Q8Sultana's Blog...

Generally I can be found roaming somewhere in the world. I'm originally from Hungary, I grew up in Kuwait, I did my BA in the States, my MA in the UK, and now work in Hungary, but still return to Kuwait regularly :o)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in Kuwait

I've done something similar two years ago, nevertheless, here are some pics of signs of Christmas all over Kuwait from this year :o)
Although I think because Eid and Christmas were so close this year, most public places only have Eid decorations.

Fanar


IKEA


Mughal Mahal Restaurant

Avenues (although this is more the Eid decrotation, nevertheless the stars could pass for giant snowflakes :o)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Home :o)

I'm back :o)

For two weeks at least :o)

Home sweet home :o)

PS: عيد مبارك

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chador Etiquette

I came accross this article today, and it made me smile...

Chador Etiquette
Kuwait
By Christine Michaud

Darkness had fallen on the quiet bay almighty Saddam once set ablaze for months on end. All across the city, muezzins perched atop neon-lit minarets were calling believers to prayer, their blaring chants echoing off into desert and sea. The timing was perfect. Hugging a black cloak around me, I slipped out into the warm winter night.

A few blocks from the nearest mosque, four women walking closely together passed me by. In addition to the standard chador – a large black cloak and head covering – they wore a black gauze that completely covered their faces and gloves that forbade any sight of their hands. Like black ghosts, they silently floated away down the narrow alley, leaving but the scent of their expensive perfume to be remembered. Tonight, I had decided to be one of them. Having similarly concealed my alienating fairness under silky veils, I could be just another black ghost in the land of Allah.

Or I could make an all-time fool of myself.

[the rest of the story]

So is the word chador used in Kuwait? I was under the impression that a chador was something like an abaya that they wear in Iran. But the word is all over the place on the internet, books, articles, so maybe I just never heard it used in Kuwait or something...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend trip

This past weekend, a friend of mine suggested we check out this Islamic monument we have here in Hungary, called the Tomb of Gul Baba. Most of Hungary was under the occupation of the Ottoman Empire for 150 years after 1526, and so we have a few minarets and other remnants of Islam all over the country.
I took some pictures, and here's some info about the place, that turned out to be the only site in Europe that some Muslims come for piligrimage to (Sufis I think).
gulbaba1
Gül Baba was a Bektashi dervish poet and companion of Suleiman the Magnificent who took part in a number of Ottoman campaigns from the reign of Mehmed II onwards.
He is thought to have died during the first religious ceremony held after the Ottoman victory at Buda in 1541, or alternatively to have been killed during fighting below the walls of the city on 21 August. Suleiman declared him patron of the city and is reputed to have been one of the coffin bearers.
gulbaba8

In Hungary Gül Baba is known as the "Father of Roses" and is said to have introduced the flower to the country. However, this is probably a misunderstanding of the metaphorical use of the term which most likely refers to the dervish's status derived from his deep mystical knowledge of Allah, which made him a notably "fragrant" member of his order.
gulbaba6
Gül Baba's tomb was built between 1543 and 1548, on the orders of the third pasha of Buda, and has a shallow dome covered with lead plates and wooden tiles. It was left undamaged when the Habsburg armies captured Buda in 1686, but was converted into a Christian chapel by the Jesuits who renamed it "St. Joseph's Chapel".
gulbaba3
In 1885 the Turkish government commissioned a Hungarian engineer to restore the tomb and when the work was completed in 1914 it was declared a national monument. The site was restored again in the 1960s and ultimately in the 1990s and is now the property of the Republic of Turkey.
The mausoleum is the only site of Islamic pilgrimage in Europe. [Sorce]
gulbaba2

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ramadan Mubarak!

مبارك عليكم الشهر
Happy Ramadan to all!
By the way, why do Sunnis and Shias start (and end) Ramadan on different days?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Flood

When you look out the window in the morning, and this is what you see, you just *know* it's going to be a shitty day....


(I'm in Hungary now, and our street was flooded last night because of a broken water pipe...our car was also almost completely submerged)

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Wonders of Nature

nature

Isn't it amazing how life sprouts in the most unlikely places?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

English sunset

My life is really uneventful lately - it's just the dissertation that takes up my thoughts and time...
However, I do manage to take pictures from time to time, although I'm not very inspired to even do that...
I don't want this blog to completely die, so here's an English sunset...not as nice as a Kuwaiti sunset, but not bad nevertheless :o)

sun2
sun1

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'm English Til I Die....

