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spacer In order to justify my trip to Kuwait, I had to have a reason for going there other than being a tourist. I was requested to give a lecture at Kuwait University for their Geology Department. My friend wanted me to lecture on my geophysical work in Saudi Arabia. I was more than happy to do so because I still had color slides of my work there and some examples of the work I did there. I titled my talk “Desert Waves”, a tongue in cheek take off of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The waves part of it referred to the waves generated by explosions that were sent into the ground to reflect off of rock layers and bounce back to be recorded on magnetic tape. I spent a day at the University giving the lecture and touring the school. Later I was requested to give a talk at the Kuwait Science Club on a similar subject about micro seismic recording. When I was working on my abstract at KFAS, they let me use a computer there. I sat down at it and picked up the mouse to flip the cord to make sure it was not caught in anything. An old habit of mine. I was surprised that there was no cord and the man helping me started to laugh. It was the first time I had seen a wireless mouse. Later when I returned to the states, I found they had just become available along with wireless keyboards. At times like that, I found Kuwait to be very modern and that it had the latest technology.

I went on a tour of the National Museum and a few places around it. Iraqis had looted the museum and the inside had been gutted by a fire that the Iraqis had set before leaving. Most of the items that were looted have been returned. They took me to the Sabu House which was near to the National Museum. It was a place where they were teaching young Kuwaiti women the art of weaving the way the Bedouins (Nomadic Arabs) did it. The Bedouins were an important part of early Kuwait history. They did not want their art of weaving to die out. There were many fine pieces of various articles there that were on display and for sale. Some of the colors and a few designs reminded me a little of work done by the Native Americans in our southwest. A few pieces were given to me as a going away gift from my Kuwaiti friends.

I was given a tour of the Kuwait Natural History Museum. It had items on display from the history of Kuwait. There were some original airplanes that were first used for Kuwait Air at the museum. Lots of stuffed animals and skeletons were on display also. When the Iraqis invaded, they would not enter the museum because of the skeletons. They were afraid of any ghost that might be in the museum. Usually when I toured a place like the Natural History Museum, I would have the place to myself. They usually closed it to others until I was done touring it. One night my driver said he was going to take me to a “kafee” and I did not understand what he meant. When we arrived there, I found he had meant "cafe". It was a local place that the men went to, to sit around and drink coffee or tea, talk and smoke from a water pipe. The water pipes were rented out. The tobacco was very moist and had to be kept lit by placing glowing charcoal on top of it. We set there for awhile, drinking tea and eating a type of lima bean. Afterwards, he took me to a local area that had craft shops. Some of them were making the models of the Boom, like the ones that were given to me.

At a special awards ceremony given at the Kuwait Towers Restaurant by KFAS, I was invited to tour the oil refinery at Ahmadi, which is south of Kuwait City. As we drove on the highway to get there, I noticed the underpasses that we went through. They were all decorated with paintings of scenes from around Kuwait and were very beautiful. Not like the ones in Denver, that had nothing or had graffiti on them. At the refinery, my shoulder bag was searched and my camera was taken for safekeeping. They had special mirrors to look under our car. Security there was very tight. No photos were allowed because before the war, Iraqis had visited the refinery and taken photos that they later used to know where to go in the refinery. Once inside the gate, we transferred to a special car that had a special exhaust system to prevent accidental fires in the refinery. I had lunch there and talked with some of the engineers about the war. I guess an American plane had fired a missile at the refinery by mistake, and hit one of the cracking towers. They wanted me to know what had happen during the invasion and why they were concerned about the Kuwait POW’s.

Anytime I wanted to see my friend at his office; I had to make an appointment to see him. He was very busy and very important. We went to an awards dinner at the Kuwait Towers one night. KFAS was giving out special awards to people from different countries that had done research on important scientific work. I knew it was formal, so I went in what is called “Gulf Formal”. Basically it is wearing a tuxedo without the jacket. I had borrowed the bow tie and cummerbund from a friend before leaving the states. They gave me a tour of the main tower that was very interesting. The KFAS building was very modern and about seven stories high. It was open in the middle and had a pendulum suspended from the top floor. It rotated with the earths movement and was used as a clock that was engraved on the main floor.

I spent one day touring the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. It did more engineering type of work that KFAS did not do. It was an interesting tour and I spent time with the director talking about the idea of re-circulating wastewater for drinking water. We have a similar operation here in Arizona. Wastewater is pumped into the ground and pumped back up some distance away from the charging wells. By the time the water has traveled through the ground; it is pure enough to drink. The place in Arizona is called “Flushing Meadows”. Most of Kuwait’s drinking water comes from desalination plants that use seawater from the Arabian Gulf.

One of the most important places in Kuwait City is the Martyr House. It was a house where some Kuwaiti resistance fighters had sought refuge. The Iraqis found out about them and surrounded the house. The fighters would not surrender and the Iraqis shelled the house eventually killing the fighters. The house has been left as it was after the attack as a memorial to the fighters. Inside are plaques explaining what happen along with photos of the resistance fighters.

