Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why? - II

Last week I decided that once a week I would post old pictures of Kuwait that I have come across in various books, to open up the discussion as to why our country has changed so much, and not for the better. Here is my post for this week:

Why, or rather how, did our once cosmopolitan and open-minded culture turn into a two-part society battling between strip-mall-Vegas-style-consumerism, on the one hand, and ultra-religious fanaticism on the other?

(I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos - they are quite old and didn't scan well so I had to resort to taking pictures of them with my Canon.)

Here is a copy of the original plan used to design the inside of the Kuwait Towers, specifically the largest sphere containing the restaurant. (I've zoomed in so you can get a better view.) I think these pictures are self-explanatory.

Here is an old picture taken in the seventies of the indoor garden of the main sphere.

And here is an old picture of the seafront just outside the Kuwait Towers...

...the same seafront which now consists of:

I rest my case.


  • From dance floor and discolounge to ugly water park.

    Oh what were they thinking

    By Blogger nibaq, at 10/25/2006 9:05 am  

  • I don't know where to start in this comment because the subject of the seafront, shoreline and beaches along the coast of Kuwait from North to the SOuth is very frustrating. It just shows the lack of planning on the government's part and carelessness on our part(the people, the masses).

    How can you block the beautiful view of the sea by shalets, restaurants, houses and water parks?? HOW?. This can never happen in a country like the USA, as the people who studied and lived there know. ALL buildings and shops are constructed on the opposite side across the street from the beach. The beach is just sand and water for everybody to enjoy.

    We in Kuwait need two things
    1) Legistlation
    2) enfocring the legistlation

    if these two things are done by the GOVERNMENT, most of our problems in Kuwait will disappear and we will be compared with Singapore soon after.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/25/2006 2:47 pm  

  • Nice! & Interessting.

    Dance Floor *giggles*

    By Anonymous P, at 10/26/2006 10:30 am  

  • Nibaq: I have no idea what they were thinking. Money was definitely the factor with the building of the waterpark. It's just so tacky and trashy, especially for that spot. It's part of what makes Kuwait look like Vegas.

    By the way, although the restaurant's not that nice anymore, there are parts of the Kuwait Towers that are still beautiful, only nobody knows about them, and those areas are always locked. There is a private reception space downstairs (also with a built-in bar), and another one upstairs. It's a shame that our country's landmark is never used anymore (why would people have a reception or event at the ugly old Towers when they can have it at the "kashkha" Marina Hotel).

    Anonymous: So true. What has happened to the shoreline kills me. That was the biggest planning mistake the government made. The new Seif Palace, Souq Sharq, Marina Mall, and all the crap in between. Huge mistakes. But that was definitely about the money. They don't care about the environment and what it did to the ecology of the bay. They don't care about the fact that it is all in poor taste and blocks the beautiful view of the sea. I mean, if they had to build resaurants on the seaside, first of all why make them so huge and bulky, and second of all, why make them McDonald's, TGIF, and KFC??? I give up.

    As for legislation and enforcing the legislation, I think you're expecting waaaaaaay too much out of our "government."

    P: Waaiii you and your giggles. :) What do you suppose the difference between the "dancefloor" and the "discoteque" was? I think it's up to us to take the Towers back to its glory days. That's a mission for me, you, and Edo Rex!!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/26/2006 2:10 pm  

  • Kleio: The givernment still things "big is beautiful" thats why they keep building these ugly shopping malls around the country. This reminds me of something I have been wondering about for a long time. You have built sharq mall(Soug sharq) and the damage is done, but why WHY do u locate the car park close to the water? why not make it hiddem somewhere and bring the view closer to the people who shop! who was the smart architect?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/26/2006 2:55 pm  

  • I've got a great picture of my parents dancing on the dancefloor in Kuwait Towers dating back to 1975 ... it seemed like the place to be ... but now, it's just been neglected. I went up there last year and looked out at Kuwait City and all the city lights and thought, what a beautiful place this all could be ... but nobody spends the time or the money rebuilding things with class and character ...

    And as much as I love to sit in restaurants that overlook the water, I don't like the fact that they're there at the expense of the environment. As anonymous said - bulidings and shops in the States are constructed on the opposite side from the beach -- why did they have to invade the water with cement?

    As for 'kashkha' Marina Hotel, lol - that's where my wedding will be :p what can I say? hehehehehe - I would have loved to have it at the Towers -- but I think they need to change the carpeting (among other things) as it's probably the same one that my parents walked on in 1975! :)

    By Blogger PlumPetals, at 10/27/2006 9:49 pm  

  • Anonymous: You're absolutely right. When you build a mall that big, you're gonna have to put parking. And no matter where you put that parking, it's gonna be a disaster. 1) On the seaside, like it is now. 2) Underground: Well, impossible because it's land reclaimed from the sea! 3) Build extra floors on the mall for parking: Block more and more of the sea from view. 4) Nix the marina and put parking there: You'd destroy a historic dhow harbour. My solution: DON'T BUILD THE MALL!!