So, I'm not neither a big soccer/ football fan, nor a fan of bars/pubs, but nevertheless yesterday I went to see the England-Portugal match, and I have to say I'm glad I did because it was definitely an experience.

football

Of course througout the match there was much excitement and buzzing in the place, people arrived wearing flags, red hair, and wearing football T-shirts was a must.

As more and more beer was consumed, people got louder, randomly singing the British anthem, and several football cheers, like the one I have as a post title:


I'm English till I die
I'm English till I die
We will win the Worldcup
and the Germans will cry


Well, that won't happen. As soon as Portugal scored the final goal, the whole place went quiet, and even a few tears were shed. It was a bit sad...

Anyway, I think I'll definitely go watch the final, and maybe even Italy-Germany, considering I have an Italian and a German friend, so it'll be interesting :o)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Greetings from the English Riviera...

A friend of mine came down from London this weekend, and we had tons of fun. Caught up on a lot of girl talk :o)
On Sunday we took a little trip to Torquay, the so called "English Riviera" :o)
It is my favorite place in England so far. It has somewhat of a Mediterranean feel. It's wonderful.
tor5
tor4
tor3
tor2
tor1
One of the reasons why I changed my template was to be able to display the photos in a larger format.
And now the fun is over, so back to researching :o(

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Used books shop in Kuwait city

Did anyone know there's a used books bookshop in Kuwait? On Fahad Al Salem street in Kuwait city.

And best of all, they have a website where you can search their book collection and even reserve books you like. You just have to go pick it up within 5 days.

Here's the link to Q8Books.

Has anyone been to the shop?

The site is cute, although it seems somewhat like a hobby rather than a real hardcore business.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Got milk?

I thought they only had this in Tom & Jerry cartoons :o)

Imagine if milk was left out like this in Kuwait, it would turn into Labneh :o)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Water Towers

Back in the day, Fadibou had a post about the blue-white striped water towers that can be seen in various parts of Kuwait:

Well, today in the library I found a book called Kuwait: The Making of a City by Stephen Gardiner, and here's the bit it had about the the blue-white striped towers as well as the Kuwait Towers. Apparently there were 4 sets of the blue-white striped towers complete by 1977, and the Kuwait Towers are the the fifth set of water towers.
Water tower design in Kuwait is unique, revolutionary and more remarkable than any in the world. How did it happen?...
In 1965, the Swedish firm of VBB, headed by the architect, Professor Sune Lindstrom, was called in to provide this complex and ambitious work of engineering and design. By 1977, it was complete, and what we see if it are five groups of marvellous forms, standing about at various strategic points like enormous pieces of city sculptures. Constructed of concrete, coloured, or pure white, or, in the case of the country’s Islamic symbol, the Kuwait Towers, partly decorated, these giants have strong associations with the abstractions of geometry that brought order to the disorder of natural forms…
Together with the Kuwait Towers, the four groups of water towers won the Aga Khan 1980 Awards for excellence in design.
Stephen Gardiner, Kuwait: The Making of a City (p 121-123) (1983)

There's a whole lot more about how Islamic architecture was applied to the towers. What I don't understand is why they call the Kuwait Towers "the country's Islamic symbol."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

One step forward, two steps back...

There's been some coverage in the Kuwaiti newspapers in the past few months of a proposition of forming a national women's football team. Of course it was immediately opposed by Islamist MPs, saying it was against religion, contradicting Kuwaiti social norms and traditions.

Today when I read the following in a book written in 1971, I couldn't help but laugh at the optimism of the time:

It hardly seems credible today that there used to an anti-sports attitude in Kuwait. Moreover, the early Muslim teachers preached against public exposure of shoulders, chest and thighs - which sounded the death knell for sports. In particular, in the old days schoolgirls were never permitted to participate in any form of physical exercise. In the past they were veiled, their bodies enshrouded in black, gruesome cloaks almost before they reached puberty. Today it is common and seemly for schoolgirls to take part in public sports. At the first Arab school sports held in Kuwait, in November 1963, at the Shuwaikh Secondary School Stadium, some 70,000 spectators watched girls from local schools give an impressive gymnastics display....
All this represents an enormous step forward.
John Daniels: Kuwait Journey (1971)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Parachutes

I remember trying to catch these little parachutes when I was a child...

It was quite hard to get one to stay put long enough on a strand of grass...


