Kuwait Today

Kuwait for one night – my second visit and first time back for four years.
Where Dubai has a more European feel, Kuwait City, like Riyadh, has more of America in its styling. The arrivals hall offers every fast food known to man, with most Westerners I saw being US military or oil worker types. Short, army haircuts mix with long dreads – goatees are in abundance, doublechins common and blue jeans with ice-white trainers near ubiquitous.
Dubai has motorways, Kuwait has freeways – the kerplunk of road sections, the generous turns and the general sprawl of buildings reminds me of my journey from San Francisco airport down 101 to Sun’s Menlo Park campus. But instead of a Somali, Sikh or Russian driver, I have an Egyptian at the wheel for whom the concepts of stopping distance and lane discipline are as alien as wearing a seatbelt.
Four years ago, the Chevrolet Caprice was everywhere, slightly sagging at both ends, bouncing through the beige like a mattress on wheels – but as in Saudi, smaller European and Japanese models now seem to be driving it away from its natural habitat. Larger American species are still out in force. Five child families are shipped around in Suburbans, Tahoes and Escalades, while smaller, nimbler Land Cruisers and Pathfinders edge their way around their heavy, lumbering competition.
The US influence, in terms of cars and appearances and in contrast to other Gulf states, interests me


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