Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The drug dealing prince, and the daughter of the barbaric invader

There has been a lot of interesting news items out of Kuwait lately. One involves a Kuwaiti prince who was sentenced to death for drug dealing. He was caught with hashish, handguns and money. Interestingly, the five people he was caught with claimed five different nationalities: one Indian, one Bangladeshi, one Lebanese, one Iraqi, and one stateless Bedouin.

Also in Kuwait, a newspaper was shut down for having published photos of Saddam’s daughter in a bikini without sufficiently blurring her body. The paper had meant to diminish pity for Saddam's daughters by showing them having fun by the pool. The mere memory of Saddam, of course, is still despised here in Kuwait. In the Kuwaiti towers, for example, photos of the Gulf War’s aftermath are prominently displayed. Pictures of broken windows and restrooms have funny labels in Arabic and English like: “The Iraqi innaders [sic] made beautiful oasis a dead land,” and “even the air-conditioning control center was harmed by the barbaric invaders.”

Things were not nearly as exciting for our little freedom-defending contigent, however. Dorn and I competed in the “stepper” competition but did not place very well. We didn’t even know how to use the stepper machine. We spent the first minute or so lumbering in “arthritic brontosaurus in tar pits” mode, while everyone else was bounding in “cheetah on the moon” mode. Thankfully, someone came around and changed the settings on our steppers. I must’ve gotten a good workout out of it in the end, because when I stepped off the machine my legs went out from under me and I almost fell down.

I have spent yet more time fighting the bureaucracy battle – to set up the international relations class I am taking, and to arrange things for my upcoming two-week leave. I am starting to regret having signed up for this class, as it was meant to be a “hobby-class,” but turns out to be a paperwork nightmare.

We had the first sand-storm of the year yesterday. It was a really mild sand-storm, but it reminded me that sand-storm season is coming.

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