Yesterday, with one my french friend, we were talking about what we miss the most from France. The conclusion was that we miss walking, walking around in the street and going to nowhere. In Paris, it’s possible to do everything by walking : the streets are pedestrians friendly, even if we can still criticize the sidewalks. But, if we look at the big picture, France is a country where it’s possible to do everything from walking.
Here, I mean in Salmiya, to walk around is more like a dream. I am dreaming about a long walk outside. At least, we are kind of lucky because we have a Promenade next to the sea… But it’s the only area reserved for the pedestrians. It’s really fast to go and back, there are no hidden magical places or restaurants.
The streets are full of cars, traffic is a disaster, at some points we get used to live in the sound of the horns, the big motocycle or the different Porsche or Maserati… When it’s about going somewhere, the pedestrian should call a taxi because with the awful sidewalk, it’s really hard to walk around. But honestly, with all the pollution we have, there is no pleasure to walk around.
Your car define how strong you are
As a pedestrian, we can see really easily all the habits of everyone who has the chance to drive. I will write a post about the administration in Kuwait, but getting the driving license is like something you can only dream about.
The first thing I saw here is the space took by the cars : the wastelands are parking space, sidewalks are an add-on to the street (I think you can have an accident on the sidewalks) When you are a pedestrian in Kuwait, we get used to pray to stay alive !
Then… Everybody knows the drive-thru is everywhere : Mac Donald’s, Starbucks, KFC, the small shops, grocery store, shawarma… everywhere ! When I was in France, I thought a lot about going to the small kebab place and just honk to get my food. Well, here it’s how it works. You honk, get the menu, choose your food, pay, get your food, without leave your car. And nobody cares if you a blocking the streets, more you are honked, more the food is enjoyable apparently !!
But honestly, no matter what : how to block a street when there is no rules ? The license is sometimes – often – given in a random way, the drivers are not aware about the rules in the street and the phone looks like a legal obligation ! Everybody drives taking snap or sending texts. Issues you can have on the roads are really easily solved : pass by the right, the left, take two ways, create a third one if it’s possible. At the same time, to be honest, I’ve never seen a chaos as calm as it is in Kuwait. Not a lot of fights, only traffic and honks, it’s like a stressless chaos.
Learn how to flirt behind the wheel
When you are a pedestrian, guys don’t care of you that much. I got stopped by a boy, maybe once or twice since I am in Kuwait, nothing compares to the Parisian harassment. How do they flirt ? The guy honk, open the window, ask you where you are going to, ask you if you need a ride. If not, most of them will leave. Everything happens in the car : you can go at the end of the street, to the building behind you or in another area, the answer will always be the same “come, I will ride you.” But anyways, here in Kuwait, we don’t flirt that much with pedestrians, we flirt with the ones who are driving on the way next to yours.
In Kuwait, the weekend starts on Thursday night and finish Saturday night. It starts on Wednesday : roads are full of cars, boys and girls are driving around, making traffic, playing with the honk. The boys drive slowly, slow down next to cars, check the girls inside, looking for beautiful girls. The phone numbers are given by the windows, and they will meet later. Where ? In the mall ? In the same car a bit far from the city ? Honestly, I have no idea. I only hope that everything happens away from everybody’s eye, in the closed space of luxurious cars.
Not only cars
People who are not driving are not only pedestrians. There is, obviously, the hoverboad. I still don’t understand how it works, but a lot of people use it. Small colorful light to be seen when the sun is going down, some of them also ride with the sound of a motor to give more realism. Some are biking, and I also saw people with an elliptical bike… moving ! First time of my life I saw it ! Better to do it outside, less boring than just biking watching television.
To be a pedestrian in Kuwait is not something easy or enjoyable and it’s even not a good way to discover the city… But I confess to being divided between the desire to make gasoline so cheap and the fear of driving in this noisy and stuffy chaos.