Delights of the Desert: Camping in Kuwait

Camping: the act by which inhabitants of the city foolishly attempt to persuade themselves that they can cut it in the wild, or an incorrect comparison drawn between people of today and early prehistoric human beings, a fallacy of tenacity whereby we believe we have the capability to “rough it” in our nylon tents, with our disposable barbeques, smart phones, ATV’s and most importantly, toilet paper.

Having never embraced the outback myself, I jumped at the opportunity to be “one with the desert” when two amazing ladies decided to organize a desert camping trip.

Kuwait turned out to be a lot bigger than previously imagined; at most I drew my borders around the CBD – Kuwait City, Salmiya, Jabriya, Hawally, Shuwaikh. Quite recently I ventured out to such far off areas as Fintas, Mangaf, Mahboula, Abu Halifa and Egaila. Now I have added Abdali to the mix.

The encampment where which we set up shop was quite astounding; an expanse of war torn buildings were all around us, uninhabited for decades, they served as a shocking reminder of the mayhem that was witnessed during the Gulf War. They served a new purpose now; cover for rave parties (glow sticks were found in the vicinity) as well as a supply of burnable wood for bonfires.

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The beauty of the bonfire

I digress, for this is not a history lesson, this was a fun session, and fun was passed out in excess as we arrived at roughly sun down. The tents were set up, I finally got my tent maker badge (thank you Robin!) and understood the mechanics of it all. In windy  conditions, rocks are your best friends. The sound system was hooked up and the music blared as the people ate and danced in merriment into the night. Highlights would include the song and dance of the Syrian People, the American People and the Egyptian People.

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The view from the tent… amazing

Helping hands were offered to people that were previously strangers, but by the end of the night had transcended to friends.

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At first thought, anyone would shudder at the idea of leaving the comfort of their homes for the “thrill” of sleeping beneath the stars. Yet all it takes is one look at the majestic sky to quell all fears. By 6PM the night sky was dark, given the absence of man-made illumination. To our right stood lights that we believed to be Iraq, to our left, Kuwait. The mind can play terrible tricks at night, with thoughts of marauders and bandits creeping into everyone’s minds. They were however unrealized, gone with the wind as the sun rose over the horizon.

Squeezing myself into an ill-fitting tent, lying diagonally so as not have enough space, bunching a cover beneath my head to serve as a pillow was part of an experience I would never forget. You learn to appreciate the small things in life; like the ease with which we have bathroom breaks during sleep. To go to the bathroom, at 6AM, after sleeping at 4AM, was quite the task as it involved wearing extra layers of clothes, as well as shoes (although I was ever thankful for being born a male for the simple pleasure of having the ability to pee standing up).

Running in the desert at 6:30AM though, I have a new appreciation for the Marathon Des Sables! Sand as far as the eye can see, and nothing but you and the dunes, priceless.

Camping is addictive, and once you have your first taste, it is impossible to forget. Rest assured, this will be revisited!

So in closing, thank you Alexis and Ligia for the amazing adventure!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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