Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kuwait Day 1 - Visas, Limousines and Hotels

Kuwait Airlines Business Class was pretty cool but arrival was chaotic with a ‘Swine Flu’ SWAT team waiting as we entered the terminal, masked up and ready to nab anyone with a cough or signs of sweat. As our visas were not there for collection, we had to make a few calls to get things sorted. Middle East Airports are full of transient workers from the sub-continent and far east, with a smattering of Arabs looking dashing in their dishdashas. Visas collected, we were met and delivered to the hotel in a couple of smart government cars. In an act of great generosity (the norm in this part of the world) the cars and their drivers were available for the entire trip. Suites at the Crowne Plaza were huge and you’ve got to love gold bathroom fittings!

These hotels are huge and rather strange western oases. The Crowne Plaza has seven restaurants, including a Texas Rib-Eye place with Phillipino girls dressed as cowboys. The one major difference is that the entire country is dry. The view from my window was one of a fawn coloured desert and roads filled with huge white cars – petrol is 12 pence a litre! The hotel had lots of Kuwaiti businessmen and a steady stream of Americans, who clearly work in oil or the military – all biceps, and cropped haircuts.

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