Kuwait City, Kuwait Must Loathe Dogs

I pulled my laptop out on the flight to Kuwait. The act jolted the Sri Lankan man next to me from his slumber and sent him into an angry rant about computers and their destructive effect on modern life.

"They try to make me take one of these at my company. I asked them, ‘do you want a man who will sit at his computer all day and send emails, or do you want a man who can fix problems?’ They said, ‘we want a man who can fix problems.’ And that’s what I do."

He instructed me that my life would be much better if I got rid of the thing.

"When I am at work, I work. When I am at home, I am at home. That is how it should be."
"It’s difficult to draw the line these days, isn’t it?"
"Very much."

Sirath is an engineer living in Bahrain. He goes around the region helping commercial airlines maintain their engines. I opened up my copy of Flight Simulator and put us on the runway at Sana’a airport in a 737. He looked over the cockpit controls and started tweaking dials here and there, fuel mixtures and whatnot. He pushed the throttles forward, took off, and had a thrilling 30 second ride before flipping the plane and crashing into a sand dune.

To be fair, it’s not easy piloting a commercial jet with arrow keys.

He told me some jaw-dropping stories about airline disasters.

Two years ago. Flight out of Cyprus to Greece. A Greek mechanic goes on the radio and says there’s some sort of malfunction. The pilot is English, so he doesn’t understand. The Greek co-pilot, for whatever reason, fails to take action. A few minutes later, the plane stops responding to air traffic control, so Greece scrambles a couple fighter jets to find out what’s wrong. They pull up alongside the jet, look in the cockpit and see that both pilots are dead; suffocated from lack of oxygen. They have no way of contacting the flight attendants or any of the passengers, so the plane continues flying on autopilot until it runs out of fuel, then crashes.

Fifteen years ago. British 747 off the coast of Malaysia on its way to Australia. All four engines go out simultaneously. The plane begins to glide into the ocean. At 6000 feet, the pilot tries to restart one of the engines. It lights up, and so do the other three. They bring it back up to cruising altitude. All four engines go out again. They plummet. At 6000 feet the engines respond, so they keep it at low altitude and land safely at the nearest airport. An investigation reveals they were flying through a cloud of volcanic ash.

Somehow, this led to Sirath sharing his thoughts on colonialism with me. He felt that Sri Lanka got what it deserved when it was absorbed into the British money-making machine.

"If you leave the front door of your house open and someone comes into your house and steals all of your things, how can you blame them?"
"Uh…because it’s wrong?"
"We left our front door wide open. It was foolish."

I told him I wanted to go to Sri Lanka on this trip, but I couldn’t fit it in. He said now is not a good time because of the civil war with the Tamil Tigers, which I keep on thinking is a soccer team.

And, inevitably, he whispered his thoughts on Iraq into my ear.

"I think what George Bush did was the right thing. These people, they have become too big for their britches. They needed to be taken down. It was the right thing to do. However, the way in which it was done was a big mistake."
"Well, at least that last part is something we can all agree on."

Changed planes in Bahrain. All I saw of the country was about 50 yards of terminal. In that span, I think I saw ads for every sports car on the market.

Kuwait has no budget accommodation. From what I can tell, none of the gulf states do. In Dubai, they had a couple hotels filled with imported laborers from Ethiopia and Senegal, but there wasn’t a lot of room turnover. The other option is flophouses, which is fine as long as you don’t mind the banging on the walls and can avoid thinking about who the last people in your bed were.

On my last trip, I was on a flophouse budget. This time around, I can afford the occasional short stint at a low-end business hotel.

There’s a convenient division between countries that I get a lot of email from; your Germanys, your South Koreas, your Brazils; and countries where it’s easy to find kids playing on the street; your Vietnams, your Madagascars, your Rwandas. Kuwait is the rare country that doesn’t comply with either of my two methods for getting people to dance with me. And my sense of Kuwaiti grown-ups is they’re not the kind of folks you can get all goofy with and expect a positive response. Not because of race or religion, but because they’re filthy rich, and rich people tend to have more barriers.

So I had to do things the old fashioned way: find a nifty landmark that is uniquely Kuwaiti. In Dubai I already knew about the indoor ski mountain. But I’ve never heard of anything so charmingly frivolous in Kuwait.

Bingo. I saw these on the way in from the airport. I called Melissa and mentioned them. She got all excited, cause she’d done a Flickr search and come up with the same idea.

They’re water towers. I’m not sure why they’re shaped like that, and our only guess on the blue-and-white stripes is to make it clear they’re not military targets.

These things are dotted all over the city, but they’re not easy to get to without a car. By the way, nothing in Kuwait is easy to get to without a car.

I called a couple rental places. The best deal I could find without notice was a BMW 530 for $300 a day. Not going to happen.

Instead I took a cab. I got an Indian driver named Nisar. When I asked him to take me to the striped water towers, he took me here.

It’s an understandable miscommunication. The two larger spheres of the Swedish-designed Kuwait Towers are, evidently, filled with water. The structure is certainly unique, but tall stuff doesn’t really work well for what I’m doing and they struck me as just another symbol of wealth and bad taste.

After some discussion in broken English, Nisar figured out what I was talking about and took me out to an abandoned construction site with water towers nearby. He stood next to me while I set up the shot and tried to figure out what the hell I was doing.

All of a sudden, Nisar leapt in the air with a shriek of unholy terror. He grabbed a clump of sand and threw it in the face of a stray dog that had crept up behind him. From his reaction, you would have thought it was a grizzly bear.

"Are you not afraid?" he asked.
"Afraid of what?"
"This dog!"

I recalled from past experience that it’s not uncommon for Indians to be uneasy around dogs (of course, I am speaking in absolute, authoritative terms about all Indians without exception, so if you’re Indian and you love dogs, it’s urgent that you set me straight).

I let the dog smell my hand, then scratched him behind the ears and we were friends for life.

I continued with my business while Nisar stood at a safe distance, a fresh clump of sand in his hand.

The dog followed me over to the towers, and when I started dancing, he did too.

