Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Crowne Plaza, Kuwait City…Take 2

09 October 2007

Woke up again at 6am and convinced my body to stay in bed till 0730. I just stayed in last night and watched a couple of movies and some news. I did have the ribeye steak at the Ribeye Restaurant here. It was alright, but not as great as you might expect for 8KD – somewhere between $24 and $32 US. I’ve cooked better at home.

Ate a nice breakfast and then caught up with my email and laid around for a bit. Finally decided that I needed some physical activity, so I put on my gym shorts and went over to the gym to do some elliptical. That was pretty good and the machines are better kept than at the Balley’s I used to go to back home. Also took in a little steam, so I was all relaxed by the time I hit the shower.

With Ramadan going on now, I almost feel guilty if I even think of lunch, so I skipped it. If you don’t know, during Ramadan the Muslims aren’t allowed to eat, drink (even water) or chew gum from sunrise to sunset. Nothing is supposed to pass their lips. Americans have gotten scolded and berated for even drinking water in their cars on the highway during Ramadan. Best to adapt to the culture and try to understand where they are coming from. You actually can eat as a non-Muslim, just not in public. It is considered inconsiderate, ignorant and very bad manners to do otherwise.

Went down to the lobby to read for an hour this afternoon while housekeeping cleaned up the room. Then came back up to grab my book and swimsuit and head down to the pool for a bit. Not trying to get burned, but just a little bit of sun to maybe try to blend in this “farmer’s tan” I’ve got from running. I’m all tanned in the face, neck and arms up to the sleeves, but white as a ghost everywhere else! I’m thinking I won’t even get close to blending it in till it fades some this winter and I go on the cruise in Feb/March.

The hotel is nice enough and everyone that you speak to in Baghdad really talks it up, but I think I enjoyed my stay at the Hilton more. There were more shops, a bigger area to just wander, nice spa and it is located on the beach. The only real advantage the Crowne Plaza has is that it is within 20 minutes of the airport. The pool is nice and they have two nice restaurants plus the house restaurant, but it isn’t as posh as you might expect for the money or for Kuwait. The Hilton’s facilities, I thought were a bit better. Just my opinion, but should I have the opportunity to have to stay in Kuwait longer again, it will be at the Hilton.

Just got done with dinner. I decided on sushi tonight to boost my bored attitude. Worth every penny. They had a buffet open for the first hour. That and a mixed plate of grilled beef, chicken, fish and vegetables and I was in pig heaven. I ended up spending about $38 which was more than last night, but at least I felt like I got my moneys worth and I enjoyed it.

Got to talking to another American there after I heard him say he worked in southern Iraq. Turns out he has worked for several companies over there for the past few years. It isn’t too unusual for contractors to jump around between contracts. After all, as much BS as the company will spew about their dedication to Mom, apple pie and Chevrolet, it all comes down to the money. If you got a heartbeat (and a clean rap sheet) you’re good to go. Contracting companies are more concerned about having something with a heartbeat in country so they get paid for that day for that warm body. That’s why they don’t allow us to do LWOP (leave without pay). No warm body, no green in pocket for that body.

Anyway, had a very nice conversation. He just got back from a tour of Oktoberfest at Munich and then Amsterdam. He also had to convince a buddy of his from the States to make the trip to Europe. He wanted to go to Thailand, but his buddy could only be convinced with Europe. So we got to chatting all about Munich and A’dam.

Well, all repacked, checked in and ready to go. All done but getting out of bed in the morning.
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