The latest from Google….take time to smell the roses! Happy April Fool’s Day!!!
Life at home and away from home, travels and a bit of this and that.
The latest from Google….take time to smell the roses! Happy April Fool’s Day!!!
Way back when I wrote this post about the censorship of my favorite fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, they used black tape but recently I picked up an issue and virtually every page had had something censored….with a permanent black marker.
Some pages like this one had black ink on almost the entire page. Sigh. Why would I bother to buy it except perhaps to see what the powers that be had decided NOT to censor this month LOL
Anyway, thanks to hubby who got me a digital subscription to Harpers Bazaar from the iTunes AppStore, I can now enjoy my uncensored Harper’s Bazaar to my heart’s content on my iPad anytime anywhere. Quite brilliant really.
I know some people will say that nothing beats flipping through the pages of a “real” magazine and honestly, I myself do actually prefer to read a hard copy magazine too. But think of benefits.
Firstly for me, it means that I get to read my [uncensored] issues wherever I am in the world. Especially when I’m in Kuwait. No more black tape or permanent black ink to frustrate my reading.
Next, I can have as many copies of the magazine or other magazines for that matter with me wherever I am, especially when travelling, as I like, sans the weight – magazines do tend to be heavy right? Hubby always reminds me to download the latest issues before we leave for anywhere.
Another plus point of digital issues and the one I really like is this – I can take a photo of any page I want to keep for future reference! Just pressing the on / off button and the home button on the iPad at the same time like I’m taking a screenshot and a camera click tells me that the photo is now in my camera roll. I save pictures of things I like and articles I want to read again – its really useful. I actually shared this with hubby and he does it all the time with his magazines now too.
No more tearing off pages of the magazine or hanging on to it just because there’s something there I like and want to keep. Imagine how many trees I’m helping to save by not buying a magazine.
And that also means of course, that I no longer have to worry about how to dispose of those piles and piles of old magazines I keep for whatever reason!
That said though, I have to confess that, from time to time, wherever I am, I do pick up a hard copy of Harpers Bazaar and leaf through it, enjoying the smell of the paper and the ink, touching the glossy pages and savouring every page I leaf through…sometimes I actually buy a copy. Am I an addict???
The Regency Hotel at Al Bida’a Kuwait recently appointed a Malaysian Executive Sous-Chef, Chef Mohamed Ambrin, and his Excellency the Malaysian Ambassador to Kuwait, Dato’ Adnan Haji Othman announced on the Malaysian Association of Kuwait’s Facebook Group that the Hotel will be holding the “Amazing Malaysian Culinary Premiere” from 18th January to 30th January 2013 at its Silk Road Restaurant.
I’m told that it’s a dinner only affair daily during this period from 7pm and the Chef’s specialties included his spicy beef rendang, mee goreng and a “famously addictive laksa” – I’m not sure sure which one.
Since only these three foods were mentioned in the poster on their home page, I’m assuming that it’s a mixed buffet and not a full Malaysian buffet. I can’t confirm this since I haven’t had the chance to go there for this special offering – even though its five minutes down the road for us. The reason is simple – in two weeks I go home to Malaysia for six weeks and all will be waiting for me to savour!
But I do know that many people in Kuwait have been to Malaysia and have enjoyed a sampling of the above as well as other local culinary favourites including our “national dish”, nasi lemak, roti canai, chicken rice, nasi goreng and of course the hot foamy teh tarik or literally “pulled tea”.
So, if you find that you have missed Malaysian food, this is your chance to have some again. The advertised price is KD16 per head and you can make a reservation by calling the hotel at 2576 6749.
As they say at home, Selamat Menjamu Selera (Bon Apetit)! Or better still, Jom Makan (Let’s Go Eat)!
This year we’re spending the end of the year in San Sebastian, Spain again with my sister-in-law and her husband and his family. So far it has been a gastronomic journey, as usual, and a lot of walking. The weather has been lovely albeit a little cold sometimes, but its nice and refreshing to be by the sea.
Tonight we will meet up with a few of their friends and then spend the evening enjoying the gastronomic treat of Mariasun, and at midnight we will follow the countdown to 2013 according to Spanish tradition – eating one grape for every dong of the clock.
My wish for you in 2013: may your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your choletsterol, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise.