When I finished, Nisar fled to the safety of his taxi. The dog turned to me and asked, "what the hell is this guy’s deal?"

Back on the highway, dodging Ferraris. In my day here, I’ve witnessed about half a dozen very near disastrous accidents. They mostly involve absurdly high speeds and a total absence of signaling.

I told Nisar I had the rest of the day to see Kuwait and asked where I should go.

"There is nothing in Kuwait," he said. "Only money."

I can’t really dispute the statement. From what I saw, most of Kuwait looks like this.

We settled on Sharq Souq; a big giant shopping mall on the waterfront.

Burke-concealed ladies eyeing haute couture. This is an irresistible photo op in the Middle East, and, of course, a big fat cliche.

I was unable to photograph the designer label I noticed on the lining of one burke. Kinda seems like it’s missing the point, but who am I to judge?

I followed these ladies around for a while, exploiting their lack of peripheral vision.

There are, I should mention, varying degrees of feminine obfuscation. There’s the practical middle ground.

And a leftist extreme that approximates normalcy by Western standards.

Another bad picture, but you can see a man in traditional headgear behind her that I presume is her husband and she had several children prancing about.

Kiddie parks and toy stores abound in Kuwait. There seems to be a passion for family-friendly activity, which I appreciate. On the other hand, the kids playing marbles in the back alleys of Yemen seemed to be having a better time.

I stumbled into a big fish market.

If only I could photograph smells.

Look long enough at that pile of mush and it begins to stare back at you.

Skyline pictures are usually boring. Pictures of people taking skyline pictures are only 5% less boring.

I perambulated the waterfront, looking out into the fog and wishing I could see through it to Iraq and Iran a few dozen miles away.

There was a place renting kayaks in the harbor. I fantasized about a leisurely paddle into less friendly waters.

Someday, when I have my fusion-powered hovercamper, such excursions will be trivial.

Every time I look at this guy I can’t help thinking of this song.

Dinner at one of Kuwait’s many fine dining options: Applebee’s. For dessert, I had to indulge my obsession with the best thing McDonald’s has ever created.

I managed to get a plug for these things into USA Today last year. It failed to influence them into adding it to their domestic menu. I will continue lobbying.

99 Responses to Kuwait City, Kuwait Must Loathe Dogs

  1. Rob

    So the guy who helps Middle Eastern airlines maintain their engines doesn’t believe in computers? Hokay . . . .

  2. Rich

    Another spectacular entry! I think you’ve done a great job of really capturing the essence of Kuwait.

  3. Natasha

    That story about the Greek plane must be a myth… would that really happen?! Funny blog, especially with the guy from Team America. Kudos

  4. Rob: Thanks for that rather interesting link. An online database of commercial airline disasters isn’t something I would have thought to seek out, but I’m not surprised it exists either.

    Did you see the statistics pages?

    link to airdisaster.com
    link to airdisaster.com

    2001 was the first year in their 30+ year database to have a decrease in number of departures.

    I also find it interesting that the 747 stands out as a terrible aircraft for Boeing’s lineup.

  5. Judy

    I’ve always wondered why all those women are covered head to toe in BLACK the HOTTEST color known- while the men-are dressed in white-the coolest. Can someone please explain that one to me?

  6. re: LoudMusic

    There’s a lot of ways to analyze air crash information, not all of which make the 747 look all that bad. For instance, purely basing the “rate” on fatal incidents/number of flights means that a model like the 747 that primarily does long haul will have a lot more hours of exposure to risk for the same number of flights.

    Also, many fatal incidents aren’t air frame related. In the 747’s case, they include cases where two unbuckled passengers died due to sudden turbulence, a Korean flight strayed into Soviet airspace and was shot down, and where one person died due to injuries sustained during a evacuation due to a fake bomb threat.

    Hardly makes the 747 a terrible aircraft.

  7. re: Neil

    From the website, “A fatal event is defined as ‘an event in which one passenger was fatally injured solely due to the operation of an aircraft.’ Hijackings are excluded.”

    So by those words I would say a passenger failing to buckle their belt or the plane getting shot down wouldn’t register as an event.

    Even if they did, lets say there were as few as 20 events for the 747. That’s still twice the rate of anything else from Boeing.

    Also, who’s to say the events in the other crafts aren’t spotted with bizarre incidents like unbuckled passengers getting tossed to death?

    And furthermore, what’s causing you to defend the 747? All I’m doing is looking at numbers. And the numbers in that database say it has nearly three times the fatal event rate of the other Boeing craft. That’s ODD, to say the least.

  8. bluefish

    Loudmusic,

    All of the badly ranked planes on that website have one or two things in common. A long range, (meaning they will have less flights, but more hours per flight),or a large passenger count (increasing the chances that at least one person will die in any incedent that occures the ends in a death).

    Comparing long range, or high passenger planes against low range low passenger planes is really biased when you do it per flight too. I would be willing to accept something “Odd” about the 747’s operational history if this website went on fatal event per hours in the air.

    Normally when the safety record of airplanes is talked about they do it on incidents/losses per x hours flying not per flights embarked upon.

  9. Neil

    @ Loudmusic
    The incidents I mentioned are all ones that are listed at airdisaster, and counted in the 747’s “fatal event” count. I saw the definition, too, and thought that it was very misleading. While airdisaster may not include hijuackings, they do include bombings and cargo fires – a quick glance shows at least 3 of these. Other 747 incidents not really air frame related include 2 747s colliding on the runway (worst air disaster on record) when a pilot initiated takeoff without clearance, and a tail seperation after a pilot tail-scraped and hit a berm at the end of the runway (tail-scrapes happen when a plane is attempting to take off below minimum speed or when it’s overloaded…this was a cargo flight, so I’d guess the latter).

    My point isn’t that other frames may or may not have these sorts of incidents counted, but that the small number of incidents means that the statistics are easily skewed. Add to that the 747s high flight hours:flight count ratio, and you get an apparently poor safety record, which really isn’t very meaningful. In the end, my point is that you shouldn’t be changing your travel plans to avoid flying on a 747.

