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Old 7th November 2008, 21:45   #1
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Default An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait

An Eid day trip to Wafra

Back in Kuwait from my vacation in Trivandrum on the 28th of September, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 30th of Sep & 1st of Oct are Eid holidays. I was looking forward to 2 days of rest (after a hectic vacation ) but my friend Biju had other ideas. He had been toiling alone in my absence & so he wanted to go out somewhere in the holidays. Ok, I said & the next question was where? Now, in Kuwait, the options as we know of now were pretty limited, so we decided on Wafra pretty fast.

Wafra is a place in Kuwait close to the Saudi border. There are a large number of vegetable, poultry farms in & around Wafra. Also large number of sheeps & camels are reared in this place. Also Wafra is one of the places in Kuwait where you can find some greenery ( I am speaking in relative terms here). It is also the place which saw some major action during the Gulf War.

The partners in crime: Me, Biju, Sooraj, Sreejith & Reddy.

The vehicle ( I like this part): Our friend Sooraj's new Corolla.

The preparations started on the 30th itself. As it was a holiday, we decided to take food along with us. The next question was - What food to take?
After a lot of discussion, finalised on Chappathi & Porotta with Chicken Curry. No confusion in preparing the food, we declared my friend Biju as the Chef in Charge & with a little (with the emphasis on the "little") help from us, the Chicken Curry was ready in the night itself. We bought the Chappathis & Porottas from outside as it would have been a little too much for our Chef in Charge. So we were all set to go to Wafra the next day. It was decided that we will leave early morning at 6.30 from our accomodation in Salmiya.

But due to the lazy bones among us ( I am not mentioning who) the trip started at 7.15 AM. First we went to Fahaheel to pick up Reddy. On the way we saw an accident that must have occured about 30 minutes before. The SUV had jumped across two dividers & was lying on the roadside with its front end completely mangled. The vehicle must have been doing around 200 kph to have got to its present position. Rescue personnel were already on the scene carrying the injured in stretchers to ambulances. What a sight to start a trip! I thought in my mind. No, no photos of the accident. I didn't want the first photo of the day to be that of an accident. Anyway we reached Fahaheel around 7.45 & picked up Reddy who was waiting for us there.

One thing you we will find in Kuwait are lots of good & exotic cars as well as good roads ( I am snapping pictures of the various cars here, but that's food for another thread). Soon we were doing a constant 120 kph with the occasional 140 & 160 kph on the Expressway to Saudi border. The Corolla felt rock steady at these speeds. May be due to the good roads as well.
120 kph
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02069.jpg
160 kph
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02137.jpg
Soon I had my first camel sighting since I came to Kuwait.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02074.jpg
Porta Cabin
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02081.jpg
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02083.jpg
These are photos of the Porta Cabin, short for Portable Cabins. They are complete with all facilities like work space, water tank, air conditioners, etc. They are used for working at remote locations. Note the air conditioners fitted on the two sides. After some more time, we got off the expressway & took the two lane road to Wafra. This road was also a beauty with the road snaking ahead of us.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02093.jpg
Some more camel sightings
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02090.jpg
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02091.jpg
Reddy said that during December & January, people came out to these areas & put up camp in the desert & have campfire & spend the night in tents. We all agreed that it would be an experience not to be missed & noted this one for a future trip.

We reached Wafra around 9.30. The scenery changed from desert on both sides to greenery with farms & green houses spread across the land.