May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastro-enterologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist and your plumber.
May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.
May New Year’s Eve and every day find you seated around the table, together with your beloved family and cherished friends. May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night.
May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner, may the commercials on TV not be louder than the program you have been watching, and may your check book and your budget balance – and include generous amounts for charity.
May you remember to say “I love you” at least once a day to your spouse, your child, your parent, your siblings; but not to your secretary, your nurse, your masseuse, your hairdresser or your tennis instructor.
And to my lovely painters, may your brushes always be filled with just the right amount of paint, may they always do whatever you tell them to do and may every project you paint turn out exactly the way you want them to.
Feliz año nuevo and have a great 2013!
We returned from our Central American Cruise on the Seabourne Odyssey in January all rested. I think it was one of the best cruises we had been on as we met and made friends with so many nice people: Sandra and Ray from Australia, Brigitte and Dieter from Switzerland and Jack and Linda from Mexico. Its certainly a ship we would like to go on again, even though we had a bit of a rough time on one of the sea days.
A week into the new year we heard the sad and tragic news of the death of hubby’s cousin, Daniel – it was hard to believe and hard to say goodbye to him. But we were glad that we had the opportunity to see him and his family in Valladolid in 2010. We spent a weekend in Dubai in the second week of January as hubby attended a conference and watched in horror as the Costa Concordia sank in an unfortunate accident. At that moment at least, I felt I wouldn’t go on another cruise…
Danial visited us in Kuwait also in January this year – what a great event that was as it had been quite a while since he spent some time with us in Kuwait. Thanks to a job change from Delloitte to AirAsia that gave him unspent annual leave to spend! It was a lovely start to a new year and I enjoyed every minute of doing “stuff” with my boy. We had our first shooting experience at a range in Kuwait, in addition to fooding, of course, and some shopping! Everybody’s always too busy when I go home! The first day we went out together again in Kuwait, like the old days when he spent his Australian summer vacation here in the winter, he said to me, as I drove us to the Avenues Mall, “We never get to do things like this eh, Mum?” *heart* Danial coming to Kuwait was a bonus this year as we got to spend some quality family time together.
Three weeks later, I went home to Malaysia on my usual first trip home of the year. It was great to spend time with Mum and the rest of the family and of course more time with Danial, when he had time of course . He was very excited in his new job and although I hardly spent that much time with him, I was glad for the opportunity we had to do a few things together.
As usual I took the opportunity to make some minor home improvements while I was home and this time it was to add the laminated wooden floor to that part of the apartment between our kitchen, guest bathroom and the casual dining area. Small as it was, that change did make a difference to the area! I was also concerned that the morning sun was the cause of the damage to our conversation piece of a sofa and tried to install some attractive and functional blinds on our balcony which we could pull down in the mornings. Somehow the building management had rules against the type of blinds I wanted to install so I had to contend with some sunscreen blinds behind our curtains instead.
Kuwait had not one, but two elections in 2012, once in February and again in December and also witnessed a couple of “firsts” – the first ever flashmob (incidentally an event choreographed and sponsored by hubby’s employer, Zain) and the first ever Guinness World Record event – the largest fireworks display in the world.
There were also a couple of other firsts for us in 2012 – one of which was the first time ever we participated in a cooking competition. It was a Paella Cooking Competition organised by the Spanish community in Kuwait in April. The second first for us was that we won the competition!
The Malaysian Embassy in collaboration with PERWAKILAN Kuwait (the Association of Malaysian Ladies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) held a very successful inaugural Malaysian Food Bazaar in 2012 and my friend Zaharah and I participated and helped to man the satay stall. That’s two food-related events for me this year!
In June we went on a weekend trip to Abu Dhabi to catch Madonna’s MDNA World Tour in the sweltering or should I say scorching, summer heat. A couple of weeks later we took off on another kind of tour – driving around Ireland and Scotland. It was a great 16 days in the UK and while we had been to Scotland before, it was our first time in Ireland. We kicked off the holiday driving from Belfast to the Giants Causeway then Galway where we spent my birthday. Despite all the places we visited in Ireland, certainly the highlight of our visit was our experience at Dún Aengus.
