KUWAIT: Cracking of burning wood with billowing sparks, coffee aroma wafting from the fire place, echoes of wild animals’ howling from afar, moon light sparkling onto scattered rain droplets and hissing breeze all form picture of the Kuwaitis’ “kashta” in the desert. Now is the high season for “kashta,” an escape from the city hustle and bustle, stressful daily chorus and benzene puffing from vehicles’ exhausts. The citizens, including whole families and youth groups, erect their tents far from residential districts to enjoy clean desert air, serenity of the place and sounds of the nature.
Much of the soothing comes from the raging fire that creates lights and shadows on the tent.”Shila hab Al-barad w zanet Al-nafsiah,” sang the young camper Anwar Salmeen as he pitched the tent, expressing his soothed state of mind amid the place serenity, His companions chanted after him some verses of the poet Abdulaziz bin Jarallah Al-Ghezzi, “el jaw rawaa and the sentiments are awakened wa Al-ghaim ghatta Al-daireh,” describing the pleasurable atmosphere.
The campers made coffee and tea and roasted chestnuts on the blazes while chatting, narrating delightful stories and cracking jokes, prompting intermittent laughter. And Salmeen affirmed, camping is an opportunity to be relieved of daily stressful routine; a chance to fuel the spirit and ease off. He and his companions scour the uninhabited regions throughout Kuwait to find the proper place for the retreat.
Dusting the rugs, Khaled Al-Dosari, chattered, “we choose the best kind of coal and the best type is the Somali, that is available in Al-Shuwaikh at reasonable prices.”Abu Saad Al-Dhafiri, an old Kuwaiti, yearned for the old time camping, where campers used to have meagre items, as compared to nowadays, where many campers choose to bring in too many items for luxury including power generators and generators. He also recalled that in the old time particularly this time of the year, Kuwait used to witness biting cold.
At the tent market in Al-Rai, dealers affirmed that the business is now thriving, noting that the current high prices are the result of soaring demand at the peak of the camping season. Additionally, the seller Fahad Al-Sawagh pointed out that the unprecedented turnout at the market was the result of the camping suspension that had lasted for two years due to the coronavirus.
Preparations for the camping began two months ago, when companies started making the tents, fabrics of which are imported mainly from Pakistan and Iran. Farid Khan, a merchant, said that the market displays newly made tents that are easy to erect. Price of a piece may fetch as a high as KD 260. “Al-Shadadiya tent,” is the most favored one because it is quite suitable for Kuwait weather, he added. Furthermore, the business boom is also attributed to the social media rapid communication and promotion, said Sharif Shamseddine, manager of a tents company. Some customers check the tents on Instagram to choose color and shape of the piece to be bought.
Shahin Ghareeb, a citizen, said that he favors the used and old tents because they are sturdier than the new ones. Umm Abdullah Al-Enezi noted that the old ones are much cheaper than the new tents. At “Al-Safafir” market, in Sharq, the place is noisy with workers hammering on copper and iron pots and items. Taha Iqbal, a storekeeper, said the market is attracting a large number of customers to buy braziers, pots, rods, ropes and various metallic and wooden utensils necessary for camping.
The dealers are selling at competitive prices, said the citizen Ali Al-Wtayan, who opted to buy a portable a gas pit, and his peer, Abdulrahman Al-Mudhi, had his eyes on portable chairs and tables, blankets and mattresses. For his part, Usama Al-Majed, a manager of a cooperative store, affirmed that the camping utensils are available at good prices at the families’ items sections of the cooperative stores throughout the country. — KUNA