16 June 2024

Today’s Tuesday, this must be Kuwait. After a long rigmarole at the border, we finally left Saudi and arrived in Kuwait.

The first problem was that Kuwait apparently has a bad relationship with Pakistan and, according to embassy officials, they do want Pakistanis in their country. Our bus drivers are Pakistanis so there’s no way they would get a visa to enter the country. As our coach is Saudi owned, we would not have enough time to get another driver. Therefore, we could not drive our bus to Kuwait. We tried to hire a bus (see last blog) but this wasn’t possible. We finally, after a wait of a few hours, found taxis who would drive us from the Saudi border to Kuwait City and collect us again on Friday. We arrived in KC at around 3:30pm and checked into our very salubrious hotel. We left this morning at 7:30am and the journey was just over 100km.

The border post was in the middle of nowhere and bureaucracy gone mad. I think we went through 5 or 6 different passport or visa checks. All the guards and officials looked frowny but smiled back when we smiled at them. We got all the important stamps in our passports and hit the road.

Another blip was that one of our group had a Russian passport and could not get a visa at an embassy or an evisa. They had to get a visa-on-arrival at the border post. This was by no means certain. The Saudi exit post should not have given an exit stamp without checking that they had a valid Kuwait visa but they didn’t. In the event that our friend was refused entry to Kuwait and returned to Saudi then, strictly speaking, they wouldn’t be allowed back into Saudi because they had no Kuwaiti exit visa.

Confused? That sound you hear is Kafka chuckling.

Because our friend couldn’t be abandoned in the no-man’s land between the two countries, they would have to be readmitted to Saudi. This would not go down well at all with the Saudis and might have repercussions for us on our return or for future overlander trips.

In any event, this never happened and our friend got their visa-on-arrival and all was tickedyboo.

Our driver was an Arab man called Abdullah and drove us to our hotel in his Lexus.

An interesting and memorable day

It was lashing down rain when we got to KC, the first drop of rain I’ve seen in over a month. It made me homesick. Not.

(Please click on any thumbnail above to enlarge the whole gallery for full size sliding photos)

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