Walking along the boulevard leading to the northern tip of the city, I crossed the street when I saw a harbour full of traditional dhow ships. It was soon clear that these were fishing boats, and I stopped to see the activity around the boats for a while. Some men were walking up and down, taking carts full of big blocks of ice to the boats where they were undoubtedly used to conserve the fish and protect them against the harsh (read: hot) conditions. The dhows were rocking on the slowly moving sea, and if it were not for the skyscrapers that could be seen through the foggy air, this could almost be a traditional Kuwaiti scene.
When I entered the hall in which the fish suq was located, I was amazed to find such a bustling place. Where outside, almost no one could be seen in the streets, inside there were lots of people on the hunt for a deal buying fish. The buyers were either locals or from the Far East, while I soon found out that the porters were mostly Bangladeshi, while I also met vendors from Syria and Iran. I walked along the rows of stalls, and noticed that some specialize in certain types of fish, while others offer a full range of seafood: from shrimps to tuna and other big fish. There were men cutting up the bigger fish, others putting the fish on nice displays, and overall, I was surprised at the hygienic conditions that appeared to be adhered to.
Most of the stalls in the fish suq were carefully organized; in some, I saw each kind of fish presented in a separate hand-made basket. At times, I would just stand still in a corner of the hall, to observe people passing by. Couples, the man in a white dish-dash and the women in a black veiled dress, or a group of young women from the Philippines, older people - especially compared to the virtually empty streets in the city, it was interesting to observe the crowd passing in and out of this market. I ended up striking conversations with porters and vendors alike, realizing again that they were an international crowd. Outside, activity around the boats was already decreasing, fish markets are mostly a thing of the early morning, especially in climates like these. I moved to an adjacent market with small shops where I bought myself a nice juice, before proceeding on my exploration of the city. The fish suq had been a nice surprise.
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