I thought coming to Kuwait meant giving up all things porcine for nine days, but I had some of the best ribs in recent memory tonight. To avoid potential problems with blogging about things that aren’t precisely legal here, let me say only that we attended a secret restaurant that serves the meat that rhymes with fork. This restaurant, which shall of course go unnamed, grills ribs, beef steak and chicken with a gorgeous barbeque sauce as well as fresh salad, veggies, potatoes, and corn on the cob. The special menu, which is decidedly unpublished, is available only on Thursday nights: the equivalent of Friday night in this part of the world, when people from far, far away need to cut loose at the end of the work week.
Along with the off-menu meats, the restaurant allows the dinner guests to bring their own beverages. For my teacher friends familiar with Friday evening library club, we’ll call these personal drinks the Chilean books, the Australian books, and the Irish books. Around here, The Electrician’s parents refer to the contents of their wheel-along cooler as white “tea,” red “tea,” and brown “tea.”
The purpose of Thursday night dinner in general is to allow the folks who work stressful jobs around here to unwind. For many of the men who work here, just making it to the end of the week is a victory. Navigating high-pressure jobs with drastic cultural differences so far from home is exhausting, and the employees really appreciate the chance to relax on Friday night. The ladies sat at one end of the big table out beside the patio pool tonight, and the men sat at the other. While the women chatted about grandkids and goddaughters and pets, the men talked about all the things that had aggravated them this week. Traffic in Kuwait was high on the list, in addition to other stuff that has made their blood pressure rise lately. Everyone there is from somewhere outside Kuwait, and all of them face similar challenges.
So there we were, at a table full of illegal beverages, illegal meat, and people who are from far, far away, sitting beside a pool with the fountain going and the evening breeze curving down over the tops of the building. It was the intersection of the forbidden and the divine. About the time dessert started showing up (it was chocolate hazelnut cake and vanilla ice cream) a man came around with a black duffle bag. Inside the duffle bag were dozens and dozens of bootleg DVDs. For just a couple dollars after the conversion from Dinars, a person could purchase copies of films that have just hit the theatres. This person did not. The Electrician’s mom said they watched a copy of Tron from this guy months ago, and they were amazed at the special effects and all the green sci-fi people in the film; then they watched a copy of The King’s Speech where all the people were also green. They don’t buy from that guy anymore.
When is the last time you were at a dinner table with three illegal things going on simultaneously? I’m not certain, but I think the criminal seasoning made my ribs extra tasty.
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