Kuwait, in the cradle of one of the most ancient and most-contested corners of the world, is best described as a city state. The burgeoning capital, Kuwait City, is like a magnet: indeed it has been attracting Bedouin people from the Arabian interior, in search of a sea breeze and an escape from recurring drought, for centuries. Today the metropolis is still an oasis in a land of desert plains, but rather more of the cultural and epicurean kind. Excellent museums; a corniche ornamented with combed beaches and extravagant restaurants; modern shopping complexes and marinas, and long and lazy retreats at new beach resorts mark the Kuwait City experience. West of Kuwait City is Al-Jahara, unfortunately famed for the violence that took place there as Iraqi troops retreated during the Gulf War.