Kuwait – World Trip Day 5

kuwait, travel kuwait

Greetings, fellow wanderers! ✈️
Today, I’m unfolding the unexpected events that transpired during our brief stay in Kuwait. Buckle up for a journey filled with flight delays, canceled reservations, and a glimpse into a country where tradition meets modernity.

On the 4th evening, our flight to Kuwait was scheduled for departure. Mixed feelings accompanied us because, let’s be honest, the travel reports I have read beforehand weren’t painting Kuwait in the most vibrant colors. It had been labeled as the country where fun is prohibited, strictly conservative, with not much to do except smoke hookah. Yet, the allure of the older Arab world and the promise of minimal tourism drew us in, along with the budget-friendly flights.

Little did we know that the next 24 hours would throw us into a whirlwind of unexpected turns. Our flight from Istanbul to Kuwait took off with a half-hour delay, and after 1 1/2 hours, we were informed that we were heading back to Istanbul. They cabin crew told us that the Kuwait Airport had to close due to bad weather, whether wind or fog, it wasn’t clear.

Upon arrival in Istanbul, we discovered the next flight was scheduled for 8 in the morning. It was only 2:30 AM, and the airline insisted we spend the night at the airport for the early flight. They promised two free meals, and, hungry and tired, I found myself reluctantly munching on a chicken burger from Burger King since vegetarian options were scarce. We managed to snatch a couple of hours of sleep before attempting to claim our second promised meal at Starbucks the next morning. To our surprise, only Burger King was valid. Attempting to settle for just a coffee at Burger King, we were met with perplexing resistance – apparently, coffee was not part of the deal.

Eventually, we boarded the plane to Kuwait without any further hiccups. However, the complications were far from over upon our arrival. The entry process involved a peculiar journey – applying for an e-visa beforehand, only to be directed to a separate area for foreigners where eye scans and fingerprints were taken under the watchful eyes of heavily armed police.

While awaiting our entry stamp, we discovered our hotel had canceled our reservation. The communication glitch regarding our delayed arrival left us scrambling for alternative accommodations. (Btw I wrote several e-mails to the hotel and they just didn’t respond! So rude!). We headed to the city by taking a bus for about 20 cents per person but what we would learn here was not in our favor. The twists continued as the new hotel also demanded a marriage certificate, a requirement we hadn’t anticipated.

Undeterred, we opted to explore the city during our brief layover. A visit to the Grand Mosque proved futile as it was closed, but a stroll through the modern and spacious market was a cool experience. However, outside of the marked, the city presented itself as an americanized city. There were no local eateries to try any traditional food! Notably, I observed the cultural nuances – children wearing hijabs and men with multiple wives, prompting contemplation on cultural diversity.

Kuwait, a country comprised of 70% foreigners and 30% locals, didn’t seem particularly geared towards tourism. The city lacked typical tourist activities, and its Americanized atmosphere left us yearning for a taste of local authenticity. What is also interesting is that we did not encounter ANY SINGLE tourist outside the airport, which is why we were observed a lot by the locals.

The trip to Kuwait was a brief yet interesting encounter, affirming that our decision to limit our stay was just right. In a spontaneous turn of events, we decided to book a flight to Abu Dhabi two days earlier than planned. Despite the unexpected challenges, our brief daytrip to Kuwait offered a unique perspective on a country where tradition coexists with the influences of the modern world.

Stay tuned for our next chapter in the Arabian adventure where we will be guiding you through our experiences in the UAE! 🌍

If you haven’t read the past diary, check it out here where I’ll be writing about our stay in Istanbul.

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