Another night my driver took me to see the gold souk. It has gold jewelry from different countries including Kuwait. They sell it by weight. You pick a piece you like and they weigh it to tell you the price. The price per gram depends on the country it was made in, the purity of the gold and the craftsmanship that went into it. Most of the pieces I looked at were out of my price range. I wound up going to a silver shop in the same area and bought three bracelets for my wife. The designs on them were very similar to designs on silver bracelets I bought in Arizona that were made by Native Americans.

Before and after I got to Kuwait, my friend was talking about the oil lakes. I did not really understand what he meant until I got there. I was finally taken on a tour of the lakes. They were actually lakes of oil. When the Iraqis fled the country, they set a lot of oil wells on fire and opened the valves on pipelines and oil tanks. There was a lot of oil lying around in pools. The Kuwaitis managed to transfer a lot of it to special holding tanks made of earthen dams rather than polluting the area. At the time I was there, the oil was of low quality and they were waiting for the price of oil to go back up before trying to find a buyer for the low-grade oil. So I finally found out what were the oil lakes and their importance to Kuwait. I only saw a few of them. There were lots more.

More on Page Three.

spacer View of roof beams.
We use the same building techniques in the Southwest States that are use in the middle east. Small logs or tree branches are laid across the top of walls and overlain with mats or reeds then covered with mud or adobe.
spacer The National Museum.
This is the National Museum. It was looted by the Iraqis and then they set fire to the inside. Most of the stuff that was looted has been returned and the museum was rebuilt.
spacer Sabu House interior.
The Sabu House is a place where they are teaching the Kuwait women the old Bedouin art of weaving. They are trying to preserve the old ways. Most of the stuff they weave is for sale. Some was given to me as a departing gift.
spacer Sabu House courtyard and tent.
The Sabu House courtyard with a Bedouin tent set up in it. Shows the way the Bedouins (nomad Arabs) lived.
spacer Natural Science Museum.
Interior of the Natural Science Museum. One of the first planes of Kuwait Air. This museum was not robbed by the Iraqis because of the skeletons of dead animals that were in it. They were afraid of "ghosts".
spacer Model ship building.
A shop where models of the dhowls or Booms were made. I received two of them as gifts from different sources.
spacer Highway underpass.
All the underpasses along the highways had beautiful paintings on them. It was a contrast from the ones in Colorado (where I lived at the time) that were bare or had graffiti on them.
spacer Hotel lobby.
View of the hotel lobby where I was staying. There was a large model of a boom, water pipe and photos of the royal family there.
spacer Lobby of KFAS.
Lobby of the KFAS building. This is a shot of a pendulum that hangs from seven stories up the inside. It swings with the earth rotation and acts as a clock.
spacer Kuwait Science Center.
I visited the Kuwait Science Research Center and met with the director. It does work that KFAS does not do.
spacer Kuwait Communications Tower.
They were building this new communications tower. It would have a revolving restaurant on top also.
spacer City wall replica.
A replica of the wall that use to surround the city. The city was built in a series of rings and the original had a wall around it. Later the walls were replaced with roads and they are known as the ring roads. Sort of like the ring road in Washington DC. Then the ring roads are connected with cross streets and traffic round abouts.
spacer Local expressway.
Local express way near the Kuwait Towers. All the traffic signs are in Arabic and English.
spacer Decorative Gateway.
A common sight in the Middle East. They erect these gateways or arches over the roads to mark a special area or special event. This one is on a divided highway.
spacer Kuwait Beach.
Arabian Gulf beach in Kuwait City with Kuwait Towers in the background. The Arabs call it the Arabian Gulf and the Iranians call it the Persian Gulf.
spacer View of my hotel.
Distant view of the hotel that I was staying in as a guest of KFAS. It is the Safir Hotel.
spacer Iraqi Tank.
Iraqi tank in front of the martyr house.
spacer Martyr House.
This is the Martyr House. During the Iraqi occupation, a resistance group was hiding in this house. The Iraqis found out about it and surrounded it. They shelled the house and finally stormed it killing the fighters inside.
spacer Interior of Martyr House.
Interior view of the house. The house has been left as it was after the Iraqis left. It is now a national memorial to the resistance fighters.
spacer Martyr House.
Another exterior view of the Martyr House.
spacer Elder Bob at Martyr House.
Elder Bob in front of the Martyr House. The Kuwaitis consider this to be a shrine to the resistance fighters. A symbol of their fight for independence from the Iraqi invaders.
spacer Gold Souk.
This area of Kuwait City has a lot of gold shops selling gold jewelry from different countries as well as Kuwait. This was one of the first places that the Iraqis came to loot. On my strict budget, I did not buy any gold, but did buy some silver bracelets for my wife. The designs were similar to designs on silver bracelets made my our Native Americans in Arizona.
spacer Oil Lake.
When the Iraqis retreated, they set fire to oil wells and turned on valves to release oil into the desert. After the liberation, the Kuwaitis collected much of the oil on the surface and put it into these oil lakes. It is contaminated with various materials. They planed on selling it at a lower price sometime in the future.
spacer Oil Lakes guide.
This is the guide who showed me around the oil lakes and facilities. We are standing in front of one of the oil lakes.