My Heart Will Be Blessed With The Sound Of Music Kuwait – A Sense Of Place

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Kuwait – A Sense Of Place

It’s evening and the heat isn’t as strong as it was in the middle of the day. At 5:00 p.m., the crowds begin to buzz as colors and goods from around the world compete for attention, and each vendor shouts the benefits of their wares to every passer-by.

It goes dark every night at 7 o’clock, when gold necklaces, medals, rings, bracelets and watches glisten in the half-light of kerosene lamps. Not a single piece of gold is under lock and key – every item is freely displayed, to be touched and admired by all who wish.

Plant fruits and vegetables next to gold and sweets. Brightly colored fabrics stand out alongside a variety of beautiful rugs. A few meters away, a vendor extolls the benefits of his coffee beans and invites everyone to taste them. All vendors claim that their products are the best in the world: the juiciest watermelon, the biggest shrimp, the best gold, the thickest carpet, the richest coffee, the best pastry, the heaviest carpet.

In the midst of this commotion, the voices of men can be heard bartering while women in black veils pass by. Through this battle the men move with a certain grace in their white jellaba and variegated guttra. These long white capes and checkered head dresses add a romantic touch to young men checking out the many items on sale.

One of them is impatient to check other goods. As the crowd automatically gives way to him, he walks away in a show of authority. As he finds what he’s looking for, a smile spreads across his face as he focuses on the center of the music. After what seems like an eternity, he chooses the most expensive one. He immediately begins bartering with the salesman, which contrasts strangely with his hooked nose, brown eyes, and perfect teeth.

Throughout these negotiations, his concern is constantly proven, and he drives harder and harder bargains. The seller’s growing fear is palpable as he watches his profits dwindle to almost nothing. Suddenly it’s all over and both parties invoke Allah to bless the deal and shake hands for good measure “Inshallah” (God willing) before the young man returns to his friends.

Young children run around screaming, playing, and giggling when they see a white face, and they also run away laughing. Some of the little ones are shy and hide behind their mother’s skirts, occasionally staring with their big brown eyes and playing hide and seek. Many babies are already asleep and miss the sights, sounds, smells, colors and emotions of their surroundings.

The more people gather, the more oppressive the heat becomes. The smell of coffee is in the air, and the pungent smell of pipes running past the nearby coffee shops.

Today, twenty-six years later, these memories of Kuwait are still vivid in my mind. I also remember wearing sheepskin coats and boots there in the winter. I was advised to get warm clothes, but I fully believed I would never wear them. How wrong I was! I also remember the worst sandstorm I’ve ever seen. The entire surface of our apartment was buried under a layer of sand. Regardless of the weather, sometimes hot and sometimes bitterly cold, Kuwait will always hold a special place in my heart.

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