I’m watching windsurfers carve the Persian Gulf on a bright Sunday afternoon. It’s been a blustery weekend, colder than normal, and there are even waves trying to bite the tidy ankles of the shoreline. The Plume Labs air quality reading says, literally, “airpocalypse.”
It’s the storm after the calm after the storm.
Earlier in the week, two of the vessels in the picture above patrolled these waters.
It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Anna and I arrived in Kuwait at nearly the perfect time. Winter here is pleasant, with temperatures in the upper 60s. On Fridays and Saturdays–the Kuwait weekend–the beaches and restaurants get busy.
I’m told Kuwaitis like Americans. This is one of the safest places in the Middle East. During the week, I sit among the locals at coffee shops after walking along the beach in the early morning. The men smoke cigars and read or talk, often with prayer beads in hand.
But for about 72 hours earlier this week, none of that really mattered. Tuesday night in particular was tense and, as the world witnessed later, Iran sent missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq.
We knew something was about to happen; Anna barged into my office after midnight to tell me we had to retreat to the bedroom and lock the door. If she knew more, she didn’t say. I went to sleep. In the three days leading up to the missile attack, Iran had threatened Americans throughout the Middle East. I have no idea how much danger we were actually in.
The following morning, we went to the U.S. embassy for a scheduled appointment. Security was robust. By late Thursday, when calm heads prevailed, the ships had vanished.
Kuwait City can be stunning at times, and with each week, something new unfolds. Already we’ve moved on, explored more of the local scene, met new people.
I’d like to say we’ve breathed easier, but that airpocalypse wants to carve up our lungs.