Greenery in the middle of the desert
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02101.jpg
Green Houses
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02097.jpg
On the way we saw a farm with well maintained lawns & trees even on the outside.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02104.jpg
We tried to see if there was any security there so we could ask for a tour of the farm, but could find no one. So we had to satisfy ourselves by shooting photos from outside.
Me (leaning on the car) & Biju with the Corolla
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02112.jpg
By this time every one was feeling the pangs of hunger. Sooraj & Reddy knew of a malayali hotel (not surprised, are you?) near the Wafra market. We decided to buy some hot tea from the hotel to go along with the Chappathi & Chicken Curry. There were roads crisscrossing the entire area. Sooraj was driving the Corolla now with Reddy donning the navigator role. After some confusion regarding which road to take, we finally reached the place with the help from some locals (fortunately for us Reddy was quite fluent in Arabic). We ordered tea from there & started scouting for a good place with some shade to have the food. On the way we saw a place with some shade. Sooraj slowed the car down & parked the car by the side of the road. This is what happened.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02123.jpg
Yep! The car got stuck clean & proper in the sand.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02125.jpg
Stranded!
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02126.jpg
Sooraj tried to reverse the car out of the sand, but it didn't work so he told us to push the car from the front. Immediately me, Biju & Sreejith tried pushing the car, but save for the fact that we were jumping around like monkeys holding our hands, nothing much happened. You see, that is what happens when people don't take into consideration the effects of the hot (as in real hot) Middle east Sun & the heat from the engine on the bonnet can do to one's skin. Reddy was giving directions from the back, so he was spared. After a round of the choicest swear words from me & Biju (Jith is a comparatively gentle soul), we waited for some SUV to haul us out of our predicament. Many vehicles passed us, but no one stopped to help us. Finally an Indian (from Andhra) in an SUV towed us out of the sand. We offered him our thanks. He was working in a farm nearby. We offered him some money also but he didn't accept the money & only asked for some water. After drinking the water he bid goodbye to us.

Now our hunger pangs returned with greater intensity & all of us agreed that maybe having food in the car itself was the best option. Suddenly Reddy said that he remembered a mosque nearby where we could have food "aaram se". We sped to the place & it was just as Reddy said. A nice, calm, well maintained place where we gorged on the food. All of us gave full marks to our Chef in Charge, Biju who was very happy with the result. A special mention should be made of the care taker who allowed us to have food there. He had only one request, not to go inside the Prayer hall, which we all respected. He was a Kashmiri & said he was in Wafra for more than 6 years. He said that we had actually come at a wrong time as all the farms would be closed for Ramadan & the Kuwaitis will be there in the farms with their families. Now we understood why all the farms were closed. Well, that left the farm tours out of the question.

The mosque where we had our food
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02130.jpg
Hogging time!!
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02128.jpg
After thanking the helpful caretaker, we were on our way to Saudi border. Once we got out of Wafra, the landscape again became arid & the only things to be seen were transmission towers & power cables. In between, Sooraj was cautioning us from taking photos in some areas as photography was prohibited in many areas along the road.

After reaching the Saudi border (I don't have any photos of the border as my friend was a little paranoiac with us taking photos & was probably right also. So we refrained from taking any) we decided to head ourselves to the sea side. We took a detour along the sea side. we saw many beautiful villas along this route.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02147.jpg
This one was very beautiful, with a nice view of the sea. We asked the security whether we could go inside. Again the answer was that the Kuwaiti family was inside enjoying the holidays, so no one was allowed inside. We continued our journey & suddenly there was this Beemer in front of us. I think it was the X6 coupe but it was gone before I could see it clearly.
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02142.jpg
We drove to Fahaheel as we had to drop Reddy there, but not before we took some photos by the sea side. By this time it was afternoon & it had become really hot outside. So we didn't stay long there. After the photo shoot, we dropped Reddy & headed back to Salmiya. On the way back, we had another impromptu photo shoot on the beach.
Biju, Sooraj (standing), Jith & Reddy (sitting)
An Eid Day Trip to Wafra, Kuwait-dsc02155.jpg
Finally around 3.30 PM, we reached our accomodation in Salmiya. The odo had clocked around 340 kms. Although we couldn't get into any farms & our vehicle got stuck in the sand, all of us really enjoyed the trip. As for the things that we couldn't do during this trip, there is always another time & another travelogue. Hope you guys enjoyed this one day triplog. Bye!
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Old 7th November 2008, 23:34   #2
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Nice one, loved the pics, look at the roads..."makhan" arnt they? it was quite funny to see the corolla get stuck in the sand...but i am glad u got help
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Old 8th November 2008, 02:43   #3
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Fantastic writeup. Nothing like a road trip with a bunch of friends.

