Exploring the waterfront

Living in a desert is a new experience for me, but so is living so near a coastline. I love how easy it is to go for a drive and see the beautiful smudge of deep blue at the horizon, peeking out from in between the buildings. Even better, is planning an outing to somewhere along the water’s edge, where the full expanse of the Arabian Gulf opens up in front of us.

A couple weeks ago, for our Friday outing, Wil suggested we head back to the Al Kout mall so we could spend a bit of time ocean-gazing. Last summer, we had gone to the mall with friends so the kids (and dads) could drive on the indoor Go Karting tracks, but we hadn’t explored Souq Al Kout, the wing of the mall that faces the sea and a marina.

The Souq features two large outdoor fountains, with restaurants with outdoor seating lining the edges. We went in the morning, so most of the seating was empty but I can imagine it is probably hopping at night time.

To reach the sea, you can walk alongside the fountains under an elegant covered walkway. It’s beautifully designed, with mosaic trim and a wood framework above which creates a cross-hatch pattern on the walls as the sun passes through.

At the end of the walkway, you reach a marina on the water. A ‘lighthouse’ provides a covered stairwell to climb up to gain better views.

Up top, it was very windy (Exhibit A: My sideways ponytail below.) but it was worth it. You can look out at the city and the coast:

Or you can enjoy a bird’s eye view looking back at the fountains and the mall:

Liam and I amused ourselves by viewing out from all angles while Wil engaged in small talk with a young man from Sri Lanka, who had introduced himself when he heard Wil’s American accent. Very politely, the man was keen to know if he could share his resume via email, in case Wil had any jobs to offer. Wil politely had to explain that he wasn’t in that kind of role but they had a friendly chat, nevertheless.

Back on the ground, we walked a bit further along the water and saw up close a few fishing boats.

The souk area, to our surpise, includes a fish hall, which explains all the fishing boats. By the time we walked through in late morning, however, there were very few stalls still open. (We were intrigued by squid for sale at one of the booths, but wouldn’t have the first idea where to start on preparing it for a meal.) Further on, a butcher area had plenty of meat on offer, including chicken (we saw a few live ones, so maybe you can pick one out?) and goat.

We crossed back past the fountains and entered the interior of the mall. It was also surprisingly quiet with very few fellow shoppers. I was smitten by a series of sculptures hanging from the ceiling which were grouped to look like schools of fish.

We thought it would be fun to walk along a path along the water and were soon finding ourselves pulled in the direction of a seaside Starbucks. Coffee and views sounded good so in we went, grabbed coffee, and found seats on an upper-story deck outside.

It was enjoyably chilly to sit out on the store’s deck and look down on all the expensive small yachts floating beneath our feet.

Friday is a day off for a lot of the third country nationals who live and work in Kuwait. The beach area near this mall is clearly a popular gathering spot for the men, who had gathered in groups to enjoy the sunshine, both on the pathway and on the beach. It’s too chilly right now to swim but it is nice weather for a stroll.

We braved the traffic and played some low-key frogger to cross the street to check out a few more stores. We all had a good laugh at this sign for jeans I have no interest in buying, even though I am a mom:

The neighborhood/area where the mall is located is called Fahaheel. As we drove away, I was able to snap a picture of a large “I *heart* Fahaheel” sign at the mall’s entrance. Love may be a bit strong of a term for me at this point, but I am willing to admit to a feeling of fondness for Fahaheel. Giving me a bit of sunshine, a shimmering blue sea, and a strong cup of java definitely doesn’t hurt if you’re trying to woo my heart.

One thought

  1. Wonderful article. I too am intrigued by the school of fish sculptures. What a lovely area. The cool breeze had to feel great. 

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