  10. bluefish and Neil,

    So, the oddity would be its duty, not its design. Though its design is because of its duty 😉

    Bottom line, the stats on that site aren’t good for determining “most reliable aircraft”, when you’re comparing aircraft that serve different roles. I guess if you threw in a fighter plane it might have dramatically different numbers, to say the least.

  11. Varun

    Hey Matt,

    Great entry. As an avid traveler, this is the the stuff that I want my life full off too.

    Varun.

    PS – I’m an Indian and an absolute dog lover :)

  12. Good to catch up with your blog — still in the process of reading a few more I’ve missed since last time. Excellent read as always :-)

    So what’s in a McArabia?

  13. Satish

    The picture which you pasted that is “supposed” to be what Kuwait mostly looks like is absurd. And to point out that most Kuwaitis will not goof around because of the wealth status is another myth. Sadly, you were taken to Sharq souk, which is one of the most boring places KW has to offer.

    Maybe the next time you visit you’ll step in with a little more info.

  14. Q80 In Denver

    Sadly Matt that you were stepping on the wrong places in q8 and you got the wrong idea about Kuwait. First of all, the dancing. It’s very silly that you think just because “SOME” of the people are rich, everyone will feel embarrassed dancing with you! I’m a Kuwaiti and I’ll be the first one to dance with you in Kuwait :) . Secondly, choice of the sight seeing. Why Matt Why? you couldn’t find a better place to shoot and dance other than the water towers! it’s not even a monument! I would prefer to shoot on the fifth biggest tower in the world (Not the one you have in the pictures) or at least if you have some contacts they would’ve put you on a traditional Kuwaiti dancing on Boats over the sea! that would be cool! thirdly, places to visit. Souq Sharq? mm .. I don’t blame you. I blame the idiot driver who took you there. seriously, Kuwait is filled with malls that is much better, much better looking and amazing views over the sea that Souq Sharq. Also for places to eat. Applebee’s? you’re kidding right? if there is something worth mentioning about Kuwait, that would be Restaurants! and yeah, Kuwaiti traditional restaurants! Grrr .. :) Matt come on .. give Kuwait another chance .. will ya !? :) I’ll be your guide in Kuwait next time :) there is my email: [email protected] just let me know if you decide to come back and believe me you won’t regret it! :)

  15. Ali

    you are a piece of shit, and in all honesty dont deserve to step onto kuwaiti soil. u need to speak more respectfully of other cultures u dumbass. and not generalize.

  16. Big T

    well, there you go, i guess. Q80 & Ali would best describe it, no? all sorts of ppls around & it depends on who you run into, i guess.

  17. Fee

    Matt…your a great example of what this world doesnt want or need! In other words, your the epitome of rascism!

  18. Equalizer

    Matt, I think after travelling all around the world, there must have been one very important trait that you lose. Ignorance. If you hate rich people look at your own country (The richest in the world by all standards). How about you judge people not by how much they have but by how much they contribute to the rest of the world in terms of charity as a % of GDP. Last time I checked the US was down there on the list. It is public information, go dig it.

  19. moose

    sorry man.. you phail.

    You just missed kuwait.

    You visited all the wrong places.

    Made the most incorrect comments ever.

    you didn’t capture the essence of kuwait at all.

    sorry man, dont diss kuwait kthx.

  20. carol

    Wow, for someone who gets to travel the world the best you can come up with in kuwait is visitng applebee’s? Says a lot about you, shame you didnt have the foresight to experiance arabic cuisine. Im not a muslim but your comparison between islam and obsessive compulsive disorder was well out of line. Freedom of speech is one thing, intolerence of another’s religion is quite another. Maybe you need to lay off the Mc Arabia’s for a while!

  21. anonymous

    yeah we are filthy rich.. and yeah we have borders, especially for forigners like you who wont appreciate our hospitality and disrespect our religion. Btw, it’s fun to be so damn rich.

  22. Faisal

    I was starting to enjoy your clips until I read this. Ignorant observations and disrespect for Kuwait and its people.

    “Matt thinks Americans need to travel abroad more.” this is from your about page, and I couldn’t agree more. But it appears all that travel did not do you any good.

    Try Again …

  23. Beula

    Matt,

    I had to come and check out your site after I saw your video and saw you dancing with the water towers as your backdrop. I would have definitely tried to angle my videocam better for the Kuwait Towers because that place has a lot of history behind it (besides being a landmark). And yes! the 5th biggest tower in the world is a great place (Liberation Tower), but I wonder if they would have let you dance there haha …
    A lot of folks get excited I suppose with the chain of American restaurants; Apple Bees, Ruby Tuesdays, Johnny Carinos, Chilis, TGIF (to name a few), but it would have been amazing if you had just walked across to the other side of the street from the Kuwait Towers and would have ended up at a restaurant called Mais Alghanim. Amazing food, good flavor and you would have left happy than with a McArabia (which I have eaten once when it first came out). And oh!!!! you totally didn’t try some kuwaiti dates!!!!

    Wish you had some great contacts when you visited Kuwait. You definitely missed a lot of sites. It might be a desert, and Kuwait might have the strongest currency in the world, but it does have a lot of culture, which is becoming better and I guess that has a lot to do with globalisation.

    And oh! I am an Indian btw and I do love dogs, I am REALLY not sure where you came up with that idea (generalization does get us into a lot of trouble) and being born and raised in Kuwait has made me love that country. I definitely do miss it now that I have lived in the US for a few years to study ….

    The next time you go, shoot me an email – and I will make sure that (a) you have a car for free with a good driver (b) real middle eastern food AND (c) show you some real middle eastern hospitality

  24. DLC

    Its because of people like u – Countries get a bad name..

    Ur full of crap. I am an Indian – born in Kuwait and have lived here most of my life… Kuwait is unique in its own way. You should read up about Kuwait, its culture & tradition before coming here.

