A Weekend with the Lotus Exige S

Post by Mark

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I’ve been a Lotus fan for sometime now and a few years ago when a friend of mine sold his, I regretted not buying it off him myself. The fact that there’s a dealership now makes me even regret it more but I got over it, or at least I thought I had until this weekend. Thursday morning I picked up a brand new Lotus Exige S from the dealership to use over the weekend, and after giving it back yesterday my feelings on it haven’t changed, I still love and want the car.

Let me get this out of the way first, this isn’t the car for you. Well at least 99.9% of you and I’ll explain why.

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Notice I use the side pillars in the car like a bookshelf for my phone and wallet.

As a regular car the Exige is horrible and I don’t even know where to begin. The seats? The most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever sat in and you can’t adjust them. The car is super tiny on the inside, I mean my Datsun is tiny but it’s actually huge compared to the Exige. It’s so tiny that the passenger seat is stuck to your seat, I actually kept buckling my seatbelt into the passenger side seatbelt accidently because they’re so close. It can be pretty awkward on a first date but you know whats even more awkward? Getting in or out of the car. There is no way, and I really mean no way to get in and out of the car gracefully no matter how hard you try. This mostly has to do with the fact that there is a huge pillar you need to climb over to get into the seat and the fact the car is so low it makes the whole process very awkward. There are even videos online that show you how to get in and out of the car! Watch [This One] and then [This One]. The fact you need to watch a video to show you how to get in and out of the car should give you an idea that this isn’t a normal car. Also when I say this is a low car I mean this is a LOW car. I drove by a mini cooper on the Gulf Road and all I could see was the mini’s door handle because that’s high the Exige is. Th Exige is so low it can drive under parking gates.

But wait I’m not done yet! There is so much more that doesn’t make sense in the car. To turn the lights on at night you press one button, to turn it off you need to press two different buttons. Why?? Before getting the car I thought the AC might not be good enough for Kuwait’s weather but my issue with the AC this weekend was that it was too much for the Exige. For a car thats slightly larger than an iPad I don’t understand why it has 8 AC vents, 4 in the front, and then 4 right behind you facing the front. At the lowest fan setting there was still too much AC for the size of the car. I spent most of the time closing vents and opening the window to balance the temperature inside the car. If there is a place I want to be in the summer its the ice skating rink and the inside of this Lotus. What else did I find terrible in the car? The stereo, easily the worst sound system in any car I’ve ever driven, it’s slightly better than my Datsun’s sound system from the 70s and that’s because I could plus my iPhone into it. I really need to go back and talk about the size of the interior again, the car is so small that without moving from my seat, I high-fived a friend who was standing outside the passenger side window. I’m not exaggerating, that incident actually happened. Interior glove compartment? Nope. Trunk space? It’s big enough to fit a backpack… maybe. The steering wheel also isn’t powered so I hope you’ve been working out since parking this car is a workout. Speaking of parking, the visibility out of the rear window is terrible and there are plenty of blindspots all around. Reversing from my parked position back onto a main road involved so much back and forth head movement, to a passerby I must have looked like I was having an epileptic seizure.

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Thats how close the seats are!

But, with all that being said, when you buy an Exige you know what you’re getting into. You wouldn’t get into Formula 1 race car and then complain that it doesn’t have a cup holder. You’re not expected to be able to pick up your visiting relatives from the airport in an Exige or even doing something as simple as dropping your mum off at the hairdresser (she either won’t be able to get in or won’t be able to get out).

The Lotus Exige S weighs only 950KG but has a 345HP supercharged engine. It does 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds and a top speed that is electronically limited to 233km/h. It’s small, it’s very fast and most importantly, it’s a ton of fun. This weekend I had a blast with the car and I wish I could do it again the next weekend and the weekend after that. It’s all the negatives in the earlier paragraph that makes this car so great. Sure I would have loved a better sound system but that I’d rather have a shitty sound system and keep the car small and simple then an amazing sound system that would add weight, need a larger interior and add complications to the car. Every decision in this car was made not to sacrifice performance and performance is what you get here. Just ask Chris Harris. The car is really easy to drive fast which makes it very driver friendly.

The interior is very barebones, all you will get is 3 knobs for the AC, an Alpine stereo, 3 buttons for the lights and then buttons for changing gears. That’s the whole interior. Even the speedometer cluster doesn’t contain any information other than your speed, RPM, a digital read out of your speed and a few warning lights. It’s going back to basics which is something I’ve started appreciating because of my Datsun. You don’t need a large touch screen, you don’t need 12 cupholders, you don’t need automatic folding mirrors or interior mood lights, you don’t need majority of the stuff in your car. With the Exige, it’s just you, the car and the road. No distractions.