Scotland was just as green and lovely too, despite the cold and wet days we had. We only cancelled one activity and that was a visit to Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven because of a really bad fog: this was all we could see of the castle!
All the other days were great as we drove from one city to another in Scotland from Loch Lomond to John O’groats to Inverness..we loved the Fairies Glen, Skye, Lybster and all the glens, cairns and lochs we saw and visited! While in Scotland we also arranged to meet up a couple of times with my sis-in-law, Maria and her husband Iñigo, who were also on a holiday in Scotland. It won’t be our last holiday in Scotland as there is so much more to see and do there.
This year I spent half of Ramadhan here in Kuwait with hubby and half in Kuala Lumpur with Danial and my family. Closer to Eid, hubby arrived and this year as usual, we invited friends over to celebrate Eid with us at home on the second day.
There was another first for me this year – during our trip to London, I finally met a Facebook friend with whom I’d been in touch not only on Facebook, but spoke to on the phone and Skyped with…but never met. Norlizah drove down with hubby, Anders from their home in one of the London suburbs to have dinner with us at Tok Din’s. We had a blast and it was a memorable evening. She happened to be in Kuala Lumpur during Ramadhan and of course we caught up with each other again.
We travelled again to Italy this year and spent 8 days in Milan during the Eid al Adha break. It was supposed to be our annual la dolce far niente break but we ran out of ideas as to where to go without repeating destinations – so we decided on Milan. We enjoyed the fooding and did a bit of shopping. Just a bit.. In a couple of days we will do the last bit of travelling this year – this time to San Sebastian in Spain to spend a bit of time with my sis-in-law, Maria and her husband and family. We will spend a couple of days in Madrid and try to catch up with hubby’s cousin and aunt there too.
2012 was a very busy year for me at my painting studio as my seasoned painters (and friends) continued to come and paint and many new students began their decorative painting journey. I kept classes to two times a week so that I still had time to prepare for classes and also enjoy other activities. I still did not paint as much as I wanted to though.
As usual, so many numbers every year. Hubby and I celebrated sixteen years of marriage this year and we are thankful for the good life we have had together. 2012 marks our ninth year in Kuwait and 12 years of life abroad. Certainly we are looking forward to the day we will “retire” back in Malaysia and I’m not giving away any dates here yet. Soon is all I can say.
Danial turned 27 a couple of days ago and I find it hard to believe sometimes that he is my “grown-up” son and no longer the little kid I pampered and nurtured. I guess as far as I’m concerned, as a mother, pampering and nurturing doesn’t ever end. And don’t think for a moment that I tire.
2012 will go down as the year that the “Mayan Apocalypse” was predicted and did not happen…I wonder if, in the years to come, we’ll still remember the hype created about the 21st of December being the last day of civilisation or will it be just another day in history like Y2K.
So only one week to the end of another year. Time flies as everyone says and I get the feeling it won’t be long before I sit here again trying to remember where the year went and trying to write something new and different. Anyway, it has been a good year as always and we thank God for everything. We pray and hope for a year of peace and harmony around the world ahead in the new year and look forward to new opportunities to learn and do something better.
Well…the Mayan Apocalypse didn’t happen. Of course not.
We spent the evening watching the movie “2012” again and well, it did send some shivers down my spine!
So what did you do on 21-12-12 when they said that civilisation as we know it was supposed to end?
Its our son Danial’s birthday today and we wish him a very happy 27th birthday and may you have many, many more great birthdays like today…..
It’s the 12th of December, 2012…..121212 and guess what? It’s the last sequential day this century. So is anybody “celebrating” it?
People with a thing for numbers will have been running around many months or perhaps even years ago planning for a wedding or another auspicious occasion to take place today. I remember one of the most “auspicious” days for my Chinese friends was the 8th August, 2008 when it was 888, a very auspicious number which meant good luck and prosperity. There were weddings everywhere (at 8:08 pm?) and even mass weddings. I have friends who tied the knot that day too.
The number twelve itself also has many significances including 12 months in a year, 12 hours on a clock face, 12 inches in a foot, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 pairs of ribs in most humans etc etc….. Of course, today would have gone unnoticed for many people out there had someone not posted it on Facebook or tweeted it or blogged about it. We all need reminding. Not many people forgot about 111111 though.