  25. joanna

    Hi Matt. I am Kuwaiti. I find your comments very narrow minded. Its like telling someone they are ugly without getting to know their personality. Kuwait has a beautiful coastline. Beautiful Palm trees. Kind people. Yes we dont have budget hotels but there isnt a target market for it. Most people who visit Kuwait stay with their family, as our culture is very family oriented. I have many dear american friends and I think they wouldn’t like the way you represented them.
    Cheers, Joanna:)

  26. joanna

    Hi Matt. I am Kuwaiti. I find your comments very narrow minded. Its like telling someone they are ugly without getting to know their personality. Kuwait has a beautiful coastline. Beautiful Palm trees. Kind people. Yes we dont have budget hotels but there isnt a target market for it. Most people who visit Kuwait stay with their family, as our culture is very family oriented. I have many dear american friends and I think they wouldn’t like the way you represented them.
    Cheers, Joanna:)

  27. abdullah

    hi , i lived in Kuwait for a long time , and i think you are not right at all , and you can’t judge just by there looking. most Kuwaiti are humble and kind . there is a lot of nice place in Kuwait . i have visit nearly 20 country and still believe that Kuwait is special.

  28. steve_leb

    Hi Matt.. i live in Kuwait.. and i have one thing to say to you.. you are a typical ignorant American (with all respect to the few non-ignorant ones)

  29. A.Al-Nafisi

    “It is this practice, along with many many others, that brings to mind the alarming similarity between Islamic devotion and obsessive compulsive disorder.

    …oh, man. I’m gonna get it for that one.”

    What a stunning analogy!

    Devotion, you “deadbeat” -That is what you refer to yourself on your own website, dont you?- is generally a postive trait in one’s character. Devotion, generally with most prefixes, illustrates an individual’s discpline and dedicaion. Lest we forget, you have DEVOTED over a year of your life to dancing around the world. A dance that by your own remit, is stupid!

    Grow up and get a life and just realize that people are laughing at you not with you, deadbeat

    Salute…

  30. UmNasser

    You are a bit of a wanker aren’t you matt?
    Did you meet any Kuwaitis and speak with them , or just pass sanctimonious judgement ?
    Get a life- a proper one, meet real people, talk to them, then pass judgements.

    PS: I get to wear what I like…………

  31. Moocherx

    Hey Matt. I think you got it more-or-less spot on, and I’ve lived in Kuwait since 1998. I’m surprised people say “ooh you went to Applebee’s and that’s not Kuwaiti”… well, guess what, Applebees is full of Kuwaitis, as is Chilis, Fuddruckers, McDonalds, Burger King… you get the picture.
    And any complaints about your chosen location seem strange to me. They are a landmark of Kuwait. Heck, I even have a fridge magnet of the exact same water towers.
    Keep up the good work. You got it right mate.

  32. Q80 In Denver

    @Big T

    I haven’t said anything “Negative” about Matt.I guess you’re mixed up with the name order!

  33. Q8tyTeen

    ok listen Matt if u wanted to see Kuwait you should’ve went to the avenues cause souq sharq got nothing on it. second its not our fault that you got yourself a crappy driver who doesent know anything about Kuwait there are millions of things to do and what do you expect going to an abandoned construction site what you should have done go to the mall ans ask people. third there are millions of people who wish they were born here its a wealthy country and WE DO HAVE CHARACTER WE ARE NOT JUST SOME RICH KIDS.

  34. Q8tyTeen

    ok listen Matt if u wanted to see Kuwait you should’ve went to the avenues cause souq sharq got nothing on it. second its not our fault that you got yourself a crappy driver who doesent know anything about Kuwait there are millions of things to do and what do you expect going to an abandoned construction site what you should have done go to the mall ans ask people. third there are millions of people who wish they were born here its a wealthy country and WE DO HAVE CHARACTER WE ARE NOT JUST SOME RICH KIDS.

  35. When i first so your video i really liked your idea.
    But when i read the things you wrote above i thought you were the biggest jerk in the world.
    How dare you relate Islamic Devotion to obsessive compulsive disorder.

  36. Hi Matt,

    I love your videos because I think they bridge the gaps between cultures.

    Unfortunately, I read this blog posting about Kuwait and the joy I felt after viewing the 2008 video (which included Kuwait) quickly diminished.

    I am American and travel the world. I’ve lived in Kuwait for 12 years now.

    I really hope that you were just having a bad day when you came to Kuwait and that you aren’t honestly as culturally-challenged as you sounded on the post.

    Please feel free to write to me ANYTIME and I will show you a positive side of Kuwait. If you are ever back in the neighborhood, I extend an offer to guide you around Kuwait – and not to American fast food chains. If you are going to look for negatives, you will find them. Look for positives and see what our culture here has to offer.

  37. Jwad

    hello ..

    all of you need to back off a bit, it’s just a silly joke..

    I’m an arab myself, and was born muslim too(atheist now), and I can hardly understand why all of you can’t take a joke.

  38. Beula

    In regards to the Indian taxi driver that most of us have been referring to as being an idiot … Almost all of the taxi drivers are Indian, Sri-lankan, Pakistani, Philipino, Bangladeshi, Egyptian, or Jordanian and a few from other Middle eastern or African countries. I have taken cabs growing up when I was there to go to places like my orthodontist LOL, and you must know these guys are poor people. They came to Kuwait to make money. Maybe the company or their boss (who most of the time would be a Kuwaiti national) should give them training on the where abouts of the country. You can’t expect these guys who don’t have a good command over english in the first place to respond in perfectly crisp english while they are trying to learn Arabic at the same time.

    You must however appreciate the Indian driver for taking Matt to the Kuwait Towers a BETTER landmark THAN Matt’s personal choice! Taxi drivers also don’t get to spend a lot of time shopping in grand malls like some of us who are from Kuwait or are familiar with that country do. There some good malls, and I know the latest one; “THE AVENUES” is definitely not something that cab drivers would consider going …

    Cut the driver some slack … if you can’t maybe we should have some Kuwaiti nationals who are very well-versed with the country to drive some cabs and help people like Matt who want to take a video shot of him dancing by the watertower! :) If only Matt had picked a place to dance with a lot of people, he would have gotten some people from Kuwait to dance with him !!!! definitely NO doubt about that :) :)

  39. Dogbert

    You’ve just lost whatever goodwill you’d gained with your first video. Some of the comments are just down-right racist. It’s sad that despite visiting so many different countries, you’re so narrow minded.

