Kuwait is historically a fishing, trading and pearl culture. As far as I can work out, there were the fisherman, pearl divers, traders and the bedouin in the desert, and Kuwaitis can trace their families way back to one of these lines. So for a lot of Kuwaitis, fishing and life on the water is very important. The towns were on the water, looking outward and there was a massive amount of activity on the waters and in the ports.
'Diverse trade had many notable effects on Kuwaiti society. First, it brought locals into contact with people from all over, giving the Kuwaitis a more cosmopolitan outlook than many of their neighbours. Second, it took men away from their families for months at a time, leading to a home life that was strictly dominated by resourceful, self-reliant women. It also gave rise to sea shanties and other seafaring folklore, as well as a tradition of lavish feasts upon the return of the ships. Most important, perhaps, it gave the Kuwaitis early and extensive experience in contracting, finance, and investment - experience that had a great influence on the development of modern Kuwait.' (p. 13, 14, Welcome to Kuwait, published by Eric Tan, 2006)
I suppose here lies a major difference between the Kuwaitis and the bedoon, or bedouin. Many Kuwaitis seem to regard the bedoon as rather backward, stuck in their old ways, unwilling or unable to be open to change and modern life. But this is another story, which I will explore further in other posts.
We were invited to go fishing on a friend's boat on Thursday afternoon. Actually, it was following up a promise to my mother, really, who insisted she had to go fishing. My parents happen to be visiting Jordan at the moment, so they missed out this time.
We went to Marina Bay - not to be confused with Marina Bay in Singapore. Lots of rather fabulous boats are kept here, and the owners often employ a boatman whose job is to tend the boat 24/7, and be ready to take the boat and owners out fishing at a moments notice. Convenient. As far as I am concerned, this is the only way to own a boat.
So, loaded up with chips, chocolate and icecream, off we went on a most beautiful, clear, cool Kuwait afternoon. I keep being reminded that these are the golden days of the year - for in a matter of weeks there will be sand storms and the temperature will increase steadily by about 2 degrees a day, until we are slap bang in the middle of summer and 50 degree heat.
We headed straight out away from Kuwait city, over calm waters, for about 15 minutes. We were heading towards a bunch of fishing boats - clearly where the fishing was happening this afternoon.
The boatman set up the fishing lines, and we sat on cushion on the prow of the boat, chatting and playing with the kids. It was so relaxing, and we stayed until the sun went down, and a full moon rose over Kuwait city.