Fascinating to see the countriside of Kuwait.
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Old 9th November 2008, 22:01   #4
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Nair, good to see another travelogue from you. Simple and sweet, is the trip, and your description of it. Kuwait outskirts look the same as other Middle Eastern countries, which isnt surprising.

There's nothing like a trip and picnic with friends, and some adventure to add to it.
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Old 9th November 2008, 22:27   #5
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Write up matches the images. The really funny part IMO was the car getting struck just beside the road.
But what amazed me were the photographs of speedo and tacho.
In India Corolla altis Manual in India does 205 in top gear. Kph/1000 rpm in 5th gear in Indian Altis is 33.6 approx.
But you seem to be doing 160 at 3800 rpm. Even after calculating the worst errors, 160 kmph at 4K rpm = 40kmph/1000 rpm. The Corolla you were in either has different motor, or different transmission or is high geared than Indian model.
Can you and/or anyone throw some light on this ?
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Old 9th November 2008, 22:36   #6
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Thanks for the writeup, Nutty. Fahaheel, Wafra, Salmiya - these places bring back memories of time spent in Kuwait. During those days there was only one 'Veg' restaurant and one had to drive all the way down to Fahaheel (okay, 40 kms) to have dosa/idli at the Udupi Restaurant there.

So you live in Salmiya? "Near Eeddi Stores", I guess
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Old 9th November 2008, 23:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Thanks for the writeup, Nutty. Fahaheel, Wafra, Salmiya - these places bring back memories of time spent in Kuwait. During those days there was only one 'Veg' restaurant and one had to drive all the way down to Fahaheel (okay, 40 kms) to have dosa/idli at the Udupi Restaurant there.

So you live in Salmiya? "Near Eeddi Stores", I guess
Yes Steeroid, quite close to Eedi store. The good news is there are now lot of veg & non - veg restaurants in Salmiya itself. Infact there is one Udupi bang opposite to my accomodation. Btw, when were you in Kuwait? Also, I have some pictures of Fahaheel & Sharq. Will post it along with the car pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Write up matches the images. The really funny part IMO was the car getting struck just beside the road.
But what amazed me were the photographs of speedo and tacho.
In India Corolla altis Manual in India does 205 in top gear. Kph/1000 rpm in 5th gear in Indian Altis is 33.6 approx.
But you seem to be doing 160 at 3800 rpm. Even after calculating the worst errors, 160 kmph at 4K rpm = 40kmph/1000 rpm. The Corolla you were in either has different motor, or different transmission or is high geared than Indian model.
Can you and/or anyone throw some light on this ?
Oh yes, but even if it was by the side of the road, we couldn't have got out without the help of the SUV. My only regret is that I forgot to capture a picture of the SUV towing the Corolla out of the sand. The Corolla we drove had an automatic transmission. I don't know about the motor, will ask my friend about it.

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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Fantastic writeup. Nothing like a road trip with a bunch of friends.

Fascinating to see the countriside of Kuwait.
Thank you, Mpower. You are right, nothing like a road trip with a bunch of friends & I am eagerly looking forward to the next trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
Nice one, loved the pics, look at the roads..."makhan" arnt they? it was quite funny to see the corolla get stuck in the sand...but i am glad u got help
Thank you, deky. The roads are superb here, but I guess with the sort of climate here, they don't require much maintenance unlike in our country where they require frequent maintenance due to the rains. So once they build the roads, it stays smooth for some time, I guess.
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Old 10th November 2008, 09:31   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Nair View Post


Oh yes, but even if it was by the side of the road, we couldn't have got out without the help of the SUV. My only regret is that I forgot to capture a picture of the SUV towing the Corolla out of the sand. The Corolla we drove had an automatic transmission. I don't know about the motor, will ask my friend about it.

I went to Toyota Kuwait website. There are interestingly two motors available in Toyota Corolla. The car is similar to " Altis " sold in India.
Toyota Cars Kuwait | Corolla
The two motors are :
1) 1.6 ltr, 107 bhp
2) 1.8 ltr, 130 bhp.
Still amazed by the high gearing. If it comes to India with this gearing in an additional gear, then it will very efficient mile muncher.
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