Oct 15


I have just received my alcohol license I was refering to in this post.

To get the license you need to be a non-muslim, you need to have a proper job with a salary that can be proven. If you meet all these requirements, its pretty easy actually. Here is what I did:

I went to the Alcohol store African and Eastern at the Dubai Marina Walk, got the application form and filled it out. I then made a copy of my passport, my drivers license and VISA page. With all this, I went to our finance department and asked for a Non Objection letter which states that my company does not mind me having an Alcohol license. Are you laughing yet? Then, I went to the Dubai Municipality and asked their non-objection statement for getting the license. Once I had the blessings of the Dubai Municipalities, I needed a salary certificate from the same office, and off I was to submit my application. It took 3 weeks, the Dubai Police signed off on it, and the Liquor store called me to have the license picked up.

The cost of the license is 160 Dirhams (~50 USD), and for the same value I got a voucer that can be used at African and Eastern. This actually makes the alcohol license free, and to have it is indeed very necessary in Dubai, should you be ever confronted for drinking.

This is how it looks like, cheers:

Oct 06

Last Iftar of Ramadan – Egyptian style in Kuwait

Middle-East Comments Off on Last Iftar of Ramadan – Egyptian style in Kuwait

Ramadan is a “holy month” for muslims when they practice self control and come closer to god. This year Ramadan started at the beginning of September, and lasted the whole month. Its either 29 or 30 days in length every year, depending on Lunar activities.

It was my first ramadan and it was quite interesting. Our muslim colleguaes are fasting all day from sun-up to sun-down which means no drinking, no eating, no smoking and no sexual activities for as long as the sun is visible. To be fair to them and to satisfy my curiosity I fasted for the first day of Ramadan. It was surprisingly easy, the only difficult part was the no drinking.

Iftar is the first meal when you break your fast just after the sun sets. In the beginning of Ramadan Iftar was at 6:38 and by the end it was at 6:05 or so. During ramadan, all hotels and restaurants serve a special Iftar meal, which is usually buffet style and starts right after sunset. We had these iftar meals often during this period, and its always fun to take place in something so special as iftar is for the muslims.

I was in Kuiwait a few days ago, and my host there took me to an Egyptian restaurant for Iftar. In Dubai I so far attended only Iftar buffets, but this time it was different. We arrived 10 minutes before Iftar to the restaurant, meals already prepared were steaming away on our table, everything covered with tin foil. The restaurant was full, people were sitting and waiting for the time to start eating. All of a sudden an islamic tune sounded up from the speakers, and people started removing the tin-foil from the dishes and glasses, and picked up a few dates, which is how a fast is broken properly. After dates we had water and some date juice and only then we moved on to eating the proper meals. We had many interesting dishes among which stuffed pigeons stood out by being the most exotic one. It was a nice meal with lots of cheer and joy I saw on people’s faces. It had a more authentic feel to it than anything in Dubai I have seen so far. For a westerner, Ramadan might seem like a time of suffering and agony, but the Muslims actually enjoy it as it gives them the opportunity to come closer to god, and this period is also full of family gatherings.

On the day of my visit to Kuwait it was still undecided if this was the last day of ramadan or we had another one ahead of us. Just as we ordered our mint teas out and some of us lit on a cigarette for complete relaxation, the TV announced the end of Iftar, right after officials have evaluated the Moon’s state. This was around 7:30-8PM. Ramadan is followed by Eid, a holiday of two days for celebrating the end of the fasting. Just imagine how hard it must be to plan for a holiday if you only find out your days off from office at 8PM the evening before.

This is what the table looked like at the restaurant, before we broke the fast:

Click for more pictures…

Continue reading »

Oct 06

Kuwait – Day trip to the country – first impressions

Middle-East Comments Off on Kuwait – Day trip to the country – first impressions


I had to go to Kuwait for a day trip with my coworker on business yesterday, and I took some pictures while there and thought I would share it here. Kuwait is a very interesting country, small in size, super rich and has the strongest/most expensive currency in the world, the Kuwaiti Dinar.

We were all day on a meeting, but just before sunset, we had an hour to spare before heading back to the office, and it was just enough to escape and visit the most viewed buildings in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti towers. These towers were designed by a Swedish firm back in the 60’s or 70’s, and they were actaually built by a Yugoslavian company believe it or not and the project was ready in 1979. One tower was built as a water reservoir, the other (tallest) tower is the one you can actually go into and have a coffee while looking at the Arabian gulf from a height of 120 meters, and the skinny rocket-like tower is the electricity tower that controls all the rest. The lookout tower has a rotating floor so while having your coffee, you will be shown around Kuwait city.

Other than the towers, we didn’t see much, which is probably because Kuwait is a very small country and it’s definitely not a tourist destination packed with historical sites or landmarks. Being there feels kind of special, I remember back when I was a kid in Hungary, we often talked about Kuwait where everything was made of gold, and the people were so rich they had nothing better to do than enjoying life. This is obviously not true as you will see on the pictures soon, not all things are made of gold. The city itself is quite dirty, full of old gas-guzzler American cars and of course dust. The country itself is still very rich I take it, it just that they are not showing off like people do here in the UAE.

Enjoy the pics and click below to see more pictures:
Continue reading »