Down Range In Kuwait

Wayne here, finally writing about my many travels to Kuwait. Kuwait has sort of become my home away from home as I have to travel there, and other parts of the Middle East, about every six weeks, although Kirsten wishes it were less.
As I am sure you remember from the 1st Gulf War, the country of Kuwait is directly South of Iraq and since our liberation of Iraq has been an important staging ground for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Kuwait is considered "Down Range" by the U.S. Army, this means that it is a war zone so I get hazardous pay for being there, although Kuwait it not too dangerous.

I would say my time in Kuwait could be summarized into two experiences. Kuwait City, which is a vibrant, modern 21st century city and Camp Arifjon, which is our largest Army base in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert. Without going into too much detail, Camp Arifjon is our main staging area for all units going into forward operating positions or FOB’s in Iraq. Unfortunately, due to regulations, I was not able to take any photos of Camp Arifjon, just think of a 21st version of the M*A*S*H camp. All branches of our military are housed there, tents and temporary structures including a Post Exchange. The troops call it Camp “Arifjail”, due to the fact that the Kuwaiti government will not let any of our troops off the base as Kuwait has no alcohol and is fairly conservative in their Islamic beliefs (Unlike the Las Vegas of the Middle East, Dubai)

The other experience is that of Kuwait City, beautiful blue waters of the Gulf, skyscrapers and every American chain restaurant you can think of. A little background on that; in 1957 Kuwait was given its independence from the British and in 1962 oil was discovered creating an overnight boomtown from what was a humble port town. This whole region along the Gulf does not have any permanent tradition like that of Jordan, Syria, Iraq or Iran. Those living along this part of the Persian Gulf had and have to deal with the Arabian Desert, and where mostly Bedouin tribes traveling over the region. So, that is why I have eaten at Chili's, TGI Friday, McDonalds, Burger King, Applebee’s, The Hard Rock Cafe, Hardees, Little Casers, Popyes Chicken, Krispy Kreme and even Nathan Hot Dogs. (That is Bold for a Chicagoan)

Kuwait has money, and each Kuwaiti receives about $70,000 per year from oil revenues, keep in mind I said each Kuwaiti, not all citizens of Kuwait. There are many Palestinians, Indians and Filipinos living there in relative comfort doing the service jobs. The thing I like about Kuwait is it is a cross section of the Arab world, you have very conservative Muslims in which the woman are wearing the full Burkes, they will not get into an elevator with you and you never want to touch them even by mistake. Then there are the Arabs that dress like they live in Chicago, Jet Ski and go swimming in the Gulf.

Even though Kuwait feels pretty safe one must stay ever vigilant to the surrounding as you are reminded by all the barricades and metal detectors. Nevertheless, it is an interesting place to be, people are extremely hospitable and the sun is always shining (Well not always, as you can see by the car when we had a sand storm) That’s all from the Sandbox for now

Downtown Kuwait.

Main Mall Advertisement in Kuwait with a Blond Haired woman??

Kuwait Fish Market

Car After Sand Storm

1 Response
  1. Tom Erdman Says:

    Hi Wayne, When you sent the invitation to your blog, I thought is said victor singer many and I'm thinking Wayne is singing now??
    I think with the economy, all sales people have to wear the helmet and gear like you do. Great pictures and post.