London and Kuwait June 2011 travel blog

Our new little friend

Sunimi

The motley crew headed out to a posh party!

Jim, Ellen and Jimmy

I sneaked a quick photo as we ere leaving

Paula & Toby

Friends at the Party

 

The kitchen (a prep kitchen was next to it)

Part of the dinner buffet

The Desserts

 

 

 


Its now Tuesday. We have had access to Internet, but have been very busy and having an incredible time! On Friday we went to watch Jimmy play soccer. They have a field (with AstroTurf) reserved every Friday night. Sometimes they play against other teams and, like this time, they scrimmaged each other. It was probably about 110 degrees at 6 pm when they started. One of Jimmy's friends brought his little girl, Sumini, along and she entertained us royally! (Stephanie...see the pictures! And no I couldn't kidnap her for you!) It was interesting to watch the arabic players greeting each other with loud kisses!! It was so hot that Jim's water bottle got too hot to drink, I guess it heated up to close to 100 degrees.

During the game Sumini entertained us. She played teacher and taught us to count to 10 in arabic and in Korean and in english (Jim had trouble with the english). Sumini talked non stop the whole time, some in english, some in Korean and some in arabic. She got a passerby to give her some of his sunflower seeds which she promptly tried to plant and water in the astro turf. She watered the seeds from the cold water in the cooler the players brought because the bottled water was too hot.

We got home about 8:20 and showered quickly as we were invited to a party that started at 9. Apparently the invitation was a little vague...like come by on Friday night. Paula called as we were driving (actually, as we were being driven) to the party and asked the hostess if there was a special occasion being celebrated. She said that they just wanted an excuse to dance. So we pull up to a mansion on the Arabian Gulf with valet parking. Of course we did not need valet parking as we had our driver...

The house/mansion which was new and like most of the large homes we had seen, was surrounded by a tall fence. We walked through the gates into a beautiful courtyard with lush grass (think about how hard that must be to maintain in Kuwait) and a pool that appeared to be a shallow pool I guess for the visual effect of a water element, not deep enough for swimming. Then we entered the house through doors that Jim pointed out probably cost more than our entire house. Emad and Mae and Emad's sister Hanadi greeted us. He was wearing the tradition white robes that would be the equivalent of a business suit. (some of you know that Jim has his own Arabic robe) His wife was in a Caftan, but one from a very high end designer. Paula told me later that this designer recently did a line of these caftans that women would wear to weddings or parties like this one. His sister, Hanadi, was in a beautiful black dress and heels, looking very western and gorgeous. She is Jimmy's boss. After introductions, they directed us to the basement. We entered the home into a marble foyer about the size of our house. On one side there was a room filled with food and on the other side a room filled with desserts Now some of you may remember going to parties in some one's basement when we were kids. Well, this was no ordinary basement!! And I have to say that the very few pictures that I took do not do show the opulence we saw!

We passed the elevator, and the kitchen (which with just a little peek I could tell was unbelievable) and proceeded down the marble stairway to the basement. The room was lined with white leather couches, chairs and stools. The ceiling was very high and they had pink lighting. It looked like a very cool, contemporary disco!! A 9 piece Kuwaiti band was set up at one end of the room. A very well stocked bar was at the other end.

We saw several people we had met the night before at Paula and Toby's. Everyone said the same thing...that they were surprised and pleased to be invited to this traditional Kuwaiti party. It turns out that the hosts had been to a Kuwaiti wedding two or three weeks ago and this band, which is the most famous in Kuwait, played, and no one was dancing!! They decided to have a party with this band because they wanted to dance. Of course, alcohol is illegal in Kuwait! But there was no shortage at this party. I was hesitant to order a glass of wine as it is much more practical to smuggle in liquor, but the wine was flowing freely also!

There was a DJ playing American music, but shortly after 10 the band began to play traditional Kuwaiti music. One of the musicians was playing a drum that looked like a large tambourine minus the metal. An assistant was switching out the drums regularly because they needed to be heated by a space heater every so often (maybe because at the old time traditional dances, there was no AC?).

The host and hostess began the dancing. They danced by holding hands held shoulder level and strolling down the wide aisle in the room. One Kuwaiti described it to Jim and a step to the right dragging your left foot and then a Step to the left dragging your right foot. It was pretty tame. About the second song, one of the Kuwaiti's we had met the night before got me up to dance. (He had played soccer at Kansas State and he and Jim had talked sports a great deal). I told Paula I was going to say I danced with the Emir's son...who would know the difference!!! I was told I was now Kuwaiti after the dance!! Tarek, another friend we had met on our last trip, told Jim to just give it an hour and the dancing would be crazy! But, isn't that usually the case???

So we dance and drank....Jimmy even danced!!! Then about 12:30 they announced that dinner was being sered upstairs.

The food was amazing and the presentation absolutely gorgeous!! There is one picture of the buffet, but there was more. I know there was a fondue table also set up and who knows what else!! We ate outside in the courtyard. It was probably about 90 degrees at that time, but it is very dry so not particularly uncomfortable.

No one really needed or wanted dessert, but the presentation won us over! It really was spectacular!! Of course, it is now about 1:30 and all that eating made us tired...but the DJ had come back on and Sofia and I hurried back downstairs to dance. Jimmy headed home, but the others followed us. After a little more dancing, we reluctantly had to leave. Bennie, the driver, was waiting outside to drive us home!! What an amazing night!! `I again have to say that the pictures and my descriptions don't really tell how amazing it was. We finally got to bed about 3 am with plans to be headed to the beach the next day by 10 am....



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