  40. Human being

    Matt Thank you for your ignorant and racist comments, well what to expect your one more American, you should change your country name into the United States of Prejudice & Ignorance. I am glad that you wrote such comments just more prove that no amount of traveling, education or communication with you ppl will enlighten your stone age minds. How dare you claim that all Indians hate dogs you retard, so now you read minds and know that more than a billion people hate dogs,I think your confused its the other way around ” must loath children and others” should be your title cause the whole world know that all Americans hate children and the rest of the world too cause you keep killing children in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, SUDAN, SOMALIA, LEBANON, and before that Vietnam, and many more.So keep caring for dogs while you Kill children every day, while the rest of the world suffers from dumass Americans like you. Hope to see you live all your life happily with a dog you dog as you folks say.

  41. Ahmad

    Matt, i appolagize on behalf of the Kuwaitis who appreciate you comming to Kuwait.

    Nice choice for your shot. Another choice would NOT be the liberration towers as soo many have suggested (I hate things that are not authentic and forced/jammed into our landscape, who cares what ranking the hight is, no one gives a s**t) the water towers are unigue and have been there for some time.

    We are, unfortuanatly, not all filthy rich, but all of us are well off non the less.

    Other countries from the region that i would suggest you visit are iran (tehran or shiraz or isfahan) the iranian ppl are nice friendly ppl and landscape is amazing, go to lebanon, syria (also nice ppl) and oman (the most friendly ppl).

    Too bad you didnt go to Bahrain, and by the way, bahrains are the most humble ppl.

  42. Alia

    Not everyone is rich, Not only are we the richest country we are also the MOST COUNTRY IN DEBT, so you see these ferraris and BMWS, they are KILLING themselves to PAY off the LOAN they took to drive that car. KUWAIT is MORE humble than you think. You just need to dig deeper. Don’t judge people by the way we look. There is SOMETHING called CULTURE AND TRADTION, which some western countries lACK. The women you followed without their knowlegde is called STALKING. They are covered up cause this is the way they are raised and this is what they want. You are totally JUDGING kuwaiti people. Maybe KUWAITI people ARE not the nicest people and we might be exremly rude and racist at first. but when someone is in need we stick together and there are alot of people that are educated. PLUs UNLIKE others talking about killing children and whatever,we can’t point fingers and we can’t generlize

  43. Kuwait

    Lool I don’t get why people still think AMERICANS are smart. LOOL we got used to them saying this stuff. Its used to get to me before but know its like questioning why the dog barks. Fact, some American are like that. if you read his journal, hes kinda jealous. He prefers poor countries. does he enjoy people living in poverty. Thats says alot about him.

  44. Matt, i would excuse you of your poor judgment.

    Wouldn’t it be wise to have a better insights than hastily publishing your opinions.

    I know a there’s lot of shit on the internet, and this is the last place i expected it to be.

    However, you disappoint.

    ~ Soul

  45. wow

    Dude I turly blame the stupid indian driver that you were smart enough and showed how smart and open minded u are that u came all this way and u agreed and depended on a stupid taxi driver’s opinion, Kuwaity ppl are nice,fun,helpful too all other countries near by and would love to make the dance with you. I really used to like you man but you suck big time, small minded ass whole, don’t ever think about getting close to this country ever again. Get to know real Kuwaitie people then judge and show some respect u fucking child.

  46. T.S

    Cool off people. So Matt did not get a good sense of Kuwait and wrote an entry on what he had seen. Big deal. If he had a chance to experience it again, he will probably have a different opinion of the country. Why are people so upset about it? Then you called him names such as idiots and dumb ass (I guess it is ok to call names). So if someone makes a mistake instead of correcting him/her and point out the right direction, you insult him/her. Then again you guys call Americans stupid, narrow minded and lacking culture and traditions. Who are narrow minded, racists, self-righteous and ignorant people now? If you are confident about your culture and religion, you should not be that upset about one man’s opinion.

  47. kwaity

    hmm, now I get it .. my assumption of your humanity was completey wrong, you’re just another lame idito who thinks he has a sense of humor. Respect people next time around and maybe, just maybe they might show you their real country.

    PS dancing next to some monuments for 5 minutes isn’t seeing the world pal

  48. Joel

    Wow. So many theists taking personal offense. Methinks you all “protest too much”. After all… blasphemy is a victimless ‘crime’.

    Religious faith is totally irrational (that’s inescapably so), and it is perfectly legitimate to criticize or comment on it, in any way shape or form including sarcasm. You people need to grow much much thicker skin, for your own sakes.

    Free opinion on religion means that one does *not* have the right to be unoffended.

  49. wow

    SMALL MINDED, PATHATIC LOSER, IF U CANT FUCKING ACCEPT PEOPLE REVIEW THEN SO DO THEY CAN’T ACCEPT SOME FUCKER LIKE U SAYIN SHIT ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY, WE TREAT YOU GUYS SO BADLY GOOD HERE, ”’TOOO BAD”’. FUCK OFF AND LEARN TO RESPECT OTHERS, DONT EVER THINK ABOUT COMING BACK HERE. JUST LOOK AT HOW MANY PPL USED TO LIKE U FROM THIS COUNTRY U FAG

  50. Kriselle

    Hello, Matt.
    I just passed by your blog today and it was the most hilarious site I’ve been to for a very long time. I live in Kuwait, by the way and I support your long and accurate view of Kuwait, because it is what it is, and as you said there’s nothing but money here. Just sand and a few ugly block buildings coated in orange dust with sparse vegetation here and there.
    I’m surprised that you haven’t been to Wafra. That would be worth a visit.

