When people think of Kuwait, the tiny Arab state on the Persian Gulf, they frequently picture oil derricks, the Iraqi invasion that sparked the first Persian Gulf War, and an arid desert landscape.
Line dancing probably doesn’t cross their minds.
Yet Littleton resident Cady Kennedy can’t separate her memories of Kuwait from dance steps and country-western tunes.
The corporate trainer for the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain returned last month from helping to open a new restaurant in Kuwait City. The open-roofed restaurant in a massive mall tended to draw a crowd when the waiters began to line dance, a tradition in the chain of Texas Roadhouse eateries but a novelty in the Middle East.
“It was funny. Everybody loved it. We thought we’d get told to stop line dancing, but we would actually cause quite a scene,” Kennedy said. “Everybody in the mall would be stopped and taking photos and videos of the entire restaurant.”
The restaurant chain even had to get government permission for the wait staff to tap their toes.
Kennedy, a 20-year-old communications major at Colorado State University, was on her first trip out of the country. And she enjoyed experiencing a dramatically different culture.
“The culture is very different. A lot of people think, ‘How are you going to adapt?’ But it’s a very beautiful culture,” Kennedy said. “… A lot of people don’t get to experience that.”
While Kennedy had only a few days off during her stay in the region, she spent time on Kuwait City’s streets every day, shopping and haggling in the open-air markets.
Kennedy said her experience in Kuwait also was humbling, especially getting to know the restaurant’s staff, who had immigrated to Kuwait from sometimes-difficult lives in places like India and the Philippines.
“It was a very humbling experience to meet them and be able to train them,” Kennedy said. While training them, Kennedy heard about “their life experiences and how grateful they are.”
The experience enriched her as well. Kennedy knows some people might not consider the idea of traveling to another part of the world, especially the Middle East.
“It’s a beautiful culture,” she said. “Every country has its politics and whatnot. But if you can look past that when you’re there,” there’s always the potential for a wonderful experience.
“If I would have missed out on that, I would not be as rich as I am now culturally.”
Contact Ramsey Scott at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.