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Visually the car is a work of art. From all the cars I’ve ever driven, none got me as much attention as this one did. Everywhere I went people were checking the car out. Even hotel valets who’ve come across everything where checking the Exige out. Actually pulling up to valet in an Exige was fun, I was like I want to park here and they just moved a car for me and I parked in it’s place right at the front of the hotel entrance. Park an Exige next to a Ferrari and more people will likely check out the Exige just because it’s such a rare and over the top looking car.

With all the misgivings of this car I actually loved it and I now more than ever regret not getting if off my friend. The only thing I really would want them to improve on is the seat but other than that I didn’t mind all the weird issues the car had. The price? The Exige S starts at KD27,000 which I think is a fair price… if it was a car I could drive everyday. But it isn’t which makes this price difficult to swallow. This isn’t daily driver, it’s barely a car you want to drive even just on weekends. This is a track car first, road car second which is why it would be perfect in countries that have race tracks like Bahrain and UAE. It’s a car you can take to the track on the weekend, be competitive and then drive it to work if you want the day after. But sadly for us, we don’t have a race track here so it’s hard to justify the Exige. But, I’ll be test driving the Lotus Evora soon which is supposed to be everything the Exige is except with the extra amenities that make it a better everyday car. So I’m looking forward to that.

For more information on Lotus cars or if you’d like to test drive one, check out the local dealers instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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Extreme Detailing My Datsun 240z

Post by Mark

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I first heard of ProTech Monte-Carlo just over a year ago when they left a comment under one of my photos on instagram inviting me to pass by them. I checked out their instagram account and did a bit of research on them and they turned out to be a pretty legit car detailing setup with different branches around the world. I didn’t really have a reason to pass by at that time but months later when I wanted to detail my FJ I called them up for a quote and quickly realized their services were out of my FJ’s league.

Then last month I purchased my 1973 Datsun 240z. The car was over 40 years old, still in pretty much stock condition but had been parked outdoors for the past 11 years in Kuwait and probably even longer in the States where it was originally imported from. The paint had clearly lost its shine, it has lots of scratches, the plastics and rubbers around the car looked dry and the interior was also faded and looked old. I had already given the car a pretty good wash but it clearly wasn’t enough. Thats when I considered passing by ProTech and getting a quote from them. I was already aware that they had worked on a number of vintage cars before including ones that were worth a whole lot more than mine so I knew I could trust them detailing my Datsun properly. They gave me a quote which I honestly thought was too much since the car really isn’t worth a lot. But, I was still curious to see what they would be able to do to a car like mine, it seemed like the perfect project for them. So I got in touch with the owner and offered him a barter deal where I’d give him a banner on the blog for a couple of months in return they’d detail my car. Two days later not he got back to me, not only did he accept my deal but he also went out and purchased a 240z himself (same color as mine even, it’s pictured in the back of the photo above). I’m telling you guys the Z is such a ridiculously fun car to get.

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I dropped off my car on a Monday, spent around two hours with the owner discussing and comparing our Z’s and then left and came back the following Sunday to pick up the car. Usually they take 3 to 4 days for their extreme detailing package but because of the age of my car and the work it needed they took a couple more days than usual. When I picked up the car again, fuck was I impressed. The pictures really don’t do the job any justice.

There are a number of stages to the whole detailing process. When you first drop the car they first give it a proper wash. Once they’re done washing the car they go over it inch by inch with a clay bar which would pick up any small speckle of dirt that was still left on the car Once they’re done with that they start the detailing process. Depending on which package you go for there are different things involved here but in my case we went all out. So first thing they do is polish the exterior of the car. Before they start they mark off 8 different spots on the car so they could test out how aggressive their polish will be. They want to be the least aggressive so they start off on the lowest setting and polish the first spot and see if they can still see scratches. If the scratches are still there they move over to the second spot they’ve marked off and increase the intensity. They keep doing this from spot to spot until they get to a level of intensity that clears out the scratches without damaging the paint.

beforeafter

Once the external polishing of the car is complete they then apply a special treatment to the rubbers and plastics that will moisturize them and bring them back to life. The best example of how successful this treatment was is with the front spoiler of my car which you can see the before and after shots above. Before the detailing I was contemplating getting the spoiler painted black but now it looks brand new.

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After the exterior they move to the interior where they once again spend a lot of time cleaning and applying special treatment to the various materials inside the car. My dashboard had faded and dried because of it being parked outdoors but like with the external plastics, they managed to bring my dashboard back to life. Even all the interior black leather that covers my car now looks factory new. It’s just insane how new my really old car now looks. They didn’t only clean my carpets for example, but they removed my carpets, the insulation underneath it and then cleaned the whole tub of the car before putting everything back again.

