Right after finishing from Prime and toast (previous post) I went to Soug wajif in almubarakiya. Soug wajif or Soug alhareem (Women’s market) is an old Kuwaiti soug where usually women would sit and sell traditional and women stuff.

Before going in I stood and took some pictures of the entry. This guy pictured above started hiding his face and asked me loudly not to photograph him. When I came closer I asked for the reason and he said “I don’t think my face is nice enough to be photographed.” I laughed and tried to convince him that there was nothing wrong with his face.. and we started talking. I asked him about the Soug and for how long he’s been working here.

Him: It hasn’t been long since I started working here, I only started right after the iraqi invasion (18 years) and let me tell you that the Soug isn’t what it used to be. The people are different, the sellers aren’t Kuwaitis anymore and the products aren’t as authentic as they used to be.

Me: 18 years?

Him: Yes. This lady over there (then he pointed at the woman sitting right across from us, only 2 meters away. she could hear us actually) this lady is the only Kuwaiti woman in here, she’s been working here for a long time.

*the lady now is listening to our conversation and staring while sipping her tea. The way she was sipping the tea reminded me of my grandmother, she was pouring the tea from her estekana to the estekana’s plate and then she’d take her time to sip from the little plate while listening to us. I thought she was listening*

Me: Can I take a picture of you now?

Him: yeah you can.

Me: Can I take a picture of this Kuwaiti lady too? Do you think she’d approve?

Him: Oh no no she won’t. She isn’t Kuwaiti by the way, she’s bedoun.

I drank from the tea the guy offered and walked all around the place taking pictures. (I didn’t pay for it, I thought at first that the guy would pay, coz he insisted that I should drink some, and coz I didn’t want to offend him by refusing or paying for myself I walked away without paying. I only realized later when I was in my car that I should’ve paid… oh well)


I returned to the ‘Kuwaiti’ woman and went up to her to ask her a couple of questions.

Me: Gowa khalty (hi)

Her: HAAAAAAAAA? (what?)

Me: Khalty gowwwa gowwaa


Me: SHLOOOONICH!!!!!!!!!!! (how r u)

Her: I’m goood goood

Me: Khalty how long have you been in this place?

Her: I entered this market a little girl and now I’m an old woman.. I’ve been working here for over 40 years.

Me: 40 years? What have changed over the last 40 years??

Her: Nothing.

Me: Nothing? what about the people? the products?

Her: Nothing changed! NOTHING! *she was yelling and trembling. I was afraid for her health* Nothing changed. The people are now coming from all over. We have people visiting from America, from Turkey and emirates… bahrain…. qatar.. *I get it* … hmmm … saudi too! Where are you from?

Me: Kuwaiti

Her: eee… *she’s bored with me*

While I was walking around I couldn’t help but notice how the place was very relaxing. I’ve always thought Soug Almubarakiya had this great quality to it. I mean the fact that I’m walking around, sipping tea from an estekana (with HAIL) and looking at all those outrageous colors and outdated stuff.. It’s like you’re not in Kuwait anymore, heck not even in the 2000’s..

At the end I went out of the market and stood outside to take some more shots of the entry. Thats when an old lady started covering her face frantically and yelling “Don’t take pictures of me!! I’m an old lady! why are you taking pictures of old ladies!” then 5 seconds later I hear someone yelling from behind me “ya walad!!!” I was 100% he wasn’t talking to me.. But I turned around out of curiosity and saw this very old man sitting at this white plastic chair staring at me. “Are you talking to me?” I asked hesitantly. He took one long look at me and then finally said “Yes. Pull up your pants!”

Thats when I knew it was time to leave this place and go back home.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 at 5:46 am

25 Responses to “The One With Soug Al Hareem”

  1. Rakaan says:

    Nice pics Yousef .. Specially il third one .. 3ajeeeeeeeeeba ;D

  2. Mishary says:

    I second Rakaan, 3ajeeeeba !

  3. Ahmad says:

    I really liked this whole post. You not only showed us photos of the place, you made us feel as if we were there by talking to the people and making them talk about themselves.

    I would like to see more posts like these!

  4. Fawaz says:

    nice shots 😉

  5. LOL !! They must have felt like you’re an alien in that place 😛 I want you to teach me how to take pictures like that! Seriously what lenses do you use?

