I live in Salmiya, Salam Mubarek Street. The “old” Salmiya. I live right on the main shopping street and have been living on this street for most of my life.
Pre 1990 I was living in the building that had A&W, after 1990 I moved to the building across the street from it and thats where I have been living ever since. As you can imagine, I know the street very well. How well?
I remember The New Super Market before it closed down, I remember when Dairy Queen was open here and then shut down and Jashanmal opened instead. I remember buying my Thermos metal lunch box with the Dukes of Hazzard picture on it from there. I remember the night A&W opened with Mister Donuts right next to it. I remember when Majda el Roumi the famous singer came to open a perfume store right across the street from my building. I remember Hungry Bunny, I remember how after they renovated a cookie store opened inside it which had the best chocolate chunk cookies ever. I also remember the sad day when that cookie area inside got closed down.
I remember the high end stores like Channel, Versace and Cartier. It was a high end street and Rolex and Mercedes are still open here today serving as a reminder to what was once a beautiful street. I remember when Kids R Us opened and I remember what was there before it opened and after it closed. I remember the most popular music stores of their time, Soul II Soul, Bells and Swan Lake. I remember buying my original copy of Windows 95 from Computer World, I remember the small video game store on the ground floor of the same building, he had a NeoGeo in the display and I used to watch the Samurai Showdown demo play while I gazed through the glass hoping to own the system one day. I got my first Swatch from Fay stationary, I remember getting my Peter and Jane books from Family Bookshop. Fay shutdown, Family Bookshop is surprisingly still open.
Well my Salmiya isn’t what it used to be. All the upper scale stores shut down and everyones attention moved up to the Sultan Center area. All thats left here are low end stores all selling the same shit. The whole street has turned into a garbage dump. The sidewalk tiles are damaged, the trees look unhealthy, and the worst thing of all, Salmiya is slowly slowly losing its soul.
I was taking a late night walk just a while ago and I noticed the building that housed Swan Lake was going to get demolished. Thats when I realized I need to do something.
Why do old buildings get demolished and not refurbished? Salmiya (and Kuwait even) would look so much nicer if the old buildings were just redone up. Look at what was done with Beirut. They could have demolished everything and sprung up modern glass buildings but instead they decided to keep Beirut’s soul intact. Why can’t that be done here? My Salmiya really has a lot of history, how many other shopping streets in Kuwait can even begin to compare. No other has sidewalks wider then here nor is any other street located in such a good location. No other street has as much history! The Swan Lake building has a style, it can be cleaned up, updated and reopened but instead its going to get demolished and replaced by a cheap ass low end tiny crappy wannabe mall.
I want to be elected as the mayor of Salmiya. I would clean it up, repaint it, re-tile it and revive it. I don’t know who the mayor is now (if there is even such a position here in Kuwait) but I do know that he can’t be a true Salmiya dweller or else he wouldn’t let it die and rot like this. Vote for me, I won’t let everyone down.