The chicken guys are some of my favorite people. Chicken guys are little restaurant owners...their restaurants pepper the street, each with a rotisserie grill outside a hole-in-the-wall room. This is one of the most economical ways to eat in Kuwait...you can just pull up in front of the restaurant and order a chicken (or even a half chicken), hummus, tabouleh (Lebanese foods), shawarma, grilled meat, and a variety of other delectable goodies. The chicken goes for about $3. For the past few months, I've been shopping around with the chicken guys. Their chickens are basically equal in yumminess, but I've noticed a distinct difference in their tabouleh (arab salad). My main problem with tabouleh is that many of the restaurants put large onions in the salad...and for anyone that knows me, I hate onions. But I finally found the holy grail of chicken guys- no onions in their tabouleh! So now I'm a regular at their shop.
So a couple nights ago, I decided to walk over to the chicken guy to get some dinner. Usually, I just stop in my car and roll down the window...if I walk it's with friends. So this was my first time going solo. They all know me, and I can tell that they're curious about this random american girl that likes grilled chicken and hummus and tabouleh. When I got to the store, I was greeted by about 5 men working in the restaurant. They all smiled, and immediately set to work on my order. It took a little while for them to understand that I only wanted a half chicken and that I wanted the white meat part...but eventually we successfully negotiated the language barrier and I sat down to wait. Immediately, one of them ran over with some tea for me to drink while I waited. For the next ten minutes, we chatted. By "chatted", I mean that we carried on a very fragmented conversation, part Arabic, part English, and lots of hand motions and laughter. They are all Syrian, and they spent quite a bit of time lamenting the fact that while I can go to Syria as an American, they can't go to America because they are Syrian (due to long-term tension between the two countries). They wanted to know why I didn't just call for delivery...I told them I like to walk (although the real answer is that I try to keep the number of random men here who know my address to a minimum). Every time I took a sip of my tea, they rushed over to refill it. They called me "doctor", which to them means professor. It's much too complicated to explain that I'm a Career Counselor, so I just go with doctor. When the food was finally ready, I paid my money and headed back across the street to my apartment, happy. These kinds of moments make my day. This is the part of Kuwait that I love...not the glitzy malls, the havoc-strewn roads, or the propensity toward racism and hierarchy. It's people like the chicken guys that remind me why I wanted to move to the Middle East.