By Ben Garcia

The weather is getting cooler, and many people head to the seaside to relax and unwind. Mo Raqan and Muhammad Ahmed, both from Alexandria, Egypt, said fishing and walking along the beach have become their favorite pastimes, especially during the pandemic. “I am alone now in Kuwait as my family is in Egypt,” Ahmed said while fishing along with his friend near the Kuwait Towers.

His wife and children went to Egypt in February, but the planned one-month vacation was indefinitely extended due to the lockdowns and curfews after the COVID-19 outbreak. “I told my wife to stay in our hometown temporarily until everything is settled. I thought at that time that this will not last long, but the vacation has stretched now to nine months,” Ahmed said.

Passengers arriving directly from Egypt and 33 other countries are banned from entering Kuwait unless they quarantine in a third country. “It’s hard for me and my family to be separated for this long period of time, but that is the best thing to do now since the virus is still around. To overcome the longing for the company of my family, I look for something to do to ease the homesickness and loneliness,” said Ahmed.

He said prior to the pandemic, he enjoyed spending time by the seaside with his family almost every week. “I used to walk with my kids on the corniche and enjoy the morning breeze and the sun, especially during my day off. Now I walk alone and it reminds me of them. So I ask my friend to accompany me every week to exercise. Once I told my friend that maybe it will be more relaxing if we go fishing, so we bought a fishing rod and here we are,” he added.

Ahmed, who is an administrative assistant at a well-known company in Kuwait, said some of his hobbies back in Egypt were football, fishing and walking. “The good thing is that if I catch a big fish, it will be my source of protein. But I throw the small fish back into the sea,” he said.

“When he invited me to accompany him, I didn’t hesitate, since I also wanted to spend some time productively,” said his friend Raqan, a branch manager for a signature brand at The Avenues mall. “Fishing is a very relaxing pastime, especially on holidays. If we catch a small fish, we use it as bait. We also buy squid or anything else from the fish market to use as bait,” he added.

Kim Muico from the Philippines also turned to fishing to pass his time. “I am doing this regularly now because I don’t have a job. I’ve been here for one and a half hours now, but I haven’t caught anything,” said Muico. “My company, a cinema in Sharq, is closed till now,” he rued. According to him, many of his colleagues left the company to look for other jobs since they have no idea when they will be allowed to reopen.

“Those employed for more than five years were retained, but those who were new to the company were instructed to look for other jobs and were given transfers. Now we are waiting until cinemas reopen, hopefully soon,” Muico said. “My wife works at a recruitment company and their office is also closed till now. We both are not working, but thank God they are giving us half the salary, so we are surviving.”