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Moving to Kuwait soon - advise needed :D
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:22 am    Post subject: Moving to Kuwait soon - advise needed :D Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Really glad to find this forum on living in Kuwait. Would really appreciate some advise from all of you who are currently staying in Kuwait.

My husband is British while i am a Chinese Singaporean and he will be moving to Kuwait for a new post in May/June.

1. The working area would be at SAFAT. Where would be a recommended place to stay that is safe and with amenities nearby? (e.g. supermarket, sports club etc).
2. How easily available are employments in Kuwait? I am a uni grad with a few years of working experience with a US MNC in Singapore. Is there any discremination with employing female?
3. Are there any concerns with safety for a Chinese Women in Kuwait? Has anyone had any issues with staying/travelling alone?
4. Anyone play golf? Heard kuwait only have sand courses. is this true? Are women allowed to play?
5. Heard that Kuwait also have good sea sports. Have there been any concerns with presence of mines and other explosive devices?
6. Are they any issues with water supplies? Can water be drank from tap or only bottle water are safe?
7. Are there any regular gathering available for expats who live in Kuwait?

Really appreciate all your help Very Happy

Thanks
Christine
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Moving to Kuwait soon - advise needed :D Reply with quote

stokoe wrote:

My husband is British while i am a Chinese Singaporean and he will be moving to Kuwait for a new post in May/June.

1. The working area would be at SAFAT. Where would be a recommended place to stay that is safe and with amenities nearby? (e.g. supermarket, sports club etc).
2. How easily available are employments in Kuwait? I am a uni grad with a few years of working experience with a US MNC in Singapore. Is there any discremination with employing female?
3. Are there any concerns with safety for a Chinese Women in Kuwait? Has anyone had any issues with staying/travelling alone?
4. Anyone play golf? Heard kuwait only have sand courses. is this true? Are women allowed to play?
5. Heard that Kuwait also have good sea sports. Have there been any concerns with presence of mines and other explosive devices?
6. Are they any issues with water supplies? Can water be drank from tap or only bottle water are safe?
7. Are there any regular gathering available for expats who live in Kuwait?



Don't worry Christine, there are many expats in Kuwait and many of them are in mixed nationality marriages. They usually hang out in the hotels and/or clubs.

1. Your husband's employer should help out with finding housing. The way people do it by themselves is to go around to the buildings that interest you and talk to the watchman - who often doesn't speak much English. There are often ads up on boards in the supermarkets. If you use real estate companies to find housing it will be more expensive. You really need to be there to see what you want and what it is near. Don't worry, it is not a BIG problem... just takes a bit of time if you are choosy.

2. If you have experience, you should be able to find a job. Be sure to take some good references.

3. Kuwait is safe for women. The only drawback for you is that often non-Western women with Western husbands are mistaken for maids!! The best thing is to just ignore that and not let it bother you. Non-Western women need to take a bit more care about going out alone at night. Just use a bit of common sense.

4. Can't tell you about golf courses, though I do know that they are there but it will be 'brown' and not 'green.' Since it is an expat sport, I don't see why women couldn't use the courses. For much of the year the temperature will approach or go over 50 degrees, so it is way too hot.

5. Kuwait's beaches are not very nice and I wouldn't enter the water for money. It is very polluted. There are people who go out farther from shore and do some diving. The hotels and clubs all have pools with coolers so that you can use them without being boiled alive. Laughing

6. My advice is not to drink the water anywhere. I even drink bottled water in the US and I would only drink bottled water there. But, some people do drink it with apparently no effect. You will need to filter all the water (most flats come with filters) because it has this red stuff in it. It colored my hair actually - a problem for blonds!! You especially want to filter it out of the water for the clothes washer.

Hopefully someone else can add a few more details for you. Good Luck

VS
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Moving to Kuwait soon - advise needed :D Reply with quote

Dear VS,

Thanks a lot for your replies. Very Happy

Do you have any feel of how much the rental would be for apartments with its own swimming pool + gym?

I would prefer to live near a church (prefer to be away from mosques if possible due to early prayers/services they have) and places with amenities such as supermarket and eating places. Heard that salmiya is an more intesting place, would you recommend? Is it costly?

For the water, is supplies an issues, is it costly? For the filter, i guess filter from the master pipes is needed so that the water for shower and washing is clean then. Is it a common installation?

