National and Liberation Days in Kuwait! My Second Weekend in Country (February 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2009)
Ah the joy of a four-day weekend! Sure feels nice to rest and recreate after a stressful week at work (albeit a three-day work week!!). Wednesday was Kuwait National Day and Thursday was officially celebrated as Liberation Day – the 18th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait (in February, 1991) following the Iraqi invasion of August, 1990. Seems like every Kuwaiti was driving around in their flag-draped cars. On Thursday, I ‘celebrated’ with a meal out (a new Chili’s restaurant in Salmiya). Naturally that was preceded with a visit to Starbucks for a decaf Americano and some time spent sitting outside enjoying the weather and engaging in some pleasant people watching. On Friday, I went to the new Avenues mall (opened a little over one year ago – reference an earlier posting last year) and viewed the progress of this ever expanding mall. This place is STILL under construction and new stores are being opened within what is now Kuwait’s largest mall. FYI: A Dean and Deluca’s fine food store is now open (New Yorkers will recognize this place!!!). First stop was Carrefour for groceries. Then, breaking with tradition [and responding to a follower’s comment that I should explore other coffee houses – besides Starbucks], I chose to visit Columbus Cafe (see picture below). Their decaf coffee was acceptable and the store’s location made for a nice opportunity to view the local shopping crowd. After coffee, I had my driver take me to the new Movenpick restaurant (I described this place in an earlier posting) where I had an excellent Friday buffet. [Total cost with tea and cover charge was approximately 17 KD. At $3.45/KD, that comes to about $59 USD!] The only sad note to this otherwise fine weekend were the car accidents we encountered on the return trip to Al Zour along Highway 40. There were at least three wrecks – two of which I’ve shown below. I share these photos not to embarrass my hosts but to emphasize to all visitors in Kuwait to DRIVE CAREFULLY! The road sign – see photo below – says it all!!!