The 248AM Community

Posted by Mark

com

Have you checked out the 248AM Community? It’s an online discussion forum and with over a quarter of a million posts so far, it’s a great space to ask questions and debate topics. You can access the community by clicking the link in the navigation strip on top or by typing community.248am.com in your browser.


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Yay! Kuwait made it on TMZ!

Posted by Mark

tmz

This is just hilarious:

Oil isn’t the only worthwhile commodity in Kuwait … one woman claims it’s also the home to the idea for “Frozen” … and she claims Disney stole it from her. Muneefa Abdullah claims she came up with the idea that true love conquers evil, a central theme in “Frozen.”

Abdullah has filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming she wrote a book called “New Fairy Tales” which contained the short story, “The Snow Princess.” Abdullah says her story involves a princess who possesses magical ice powers that give her the ability to turn people and objects into ice … which just so happens to be the plot to “Frozen.” Abdullah fires off a number of similarities, including:

– A kingdom made of ice and surrounded by mountains
– A sibling in search and rescue of the sibling possessing the magical ice powers
– A journey up the mountain, snowy guards guarding an icy castle on the mountaintop
– The idea that only love is capable of defeating evil

Abdullah wants a barrel of money.

Check out the article on TMZ [Here]

Thanks Mona


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How powerful is your passport?

Posted by Mark

passports

Oman completely blows all its neighbors out of the water coming in at 13th place.

1 – United Stated of America (147 visa free countries)
1 – United Kingdom (147 visa free countries)
7 – Canada (140 visa free countries)
13 – Oman (134 visa free countries)
47 – United Arab Emirates (72 visa free countries)
52 – Qatar (66 visa free countries)
54 – Kuwait (64 visa free countries)
57 – Saudi Arabia (61 visa free countries)
59 – India (59 visa free countries)
61 – Bahrain (61 visa free countries)
64 – Egypt (53 visa free countries)
73 – Lebanon (44 visa free countries)

Check out the full list [Here]

Update: It seems they had made a mistake with Oman’s ranking, they’ve updated the list and Oman is now ranked 63 (54 visa free countries). Bahrain was also moved to position 57. Not sure if any other changes were made.

Thanks Musaed


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark

Now that the weather is warmer I thought the number of events would start winding down but that doesn’t seem to be the case this weekend. Check out the full list of events below:

Thursday
Kuwait Dino Park
Exhibition: Gardens of Al Andalus
Golden Renaissance by Hiroto Rakusho
Exhibition: New Species by Hunt Slonem
The Pearl Fishers Opera
Acting Troupe Acting Workshop
Social Media Writing Workshop
Rooftop Movie: Before Midnight

Friday
Kuwait Dino Park
Exhibition: Gardens of Al Andalus
Golden Renaissance by Hiroto Rakusho
The Pearl Fishers Opera
Acting Troupe Acting Workshop
Culinary Event: Vitamix Techniques
Book Club Meeting

Saturday
Kuwait Dino Park
Exhibition: Gardens of Al Andalus
Golden Renaissance by Hiroto Rakusho
The Pearl Fishers Opera
Think Work Live Positive
Yoga at the Park
Guided Tour: Aladdin House
Al Fereej Expo
KTAA Bazaar
Bus Tour – A day for sustainability in Kuwait
Gather To Give
Rooftop Movie: La Vie en Rose

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]


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Sneak Peek: Boulevard

Posted by Mark

boulevard1

I was checking Reddit earlier this morning and a redditor posted about how he passed by Boulevard Mall and was impressed. At first I thought damn I’m so out of touch, a huge ass project like Boulevard which is pretty close to where I live opens up and I end up finding out about it from Reddit. So I asked the user if Boulevard was open and he told me it wasn’t to the public but I could go there and tell them I’m inspecting the location for leasing. Smart idea so I left the house and headed to check the place out.

boulevard2

Boulevard is located in Salmiya opposite Souk Salmiya and it’s a huge project which I’ve posted about a number of times before. The project is composed of a number of elements including a mall, a dinning boulevard, a gigantic park, artificial lakes, an amphitheater, basketball courts, football courts and much more.