Once they were done with the cleaning they moved to the final stage which is applying protection. It’s basically a protective clear coat that lasts anywhere between one to two years. This clear coat protects all the detailing work so that any minor scratches will be superficial and not affect the paint. After everything is done they give you a box (a KD45 value usually) containing a bunch of their cleaning products and various types of cloths and sponges so that you could take care of the car properly. If you have a driver that washes your car you could bring him in and they’ll teach him how to properly clean your car.

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The cost of this full detailing job? A whopping KD425. Obviously when a car costs as little as mine this really isn’t very feasible of course which is why I did the barter deal with them. You also don’t have to take the full extreme detailing package which I did. Their prices actually start under KD100 but if you’ve paid I don’t know, KD85,000 for a Mercedes 4X4 Squared for example then you clearly want the best fucking shit for your car and this is it. Personally I can’t believe what a huge difference it made to my car. It’s brought the paint job back to life, it’s shinny, it’s vibrant and because of the protective layer it feels so smooth (like super smooth). And the interior? She doesn’t look 43 at all, she looks like she’s in her 20s.

Now just to be clear this is not an ad and this post wasn’t part of the deal. I wanted to write this post because (a) I always need content but (b) because they really did bring my car back to life. I really need to install AC in the car since there is no way I’m going to leave her parked all summer long. Anyway, check them out, here is their instagram page [Link]


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Kuwait International Circuit Renderings

Post by Mark

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Looks like all my posts today will be car related which I guess is appropriate since theres a Formula 1 race taking place today. There are renderings of a Kuwait racetrack that are being circulated on whatsapp, supposedly of the proposed Kuwait International Circuit. The following text is attached with the images:

تم اعتماد حلبة الكويت الدولية كحلبة للجائزة الكبرى GP للفورمولا ون.
موقعها بيكون على جون الكويت بالقرب من محطة الدوحة للكهرباء. طولها 6.3 كيلو وتتكون من اربع مسارات:
GP Track
West Track
East Track
Outter Track
تتكون من 20 كورنر في الGP
نقطتين DRS
وبتكون عكس عقارب الساعه.
تتضمن مجموعه من المنعطفات التتسلسله ذات التقنيه العاليه..
جميله هذي الحلبه.. بإذن الله نشوفها قريب..

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The Arabic text basically talks about the location of the circuit which will be near the Doha power station and the different specs of the race track. Sadly though, these renderings aren’t official nor is the information. This track design was actually done by a Reddit user who goes by the handle Cssnsm and who just likes creating race circuits for fun. In fact, you can check out his original post of this circuit along with a fictional story he created to go along with it [Here]

If you just want to see the renderings, here is the [Link]

I hope we do actually get a race circuit some day, last year a circuit design was finalized and presented to proper authorities for approval but since then haven’t heard anything about it.

Update: A contact just passed me a video of Kuwait Motor Town which supposededly is set to start construction in September. I couldn’t find any information on this online other than this video so not sure how accurate this information is.


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

improv

Lots of quality events taking place this weekend. First of all you have the mega gaming event which my brother posted about yesterday, GX 2016 Gaming Expo. That’s taking place from Thursday through to Saturday. Cinemagics is playing Snowpiercer this weekend, a great movie if you haven’t already watched it. Also tonight Staged in Kuwait are holding their improv comedy night which is always hilarious (only 22 tickets left as of this post!). Check out the full list of this weekends events below:

Thursday
Exhibition: It’s a Mad World
Exhibition: Sibeel Water by Ammar Al Attar
GX 2016 Gaming Expo
Red Bull BC One – Kuwait Cypher
Japanese Movie Night
Traditional Kuwaiti Food and Dishdasha Night
Sirdab Lab Movie Night: Donnie Darko
What makes Kuwait giggle? The IMPROVengers!
Rooftop Movie: Snowpiercer

Friday
GX 2016 Gaming Expo
Beach Fridays at Al Kout!
Taichi in the Park
Yoga at the Park (Hatha Yoga)
ShutterXpose Photography 101 Workshop

Saturday
GX 2016 Gaming Expo
Yoga at the Park (Vinyasa Flow – Women Only)
Madeenah Tour: Salem Almubarak St. Salmiya
Unleash – Color Therapy
The Debate Tournament
Rooftop Movie: The Look of Silence
Peak Vertical Marathon

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so double check info with organizers.


