Salhiya Valet Crashes Porsche

Posted by Mark

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I have no idea how this happened but somehow a valet driver at Salhiya managed to crash a Porsche hard into a pillar inside their underground parking lot. Hopefully the valet driver is fine but damn wtf?

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Cape Town – World’s best kept secret

Posted by Mark

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I’m at the Cape Town airport right now waiting for my flight back to Kuwait and I figured this would be the best time to write about one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

I booked my flight to Cape Town on impulse and not by doing a lot of research. I was at the Foo Fighters website checking out their tshirts when I decided to check and see where they were touring. I noticed they were going to be in Cape Town in December so I figured why not go watch them there. I booked the concert tickets and then messaged my friend in Cape Town telling her I would be visiting. I then booked my airline ticket and that was pretty much it. Around two weeks before leaving to Cape Town I started doing some research trying to see what else there is to do there. First thing popped up was the Sonar electronic music festival, it was taking place on the last two days I would be in Cape Town so I purchased tickets to that as well. I then kept researching and came up with a pretty long list of things I wanted to do in Cape Town and that included:

Bungee Jumping
Paragliding
Hang Gliding
Skydiving
Surfing
Kite Surfing
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Wine Tasting

Once I got to Cape Town I started planning my schedule.

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Where I stayed
Because December is peak season in Cape Town and I was booking everything last minute I couldn’t find a good hotel to stay in so I ended up staying in a beautiful bed and breakfast called Radium Hall. The website and photos really don’t do it any justice and 6 nights stay cost me just KD160. Insanely great value and I’m so glad I ended up staying there instead of a hotel. The view from the balcony wow… I loved coming back home just for the view.

How I got around
While in Cape Town I was using the Uber cab service the whole time and I found it incredibly cheap and practical. 80% of my trips were costing me on average KD1 and my most expensive trips were to the airport and those cost me KD4. All the cab drivers were super friendly and they even have Uber Chopper in Cape Town where you can order a chopper and an Uber black car picks you up and takes you to a helicopter which will then give you a tour of Cape Town.

What I did
So I had a pretty long list of things to do but I decided to prioritize and ended up doing the following:

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Foo Fighters
The first day I got there I did the Foo Fighters concert. It was being held in the Cape Town Stadium and I arrived five hours early hoping to be first in line only to find a fairly large queue already waiting. I still managed to end up center stage though and forth row standing which is super close. It was a great show and three hours long, they played all their greatest hits since back in 1995. I loved it.

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Skydiving
I’ve been wanting to skydive for such a long time and even though I could have done it in Dubai I really wasn’t interested in jumping over a dessert/city. I wanted to jump out of a plane over a beautiful landscape and I’m glad I ended up doing it in Cape Town. I did the jump with Skydive Cape Town, it cost around KD80 including pick up and drop off. We were three jumpers at the same time (tandem of course) and we squeezed into the back of a super tiny plane that looked like it was 50 years old. Super freaky but that was part of the experience. It took us around 20 minutes to get to the right jumping height and then one by one we jumped out of the plane. I wasn’t the slightest bit scared I was just really curious to see how I would react when we first jumped out and my reaction turned out to be just pure excitement. They recorded a video of the jump and basically for the first 30 seconds while we were free falling all you could hear me scream was “fuuuuccccck yesssss!!”. I loved it. The company I jumped with seemed a bit old fashioned though when it came to documenting the jump. They took photos and videos from a camera that my skydive instructor wore on his wrist while in Dubai for example, based on the photos I’ve seen, they actually have another jumper jump with you to take photos of you. Also they gave me the video on DVD.. in DVD format so even though they shot the video with a GoPro in HD, the video I got was low res. Plus who still has a DVD player?

