If you check out “Lonely Planet: Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula,” you may be surprised to learn that the number 1 “spectacular Peninsula” landscape listed for all seven countries (Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen) is Mutla Ridge in Kuwait! Of course, then you read on and you learn, “While not a particularly spectacular line of hills [umm… mild contradiction to their earlier claim], Mutla Ridge is about as good as it gets in Kuwait… [and] Although the land mines have been cleared, you should stick to the paths in case of explosive remnants.” Wow, sign me up!
Surprisingly, in spite of these claims, and further warnings from other friends regarding snakes and scorpions, I managed to convince my husband and our friends, Molly and Arthur, to make an excursion out into the wilds of Kuwait. I tried to downplay the whole landmine-snake-scorpion aspect and instead suggested we bring picnic stuff for car picnics (it will be 112 degrees out, as well) and with any luck it’ll be one of those wonderful clear Kuwait days where we’ll be able to perch at the top of Mutla Ridge (which incidentally is the highest point in Kuwait) and gaze down at the modernity of Kuwait City. Then, if we’re feeling particularly jaunty, we can continue north another hour to the border of Iraq before turning around and heading home. All in all, a fun little morning outing with hopeful camel spottings along the way.
So, at 9:00am, we packed up our two cars, our two toddlers, our snacks and drinks and cameras and headed off caravan-style! Twenty minutes into the drive, as we were passing the 360 Mall, the problem became quite apparent; visibility was dropping steadily. “This looks bad,” my husband said. “We’re heading directly into a sandstorm.” “Naw, we’ll be fine. A sandstorm is constantly moving, it’ll just pass right over us,” I said optimistically. “Um, yeah, they move, but they also cover entire countries as they do it.” Such a poop-head. Molly called to see what we were thinking. I explained my optimism versus my husband’s pessimism, but even as we were speaking visibility was getting worse; much, much worse. “I think we should turn around,” my husband said. “Fine.” (insert sulk) “We could head back to 360 Mall and get breakfast,” he added.
I suggested this to Molly who agreed it sounded like a saner plan. So, in the blinding sandstorm we turned around, and with Arthur taking the lead since he had his GPS up and running, he lead us safely to 360 Mall.
Well, we made our attempt, which counts for my bucket list. Since Molly and Arthur are here for another year, I suggested they try it again in the Fall and send us pictures.
So, in the end, I guess what they say is true; no matter how hard you try, all roads in Kuwait do lead to the mall.