait Renee and Becky are forced to wear golden abayas to visit the Grand Mosque The stunning interior of the Grand Mosque The amazing stucco mihrab; Grand Mosque of Kuwait Our guide reads from the Koran; Grand Mosque of Kuwait The lavish interior of the Amir's Room; Grand Mosque of Kuwait Wall detail in the Amir's Room; Grand Mosque of Kuwait Chandalier; Grand Mosque of Kuwait Hallway leading away from the main prayer hall; Grand Mosque Water fountain in front of Sief Palace; Kuwait City Painted windows in Souq al Mubarakiya, one of the oldest souqs in the Gulf region Taking a photo with Thunayan, an amazing and generous Kuwaiti man we met and befriended in the souq Coffee shop in the middle of Mubarakiya old market Traditional Arab tea and coffee pots for sale; Mubarakiya Souq Tailor's shop where you can get any type of bag sewn or hand-stitched (for your rifle, sleeping bag, tennis racket, etc); Mubarakiya Souq Wall mural; Mubarakiya old market Wall tiles at Mubarakiya old market Fruit and vegetable section of Mubarakiya old market A wide variety of colorful fruit for sale at the Mubarakiya Souq Making fresh tandoor baked bread; Mubarakiya old market Thunayan graciously offered to treat us to a street food feast at the Mubarakiya old market We barely managed to make a dent in all the food! Obligatory tea and dessert after our splendid feast Crepes made to order; Mubarakiya old market Dried rose buds used for tea; Mubarakiya old market Prayer beads Date seller; Mubarakiya old market Becky and Renee stand in front of a heart shaped flag of Kuwait; Mubarakiya old market Wall mural honoring doctors, nurses and first responders during the covid pandemic "I love Kuwait" Mask up sign at a butcher shop; Kuwait City Courtyard to the Mirror House, a residential house covered in thousands of mirror mosaics This is Italian-Kuwaiti artist Lidia Al Qattan, a childlike and eccentric woman who created this fantasy house decorated with 70 tons of mirrors Mirror bathroom at the Mirror House; Kuwait City Kuwait flags Pyjama shop; Mubarakiya Souq Display at Sheikh Mubarak Kiosk 1 Rupee stamps on a letter from Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer's personal collection Palm tree mural; Souq Al-Mubarakiya Goodbye Kuwait City! Catching a bus to the Kuwait/Saudi border video lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

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