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Bungee Jumping
The second activity I did was bungee jumping. This turned out to be a complicated activity to perform just because of the planning it involved. The highest bungee jumping bridge in the world is at Bloukrans Bridge which is a whopping 8 hours drive from Cape Town. I was planning of renting a car and driving there but then I found a quicker way to get there. I ended up flying out from Cape Town to an area called George and then renting a car from the airport and driving around two and a half hours to Nature’s Valley which is just 10 minutes away from the Bloukrans Bridge. I booked a room at the Tranquility Lodge for the night and they helped me book my bungee jump for the same day.

This whole two day trip was a beautiful experience. First of all the jump was insane. Like the skydive I wasn’t scared at all before the jump, in fact I was pretty numb. I had a bunch of things on my mind and so was too preoccupied to be scared. I was actually worried I might get scared while standing at the edge but even that didn’t bother me. But, as soon as I jumped the first second or two I was fine but because the jump is soo high (216 meters) it just felt like I wouldn’t stop and I was thinking what the fuck when will the bungee cord snap back up. It was exhilarating. The company running the bungee jumping was also extremely extremely professional. I mean every step of the way from booking till the end they were very organized. They also took some great photos and shot an amazing video of the jump which I later purchased from them on a memory card. Definitely worth the experience and the jump cost just KD20 (not including around KD60 for the flight, KD30 for the car rental and KD15 for the room).

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The rest of the day I ended up spending it on the Nature’s Valley beach. I didn’t even know my lodge was located next to the beach but I heard a sound of a waterfall behind a large green bushy area so I went to explore and ended up finding myself on a large fairly secluded beach with waves splashing constantly. It was beautiful and that alone would have been worth the trip.

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Surfing
Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to surf, probably because all the cool people used to be surfers on tv shows and I just wanted to be cool like them as a kid growing up. Cape Town is a surf town so it wasn’t very difficult finding a surfing school. I ended up booking a private session with one of the best and most expensive surfing schools in Cape Town called Stoked School of Surf. The private two hour lesson cost me around KD40 which isn’t really expensive just expensive compared to other options available.

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This experience turned out to be wayyyyy more fun than I ever imagined. Not only that but by half way through my lesson I was already standing on the board and surfing to the beach. The whole team behind Stoked were very professional and they had two dedicated photographers covering the private and group lessons, one guy in the water with a GoPro while the other on the shore with a DSLR.


[YouTube]

Sonar Cape Town
I was pretty surprised to find out the Sonar music festival was coming to Cape Town. Even though the event was being held over two days I ended up just buying a ticket for the second day since there were two musicians I REALLY wanted to see, Jon Hopkins and Ten Walls. Both turned out to be the last acts of the night so I kept popping in and out of the festival all day long until I was back there at 1AM to watch Jon Hopkins and then Ten Walls at 3AM.

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I have mixed feelings about Sonar, Cape Town definitely isn’t a partying city in the same way Barcelona is where I was back in May for the Sonar festival there. When I first popped in at 4PM there were literally like 5-10 people there only watching one of the performances (pic above). It looked like a really bad high school prom. Then later on during the day it started getting more packed but for example when Jon Hopkins was going to come on I don’t think anybody knew who he was except me, a friend and another couple who were there standing in front of the stage with us waiting for Jon to come on. Turns out the other couple were from the same town at Jon hence why they knew who he was. Both Jon Hopkins and Ten Wall were ridiculous and I’m so glad I watched them live.

