By Kevin Casha
It was a hectic seven days which followed where I tried to combine the tuition hours with sightseeing, doing some travel photography for my own satisfaction, as well as getting to know the students and all my newly found Kuwaiti friends. The more time passed, the more I found myself at ease with the Kuwaiti people and intrigued, as well as fascinated, by their pride and culture.
Okay, not all was rosy as after a hard day's schedule, I usually like to take time out and relax with a drink in the evening, and this predominantly Muslim state does ban all alcohol. Alcohol is in fact illegal in Kuwait. One cannot under any circumstances bring alcohol into the country, nor can one buy or sell alcohol in Kuwait. The penalties for trafficking and usage are very severe.
So it took me some effort to forget alcohol and settle down to taking milk shakes and fruit juices instead of my odd glass of wine or scotch! Food wise, there was no problem, as the Kuwaitis relish their predominantly fish and meat cuisine, and one can also find all sorts of European food as well.
I eventually did manage to go back to the humble souk with Ali and two of my students. I was a bit wary at first, as my Kuwaiti hosts had warned me that most of the shopkeepers would not like to have their pictures taken. Still, out went my camera, and I managed to surprise them as I quickly got into my usual stride of 'shoot first ask questions later' and as the reaction was friendly, I ended up having a field day - even managing to pose the shopkeepers with their wares and making them turn towards more beneficial lighting! So much for them taking offence! They even ended up telling me to take pictures of their friends as well and it ended up quite a party with me showing the images on the camera monitor and the Kuwaiti shopkeepers offering tea! Plenty of back slapping and laughter made me realise that the entire world is similar and when people are not feeling threatened, they react with kindness.
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