Anyway, all that said, I think everyday has the potential to be a great day and today, 121212 or not, is a great day for me.
I’m not doing anything special today but a whole website has been dedicated to celebrating 121212 as World Interconnectedness Day starting at noon in every time zone and continuing for 24 hours.
Happy 121212. So what did you do today?
Kuwaitis went to the polls yesterday, the second time this year, to elect a new Parliament. About 422,500 Kuwaitis, more than 53 percent of them women, were eligible to vote yesterday. Native Kuwaitis make up a third of the 3.8 million people in the country, OPEC’s third-biggest producer, with the rest being mostly foreign workers.
Shiites, who account for about 30 percent of the indigenous population, more than doubled their presence by securing 17 seats in the 50-member National Assembly. Women, including former minister Maasouma Al-Mubarak, won three seats after being defeated at the polls in February, according to final results given today by the National Elections Commission. Sunni Islamists lost ground, winning four seats, as did tribal candidates, with 16. The new house includes 21 former lawmakers.
According to the Malaysian newspaper, The Star, the new parliament “was expected to be more cooperative with the government than its predecessor after an opposition boycott of the poll and protests that divided the Gulf Arab state. [A] series of assemblies have collapsed due to a long-running power struggle between the elected parliament and the cabinet, in which the ruling family holds top posts.”
According to initial figures from the Kuwait Information Ministry, voter turnout for the polls on Saturday 1st December was 40.3 percent – the lowest since and including the first general election held in 1963. Participation in the past three elections had been about 60 percent.
The opposition boycotted the election after staging one of the biggest rallies in Kuwait’s history on Friday 30th November, the day before the elections. Together with their supporters, they urged a boycott of the polls, saying that the new voting system introduced by the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, reducing the number of votes per citizen was cut from four to one, would prevent they’re candidates from winning the majority they secured in the last vote in February.
Political parties are banned and the affiliations of many of those who stood in the election were unclear, although analysts said the fact they ran in the poll meant they were likely to be more sympathetic to the government than the opposition.
Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg Business Week that “Kuwait has witnessed a success of democracy as citizens practiced their constitutional rights to choose their representatives for the next parliament. The election result is the foundation for a new start of development and cooperation between the legislative and executive powers to advance Kuwait and all its people.”
The opposition, however, has vowed to “use all constitutional tools” to bring down the new parliament. “This parliament will be very cooperative with the government,” Ayed Al-Manna, a political analyst at Kuwait’s Public Authority for Applied Education, said by phone. “However, it will be opposed by the majority and it will feel isolated from the majority of the population. There will be more demands to dissolve this parliament.”
It rained and rained in Kuwait today. It looked dull and dark outside when I woke up this morning. Then in the quiet of my home, I heard a familiar rumbling sound and wondered – could that be rain? As though needing confirmation, I opened the front door and indeed, it was raining!
I stood there and took a deep breath. And then another one. I have always loved the smell of rain. And the sound of rain. I had a class in a few minutes so I stood there leisurely and enjoyed the smell and the sound of the rain in Kuwait. The weather had gotten pleasant in the last few weeks and this particular plant of mine which I had had since the spring this year had somehow survived the searing heat of the summer and had now sprouted a flower too!
Kuwait is a relatively small country lying between the latitudes 28.45° and 30.05°, north of the equator and the longitudes 46.30° and 48.30°. Being situated in this geographically desert zone which is marked by a continental climate, Kuwait does have four defined seasons each year. A long summer, a short autumn followed by a short winter then spring. There is an average of 7 hours of sunlight during the winter months and up to 11 hours during the summer. Temperatures range between an average of 45°C in the summer and 6°C in the winter. The highest temperature ever recorded in Kuwait was 53.6 °C (128.5 °F) at Sulaibiya on July 31, 2012. The lowest official temperature recorded was -6.1 °C (21.0 °F) at Kuwait City in January 1964.
Summer in Kuwait starts in late May. During the summer, temperatures are usually high and the weather is dry. The season locals call “Bawarih” starts in June and ends in late July bringing strong winds and heavy dust storms that could last for days, and which goes on day and night. After the 25th of July, temperatures can reach 50°C for a week or two with very dry air. The humidity starts after mid-August and September and at times, could exceed 90%. Then temperatures start to decrease to an average high of 45°C by the end of August going lower and lower until the end of September when it would be in the high 30’s. Between the scorching heat and the dusty atmosphere during these months, summer in Kuwait is also the time of the “exodus” when many leave the country to spend the holidays overseas in temperate or tropical destinations.