    Kwaity, Anas and wow you need to grow up kids. I don’t blame they way you’ve turned up because of the way you’ve been brought up in Kuwait. It tends to leave you conceited with the emotional range of a teaspoon.
    So Matt, thumbs up.
    And by the way, I am Indian and I do love dogs. They’re more cats here than dogs, though. Most Indians love dogs, save for the Brahmin caste (WTF is with this system?), I suppose.

    You rock at what you do. Keep going..

  51. Kriselle

    Errr… and guys. Kuwaiti people are not nice or smart or kind hearted or anything along those lines. Well, some must be but not most of them. You can’t blame Matt for his opinion. He’s not small-minded. He’s been to a LOT of places and anyone from India who reads about his time there will agree with me.
    Start thinking out of the box. Please.

  52. haha

    Great so it’s all about dog love right now, well I’m just gusseing since Kuwait are not really cool people why u and your family and all ppl from all around the world would love to come and live here, because they would get back to their countries as rich people who lives and had great life and earned good money from this countries that is feeding yo ass, thanx for makin me hate on indians that live here man, gona kick every one’s ass over here, ow and btw we dont give a fuck because u live on our money u bitch, fuck u and fuck that stupid ugly matt that made this turn to a shitty talk am out to kick some indian asses like u, dont like it? well fuck u. 2 fucking faced people u are.

  53. lol

    Look at what Matt said, he said and suddenly the dog turned to me and said what the hell is this guy’s deal” Wtf is it with this guy. People please someone need some help. Mad

  54. Gillette

    There is an awful lot of hate being flung here, and even more generalizations. The plain truth is that as soon as we start to generalize about things, we’re more likely to make untrue statements. Matt said some things that were clearly in jest (‘Indians hate dogs’) and some, like the OCD comment, may have gone too far. However, I seriously doubt Matt intended to hurt anyone: humor is simply different, depending on your point of view. I don’t think he is the monster some of the more emotional replies are painting. Neither are all (or even most) Americans as out of touch, rich or uncaring as these angry posters would like to believe. To those of you who shared insight on Kuwait and what it’s like, without the hatemongering, thank you! I live in America and I doubt I will ever have the money to go there and see it for myself, so these tidbits you friendly Kuwaitis share are the closest I will ever get. I was interested and amused to see how similar the posh shops and fast food was to what I see at the malls in Los Angeles. These things remind me (like Matt’s videos) that we have many things in common–maybe more than we know. Yes, I’d like to have seen more of Kuwait City, but I also know that it’s almost impossible to encapsulate a city, let alone a country and its people, in a matter of hours.

  55. Hello Matt,

    I liked your video, it was fun. I loved the idea of visiting Kuwait. In fact, there is no government tourism encouragement in Kuwait. The country was killed in 1990 due to the Iraqi attack. Do not expect to see a colorful country built within only 17 years, that is impossible, indeed. All Kuwaities watched your video they were surprised, “Why water towers?”. You got many other traditional places over here. “Applebee’s”? That is a bad choice. All foreigners visit Kuwait look for tranditional food and not American. Souq Sharq is an old one, Marina Mall came up then and finally The Avenues Mall. There a semi-shopping-rule in Kuwait, “If a new mall was built, we forget the old one”. Look for the latest so you find Kuwaities.

    Hotels, what for? We do not encourage tourism and strangers are not always allowed to visit Kuwait except for business. You’ll find the true hospitality of our country in our houses and not in a hotel, you should’ve contacted a Kuwaiti gentleman to request a sort of this hospitality.

    Before you visit a country, visit flickr.com and search for photos. Run your Google Earth and see where the good places are. Kuwait has many good traditional places where we “Kuwaities” love to visit, you should have been there! Search for the words “Dowaniyah”, see how people live in Kuwait. You cannot visit Kenya and look for luxury hotels, however, you’ll love photographing a huge lion in a park!

    We have MADE countries and built them, we taught them how to unite and read/write, We do businesses, we sell oil to your country, we build airports around the world, we offer Mobile services in many countries. Do you believe we have difficulties in making Kuwait a place of tourism? 80% of Kuwaities do not stay here during summer, they work for the whole year and for the last two months you’ll find them in London, Madrid, Paris, Malaga, Cannes, Liverpool, Frankfurt, Cyprus, Lebanon.. etc. Then they come back for work.

    Our day goes like this: HOME, WORK, HOME, DOWANIYA, HOME. Dowaniyah is a place were friends meet at night. And if there is any even occured like wedding party or such, it’ll be placed between HOME and DOWANIYA. That is a typical Kuwaiti day. We do not look for joy in our country but work. Joy comes at the end of our year, during summer, in any other country that lives upon its tourism and has a good weather.

    Then, videogamers should not criticize but themselves. You may wish to stop talking about religions’ issues and such, it will hurt you one day.

    Sincere regards
    Abdullah

  56. some 3rd worldian.

    Hi Kriselle at 11:43pm, are you all of 7 years old? What the fuck do you mean the Brahmin caste hates dogs, you suppose?

    Have *some* sense of responsibility, people. Don’t just go shitting around the world calling yourself a “traveler” just to sell some crappy gum or to get 2 minutes of facetime on youtube.

    But, Kriselle’s level of response is fitting to the level of this blog.

  57. Ricky Maveety

    Oh my …. sounds like there are a lot of Kuwaitis who don’t much care for the Western style of humor. Too bad … so sad.

    Loved the dog, both in the video and the pictures in your journal. Makes me wish I could find it and take it home. I loved your comments (from the dog’s perspective) about the cabbie’s apparent problem with dogs. Probably came pretty close to what the dog was actually thinking (although for realism, something about food should have probably been in there as well).

    As for Kuwait itself, since the locals seem to view it as a country where they do not look for joy, but work. I’ll pass. Somehow the idea of being a tourist in a country that only allows joy at the end of the year just doesn’t appeal to people like me who like to have a bit of joy in every day. I mean … what if I got there during the “no joy” season??

  58. Flightsimulator

    WTF.. that really dint make sense.. I mean why do you like to degrade this country… america is nothing :) . Thats why I dont want to put it up in capitals.

