There’s a large body of water which provides the eastern border of Kuwait – Depending on where in the world you are from, you know it as either the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. (Around here, the latter is the preferred term.)
It is surreal to me that my current home is situated just a few kilometers from the Arabian Gulf. When we stayed in a hotel for our first 10 days here, we were closer to the sea, which could be seen from the upper floors as a horizontal blue smudge between the tall buildings. Our home is more inland, with a view offering only the rooftops of other residences, but nowhere in Kuwait is really all that far from the Gulf.
Despite its proximity, we hadn’t done much more than drive along the coast a few times on our way to other places. Ahead of last week, as we were thinking through what to explore on the weekend, I suggested to Wil we visit the Marina Mall, situated near the northern tip of Kuwait City. The mall itself looked fine, but my real interest in it was knowing it had a pedestrian bridge to a second section, called Marina Crescent, which sits directly on the water with access to a beach. I wanted the chance to see that blue water up close.
I’ve been a bit blue myself here and there. It’s always an adjustment when you move overseas. We are savvy enough to know to be patient with ourselves while we settle into our new surroundings, but aspects of this move have hit me harder than I expected. It’s a harder place to explore, at least so far, for a variety of factors: heat; alarming traffic and driving habits; lack of public transportation; low walkability factor; my welcome—but isolating—40-hour remote work-week from my home office; and a smaller amount of easily-found tourist attractions than we’ve had other places we’ve lived. We’ll be fine, we are fine, but we’ve had to dig deeper these first few months to find the joyful, lighter moments of living abroad.
So, I was hopeful this outing would provide us with the lift that is nearly inevitable when facing the sweet sight of a shore filled with rolling waves. The mall was lovely, as fancy malls here tend to be—indoor domed atrium, palm trees—but the real star of the show was the cerulean blue of the water outside.
To get there, you enter a wide sunny pedestrian bridge that crosses over a road and emerge on the other side, at Marina Crescent. Looking out, you view a protected marina with small white yachts docked in rows.
The crescent itself, on two floors, is lined with outdoor seating for restaurants. You can dine on burgers from Johnny Rockets or pizza from Pizza Express while looking out at the water. Nearly no one, though, was doing so. Remember, even now that it’s “cooler,” the temperature was still clocking in above 100 or so degrees.
Despite the heat, we—and the friends we’d brought along—followed the curve of the crescent to its end, crossed a small street, beyond the marina, and continued on a palm tree-lined path that borders the Marina Beach on one side and a large grassy park on the other. By now we were all properly sweating but we’d made it this far so kept going. To our left, the beach looked sandy and enticing, dotted with only a few swimmers; to our right, the park looked a bit scrubby. To be fair, I’m not exactly expecting lush grass in this part of the world.
The water, as I’d hoped, was beautiful. The day was calm, with little wind. I could pretend for a moment I was on holiday, gazing out at palm trees, a deep blue sea, and an expansive, cloudless sky. Only, lucky me, this view, this water, these trees, are local to me and not part of some temporary vacation.
We strolled to the end of the beach. The small peninsula at the beach’s end features an odd-looking building with sails which houses a few restaurants. Opposite, looking east, you can see a bit further along the coast and more of downtown.
The map tells me the path continues along the edge, but we were done being outdoors. I made Wil snap a few pictures of me with the beach and palm trees as a background and we started our sticky walk back to the beckoning coolness of air conditioning.
As you can see from my smile, I had a good time. Over the coming months, some aspects of our life in Kuwait will get easier; some won’t. Living abroad is almost by definition going to be a complex experience. But, I know the chance to explore a new corner of this part of the world, to breathe in some sea air, to be lifted by a new view, is always going to be time well spent.