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I was lucky that as I was driving into the park there was a car in front of me who stopped at the gate first and spoke to the security guard to have him open it. Once he opened the gate I drove in right after pretending I was with the car in front of me. Once I was in I was basically able to go and explore the grounds without anyone hassling me.

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The first area I explored was the main mall. The mall is the largest building in the project and consists of two floors with a very large centre court in the middle. None of the shops had started construction yet but the mall looked pretty much complete and they were just working on the escalators when I was there.

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Once I was done with the mall I decided to explore the park outside. I headed to what looked like the dining boulevard which was an area where single story units surrounded a large artificial lake.

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From there I headed further inwards into the park and found a large green field with a few rows of stadium seating on one side. I didn’t understand what this field was going to be used for since it was round but after checking the satellite view of the field on Google Maps I now realize it’s going to be a cricket field.

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From there I continued walking inwards and spotted the amphitheater followed by the basketball and football fields.

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I was getting hot with all the walking and it was starting to drizzle some mud so I decided to head back to the car before the weather got worse. There was still quite a bit of park to explore and a few buildings but I figured I already had a general idea of how the project was turning out. I didn’t have high hopes before especially considering how long it’s been since the project started but now I’m actually excited about it. I have no idea when it’s going to finish or what the hold up is. They have electricity and it looks like the shop owners could come in any day now and start working on their stores so I don’t really know what the delay is. Hopefully it’s going to end up opening really soon.


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My First Harley Ride

Posted by Mark

harley1

A couple of weeks ago Harley Davidson sent me to Lebanon to participate in their spring ride. They were launching their brand new showroom in Lebanon and invited some media members from around the region to cover the opening and then take part in the ride the following day. My ride with Harley has been a work in progress for probably over a year now since they had invited me to two rides last year. I ended up backing out from both of those rides because I hadn’t ridden a motorbike for a few years and wasn’t sure I’d still remember how to. So Harley offered to hook me up with refresher courses in Bahrain which I managed to conveniently get done during the GulfRun weekend back in January.

harley2

I had never taken part in a Harley ride before or yet alone any kind of ride that consisted of more than two riders so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy riding with a large crowd. We were around six media members and we all met up at the lobby of our hotel on the morning of our ride. Once we were all there we were taken to the parking lot where we had our brand new Harley’s waiting for us. Before the trip they had asked us to name three Harley bikes we would like to ride and they hooked us all up with one of the bikes on our list, I ended up with a 2015 V-Rod. We took off from our hotel, filled up our bikes with fuel and headed to the Harley dealership which was the meeting point for all the riders.

There were over 200 bikers at the starting point of our trip which was just insane. I didn’t even realize how complicated the logistics of organizing and riding with 200 bikers was until this trip, it’s just mind boggling. Imagine how long a line of 200 bikers is? It’s like a train going through a city. Actually a friend of mine said it better, it’s like a village on wheels and the amount of work that goes behind a smooth ride is impressive.

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Our ride started off in Beirut and then headed south away from the city into the mountains. In addition to the 200+ riders there was a crew of Harley volunteers who would help make this journey as easy and smooth as possible. These members would ride ahead of the main group and block traffic for us or stop at intersections and point us towards the direction we need to go in. Once the group passes they then catch up and head to the front again and repeat the same thing over and over. Even a fuel stop requires a lot of logistics, imagine 200 bikers stopping at a gas station… they literally took over the whole block.

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We had lunch half way through the ride at a scenic spot beside a river. It wasn’t a sunny day and in fact it started raining in Beirut while we were in the mountains so on our way back into the city we all got into our rain gear just in case. We passed through some really beautiful locations along the way but sadly since I was riding I couldn’t take any photos. It was one of those occasions where I just had to enjoy the moment for myself but as a photographer I was hurting inside because I would see a beautiful shot with my eyes but I wouldn’t be able to capture it not even on my phone. Harley Davidson did have a photographer on this ride which is how I got these shots but I honestly don’t think he was great, he missed a lot of beautiful moments and for some reason applied so many random filters on the photos I think he ruined them. I just spent half an hour trying my best to fix them up so I could use them for this post. If I ever go on a ride similar to this again I’m going to figure out a way to take photos myself while riding.