Thanks for the advise on golf and seasport. Both are my hobbies but it seems that the hot weather might make both of these activities quite prohibitive.

How convenient/easy is it to travel out from kuwait to the nearby middle east and Mediterranean contries for holidays? Are weekend trips possible? Is the only way out via air? Are the fares expensive?

Once again thanks a lot for your advice Very Happy
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Moving to Kuwait soon - advise needed :D Reply with quote

stokoe wrote:


Do you have any feel of how much the rental would be for apartments with its own swimming pool + gym?

I would prefer to live near a church (prefer to be away from mosques if possible due to early prayers/services they have) and places with amenities such as supermarket and eating places. Heard that salmiya is an more intesting place, would you recommend? Is it costly?

For the water, is supplies an issues, is it costly? For the filter, i guess filter from the master pipes is needed so that the water for shower and washing is clean then. Is it a common installation?

Thanks for the advise on golf and seasport. Both are my hobbies but it seems that the hot weather might make both of these activities quite prohibitive.

How convenient/easy is it to travel out from kuwait to the nearby middle east and Mediterranean contries for holidays? Are weekend trips possible? Is the only way out via air? Are the fares expensive?

Once again thanks a lot for your advice Very Happy


Hello again

I don't know of any apartments with pools or gyms. If they exist they would be very high end and prohibitively expensive. I suspect that your husband is not in that income group or you wouldn't be searching for a flat, it would already be provided. Very Happy You have to join clubs for pools and gyms. The rental rates vary by neighborhood (KD 200-500 depending on your requirements and expectations) and they come completely unfurnished - no appliances. I lived in Salmiya and it had all the amenities I wanted. You will have to check around to see what meets your needs. It is impossible to do anything about it until you get there and see what fits in your budget.

I have no idea even where the churches are since I never attend. But, there is a mosque on most every corner, so there is no escaping the call to prayer. Normally you can clearly hear 2 or 3 mosques at once. You just look around when you check out flats to make sure that your bedroom window isn't right next to a minaret. Laughing And during Ramadhan the turn the volume wayyyy up.

There is plenty of water and it is usually included in your rent. No one I knew of had their bathroom water filtered... only a filter at the kitchen sink and the hookup for the washing machine. You have no access to master plumbing intake.

The only way out of Kuwait is by air - and leaving for weekends depends on your husband's employer. My employer required an exit visa to leave and it was a process that one didn't want to bother with for only a weekend. Kuwait Air has reasonable fares for the Gulf and beyond, but I found them a pretty crappy airline. Bahrain and Dubai are nearby and relatively cheap to fly to. (no... don't remember fares...)

Hope that helps

VS
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VS,

Thanks for the tips. Will bear in mind all the important points when i look for housings. I guess i have been too used to the comfort in Singapore where we have swimming pools and gyms for the apartments.

I would really love to travel to the nearby countries so would need to investigate if the exit permit is needed and the other travelling information.

Thanks again for your help Very Happy
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localkuwait



Joined: 02 Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Location: kuwait

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there, Don't live in Safat, not a place to live, just work. Closest places would be Shaab, Bneid alGhar. Both areas have lots of expat buildings with pools. Rent will be around 350-400 for a place with a pool. Salmiya has lots to do, but more Arabic, if you are trying to not be near mosques. Can't live by churches- that sounds wierd, but they are in a couple of big compounds next to the Sheraton and one of the old gates of Kuwait city. Not residence area. Other churches are out in Ahmadi and the drive, for Kuwait, is far. Usually only people that work for the oil company can get the houses out there anyway.
Golf- course in Ahmadi is organized and has events. A new, bigger and nicer one is being built off 6th ring road next to hunting/equestrian club and the military hospital (hope you have a map to locate this to help you!!)
I wouldn't drink the tap water here, although I use the filtered water to boil food in. There are a large number of water companies that bring the big bottles round weekly- aquacool, rawdatain, abraaj are a few.
Hats off to the British- organized and lots to do. As an American, I end up doing loads of stuff with them. There is hashing, caledonians, st. george, welsh society, folk nites, art appreciation- with weaivng and sewing and quilting classes, teas, ets.
I think the beaches are ok in the scope of the world at this point and time. They get very dirty on the weekends when all the nonkuwaitis have picnics and leave behind their trash for the Bangledeshi workers to pick up. Go at noon and it is clean again. There is a sailing club. As a woman, I wouldn't go lay on the beach in a suit. Draws wrong attention.
To be honest, if you are out on your own and look Philliino, you may get bothered. I am being honest. I have lived here 14 years and had freinds over the years. If you look more northern Asian (Korean, China, Japan) you probably won't be bothered. It also would depend on where you are. Some areas are known for lesser activities, so you wouldn't want to be walking around there on your own. Walking around with your husband is the best, but it is that way for us all, even the locals!!!! Laughing
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks a lot for the tip. Really need a place to swim if the beach is not so convenient. So what do women wear when they go to the beach to swim? For the rent you mention, would the place be a 2 bedroom place or 3 bed room place?

