Somehow, the description of the House of Mirrors sounded very attractive and raised my interest, but when I called ahead, the woman answering the phone told me that it was possible to visit at 6pm, and the visit would last for two hours. I calculated that that left me very little time before my departure, and told her that it would be difficult to squeeze that into my evening. Immediately after I hang up the phone, I had this nagging feeling that I had made the wrong decision, and when I arrived at the Musical Fountain that I wanted to visit next, and did not see any water at all, nor heard any music, I decided to call her again. Fortunately, she was most welcoming, and against her advice, I walked to Qadisiya, her quarter of Kuwait. It took some searching and, in the end, a friendly Indian who did not speak any English, to take me to my destiny: the House of Mirrors.
There could be no doubt: from a distance, I saw mirrors on the wall, and pointed at the house to the driver. Before I even rang the doorbell, I walked around the house, amazed at the mirror mosaics that were around: stars, planets, and statements in Arabic adorned the walls. The door was a beauty in itself, but much more was still awaiting me inside. When the small, radiant woman opened the door, I shook hands with Lidia, found out she was Italian, lived here since 1960, and had lost part of her Italian language skills. She guided me into the living room, and I felt overwhelmed. All around me: mosaics made of small pieces of mirrors, depicting birds and fish on the walls, but also mosaics on the fan, the floor, the ceiling, the furniture: everywhere. I sat down, and let the environment sink in - I felt dazzled by the shiny pieces of glass. My host offered me a most refreshing drink of mint, lime, and ginger, while we had a pleasant conversation until the other two visitors arrived.
What followed, was a minute account of the history of this house, the idea to use broken mirrors to decorate a house, the pitfalls of the project that had been going on for decades already. The most memorable was the fight against termites, which Lidia had bravely fought and, ultimately, won. She then invited us on a tour of the house, where we found out that all rooms had a theme, a philosophy behind them. Lidia would ask us to sit down, tell us about her ideas, while we marveled at the room, all the while listening to relaxing New Age music. She would then switch off the lights, after which the room would come alive: flashing lights with bright colours would give the room a totally different appearance. The bathroom was also totally covered by mirrors, the staircase did not only consist of mirrors but had seals on its wall - made of mosaic mirrors. We saw the library, and other rooms full of paintings by Lidia and her late husband. I realized that this was a unique experience: the artists was guiding us through her own house, telling us the story behind each room, behind each piece of art. I could not help but admire her energy, her originality, and her playfulness, which she showed when she made us play with her art. I had forgotten about time when we returned to the living room, and saw that in fact, more than two hours had passed very fast. But I knew that following my intuition had been very right, and I was happy for it. The energy I experienced during this visit was more than enough to keep me awake for the rest of the night. It was difficult to say goodbye to Lidia, the creative artist who had had the fantasy to invent this house.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from House of Mirrors (Kuwait). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to House of Mirrors.
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