Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dust and Buses

I’d been walking to work but today there was a swirling haze of dust in the air. You can dress the desert up in Pizza Huts and office towers, but the sand never misses a chance to punctuate its point that mankind is just a temp in the grand scheme of things.

The desert was reminding me of its existence rather nastily this morning, so I hopped on the bus. The working-class men moved aside to give me a seat. Rather than belabor the point that they were as entitled to it as I was, I took it. I was already nervous that they’d look askance at me for taking the bus in spite of being told by co-workers that it was inappropriate.

No one looked askance. No one even blinked. The bus roared on, zipping me to work in record time. I marveled at the efficiency of Kuwaiti public transport, thinking “More people should take the bus.”

I spent the morning giving my first coloring class. It didn’t take long for the staff to groan at the labor-intensive process. The wise Editor-in-Chief looked alarmed. They got it quickly. Coloring is a pain in the butt.

Point made, we all packed up and went to look at our new offices, which happen to be located in the ass-end of nowhere. My brief bus ride this morning will likely be the end of my Kuwait City bus-riding career. I’m going to need a car.

The idea of driving in Kuwait City terrifies me. It seems like an easy place to drive. Kuwaitis drive on the right, just like at home and in continental Europe. Roads are clearly marked in both Arabic and English. Traffic lights control major intersections, and people more-or-less heed them.

No, it's not the roads. It’s the alarming speed at which people tailgate that has me worried.

According to the BBC’s correspondent, tailgating in Kuwait is about boredom. Young people, frustrated by the lack of gathering spots or things to do, play out their frustrations behind the wheel.

I worry about these drivers. I don't like when people ram me from behind while going 60 miles an hour. I've been in the car a few times with people who drive like this. One of our mandoubs is a prime offender.

"It's no problem to drive here," stated our company advertising sales executive. "You just have to look all over and be ready for anything."

Mr. Fixit is still looking into a car for me. So far they've all been quite unaffordable.

One unrelated tidbit: When I arrived home, I was surprised to see that my 2-bedroom apartment had become a 1-bedroom in my absence. They had talked about moving me into a 1-bedroom as soon as one became available, but this seemed a bit excessive. They'd sheet-rocked over the entrance to the second bedroom, making the small bedroom with attached bath into its own studio flat (although it is as of now walled up with no entrance). Which is fine, except that the workers had left the porn channel on my TV and it took ages of fiddling with the two remotes to get it back on BBC.


Jared said...

Did you check if some one was walled up behind the sheet rock in a ghoulish Edgar Allen Poe type of way? This could be the end (or begining) of a horor movie.

PaulaB said...

Omigod I had the same thought as Jared!
that would creep me out a wee bit - arriving home to find that workers had been in my house and walled up bedroom & fiddled with the TV - what else were they up to? best to remain in ignorant bliss....;-)

Jewaira said...

Please share more of your bus experiences with us. No, I have never been on a bus in Kuwait and I would like to know.