    Coming to my point Kuwait is a great place where people have made money and the country has developed due to Expatriates and Citizens.

    Kuwait is still a great country. Don’t degrade.

    I am sure 80 % will agree with me.

    Warmest Regards,

    A Flight Simmer

  59. Kriselle

    I’m not seven. But I have better language than someone of your age, I suppose.
    I’m not going to go ranting blog entry ever again because I actually have a life and I think that this blog is amazing. Plus, I respect (To a certain extent) what other people have to say.
    So I’m going to continue reading.
    I’m not even sure you know what the Brahmin caste is. It was made by a group of narrow minded Indians centuries ago. I didn’t make it. However, I know enough to say that CENTURIES AGO, the brahmins used to treat other people like shit and they did have a thing against dogs and people drinking from the same well as them. That’s all I wanted to IMPLY. If you want to take it in another sense, then that’s allright with me, because I don’t give a damn. You seem to have taken me in the wrong sense. I have a friend who is brahmin and she has a dog as a pet.
    And I don’t care if I have to sell some shitty gum as long as I travel. It’s a fitting excuse :)
    If you don’t like the author they why even bother coming here?

  60. i looked at you as a minor peace maker symbol, a guy that shows we can all come together and enjoy the simplest things in life with positive indulgence..

    but i was so very wrong after reading this, your just some racist jerk who thinks talking shit about something is a sign of freedom, well its not, its a sign of your bullshit matt.

    apart from most of the people who read what you wrote being disappointed in you, they are also discraced with your point of views that clearly show your racism and misunderstanding of almost everything you have encountered in Kuwait, you shouldn’t have gone to Kuwait matt, you don’t deserve to step in its soil.

    if you have anything to say mail me at [email protected]

    cheers.

  61. Noyb

    To all the Kuwaiti commenters: you think posting rude comments about Americans is going to get you a better response? Maybe Matt didn’t see the best of Kuwait. But you are certainly showcasing the worst of it.

  62. Joel


    Then, videogamers should not criticize but themselves. You may wish to stop talking about religions’ issues and such, it will hurt you one day.

    Sincere regards
    Abdullah

    .
    Hmmm. An unfortunately common sentiment, that. The threatening undertone here is hard to ignore.

  63. OwaikeO

    Hello, Im from kuwait. Let’s keep it simple,
    nothing u have mentioned captures anything from kuwait, neither environment nor people. What you have done is something like going into the bar hoping no one would be drunk. That;s the way it is. Keep in mind only 40% of Kuwait’s population is Kuwaiti, so a syrilankan or a random dumb guy on the street does not resemble us. I cant go saying America is a damn desert showing only NEVADA! of course that would be true unless u show us the rest of the places. Kuwait’s land use does not go beyond 5%, and ever since the Gulf War it has been rebuilding, I think whether its good or bad, there is a sense of progress. As for the covering face, its neither cultural or religious, some women decide to wear it and some dont, u have piercings or not, it does NOT make u an idiot and u have no right of saying that either is wrong. Different cultures, Piercings for instance in my opinion is either feminine or GAY! and again thats wrong because i should respect ur culture. Now we all agree u make great videos but i think ur mouth and fame is growing larger than it should. Next time befriend people and live among them rather than having a birds-eye view of everything negative.

    thank u.

  64. Joel

    OwaikeO wrote:

    As for the covering face, its neither cultural or religious, some women decide to wear it and some dont, u have piercings or not, it does NOT make u an idiot and u have no right of saying that either is wrong.

    .
    NO. You’re utterly incorrect. The author is perfectly within his rights to SAY it is wrong… or right… or some other opinion for that matter. He is free to voice his cultural/religious opinions here, and nobody shall stop him because he is entitled to do so freely.

    Just like you’re free to critice his opinions/comments in return. See how that works?

  65. Freedom

    Matt,
    I’ve to admit that writing a review on Kuwait based on a trip with an Indian cab driver is a pretty smart idea. Only thinking about it made me laugh my ass out while reading your article.

    I think you come to Kuwait with a prejudgment in mind about Kuwaitis. You saw what only wanted to see and you wrote what you want other people to to think what you have thought. You didn’t bother to ask any local person about sight-seeing places. You just predicted that this Kuwait and this is how bloody rich Kuwaitis live.

    Matt, you give a bad example about Americans. You come to the capital of Kuwait and then criticize the way people live , dress and eat. Did any of them asked about your opinion about them? Of course no, because they live the way they think it’s best for them. Why you can’t understand that people came from different cultures and religious background that made them who they are?

  66. tan

    matt, i love what you’re doing and all, but i’m sorry to say you really disappoint this time. i’m not from kuwait/middle east (far from it actually), but yeah your comments are quite insensitive. you, out of all people, having travelled all over the world, shld have a wider view on the different culture/religion/practices.

    i’ve come to realise that sadly, you’re just another ignorant american :(

  67. Ellie

    Hey I love your dancing around the world – someday thats the kind of thing I’d love to do! If I’d have known I would have let you come dancing in Bahrain with me because I lived there until about 3 days ago! I know some great camels which would appreciate the dancing!!!!

  68. lorena

    Hi Matt

    I really enjoy your videos and they really bring smille on my face but your comments about arab culture and Kuwait really draw a sad face on me..what you mean about obsessive compulsive disorder?? Im muslim and I dont suffer of this ..why dont you eat arab food ? is the best ! I live in USA and here there is not reall food , I mean .. steak? Mac? king?.italian?..

  69. laura Wong

    Bummer, but hey, at least you have the balls to post the reactions and the responses. Well, thats what happens when you make the world smile and then you let the world down. Of course you did not plan ANY of this, but, well, here you be….
    There is nothing happening that is not about learning from what we live, even when we do not grok that that is what we are doing. Ummmm. Keep on trucken buddy and sheesh, get a clue!
    I am sure that most of us will continue to follow your exploits with forgiveness, interest and amusement.

  70. dmanway

    I’m really dissapointed. If you can’t make any objective comments about the place then STFU. It just shows your ignorance!