    PlumPetals: Oh whoops! But actually, I wasn't thinking about a wedding as much as more official events - conferences, receptions, etc. In other words, ones held by the government or official entities. Yeah, I wouldn't have my wedding at the Towers until they fixed it up a bit! But if I were holding an official reception, I sure as heck would. The view is so beautiful. You see everything up there. And it's really cool too - I love how the viewing deck has all the main attractions labeled on the window as the sphere turns.

    As for dacing in the seventies...I'd love to see that picture of your parents! There was also a nightclub in the apartment complex Lulu'at al-Marzoug (in Ras Salmiya), at the wonderful old Ghazal Club, and in Ahmadi. What a fun world Kuwait must have been in the sixties and seventies. I soooo wish I'd been alive then! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/27/2006 11:41 pm  

  • PlumPetals again: Hehehe I just remembered...this past summer when we were trying to think of a place to have my birthday party, P suggested the Towers. I highly doubted we'd be able to rent the restaurant out, but I was also a bit hesitant because of the d├ęcor! I mean, if they had kept it how it was in the seventies I wouldn't mind (vintage!). But now they've just let it go completely. It feels despressing.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/27/2006 11:44 pm  

  • I don't agree with you with this one.. well.. not completely.

    First of all, I've always loved Kuwait Towers and I still do and I think it is still a true Kuwaiti landmark even with the current undeserved neglectance. Last time I went there was a year and a half ago, the place looked fine to me, it was dark so I can't really tell how good it was anyway. Here is a picture I took that day :)


    Anyway, old is good, but not always better than new. You may hate the Aqua Park, but it's still much better than the old dark sand triangle which nobody even walked near in the past.

    Societies do change, be it to the better or to the worst, this is a fact we can't change so we can't keep living in the 60s or the 70s. I mean a dance floor! Please!! It can never work these days or -I hope- in the near future because it is not an acceptable thing anymore.

    By Anonymous moayad, at 10/28/2006 4:38 am  

  • Ahh nadee il ghazal :) That's where our grandfather taught us how to fish :)

    By Blogger Erzulie, at 10/28/2006 7:10 am  

  • Moayad: I agree that the Kuwait Towers are beautiful - it's just a shame that not many people visit them anymore.

    But with regard to Aqua Park, I have to strongly disagree with you there. I much prefer the old sand triangle over this gaudy nightmare. At least it was a natural beach that you could walk on. Aqua Park is just so tacky and completely ruined the view of the Kuwait Towers and the bay.

    As for a dancefloor, of course it wouldn't work today. Because our society has been so restricted for so long, and because mentalities and social interactions have changed. Had social norms remained the way they were in the 60s and 70s, however - the way our parents grew up - it would certainly work today. Men and women would know how to interact on a normal, healthy, human level, and it would all be considered "acceptable". Today, if you had a dancefloor in a public venue it would be full of geezy guys and maybe a couple of girls, who would inevitably be getting groped by those guys. But that's specifically because Kuwait changed so drastically throughout the 80s and 90s. Yes, societies are constantly changing - it's just a shame that ours decided to change for the worse. Can you picture our fathers in their cars chasing after our mothers and their friends and calling out sleazy comments to them through open car windows? No - their generation had more class. That's why I say we've changed for the worse. And sure, that has happened all over the world. But I see it more acutely in Kuwait.

    Erzulie: What a wonderful world the Nadee al-Ghazal was! Talk about a classy, fun place! Maybe next week I'll post something to do with that.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/28/2006 1:25 pm  

  • The original picture looks like the map from lost!

    By Blogger Kthekuwaiti, at 11/30/2006 10:37 am  

  • Kuwait in the 1960's was indeed a fun and exciting place, it was great for exploring, safe to get around, uncrowded and easy to move around town. As a young boy I lived in Salmiya with many friends in my neighborhood, swimming, fishing, and football were the mainstays of our days. I have missed those times often, but, as with many things, we can probably never go back...a shame.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2010 7:56 am  

  • Anonymous, could you please Email me at q8kleio@gmail.com? Your comment really struck a chord and I'd like to ask you a couple of things if possible!

    You know they are demolishing the old Salmiya high street? The one with the apartments over the ground floor arcaded shops. To be replaced with another shopping mall. It's very sad.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 6/30/2010 10:50 am  

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