Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Visa Run

My 30-day business visa for Kuwait expires on the 9th of February.

This means that I must leave and re-enter Kuwait.

Thanks to the advent of low-cost airlines Jazeera Airways and Air Arabia, this is not an expensive proposition.

The employer would normally put me on a single day round-trip flight to Bahrain. This would cost about $102 and my employer would pay it. I could hang out overnight with my pal The Professor, who works at New York Institute of Technology, Bahrain campus. (Yes, I couldn't believe there was a NYIT in Bahrain either.)

Ah, but I could do that anytime. Any weekend (which is Thursday and Friday here).

So I should take advantage of the moment and the credit towards my ticket, and go somewhere interesting.

A quick look at the airline sites tells me I could go to these places:

Sharm El-Shiekh

Khartoum is out because it's such a pain-in-the-ass to get the Sudanese visa. Damascus is out because I've been there once and the Syrian visa was also kind of annoying to get. Amman and Aqaba-- been there and done that not once but twice. I've been to Luxor and Sharm, but I really loved the snorkeling off Sharm and wouldn't mind lazing around the Kanabesh Hotel and looking at fish during the mornings. Luxor-- I'm thinking once for old dead things is enough, but maybe it bears repeating.

Never been to Beirut. Doesn't sound like a bad place to go. Lots of people like it but I don't know a lot about it.

If I went to Sharm, I could get a stopover in Dubai en route. And has hotels there that wouldn't give me heart problems. Another benefit there is that Egyptian visas are cheap and available at the airport. Everything else is cheap there as well.

Any advice?


Anonymous said...

Hi marie, Welcome to Kuwait.I was just going thru ur very interesting blog. Kuwait takes a bit of getting used to! I was born and brought up here and it still manages to surprise me!Have U found an apartment yet? The Rents u mentioned on ur previous blogs seem a bit too high for unfurnished apartments.U might want to check out apartments in Salmiya. Its a residential area closer to the city than salwa with almost all amenities and food joints within walking distances.Just ask if u need any help.Anyway,wishing u the best.
Harsha Das(

Marie said...

Thank you! I have been stunned by how welcoming everyone is here. The rents are quite high, but yes, it is for a furnished 3-month rental. Renting short-term is always much tougher than annually. It works for me at home, where I can charge a bit more for my place, but works against me abroad. Oh and it includes all the bills too. I wanted to live in Salmiya but for an furnished 3-month place there, it seemed REALLY expensive. Pity.

Steve Buccellato said...

I vote for Beirut! That's where I'd go. Besides, you've been to most of the other places, eh?

scarfalonius said...

Sharm el Sheikh! I spent a dreamlike week in the Sinai 20 years ago, snorkelling all day and drinking tea on carpeted palm logs all night. There was a lunar eclipse. Magical. It was Dahaab, not Sharm el Sheikh, but the reefs are the same. Really, I'd grab any chance to see those fish again. Buy a disposable underwater camera and post snaps on the blog, you'd be doing the world a favour.

Marie said...

I'm thinking "Scarfalonius" is right. Yancey and I were there in... '99? It was amazing. And we were both exhausted from a 2:30 late night, followed by a 4:30 wake-up call for the ferry, but we were still gung-ho for those colorful fish.

After the tout-stress of Luxor, Aswan, and Cairo, it was a relief to be in Sharm. And the Kanabesh Hotel was so nice and dirt cheap and right on the beach in the center of town.

Don't worry, Steve, I'll fit Beirut in on a weekend! Too curious to miss it.