For the first time since we have been in Kuwait – and that’s 8 1/2 years – a Kuwaiti girlfriend invited two other friends and I to have breakfast at her family chalet by the beach at Bneidar, 35 minutes south from where we live in Salwa. Many of my Kuwaiti friends have chalets by the beach somewhere south of Kuwait City where weekends would be spent with the family and extended family.
They are called chalets but, as I was not surprised to find, they were actually whole sprawling villas!
We agreed that everyone met at my place since we lived southernmost toward Bniedar and my friend Adee would drive us all to her chalet. She wouldn’t let any of us bring any food but promised we would have breakfast Kuwaiti-style and even cook our eggs on the barbeque or as they called it here, the “duwwa”. The back of Adee’s four-wheel drive Audi was filled with boxes that contained everything we needed for a very stylish Kuwaiti breakfast and Hiroko brought one of her specialty desserts.
It was a coolish morning and we were glad that it wasn’t windy or dusty or wet. It was a perfect day actually – a little chilly when we set out at 9:30 am but it warmed nicely much later. The drive didn’t take that long. Almost exactly 35 minutes after leaving my place we turned off the highway onto a desert road then Adee pulled up in front of a beige metal gate and beeped. Two Egyptian male workers opened the gates and the three of us gasped in awe at the sight of Adee’s chalet. It was palatial!
A huge garden, a gazebo, rows and rows of pillars framing a walkway. Even a greenhouse. Adee’s two workers moved speedily to set up our breakfast table in the garden while we explored the grounds gasping, and oohing and aahing. Then we found the other garden. The one facing the sea. And this is where we decided we should have breakfast! As fast as they had set up the tables in the back garden, they moved it to the seafront garden.
Hiroko, Maha and I helped to set up the breakfast buffet table under the watchful eyes of our gentle hostess, Adee, who seemed to have thought of everything to make this morning a very special and unforgettable one. From the batik tablecloth to matching paper plates and napkins, wooden disposable cutlery, coffee, tea, creamer, to all kinds of sugar including Splenda! It was a very posh breakfast in the garden by the sea. And the food, Adee had this brilliant idea of putting everything into airtight glass jars – everything kept fresh and no spillage! She brought fouls madammes, olives, mutabbal, hummus, halwa, and even nutella. Also fresh ingredients for our omelettes – chopped onions and tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and from the garden, fresh coriander. This was a feast fit for a queen. Hiroko quickly quipped that this was a “royal” breakfast. Indeed it was.
There was a gentle breeze coming from the sea and it was a good thing that Adee had reminded us to bring warm clothing. When the workers carried the portable duwwa all ready with red hot charcoal we gathered around it to warm our hands. This was so cosy.
The ambience and the view, especially, brought us somewhere far, far away. Where could we be? It certainly did not feel like this was Kuwait! it was just so different. Today was such a different day from any day I had experienced in Kuwait. The view reminded me of the Seychelles from where we had just returned. It was so relaxing to be by the sea.
Adee poured bottled mineral water into a metal teapot and put it on the duwwa. This was how they,add tea and coffee the traditional Kuwaiti way. Then she brought out a pan, and put it on another section of the duwwa.
She drizzled some oil and threw in the mushrooms…there we go, this is how we cook our eggs on the duwwa. Then the onions, tomatoes and coriander. She beat the eggs and threw them in. How wonderful to be doing all this in the garden of your chalet by the beach. I exclaimed to Adee, “I could live here!” and indeed, I could!
We had our hot omelette with Arabic bread. It was the most special omelette I had ever eaten…made with the loving heart of a true friend, a perfect hostess whose only thought was to please all her friends. We we so lucky to be invited to share all this.
Adee had all sorts of trees, plants and herbs growing in her garden. There were orange trees and fig trees. Tomatoes, cabbage, green chillies, aubergines, rocket, spinach, dill, coriander and parsley grew side by side in her vegetable and herb garden. And, she had a whole row of lemongrass shrubs! The was also one in the garden where we were having our breakfast and Adee cut a bundle of leaves, washed them and threw them in the pot of hot water warming on the duwwa. As we set enjoying our breakfast, fragrant lemongrass tea brewed in the background.
It really warmed us up! Adee had more plans for the day. She came out with small plastic bags for each of us and beckoned, “Come, it’s time to go and pick some seashells!” The beachfront was strewn with seashells and we chatted and laughed like children as we hunted for interesting shells to take home with us to remember today.
Time check….it was almost 1:00 pm and soon we had to make our way back to the city as everybody wanted to be back by 2:00 pm. But not before a tour of the chalet. The chalet looked huge from the outside, but Adee told us the were only four bedrooms. Each room was a good size with en suite bathrooms. The master bedroom also had a walk-in closet but the piece de la resistance was the balcony and the view that came with it. It was breathtaking. And the sound of the waves reminded me again of the Seychelles and our villa by the sea!
It was a lovely chalet and must be a great place to spend with family and loved ones. Adee said they didn’t spend as much time there as they should but I think we’ve convinced her that she should think about spending more time there as it was a beautiful chalet. As I said, I could live there! And I told Adee, how nice it would be if us girls could spend a weekend there on a painting retreat…everyone chuckled happy at the thought but we know, in reality that might not happen.
This breakfast by the sea was already an amazing experience. Everything was perfect. We helped Adee clear up and put everything away as her two guys went around the garden packing lemongrass leaves and herbs for us to take home as is part of Kuwaiti hospitality!
I wished today didn’t have to end but as they say, all good things must end. Adee wants to do it again while we have this nice weather and invite some other Kuwaiti friends of ours. I think we are going to let her. And I can’t wait. In the meantime, thank you, dear Adee, for this special day!