Christmas in Kuwait…


I could just leave it there. But you may as well read the whole sorry tale.

The decision to work over Christmas came about a long time ago. Flights would be expensive, my mum usually works Christmas so I’d have to go to them (and therefore not see anyone else due to everyone being so dotted about the country) and someone had to work it. I thought if I fell on my sword and volunteered I’d have points in the bank for when I wanted time off at the same time as other people.
I didn’t count on spending the whole week so miserable though.
I wasn’t the only one. Some of my friends stuck around as well and we all felt it. Christmas was happening to everyone else, somewhere else, and we were on the outside looking in. We tried to make the most of it but every single person wanted to be anywhere but Kuwait.
We booked a table for ‘five star dining’ on Christmas Eve. The advert had said ‘watch our restaurants transform into a winter wonderland and share that special night with loved ones in a cosy ambience of tinsel and Christmas lights’. Fully booked they said. Don’t be late they said. We walked in and saw one miserable couple not talking and at the next table were a couple with a baby. No one else, just lots of empty tables. And one tree and a bit of cheap tinsel does not a ‘winter wonderland’ make. It was like having Christmas dinner in a Travelodge. There was a good spread though. Salad bar, sushi bar, cold meats and pates, hot dishes, carvery (which the waiter called a craving… it took a while for the penny to drop) and a huge choice of miniature desserts. Shame the quality of the food didn’t live up to appearances. The turkey was dry, the veg was hard and it took a lot of hand gestures and several members of staff to get gravy. It was one of those really frustrating Kuwait conversations:
“Do you have any gravy?”
“Gravy mam?”
“yes, gravy. For the turkey” *mimes the pouring of gravy over the plate*
“Cranberry sauce?”
“No, gravy. For meat”
“There is stew over there mam”
“I don’t want a stew, I want gravy for this plate”
“Mushroom sauce mam?”
“No, gravy”
“I will check mam”
*wanders off, talks to several people, disappears. Someone else comes out*
“Are you OK mam?”
“I’m waiting for the gravy”
“Ok I will check”
*wanders off. Returns with a bowl of thin brown gravy that looked more like stock*
“Can I have a spoon?”
*hands me a fork*

Eventually we have success and the now almost cold brown water ends up where it is supposed to be, trying to soften the meat. However it then ends up sloshing over the edges of the pate as I walk back to the table. Did I say this was five star? I’d have given anything for a Toby Carvery right then!
By the time we escaped Kuwait’s answer to Fawlty Towers it was getting quite late. This meant that Christmas Day we were all tired, miserable, missing our families and at work. As the UK woke up and Facebook and Twitter went beserk, we were ready to hide under our desks and cry.
Thankfully we had a ‘gathering’ to go to that night so after a quick chat with the folks I got dressed up and headed over to a friend’s for ‘a few nibbles’. A few nibbles turned out to be a platter of canapés, cold meats and cheese from Dean & Deluca. At least the misery of Christmas ended on a high point.
Until the alarm went off at 6am Boxing Day. Another day of work. A day made a lot harder by the cocktails and 1.30am finish.
But… I came away with a massive doggy bag of party food and cheese which means Boxing Day evening on the sofa, with leftovers and the Downton Abbey Christmas special on the TV. So it’s not all been bad!


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