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Event: GX 2016 & Kuwait Battle Royale

Post by Patrick

gx

This weekend gamers in Kuwait are going to be treated to two events revolving around video games that will be taking place simultaneously at the Millennium Hotel & Convention Center. The first event is GX 2016 which is a general video game convention where people will have stalls selling video game merchandise and where you’ll also be able to check out cosplayers (famous cosplayer Tali xoxo pictured below will be there) and take part in some competitions to win prizes. The big news here is that two renowned video game companies will also be taking part: Tecmo Koie and Square Enix. Both will be holding mini-press conferences to announce some important news for this region and Square Enix will also have a special video message for us.

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The other gaming event taking place will be the Kuwait Battle Royale. The Kuwait Battle Royale is a local video game tournament featuring 7 of the biggest current fighting games: Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros Wii U, Mortal Kombat X, Pokken Tournament, Dead or Alive 5, BlazBlue and Guilty Gear Xrd. The cool part about this event is that the organizers have flown in the official EVO commentators to take part and the contestants will be a mix of regional and international talent so it should be pretty fun to watch.

The event will start on at 5PM on Thursday and end on Saturday. The full schedule can be found on the organizers website.

Post by Patrick


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In Focus: Aleppo Nuts & Bolts

Post by Mark

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I love posting about random finds and Aleppo is one of those. I was looking for a very tiny screw for a part on my Datsun 240z and turns out Aleppo is the go-to place for nuts and bolts. The hardware store has been around for nearly 50 years and they supposedly have the largest collection of nuts and bolts in Kuwait.

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I ended up finding what I was looking for so figured I’d post about them just in case someone for some odd reason like me needs a specific screw. They’re located right off Canada Dry street and are open daily from 8AM to 8PM except on Fridays when they’re open from 8AM to 1PM. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Kuwait

Post by Mark

arnie

Arnold Schwarzenegger was spotted at the Kuwait Airport by D’Ron Maingrette, the popular Esports commentator who’s here to attend the GAME Expo thats taking place this weekend. Anyone have an idea why Arnie’s here? Gold’s Gym maybe? [Link]

Update: Arnold just posted the photo below on his instagram account with the caption “Only I can fly around the world, land in Kuwait and run into one of the top bodybuilders at customs @roellywinklaar

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Wall of Kindness

Post by Mark

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Basta, a local non-profit group are planning to takeover walls around Kuwait where passerby’s can hang their donated items so that others can take any of the items they need. They’re calling these walls “Wall of Kindness” and they recently setup their first one inside The Secret Garden in Salmiya.

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It’s a nice initiative and I know I will be hanging the stuff I don’t need there since it’s pretty close to where I live, but I think it would make more sense to have the “take what you need” message in different languages since not everyone (specifically the low income workers) can read English and Arabic. In any case check out Basta’s instagram page [Here]


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10 Years of Choowy Goowy

Post by Mark

choowygoowyclassic

Damn does time fly by fast… Choowy Goowy are celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year. It feels like it was just yesterday when I was sitting on my couch, overweight, munching down jar after jar of their cookies while watching the latest episode of Prison Break. I’m also personally celebrating 10 years of friendship since the owner and I ended up becoming close friends after that back and forth collaboration on the blog. For those of you who weren’t in Kuwait at that time, Choowy Goowy basically started the whole home business and cupcake craze (even though they were never a home business or made any cupcakes). Since then they’ve expanded around the region and opened a number of local outlets including their latest one which they’ll be opening this Wednesday next month in Promenade. I told them they should temporarily sell their cookies with their old original branding (pictured above) just for nostalgia’s sake.

I’ve been contemplating for the past few minutes if I should or shouldn’t include a link to my original post and review of Choowy Goowy from back in 2006. I tend to really dislike reading my old posts since it’s kinda like looking through old photos and thinking what the fuck was I wearing?! I ended up deciding that I’d link to the post but just not read it myself. Hopefully it’s not as bad as I imagine it being. Check it out over [Here]

Update: Turns out I misunderstood, their Promenade location isn’t opening this Wednesday but in fact opening next month. But to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, Choowy Goowy are holding an event at their soon to open Promenade location this Wednesday from 6PM to 9PM. Everyone is invited.


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What are they building here?

Post by Mark

emptyplot

There is a HUGE plot of land right across the street from the Green Island and right adjacent to all the embassies on the Gulf Road. Recently they removed all the greenery on that land and demolished all the structures. They’ve basically flattened out the land in preparation for construction and are now in the process of putting up a temporary wall around the plot. It’s the huge block of land I’ve highlighted in the image above. Does anyone have any idea what they’re going to be building there? Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Update: Turns out its going to be a huge real estate project called “Balamlaq” that will transform that plot of land into an area that will contain residential and commercial buildings, hotels, parks and entertainment facilities. It’s being handled by KIPCO who are aware of how unique and rare this plot of space is which is why they’re going to be setting an example with the high level of planning and construction. So thankfully it’s not a new giant food complex. For more information click [Here]


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