Kebabs On The Barbie: A Kuwait Love Affair

Gulf Road No BBQ Sign.jpg

The Gulf Road – Kuwait City (from Marof39)

It isn’t really that bad in Kuwait in the summer time, traffic gets lighter in August, it is easier to get around, fruits and vegetables become plentiful and cheaper, and people spend more time at the beach, enjoying its usual summer activities.

Kuwait has a very strange peculiarity that you don’t see anywhere else in the world; most of our beach front from Salmiya all the way to the southern border – more than eighty kilometers long – is locked out to ordinary people save for very few areas here and there, the rest is occupied by chalets owned by Kuwaiti citizens and, in some cases, by a handful of small scale resorts – with horrendous prices, mind you; for a short family vacation, what the Brits call a “bucket and a spade” holiday. The odd thing is that these chalets remain mostly closed and empty during summer and you see miles and miles of dark or dimly lit chalets along the coast.

What is left of the sea front in a country that prides itself of its past as a seafaring nation is a stretch of coastline that has been reclaimed and developed for enjoyment of the rest of the population, this area is called the ‘Gulf Road’ or the corniche. More and more locals spend their summer days and nights (as well as Friday afternoons) frequenting it with their families and friends, laughing, playing, swimming and most importantly cooking their meals.

In Kuwait we make a big fuss out of cooking, especially when it comes to roasting kebab and grilled meats on the beach. This alfresco grilling causes people annoyance for no reason. Critics claim the rising blue smoke reminds them of the Red Indians, some say the smell is nauseating, some say the family man who is usually in charge of cooking isn’t particularly tidy, leaving a mess of trash afterwards, this in spite of signs that clearly state “NO GRILLING” (it seems Kuwaitis like to do the grilling only in the National Assembly (our Parliament) .

What do we expect when we squeeze two million people on a stretch of sand that is less than 16 kilometers long? There are not enough car parks (people used to park on the pavement – even though we put up these hideous concrete balls to prevent them from parking there – so now they just park on the main road instead).

Beach life on weekends is all about barbequing and grilling anywhere in the world, east or west the best nation for beach barbequing culture is Australia: they placed grills along all their popular beaches so the holiday makers or beachgoers wont have trouble cooking their own food; they even gave these grills a cute names like ‘barbies’ (“put another shrimp on the Barbie, mate”).

Of course as I previously mentioned our ‘No Grilling’ signs are prevalent all along the beach. Kuwait needs to remove these signs and build grills and let the fires roar, spreading the heavenly aroma for all to share – what is a beach without a mess?

Have a great summer.

12 thoughts on “Kebabs On The Barbie: A Kuwait Love Affair

  1. That totally showed me a different point of view. Beautifully written, might I add. =O
    The chalets blocking the coast needs a series of posts in terms of legality, fairness, negative effects, etc.

  2. I honestly think that the beach front area in Kuwait has been developed nicely for families and kids, you can walk and enjoy the area. Better then back in the day almost a decade now when there wasn’t anything there and even before that when there was only the old fish market. Its a huge improvement compared to before, but I do agree that they need to improve or find a workable solution for the people who want to enjoy the outdoors, but if they are going to litter then this is the result of it.
    On another note, the shalaihaat area is too far for most foreigners to go to but there are stretches of empty land that you do see them going to. Then there is a beach area to the North which is untapped and they don’t go there either but its a matter of preference.

  3. Suspic ;
    Glad that you liked the writing style.
    I am afraid Chalets blocking the coast are going to be there for a very long time ,since the permission was given to build them in concrete and they look palatial .
    Marzouq ;
    I agree that the sea front is developed nicely , but it is no excuse to shut people off the nice beaches in the south , besides it overcrowded during the holidays . The beaches in the northern part of Kuwait are murky because of the muddy waters flowing from Iraq

  4. موضوع جميل
    بالإمكان رفع إقتراحك بخصوص الشوايات إلى الجهات المختصة كنوع من تطوير الواجهة البحرية
    بالنسبة لي أفضل الشواطيء الشمالية بالذات الصبية بالرغم من طبيعتها الطينية كما تفضلت
    الطبيعة هناك جميلة وعلى طبيعتها البيئية

  5. Nikon8
    من أيام برامج السنعوسى والتلفزيون اللى يمثل الجهات المسؤولة وهو يبث ضد الشوى فى الحدائق والبلاجات بقصد مكافحة التلوث ؟؟؟
    والشواطىء الشمالية فعلا جميلة ولكن السباحة فيها غير مناسبة

  6. As usual Daggero does a nifty, entertaining take on a topical issue; however, I do have a major problem with the scores of people who bring their own mini barbeques, do their cooking, and leave the place a damn mess. These are not public parks where people can just sit on the grass, cook, stink up and litter the place without cleaning their trash up.
    They should be fined considerably for this.

  7. finally, a new post!
    Its a really nice post, since this topic is about something i care about deeply ( the sea). Since we have the gulf sea ( which is a blessing..) we should take advantage of it, why not change the area infront of the sea just like sharm al sheikh, Mar Bella beach, etc. it is open to the public and they have all the activites such as cafes, resturaunts, walkways.It is possible here in Kuwait, since there is nothing against it. So why not?
    Chalets are private property like any other property.. \
    Since there is a new dangerous Fluenza ( swine Flu ), Plans are going to change, some vacation trips are going to get canceled. So, the beaches are going to get really crowded. Fa il afthal an tistathmir fee baladnaah!:)
    walla 5eir 7afith,

  8. I would love if they did condominium developments by all the beachfronts a la Miami and walkways, cafes etc – I am sure many would even purchase condos by the ocean.
    But I am afraid that won’t happen under our ‘closed’ system – Waleed Bin Talal wanted to build a Ritz Carlton here by the beach and they wouldn’t even offer him beachside territory.
    Kuwait is a beautiful country, the weather is much more agreeable than the rest of the Gulf throughout the year. If only they loosened up, opened up to foreign companies and let developer (Emaar, etc) come in and purchase land, it would be a sight to see.

  9. Maze :
    Thanks , I wish some one will hear me too , or read me
    Hilaliya :
    No need for fines , every Sunday when the school starts lets bring the beach goers kids from school and make them clean the beach and call it cheap labour err i mean a field trip , that should teach their parents a lesson not to litter our pristine beaches .
    Um Alzain :
    I haven’t been to Sharm Alshaikh or Mar Bella , but i hear they are nice . Good point about the swine flu problem and you are right maybe it will be like sars when people were too afraid to travel .
    Investment in beach development kuwaiti style is not encouraged , did you see the buildings they made in Khiran (Lagoon ). where is the fun when the place is so crowded it looks like apartments building from Hawally.
    Hilaliya again :
    Man you scared me , i thought what the heck waleed el tabtabi wants to build a ritz hotel in kuwait for ??? I re read your comments and it is waleed bin talal , two different characters .
    i am still waiting for Failaka resorts to be developed

  10. “Man you scared me , i thought what the heck waleed el tabtabi wants to build a ritz hotel in kuwait for ??? I re read your comments and it is waleed bin talal , two different characters”
    We all remain scarred by Waleed Tabtabaei, hence the double take on your part – one guy auctions his shoe, the other builds hotels! We need more of the latter!

  11. i agree with hilaliya about the mess. ppl should be more caring for the beach and dump the trash in the garbage bins – there are plenty of those on the beach.
    but then again, if ppl are so lazy that that their idea of bbq is to eat a KFC takeaway bucket on the beach 😀
    how can one expect them to dump their trash in a bin! oh the horror and pain one would have to go through…might even strain their backs!

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