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Are you superstitious?

I'm reading a really cool book by Haya Al-Mughni called Women in Kuwait: The Politics of Gender. While the book is mostly about the history of feminist organizations in Kuwait, the first two chapters are more of a historical background. I found something very interesting in Chapter 2: The Lives and Experiences of Kuwaiti Women (before oil).
Here's an excerpt:

The Practice of Zar and the Search for an Alternative Source of Power
There is historical evidence that women (in Kuwait) believed in witches and in jinn and practised zar (spiritual possession). They believed that witches could fly at night and many went so far as to claim that they had seen a witch fly. They also believed that jinn hide at night, waiting at every street corner, sometimes taking the form of sheep...
Far from being mere superstition, the practice of zar involves the manipulation of power relations in favour of the powerless. In other words, 'spirit possession is a form of bargaining from a position of weakness'. In her account of Kuwaiti women during the 1930s, Robertson reports:
Some women are astute enough to profit by the belief in demons. They tell their husbands or friends that the devil which possess them wants a silk garment (thob), or a sheep or something of the kind, and because of the superstitious fear of such spirits, the women generally receive whatever they demand.
Hence, through the intermediary of spirits, women were able to make demands in men which might otherwise be denied. Such an astute practice gave women the chance to exercise their malice and manipulate men without running the risk of being punished.
But women did not simply attempt to make indirect demands on men; they went so far as to claim supernatural powers. Old Kuwait was filled with tales of witches, and women found pleasure in spreading such stories, however fictitious they might be, as if to validate their own power and make men fear them. It worked: the more women made up stories about each others' supernatural powers, the more men were inclined to believe them.
The idea that these stories were meant to spread was that a woman could ruin a man's life if he made her unhappy and that women have as much power as men to destroy someone. Men indeed fear such power.
The fact that Kuwaiti men tolerated such malicious practices on the part of women was partly because they themselves believed in jinn.
Haya Al-Mughni called Women in Kuwait: The Politics of Gender, pages 50-53
So, do Kuwaiti women today still use such means to manipulate their men? Are people still so superstitious? I hear many stories of evil eyes, and black magic and spells, but how widespread are these practises?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

PhotoMosaics

If you look closely at the above picture, you can see it's made up of hundreds of tiny pictures. On the following links, you can download programs that enable you to do similar mosaic pictures.
I tried the "Andrea Mosaic," and it's very easy to use. The other one is for Mac Users.

Andrea Mosaic: for PC Users

MacOSaiX: for Mac Users

Have fun, and post it if you made any cool mosaics :o)

Disclaimer: I do not take responsibility for the content of these programs.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some dreams do come true…

Even though I have written posts in the past implying that I wouldn’t mind getting a Lamborghini, my dream car is actually pretty low key compared to these cars.


I love Ford Mustangs.

Today I got the chance to drive one :o)

I’d like to thank my sweet sweet boyfriend, because he’s the one who found out about it and came along for the ride.

Anyone with similar dreams can test drive one at the Ford dealership in Shuwaikh, every day between 9 and 12 in the morning.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Souq Sharq

Souq Sharq is one of my favorite chill out palces in Kuwait. And any picture I have ever taken there has turned out nice, simply because it's a nice place.
So here's a few, note the amazing full moon on one of them...

By the way, I think whoever allowed this ugly pink/yellow fast food restaurant to be built attached to a beautiful, old Mosque should be beaten up. Everytime I see it I feel like crying, because its so ugly.


A few shots from a balcony in Ras Al-Salmiyah...

To the right...

To the left...

Zoom in...

Nasty smell

So, Friday was the Harley gathering at the Hard Rock Café. We went with my dad to check out the bikes, especially The Don’s.

One thing I’m sure everyone who attended noticed, was the foul smell the wind blew our way from time to time. Is this thing on the picture below like a drain that dumps sewage right into the sea? In the middle of Salmiya? I hope not…although it sure smelled like it, and the fact that it was low tide didn't help at all.



On a brighter note, here’s some bike pictures:


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Friday was a bad day...


...for some kid at the beach...

If this car is yours...


...you know what to do...

1-800-ANOTHERCARFORQ8SULTANA
:o)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

At the gas station

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Isn't it about time you got lucky?"


"Isn't it about time you got lucky?"
I wonder how many guys (and gals) are thinking the exact same thing at any given time in Marina Mall.
:o)