Kuwaitis are known for traveling. In the past, they traveled for commerce and excelled as traders through determination and hard work. Kuwaitis went far and wide to do business and consequently arrived at Mumbai Port in India. They went beyond Karachi in Pakistan to Zanzibar in Africa to trade, and their good reputation preceded them wherever they went. As the modern face of Kuwait began to take shape through the discovery of oil, sea profession disappeared gradually and sailors started rummaging around for new and easier ways to make a living until the Kuwaiti government began to employ them on official jobs with reasonable salaries, which made sailors abandon their perilous sea life in due course.
With time, sea titles like Nokheza (captain of ship), seaman (Gheis) and the names of local dhows like Sanbouk became part of history, naturally. Kuwaitis have preserved their old hobby of traveling, as per the adage “once a sailor always a sailor”, although they travel at this time purposely for tourism. Kuwaitis have many other reasons for traveling but I will talk about traveling for tourism purpose. Summer became the ideal season for traveling due to many factors, including long vacation of the schools and high temperature, while high income rate of Kuwaitis makes it possible for them to travel for tourism.
High temperature experienced in Kuwait during summer led to the birthing of Marine City that stretches out on the charming coastline of Kuwait and evocating contrary reactions of happiness, sorrow, optimism and sarcasm among people. Is Marine City an appropriate name? The name gives the impression that individuals can sail small boats few kilometers away and wander in a magical city where the temperature exceeds 50 degrees Centigrade. It is actually a city of trampolines worthy of the name ‘Trampoline Marine City’ as it derides the history of seamen, local dhows and brave Kuwaiti men who weathered the rough seas and high waves.
In my opinion, the sea is a symbol of strength, challenge and courage; thus a Marine City built with nylons is really sarcastic. Nevertheless, we are happy about it since we do not carry oars to cause its destruction. I asked a cousin who visited the Marine City recently to take photos of the place, and I realized how wonderful it would be with the name of ‘Marine Fort”. It’s definitely my next destination to enjoy the spray of salty sea water with my children. I wish the officials will make the place a permanent recreational site for the entire year and build a real marine city in future — as cities cannot be built from rubber. I really wish to change the name to Marine Fort and develop the place in partnership with cooperative societies to provide free services forever.
By Intisar Al-Ma’atouq