By Kevin Casha
It was with great pleasure and enthusiasm, albeit with slight trepidation, that I accepted a cordial invitation from the Kuwait Photography Centre to go to the Middle East state to teach photography. Egyptian art photographer and friend, Ayman Lotfy, had given me the contact, but he had little more information on photography in the State of Kuwait, an emirate of some 3.4 million people in the northeast of the Arabian Peninsula.
Naturally, my first instinct was to have a look on the internet, but most of the photography sites came up in Arabic language and, as yet, I am not very good at that. Eventually I started corresponding with Mohammed Al-Attar who was my Kuwaiti contact and main organiser of the tuition. We managed to arrange dates, get my visa hastily completed, and set up a programme suited to the Kuwaiti students' needs and expectations.
Flying in through Dubai airport, I landed in Kuwait eager to see this country for the first time, and more eager still, to meet its people. Following quite a long trip, I was speedily settled in a comfortable hotel in Hawally and politely left to my own devices for that first evening. The Kuwaitis did not know my character well, (as yet!), and being always stimulated and enthralled when visiting new places, I certainly did not feel like staying in my hotel room. So, I decided to venture out by myself, making certain to memorise a landmark - a mosque - just outside my hotel. This would certainly help me to find my way back. I was subsequently quite intrigued and fascinated with the area, which definitely was not touristy, but that more than suited my tastes. I prefer seeing the real life much more than the 'unnatural and commercial' feel of the tourist haunts.
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