  6. bo9ale7 says:

    nice pics and nice story. i love almubarakiya and now i want to go there 😛

  7. Pink GirL says:

    5ooosh 9owar teslam edek
    shawagtna 3la soq almbarkia o soq al7reem :>

  8. 7anToosh says:

    khooosh pics o khasataan el chaay shaklaa khoooOOOooosh chaay 😛

  9. joy says:

    3ajeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeb elchai shawagtny abi arooo7

    very nice
    specially elsheera …………..why!!!!

  10. Abdullah says:

    eb9ara7a ‘7oosh report o mat3oob 3alaih
    o netmana enshof mithel hal mwa’6ee3
    ya36ek el 3afyah o salim 3ala Mishary 🙂

  11. Ansam says:

    LOL @ pull up your pants hehehehe
    Great shots

  12. JEWAIRA says:

    Wonderful post.

    I wish you had made comments on each of the photos though to explain to others who may not know what you have photographed.

  13. Abdulmohsen says:

    allah ya36eek il3afya… post wala arwa3. the large number of istikanat in pics 3+4 must mean that you and your friends actually made a traffic jam 😉

  14. 1001Nights says:

    This was an awesome post. 🙂 It seems they thought you were some sort of predator though what with the lady accusing you of ‘taking pictures of old ladies’ and the old man demanding that you pull up your pants. LOL

  15. Bu Yousef says:

    One of the best posts I’ve ever read. Great shots, simple conversations and a wonderful presentation. More like this one please. I’m learning a lot about photography and more from you.


  16. Kanika says:

    The images are self revealing. They are telling the whole story of brahrain. The pics are clear and clean. Nice shots.

  17. INM says:

    mashalah 3alaik yousef `7oosh tasweer

  18. Intlxpatr says:

    I love this post, Yousef. You have a great eye, and you have a great way of gaining trust and confidence with your subjects. Your photos of the men capture their natures, and I, too, love the tea – you can even see the steam roiling up!

    I love Mubarakiyya. You have a freedom I don’t, with your camera there. Maybe you could do the hardware area next? Some of the very old fashioned shops?

  19. um-mit3ib says:

    soog il 7AREEEEMM.. inta shimwadeek ?

  20. TaLaL says:

    wow.. what a great post Yousef .. 3ejbatni salfat yoom trd 3aleeek HAAAAA 😛

  21. Yousef says:

    Rakaan glad you liked them 🙂

    Mishary mairso 🙂

    Ahmad Thank you 🙂 I’ll try inshallah

    Fawaz 3ashon 3ayal

    Miss-Informed I used the canon 28-135mm lens. The place was great for taking pictures, you should go to almubarakiya with your camera and just walk around and shoot stuff, I bet all of your pictures will turn out lovely 🙂

    bo9ale7 yakhy limarekeyya 3ajeeba! yabeelna marra breakfast there tara.

    Pink GirL Allah ysalmich mashkoora. you should go there it’s a great place 🙂

    7anToosh kan sij 3ad khooooooooosh chay! emhayyal!

    joy LOL ee ilsheera kanat wayid mohimma iny a7i6ha!

    Abdullah Mashkoor o inshallah Allah ysalmik yo9al 🙂

  22. Yousef says:

    Ansam ee jleel el7aya fashalny! 😛

    JEWAIRA Good point. I will thanks 🙂

    Abdulmohsen lol laa I was alone. this guy goes around and pour tea to whoever wants an estekana and then come back to collect them and his money.

    1001Nights LOL I certainly did NOT interpret it the way you did! you have a good point actually 😛

    Bu Yousef Thanks for the great words! I love your style, Bu Yousef, a lot. Thanks 🙂

    Kanika Thank you.. but Bahrain? the Soug pictured above is in Kuwait 🙂


    Intlxpatr oh Merci beaucoup for the nice words 🙂 Where is the hardware area, which one do you mean?

    um-mit3ib rayi7 at6ammash 3al “7areem” 😛 sh7arich? kalaitay pancakes wila ba3ad?!

    TaLaL eeee maskeena 6la3at moool! ftha7atny lol 😛

  23. 5ermesS says:

    yaah yah mshalla yousef eslobik yeshed elwa7ed 😉

  24. Mathai says:

    excellent post ! I used to go there with my dad and mom in the good old days, aye there were some jolly people there selling their wares but now its lost its authentic touch and some of the products are even made in china ! 😀

    lol @ pull up your pants !

  25. um-mit3ib says:

    la makalait im dieting lat7irny plz ;p