Temperatures start to decrease to the lower 30’s throughout October and the upper 20’s to the mid-20’s in November – almost half the temperatures experienced in the summer – and this is autumn. Thunderstorms may start by the end of October and in November heavier thunderstorms and hail are possible. The air freshens up tremendously after these thunderstorms and it starts to get much cooler at night.
Winter follows from early December and ends in February. Winter temperatures can be as low as 8°C and would reach highs of up to 19°C. At night it could reach as low as 0°C especially in the desert areas. Winter in Kuwait is the time when many Kuwaitis go camping in the desert either with families or as part of a corporate event.
Although it doesn’t snow in Kuwait, frosts are possible in Northern Kuwait. Most of the rain experienced in Kuwait would fall during the winter months and the average winter rainfall is 320mm which is rather high when compared to the other Gulf States. Fog with low visibility is also possible during the winter months.
Kuwait’s winter is colder compared to all the other Persian Gulf countries like Bahrain, Qatar or the UAE because it is in a northern position, and because of the cold winds blowing from upper Iraq and Iran.
Spring starts in February and ends in late May. Locals call this season “Sarayat”. While temperatures are moderate in spring, hot southern winds start to blow and temperatures begin to rise again as summer approaches. Temperature highs in spring can range between 28°C and 34°C. It also tends to be a rather unpredictable time as days can be cloudy, foggy, raining with thunderstorms or even hail. Humidity starts to increase, and dust storms lasting for up to a week are not uncommon.
So the weather in Kuwait has gotten very pleasant in the last few weeks. Being autumn, the days are still relatively warm, but the temperatures are getting noticeably lower everyday. And today’s heavy rain was a signal that winter is around the corner. It was quite chilly outside actually.
According to renowned Kuwaiti astronomer Dr Saleh Al-Ojeiri, the forthcoming winter season will be associated with torrential rainfall – “it’s a sign that the season will be very good”! For the summer that is. When there is heavy rainfall during the winter it usually means that we can expect less dust storms in the spring and summer. He added that the weather in January 2013 will be the coldest, as temperatures will fall between -0°C and -3°C in the desert areas and open places.
Most importantly, he said that Kuwait will start to experience the winter on Nov 26 and people will start to wear winter clothing then. Regardless, for me, the winter in Kuwait has officially started when Kuwaiti men start to put on their elegant dark coloured dishdashas and change their gutras from the white cotton ones to the heavier, red and white chequered ones. These dark dishdashas are made from thicker fabric with a wool mix – usually suiting fabric – and thus keep the wearers warm. Colours range from various shades of grey to browns and dark blues.
I’m certainly looking forward to that sign and will be on the lookout because it also means that its time to take out those boots, scarves and warm clothing that have been in storage since last winter. It means that winter has arrived!
We love everything about the Burj al Hamam restaurant on the Arabian Gulf Road in Kuwait and have been frequenting it ever since it was recommended to us by locals a few years ago.
They have a great selection of Lebanese mezzes (small portions of appetisers / starters) but our favourites are always the mutabbal (eggplant salad), fattoush (Arabic mixed salad) with the pomegranate mollasses and their spicy batata harra (spicy potatoes). Everything we have ordered here is great actually!
For mains we always like the Arabic mixed grill which for us, is large enough to share. Their grilled lamb chops are also very tasty.
There are a lot of desserts on the menu but they also provide a complimentary generous basket of uncut fresh fruit to your table to eat at your leisure.
They have a great selection of breads – their pita, large Iranian and toasted Arabic bread are always served freshly made and compliment our mezzes very well.
Service is great and its always nice to be greeted by the receptionists and waiters when we get there. There are at least 3 managers around the restaurant and sometimes all 3 of them stop by our table to ask if everything’s ok.
They recently redecorated and the restaurant is a lovely myriad of colours – very chic and cheerful! We always choose to sit by a window which provides a good view of Green Island and the sea.
Overall a great restaurant with great food and great service which we will keep going to.
Five stars says it all!
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