Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trip to Kuwait City

I recently took a trip to Kuwait City, Kuwait to attend the Arab-U.S. Association of Communication Educators (AUSACE) conference. It was my first conference outside of the U.S. and my first AUSACE conference.

The conference was nice. The focus of much of the research presented was on Arab media. There were sessions in both English and Arabic. The conference was held on the Kuwait University campus and they accommodated us nicely. There were a few logistical issues, but the time spent w/the conference attendees was more than pleasant.

Some of the activities planned outside of the conference was a quick tour around the city and then a trip to the Marina Mall (where Kuwait's first radio station is housed; for reasons that I won't explain here, I missed the tour of the radio station. If you know me and my passion for radio, you know that I am still NOT happy that I missed the tour of the radio station). We went to see the movie "Journey to Mecca" at the Imax in The Scientific Center. We also had an incredible lunch buffet at the Kuwait Towers.

Was it hot? It was boiling. And I'm not one to complain about the heat. But shesh, was it uncomfortable and to top it off, everywhere we went it was icy cold w/the AC. In between conference sessions, we'd go outside to warm up.

Kuwait was a stark contrast to Cairo, where I live. One of my students asked me how was Kuwait in comparison to Cairo and before I could answer, she said 'civilized'. Interesting and true. I tried to make a comparison, but it's just not fair to try to compare; they are distinctly two difference places. The first thing I noticed was how the Kuwaitis obeyed traffic lights and drove in their lanes on the highway. Simple observation, but if you know Cairo, you know that its pure anarchy when it comes to traffic in the city.

The Westernization of Kuwait is a bit sickening. Almost any American restaurant chain that you can think of exists in Kuwait. It really diminishes a good amount of the ethnic identity of the city. If it weren't for the veiled women and the men in their traditional dress, you'd think you were in Cali. Seriously.

I could go on and on ... point is, I really enjoyed my five days in Kuwait. I wouldn't mind going back. Maybe the next time, I'll get to see that radio station. ;-)

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