Post by Mark
Since it looks like Uber isn’t coming to Kuwait anytime soon and Careem stopped operating in Kuwait as well, here is an alternative app you could use for now, Q8 Grand Limo. I haven’t used them yet but a friend of mine speaks extremely highly of them. They work similar to Uber as in you load up the app and request a cab to your location, but it also has a similar feature to Careem in which you could pre-book a cab for a specific time. So say you need a cab at 4AM in the morning for a early flight, you can pre-book the cab.
Price wise it seems to be cheaper than Careem but more expensive than regular cabs. The app gave me a fare estimate of 2.250-3.750 from Kuwait City to Salmiya. I’ll be using them soon and when I do I’ll post an update. The app is available for both Apple phones and Android phones. For links to download them as well as more information you can check out their website www.q8grandlimo.com
Post by Mark
Kuwait just scored it’s lowest ranking ever since the World Press Freedom Index was created back in 2002. In the latest index, Kuwait came in 104th place out of 180 countries, a far cry from when Kuwait placed 60th back in 2009. According to Reporters without Borders who put this list together every year, Kuwait scored badly this year because of the new cyber-crime law that took effect in January of last year:
The vaguely-worded provisions of a cyber-crime law that took effect in January 2016 pose a threat to bloggers and online journalists who post any critical content. A new electronic media law adopted the same month forces them to apply to the government for a license. [Source]
Here is Kuwait’s current ranking compared to some of our neighboring countries:
99 – Lebanon
104 – Kuwait
119 – UAE
123 – Qatar
126 – Oman
138 – Jordan
158 – Iraq
161 – Egypt
164 – Bahrain
165 – Iran
168 – Saudi Arabia
For the full list and more information, check out the Reporters without Borders [Website]
Post by Mark
According to a friend of mine who was traveling today, there is no parking left at the airport. Thats the entire airport by the way not just the long term lot. He had to turn back and head home so he could park his car there and have someone take him to the airport instead.
I kind of assumed the long term parking would be full and so was planning on parking my car in the short term lot instead since it’s just for 2 nights. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.
So if you’re traveling today, have someone drop you.
Update: Just got to airport awhile ago. Definitely have someone drop you off, the short term parking lot is a total mess with back to back traffic, double parked cars and cars parked along and on top of ever curb available. Once inside the airport the departure area is surprisingly not that packed. My guess is the short term parking filled up with travelers yesterday and today there just isn’t enough room anymore for people trying to pick up arriving passengers.
Post by Mark
Post by Mark
The movies below are now showing at either Cinescape, Grand Cinemas or Sky Cinemas:
New This Week:
Free Fire (7.2) ♦ ★
The Assignment (4.5) ♦
The Circle (7.5) ♦
The Lost City of Z (7.2) ♦
Other Movies Showing:
Fast & Furious 8 (7.5)
Ghost in the Shell (6.8) ♦
Max Steel (4.6)
The Boss Baby (6.5)
Unforgettable (6.3) ♦
Smurfs: The Lost Village (5.8)
The movies below are now showing at the Scientific Center IMAX theater:
A Beautiful Planet 3D (7.9)
Flying Monsters 3D with David Attenborough (7.6)
Humpback Whales 3D (7.2)
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D (N/A)
Journey to Space 3D (6.5)
Kenya 3D: Animal Kingdom (6.0)
Mysteries of the Unseen World 3D (7.5)
Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.
Post by Mark
Seven years ago I decided to get off the couch and join a gym. I was overweight, I was eating extremely unhealthy and I wasn’t involved in any sort of physical activity. Through my blog I ended up meeting Fahad (aka Trying to be Fahad / @thedietninja) who invited me to come by and try out his gym called Core Fitness, and ever since I haven’t stopped going.
Lots of gyms have popped in the past seven years, a lot of beautiful looking gyms but I kept going to Core mostly because I was comfortable there and because I had my routine and didn’t want to break it. It was a small personal training gym, maximum three people at once (each with their own PT) and it was an all guys gym which I’m always more comfortable in. But the place really didn’t change much over the years and although I didn’t mind it, when I recommended it to friends they always found it visually underwhelming.
But recently, things changed drastically. First thing that happened was we moved to a new location, the 10th floor of the new Crystal Tower in Kuwait City. The second change was that the gym changed its name from Core Fitness to XAthletic and with that, a complete revamp of the brand and interior look (which now resembles a traditional gentlemen’s club). They also brought in a bunch of new trainers and replaced all the previous gym equipment with beautiful new ones. And my favorite part? They installed four huge ass speakers in the gym that pump out a ton of bass. Pretty dramatic overnight changes and I’m loving it so far and there are supposedly more things coming.
The gym is currently in its soft launch phase but is officially opening on May 1st. If you’re interested in finding out more you could check out their instagram account @x.athletic
Post by Mark
A few years ago I posted about a Kuwaiti violin maker and since its a slow news week, I decided to repost that article. You can check the original post [Here] but I’ve also copy pasted it below. It’s a very interesting story if you haven’t read it before:
Article originally posted on July 24th, 2013
Last night I passed by and met Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a local violin maker. We met at his small cozy workshop in Rawda located right outside his home. When you walk into his dimly lit workshop you’ll see a small diwaniya on the left with around a dozen violins hanging on the wall, while on the right hand side is his workstation where he crafts all his violins. He filled a kettle with water and put it on a small electric stove next to him and we started talking.
Back in 2000, Haitham was a oud player but was interested in getting into violins. He started looking for a good violin to buy in Kuwait but he couldn’t find any. Most of the violins available in the market back then were of poor quality from low end brands. That’s why Haitham decided to make his own violin using documents and instructions he found online.
