Dear Dispatches,

Negative on the rain, and how I wish otherwise. Kuwait during summer goes head-to-head with Death Valley as hottest place on earth. Annually I think we get half a night of rain. If anything, it’s so hot that, despite being among the sunniest places in the world, Kuwaitis have severe vitamin D deficiency. You simply can’t leave the house. We live and die by air-conditioning. I set the thermostat to 19.5°C while the weather outside’s 46°C. And God help you if your metabolism’s sluggish, because all there is to do is order-in and twaddle your thumbs. As of 2018, Kuwait has the 2nd highest rate of obesity in the entire world. 42.8% of the entire population is obese. There are 5-year-olds here so overweight fat rolls over their socks. There’s even a short VICE documentary on us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyMTSvVAtWM

It’s a society of affluent shut-ins most of the year.

Bizarrely, we also have one of the highest concentration of bodybuilders in the world. We’ve such a pedigree an Egyptian man who’d go on to be an incredibly famous bodybuilder specifically moved to Kuwait to continue his training. Google “Big Ramy.” And this Netflix doc, Generation Iron II, a poor man’s Pumping Iron, had an entire segment shot here. The documentarian described Kuwait as a country still struggling to rebuild its infrastructure after the Iraq Invasion, and inserted a shot of two adjacent buildings being constructed to drive the point home. It was entry-level Orientalizing—if the guy just titled his camera to the left you’d see a T.G.I Friday’s and a KFC. I digress.

Have no idea how this email snowballed into national BMI.

Sorry about that.

Love,

Omar