  71. Ali

    you are completely wrong about kuwait
    you wasnt had a guide to kuwait

    and you are a sample of typical ignorant American

    and for me , i’m saying to you ,, you are not welcome here to kuwait anymore dumbass

  72. Asoom

    hey matt im from UAE and u r doing a funny cool videos… just i thought traveling around the world expands the person’s mind and makes the person more open to other cultures and traditions.. after reading wat u wrote all ur travels and the dances u made seem meaningless and pointless….. plz have a little bit of courtesy and dont talk about other religions and stuff that are great deal to their own ppl …. be careful coz now u kinda famous and wat u write is like a message u send to the whole world so dont lose ur credibility by pretending that u r aware and know wat u r talking about coz believe me u dont ^_^
    waiting to read wat u got about my home…

  73. Israeli

    As an American Israeli who also is familiar with Muslims, I can answer your question, Matt, about the women’s dress code. The idea of covering women is not about their beauty or lack of it, but about protecting the women from the dangers of a possibly dangerous environment for her: one filled with desire and strength. I could be wrong, but I think that the women that are less covered are the one’s with stronger character, relatively to their society. This is a very beautiful thing in arab culture – taking psychological abilities into account and acting accordingly.
    Dressing modestly is also used sometimes by the strongest of people to state the desire for morals instead of desire for beauty and pleasure. This is also a good thing. This may be why Americans are not appreciated by these people, as western culture values pleasure and fun most of all, while other cultures values most moral behavior.
    Unfortunately, since I’m Israeli, many arabs consider me an enemy, but the truth is that I have known arabs and I have a love for them. Those arabs loved me back. But now I stay away, until better times.

  74. Moe R

    Matt, I’m sure from your perspective and with what you did while you were in Kuwait, your observations were spot-on. Kuwait is not a place to go to alone, or with an obviously inexperienced taxi-driver as a tour guide. Next time you’re in Kuwait, please take up any of the many offers made to you in the comments to show you the true side of Kuwait. I feel sorry that you didn’t really get to experience it.

    And yes, I am Kuwaiti. Compared to most of the world, I am rich. But being Kuwaiti automatically makes you rich since the government cares for you in every which way. I am not saying Kuwait doesn’t have its faults, but at the same time you obviously didn’t feel the need to give it a real chance.

  75. zubbaz

    hey Matt, you have about 10,000,000 viewers on your channel so take into consideration what you comment.
    too bad you havent seen Kuwait at all, not even tasted a single arab dish, and ever wonder why you always need a car to get anywhere in Kuwait?? BECAUSE ITS TOO DAMN HOT! Who would wanna play marbles in back alleys in that weather..
    well at least you tasted Mac Arabia, good for you, not all has been in vain 😛

  76. Josephine

    Oh man, did you completely miss the boat…

    There is a thriving CouchSurfer.com community here, that would have gladly given you a place to stay and an very different view of Kuwait. I have a very, very hard time believing that you have danced around the world and not taken advantage of this site.

  77. watertowerville

    water towers ? it feels like going to the times square in NY and taking a photo of a manhole to proof I have been there !!!!

  78. Mahmound

    hi matt ,,, im from kuwait ,, may be u just judged kuwaities fast before u know em
    but im still ready to dance with u ,, if u come next time here :)

  79. Hamoud

    if i knew you were coming to kuwait i swear i would of joined u dancing :) i just cant get enough if your video i watched it over a dozen times and thanks for making a great vid like this

  80. Saroon

    Matt are you kidding? I’m Kuwaiti and I would have LOVED to dance with you! (okay but maybe not as badly though)Sorry you got such a bad impression of Kuwait. I felt the same way when I moved to the U.S. last year!! So these things can definitely go both ways.

    Though seeing you have had the opportunity to travel around the world (something many of us DREAM of doing), it is a little surprising you would adopt such negative views towards us. The tone of this journal entry really contradicts the tone of your 2008 video (which I am a huge fan of by the way!)

    Oh well. I do hope you change your mind about us and come visit again!

  81. Dear Matt,

    Wow from the looks of it I doubt you’ll be coming back to Kuwait anytime soon. However, as I’m new to this country too, I managed to do a bit more research before I judged. If you check out my website which I have linked you’ll see a different side to Kuwait.

    Hence, I would like to invite you to come back and do a better dance here in Kuwait. With me preferably, and some local kids. I would like to take you through my own personal tour (through the eyes of a teddy bear) to show you that it’s not all sand here as many think. It’s not all work and no play either.

    let me know if this is ever a possibility. You have my email.

    Regards,
    Teddy B.

  82. Talal

    you really messed up on this one. im not talking about the ignorant post about Kuwait that you wrote, but about going to Kuwait and visiting applebees, mcdonalds, and souq sharq. im Kuwaiti and went to school in US and had some american friends visit Kuwait and they loved it. they also only ate arabic food. its sad that u made it all the way out there and wasted it .. i was very impressed with ur travels, but after reading this, im not sure i wud appreciate you visiting all these countries bcuz u wud probably miss the essence of them, just like u did Kuwait.
    and had u stopped and actually conversed with a native, they would have told u where to find ppl to dance with you cuz alot of them wud..and to think all kuwaitis are filthy rich? very stereotypical of you..dumbass

  83. Mohammad

    “If only I could photograph smells.”

    seriously, if only u could photograph smells i’d send u a picture of my ass

  84. monty

    I was laughing reading some of the comments. Quite a few arabs responding insist your innocent travel review was insulting and horrible while stating how kind and generous they are. Yet nearly every comment coming from them shows a people who seem to be rude, aggressive and everything else but kind!

    Figures…

  85. Sad Sad failure- yet another example of narrow mindedness- drop in, take the piss and piss off to take the piss.
    You know Matt- who actually cares where the hell Matt is?

  86. kate

    Try Couchsurfing (.org) for accommodation – it’s not only free. it gets you straight into the culture. We hosted many visitors to Kuwait when we lived there, and showed them much more interesting places than the malls!

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