Glad to know that there is a new golf course. How about the activities? Where can i find more information on timing and venue?

Hmm, i am Singaporean Chinese but i get tanned easily. any issues? Where would u recommend that i stay. don;t think i can stay cope up in the house all day and only depend on my husband to go out.

Once again thanks for the great advises Very Happy
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I guess my poor English teaching friends were all too poor to live in the swanky places with pools. Laughing I 'heard' that some places had pools on the roof, but don't know where they are.

There is no way I would get into the water off the beaches I saw. If you walk them extensively, it doesn't take long to find a sewer pipe pumping directly into the water. ugh!!

Take some high power waterproof sunblock. I don't know your tolerance for heat... Singapore is hot and humid as I recall, but with temps in Kuwait pushing into the 40-55 range for months on end, the heat kept me out of the sun. (it is usually a dry heat though because the prevailing winds are off the desert rather than the sea)

As to swimwear, if you want to be sure to avoid too much 'attention' Laughing have a modest one-piece. Keep the skimpy bikini for holidays. It is the kind of place where you keep the 'beachwear' to the beaches or pool areas. Once you are there and can see what the other women are wearing, you can adjust to conform.

Localkuwait is right about the British. They have lots of activities going on. She mentions the Hash House Harriers, which is a good way to get some exercise and meet people. Since they call themselves 'a drinking group with a running problem', I wonder how the routine works in a dry country. Shocked You need to have a good sense of humor though, jokes get a bit bawdy.

VS
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VS,

I am sure everyone can afford but would have to compromise on savings then. So i guess its a balance and up to individual to decide how they want to spend their money.

Noted about ur points on beach which is why i am eager to get a place with a pool.

Its nice to hear that there are activities because i am concern with getting very bored in Kuwait. I would like to find work but i am not sure about the job market situation. I am professionally trained as a logistician but i can teach English, Chinese, Math etc if it comes to it. Alternatively i can cook chinese as well. My first choice would be to work rather than be a housewife.

Christine
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again,

I'm sure that you could get a job, though not necessarily the job of your dreams. Smile

Maybe localkuwait will pass by with more information on the job market.

VS
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VS,

A trivial question for you. Is a dryer needed after laundry or can nature do the work? Understand the air is very dry just not sure if its dusty/sandy?

Thanks
Chrisitne
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I bought one of those combination washer/dryers, but since I am single, that was sufficient. I can't remember if they allow laundry to be hung outside or not... it was illegal in the Emirates. Kuwait is normally pretty dry (except sometimes) and not terribly dusty, so if you have a place, it could be hung outside. But... is it allowed...

Localkuwait?? are you out there for this question? Anybody else here know this one?

VS
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souk



Joined: 10 Apr 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
I would not advise putting laundry out to dry. It is very dusty and I am sure in most expatriate blocks it would not be allowed.

Have a look at the inventory and find out what is supplied.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Souk

Interesting that I never found it that dusty myself. I guess all those years in Cairo made everywhere else seem darn near dustless. Laughing Another of those 'all is relative' things...

So, coming from Singapore, stokoe will surely agree with you rather than me.

VS
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stokoe



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VS and Souk,

Thanks for the advise. The thing is we are trying to see what we can buy over in Singapore first and shipped them over. I would think its cheaper to buy things in Singapore since everything in Kuwait is imported.

Is Kuwait a tax free countries even for importing goods? Does the government impose any duties for bringing in electronic and other household items?

Rgds
Christine
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