Haitham hadn’t crafted any musical instruments before, he had dabbled with some minor oud repair but nothing major. This got me even more curious, how can a 25 year old with no previous woodworking skills be able to craft such a delicate instrument as a violin? Well the answer I believe might be in his genes. Haitham’s father, grand father and great grand father were all dhow builders. Woodworking had existed in his family for generations and it was just natural for him to be good at it.
Haitham’s first violin wasn’t flawless, it had mistakes and was made using locally sourced wood but yet the sound it produced to his ears was beautiful. This encouraged him to build a second better violin with imported tonewood (wood cut specifically for musical instruments). He started frequenting forums and participating in online communities where other violin craftsmen from around the world would share their tips and techniques. His violins kept improving with every build and soon he had his own tips and tricks to share with the community. He loved crafting violins so much that he quickly forgot about wanting to play them. He became obsessed in building and perfecting his own creations.
When Haitham first started making violins he was spending 4 hours a day working on them and each violin would take around 2 months to complete. Nowadays he’s too busy with work and family so it takes him around 9 months to complete a single violin. But he’s fine with that. He never started making violins with the intention to turning it into a profitable business. Even his prices have remained the same over the years even though his violins kept getting better and demand for them kept increasing. He just loves making violins and isn’t interested in expanding. It’s a hobby he’s just really good at. He also does a lot of repair work on violins which to many musicians is a lifesaver. Musicians bond with their instruments and having a local violin maker means that a damaged violin no longer needs to be discarded but instead can be repaired. Only two of the violins hanging on the wall were his, the rest were either in for repair or were being sold by other musicians.
Once we were done with the interview, Haitham served us some tea. Throughout the whole interview which lasted around 40 minutes I had watched him make us the tea using two kettles, a can filled with what I assume is tea leaves and a box filled with I don’t know what. He then skillfully poured the tea from the large kettle into three glasses that were sitting amongst a dozen on the table in front of us. The tea was delicious and to me summarized the kind of person that Haitham is, a perfectionist.
If you’d like to contact Haitham for any reason you can do so by emailing him on email@example.com
Post by Mark
Pick opened up in Al Hamra Tower last week and I personally think this is their best location yet due to the amount of people who work in the tower. Currently there seems to be a queue all day long during office working hours but I overheard they’re getting a second cashier to cope with the high demand.
A standalone Adidas Originals also opened up in the basement of Al Hamra. Previously Adidas Originals was part of the regular Adidas store in the basement, but that location got shut down and they opened up this new Adidas Originals shop next to the old one. The mall is finally turning into a much more interesting place, even WH Smith Bookshop is opening up in the basement.
Post by Mark
The Behbehani House Complex located behind the church in Kuwait City is one of the few remaining historical buildings in that area. I never knew the history behind it but a redditor recently posted a link to a chapter from the book “Cities in Transition” that talks about the history of this beautiful complex. Here is one paragraph from that chapter:
The Behbehani House Complex is located in al-Watia area, which means “footmarks” in the local Kuwaiti dialect. The area was given this name because people used to stroll beside the sea shore along the Arabian Gulf bay leaving their footmarks on the muddy sand shore thus giving this area its common name. In the early 1940’s Yusuf Shreen Behbehani built this complex as his first major real estate project. Al-Watia area was a wild and lonely place, where few town people dared to venture. When Yusuf Behbehani bought this piece of land, half of it used to be covered by high tide seawater, so he reclaimed it and made it higher and then started to build, as Al-Rashoud 1995 has noted. This represented one of the first attempts to reclaim parts of the Arabian Gulf bay along the Kuwaiti waterfront, which now became almost common practice in most waterfront development projects.
If you’re interested in reading more about the Behbehani House Complex, then check out the full chapter [Here]
Photo by kimprint
Post by Mark
I’m sending my Lotus to Bahrain this coming weekend so I needed to get a Power of Attorney done for the trailer driver. The process turned out to be pretty simple and the experience surprisingly good. Since I originally had trouble figuring out where to go, I wanted to post about it in case somebody googles this question in the future.
Originally I was told to get a POA I needed to head to the Liberation Tower [Map]. Once I got there though I found out it was only for Kuwaitis and instead I was directed to the Ministries Complex which is a short drive away. If you’re Kuwaiti, the area to get the POA done is located on the first floor of what they call the Ministry Mall at the Liberation Tower. Just head up the escalator, take a left, then another left and then one more left and head straight through the door ahead that says Ministry of Justice.
If you’re an expat and need a POA done, you need to head to the Ministries Complex [Map]. If you’re driving there in the middle of summer then be aware, the parking is a good walk away from the complex and there is no shade until you’re inside the Ministries Complex. Once you get to the Ministries Complex there are no signs to let you know which building to enter so just follow the crowd. Once you’re inside you also won’t find that many signs and when you do they’ll only be in Arabic. So ask around or look for the sign above that says Ministry of Justice, once you enter that doorway you’ll find the POA department.
When I got there I took a number and waited, there were around 15 people ahead of me but the POA department also had around 16 stations with employees manning them so the wait wasn’t that long. The employee I dealt with was very helpful and spoke both Arabic and English. The trailer company I’m using is based in Bahrain and they sent me copies of 10 ID cards of the different drivers they might send to Kuwait to pick up my car. I had to get the POA done for all 10 drivers and the government employee didn’t blink an eye, she took all the ID cards and told me it wasn’t an issue and typed all their info out.
The cost of the POA was a KD2 stamp and no running around involved, you just deal with one employee for the whole process. A super smooth experience.
Photo on top by Nawaf Ahmed