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Why Cape Town is amazing

Cape Town is a bit like Lebanon, LA and Miami all combined into one. I travel a lot and I’ve been to a lot of great cities but Cape Town is the first one I actually want to move to. I feel there are a ton of business opportunities here and I really really can’t describe how beautiful the city is. I loved the fact that if you want to go camping in the middle of nowhere or go to a beautiful private secluded beach, you can and they’re just 30 minutes drive away. The beaches! I went beach hopping one day and every beach we ended up at was nicer than the beach before it. The sand is snow white and the water a clean and sparkling blue. You have the huge table mountain right behind you as well so it’s such a pretty sight wherever you go. And the food… I literally just had sea food while I was here and everywhere I ate was just delicious. My favorite places were probably Beluga, Haiku and Willoughby & Co. I didn’t drink any wine while I was here but I didn’t have to since Cape Town beer is some of the best I’ve ever had as well. I was introduced to Castle Lite by the owner of the bed and breakfast I was staying in on the very first day I arrived and I was constantly drinking that for the rest of the trip. Oh and for those of you who don’t think Cape Town is safe, I found it as safe as New York. I was out past midnight in some dodgy neighborhoods without feat but I was also “mugging ready” meaning like in New York or any other city for that matter which I travel to, I always am prepared in case I get mugged. I always have a backup credit card and debit card in my hotel and I make sure I don’t wear my expensive watches or carry expensive electronics other than my phone.

I’m on the plane now about to take off so have to quickly end this post. In conclusion, Cape Town is a must visit city and it’s easy to get to, just one stop away with Qatar Airways or Emirates. Cape Town is where I am going to retire in.


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Cinderella Pantomime Now Available Online

Posted by Mark

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If you missed the Cinderella Pantomime by Staged in Kuwait last week they’ve now uploaded the full video of the show online. Here is the video description:

SIK bring a brand new Cinderella script to the stage for their third pantomime, weaving some fun new characters into the age old tale in a story aimed to entertain the whole family. Sadly the video of this production was shot at the last performance against the backdrop of an extremely noisy audience who did not know how to behave in a theatre. One of the many problems we have yet to overcome in Kuwait.

To watch the video of the performance click [Here]


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Tesco products now available at SaveCo

Posted by Mark

tesco

Back in July I posted that according to one of my sources, SaveCo supermarket would be getting Tesco products. Turns out my source was correct since yesterday while checking out the British Ambassadors instagram account, I spotted the photo above of SaveCo with an ad mentioning they now carry Tesco products.

I’m not interested in any Tesco products but if you are now you know where to get them from.


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Mondays with Matthew: Open for questions – Ask Me Anything

Posted by Matthew Lodge

AMA

Today I thought we’d try something different – and throw conversation open for all of you to Ask Me Anything. For those of you familiar with reddit, you may recognize the idea.

I’m happy to take questions on any subject you want. If I can’t answer openly (which I will always try to do) I shall say so.

Please ask away – it’s good to talk!

Post by Matthew Lodge
British Ambassador to Kuwait
Instagram: @HMAMatthewLodge Twitter: @HMAMatthewLodge

Update: AMA session is now closed


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Oprah Winfrey is in Kuwait?

Posted by Mark

oprah

Can anyone confirm if Oprah is in Kuwait? I got an email from a reader telling me she was at Avenues yesterday. If she is in Kuwait anyone know why?

Update: Turns out its the Oprah Winfrey lookalike Caroline Hodge [Link]


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Footballer sticks finger up opponent’s bum

Posted by Mark

A video posted by جرايمq8 (@jraymq8) on

A truly below-the-belt incident has taken place in Kuwait after one player was spotted jabbing his finger up an opponent’s bum mid-game.

Both players fall to the floor after contesting an aerial ball, and one doesn’t take too kindly to the challenge as he commits what might just already be the weirdest foul of the season.

There also appears to be a hint of a bite in there as well, and the victim unsurprisingly reacts pretty angrily to the whole incident.

Bizarre. [Source]

Hahahahahahaha WTF.

Thanks Ammar

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Ask the British Ambassador Anything

Posted by Mark

britishambassador

The British Ambassador Matthew Lodge will be holding an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session today as part of his weekly “Mondays with Matthew” posts. The AMA session will be open from 4:30PM to 6:00PM at which time the British Ambassador will be online to answer any questions you might have. So if there is anything you’ve always been curious about and wanted to know the answer to, this will be your chance to ask him. So don’t forget its from 4:30PM to 6:00PM.


