Lately, I find myself wondering whether Alexander Pope ever visited Kuwait. Cursory research suggests no, but then again practical experience suggests maybe there was just nothing to write home about, hence “Hope springs eternal in the human breast [and Kuwait]”.
As I’m slowly narrowing down my Kuwait bucket list, with each check mark I routinely am faced with the same thought, “Welcome to Kuwait, Prepare to Be Underwhelmed.” But, I am trying desperately to not become one of those short-timer expats who only sees the negative in the life they’re leaving; but admittedly Kuwait sometimes doesn’t help matters. Regardless, with each week, I diligently plod through my bucket list, plan my route using Google maps, grab my camera, the baby and my gigantic satchel of hope, and head out.
Our latest adventure started solely as a find-the-fountain excursion. I’d read that there was a dancing musical fountain with “… traditional dancing and light shows; open daily 6:00am to 11:00pm”. How have we missed this? Seventeen hours a day of a dancing musical fountain? It must be found!
Then, when searching it out on Google maps, I saw it was between the ice rink, which we’ve never visited and a huge swath of green called Green Belt Garden. Sounds lovely! I was quite excited about the day’s outing; I could barely squeeze my satchel of hope in the car.
Without too much effort (meaning annoying u-turns that take you miles out of your way because of living in no-left-turn-land), we came upon the ice rink. I will admit that there are very few ice rinks around the world that look impressive from the outside. So the fact that Kuwait has an active ice rink at all is rather impressive in and of itself. We didn’t bother to go in, but dutifully admired it as we drove past on our way to the dancing fountain.
For a land that hates to label things, like roads and turn-offs, I was actually a little surprised to see this little park well-labeled. I was equally surprised to see that it was gated, fully locked and appeared to be packed up for the season with tables and chairs stacked and not an ounce of water or musical note to be found. As I sat there in the car, debating whether to even see if there were hours posted, I could feel my satchel of hope shrinking. But, hope springs eternal, not just when convenient, so we re-inflated our satchel, and headed off to see the glorious Green Belt Garden.
In all honesty, I’m not sure we ever found it, but considering the map and the proximity to the dormant fountains and the large enclosed area surrounded by a wall stating “Al Shaheed Park”, I’m thinking that we were successful; in finding it, not in actually seeing it. I did follow another car into what I thought was the entrance to the park, but instantly found myself in a construction zone with a guy standing in front of me with a look like, “Hey, lady, whatcha think you’z doin’?” (I’m, of course, assuming that all construction men speak like a stereotype from Queens, even in Kuwait.) I waved my hand as if to answer back, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, don’t get your panties in a twist, I’m turning around” (it was a wordy wave), and scuttled out.
So, with my completely deflated satchel of hope, I returned home and had to share my underwhelm-ment with my husband that night. With every attempted bucket-sighting, and my inevitable moans of disappointment, my husband always looks at me and says (with a little sigh, like he’s speaking to a child who keeps smacking themselves in the face), “Why don’t you just stay home and read a book?” Maybe he’s right. I have a feeling that Mr. Pope might concur. But then again, I heard that there’s something called The Mirror House that just might be worth a check. Come on Mr. Pope, load up that satchel and let’s get moving!