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Kuwait Stock Exchange

Today I went to the Kuwait Stock Exchange. It was my first time there and it was incredible. First to get in we had to pass through security which was rubbish. The metal detector machine you walk through wasn't working, in fact it was turned off, I saw the switch it said OFF. On their way in, people also placed their keys and phones in a basket before passing, I don't know why maybe out of habit since the security guard didn't seem to care. Also, if you had a bag, like I did, the security guard checked it with a handheld metal detector which I am sure was off because it had no lights and it made no sounds, although I had my camera, pda, iPod and PSP in it. Anyway when we went in, the place looked like an airport lounge. There was a restaurant, a Starbucks and a lot of people just sitting in chairs exactly like the ones you would find at airports. There was also a huge Times Square like electronic screen on the wall, they told me it was a new addition and that people can now watch the news and the stocks all from that "lounge". We then went to the stock exchange floor, now that place was huge and just totally packed with people. The shot I took only shows a third of the floor, since I am using a fixed 50mm lens I couldn't zoom out to show you more. This floor is where all the action takes place according to our guide, he told us this is where you can find people dancing or people fainting. He told us last week there were ambulances lined up outside the stock exchange building because when the stocks went down badly so did a lot of people. Today wasn't a good day either, when we got to the place all the stocks were down, turned out there was some kind of court case between the owners of Sultan Center and another party, people were waiting for the results of the case, then once word reached them that the Sultan Center owners won the case, stocks starting going back up. One thing that was totally strange about the KSE was that people actually wanted to be photographed. When I pulled out my camera old people started asking me if I was from CNN or Time magazine and they wanted me to take pictures of them. Its a very strange place..


Update: If you are looking for hi-res pictures of the Kuwait Stock Exchange here is the link

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Uploaded on June 12, 2005