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Review: Garmin Dash Cam 10

Posted by Mark

dashcam

Dashboard cameras are cameras you mount in your car and record everything that takes place in front of you while you’re driving. I’ve been wanting to get a dash cam for sometime now but majority of the dash cams I had seen online were cheap looking no name ones. Although they were all very affordable and some had even gotten some great reviews, I was holding out for something better. If I was going to mount the camera on my windshield and have it in my face all day, I wanted something that at least looked decent and well made. Then out of the blue Garmin announced they were releasing a dash cam one day and I knew that was the one I was getting.

I’ve had the Garmin Dash Cam 10 for a few weeks now so I feel ready to give it a proper review.


[YouTube]

As expected, like all their products the Garmin Dash Cam is very well built. The unit feels very solid and looks great… until you mount it up on your windshield that is. I had a Garmin Navigator previously mounted in my car and it looked really sleek. I had the USB power cable come up from behind the dash board and plug in to the rear of the unit and because the suction cup is behind the unit the navigator looked like it was floating in front of the windshield. In my head I imagined the same would apply to the dash cam but I couldn’t have been so wrong. Even though the Garmin Dash Cam is pretty compact, once you connect the large suction cup to it and mount it into place it instantly doubles in height and becomes quite bulky. Then to make matters worse is the location of the USB plug, it plugs into the bottom right hand side of the device. That means I have ugly wire clutter around the unit adding to the overall visual pollution I now have on my windshield. I don’t understand why Garmin couldn’t have found a better solution, it’s like the designer who worked on the unit didn’t take anything into consideration. I mean they should have know people would most likely mount the dash cam on the left side of the windshield near the driver like everyone does with their navigators or that they will be mounted in the center of the windshield. So why would you have the power plug on the right? Wouldn’t it make sense to have it either on the left, the back side (like with my Garmin Navigator) or on the top left side of the device?

With those negatives out of the way it’s time to talk about some of the positives. The device works great. I have my unit set up to turn on and start recording automatically when I start the car and then to shutoff and stop recording when I turn off the car. I also have it set up so that once the memory card runs out of space to start recording over older videos. That means the dash cam operates continuously without any sort of action from me which is very convenient.


[YouTube]

The video quality isn’t anything close to say GoPro quality but then again these videos serve a different purpose. The camera can record up to 1080p and as you can see in the sample videos the license plates are easy to read both during the day and night. Obviously having a clean and crack free windshield improves the quality and in my videos you can see one of my window cracks on the right side of the footage which is a bit annoying but there isn’t anything I can do about it.

The Garmin Dash Cam 10 costs $200 which is really expensive compared to other more popular no brand dash cams. I originally didn’t mind paying this much because I expected a product that would be visually pleasing when mounted but now I know the Garmin is overpriced. The quality of the footage isn’t so different from the no name dash cams neither is the operating method so the Garmin really doesn’t have a major advantage to cost this much. But, since I already bought mine its too late for me but for anybody else I’d recommend they look at the alternatives carefully before deciding on the garmin.

For those interested, here is the dash cam on [Amazon]
They have the Dash Cam 20 as well which comes with GPS and records other data like your speed. I would recommend not going with that option if you tend to speed a lot.


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Lion kills Filipina housekeeper

Posted by Mark

I was just catching up on the news and found out about this sad incident. Not sure what more has to happen for the authorities to start cracking down on people keeping dangerous wildlife as pets.

A Filipino domestic helper died in Kuwait days after she was attacked by her employer’s pet lion, a report on “24 Oras” said Thursday.

The report said Lourdes Abejuela was brought to a hospital after she was attacked by the lion, which escaped from its cage, but she was immediately discharged.

Quoting Abejuela’s friend, the report said the domestic helper, who had been working with the same employer for years, experienced headaches days after the discharge.

This reportedly prompted Abejuela’s employer to bring her back to the hospital, where she died Wednesday.

The report said investigation is ongoing to determine the Filipino woman’s cause of death.

[Source]


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