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The V-Rod bike I rode was surprisingly very easy to ride. Even though the bike was big, heavy and had a lot of power, the throttle was very smooth and the bike just seemed so rider friendly and forgiving. Compared to my friends KTM RC8 I was riding a few weeks back, I felt so much more comfortable riding the V-Rod.

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It was a super fun ride and I’m glad I got to experience it. I was honestly never a Harley fan before I started working with them, I’ve always been and still am a sports bike kind of guy. But, riding a Harley and riding in a large group like this has given me a better understanding on why people love Harley’s so much. Even though there were over 200 bikes I don’t think any two were the same because everyone customizes their bikes to their liking. I think people also love the feeling of belonging. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, once you’re on a Harley you’re automatically accepted into this world and I think thats an amazing thing.


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Design a Kuwait Geofilter for Snapchat

Posted by Mark

snapchat

Snapchat Geofilters are special overlays for Snaps that can only be accessed in certain locations like the ones pictured above. If you’ve ever used Snapchat while traveling you’ll sometimes notice different special overlays depending where you’re located so if you’re in Paris near the Eiffel Tower you would get an Eiffel Tower overlay. Turns out you can design your own and submit them to Snapchat for approval. So if you’re a designer, go ahead and make one for Kuwait by clicking [Here]

dubaisnap

Speaking of Snapchat, yesterday Dubai was live on Snapchat and there were a bunch of great Snaps. They’re actually still in my feed this morning so they’re probably in yours as well so check it out. Also if you want to add me on Snapchat my handle is “mark248am”


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April Events

Posted by Mark

events

I usually post about the events that take place over the weekend but there are tons of other events that take place in Kuwait during the middle week. This month for example there is practically an event every day so check out the events page for the full list [Here]


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New Restaurant: Healthy Feast

Posted by Mark

healthy1

Healthy Feast is a new restaurant that soft launched last week. As you can tell from the name, it’s a healthy restaurant and they pride themselves in having fresh, locally grown, organic and gluten free dishes. Even their menu starts off with the following introduction:

We support local, organic and sustainable practices wherever possible. Our menu is always changing according to what is available and seasonal. This is today’s menu:

So right off the bat I was pretty excited to try out their dishes.

healthy2

The restaurant is located in Bneid Al Gar and although the exterior doesn’t look like much the interior is very cute and bright with lots of natural daylight coming in. The walls were rough and painted white with natural wood being used everywhere. I would have taken a photo but a couple of tables were already occupied so I couldn’t. Once I sat down I was given the menu and after going through it I decided to go with the following:

Raw zucchini with almond thai dressing KD1.950
Pumpkin & avocado maki roll, with beet brown rice KD2.500
Root vegetables in curried lemongrass coconut milk KD3.500
Green Wellness juice: spinach, cucumber, apple, celery and lemon KD1.850

While waiting for my dishes I was also served a complimentary bowl of cheesy kale chips which usually costs KD1.500.

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The first dish to arrive was my raw zucchini which looked like a small bowl of spaghetti. This dish completely caught me by surprise since it was so full of flavor. It tasted like an intricate starter I would have at a Japanese restaurant and I loved it (I later found out the chef was Japanese). The second dish I was served were the maki rolls. They were also pretty good although I was worried they would fill me up before my main dish arrived. I really wish they had chopsticks though since my first two dishes could have used them. When I asked the waitress for chopsticks she went into the kitchen and came back and told me the Japanese chef said I should use my fingers. I thought that was a hilarious soup nazi moment and proceeded to eat the rolls with my fingers, I had no problem with that. Once I was done with the rolls I was served the curry bowl. For the curry bowl I had three choices for the base, cauliflower rice, brown rice or quinoa. I went with quinoa although I haven’t been having quinoa for awhile now since I’m so over it. But, the curry was so flavorful and delicious I don’t think it would have mattered if I had gone with quinoa or any of the other rice options.

healthy4

It’s a new restaurant, I ordered three completely new dishes I hadn’t tried before and I ended up loving all three. The chances of that happening are pretty rare which is why I fell in love with the place. It kind feels like an evolution to Gia or what Gia should have become. I did have two minor issues though. The first was with my juice, it was served in a beaker but it was filled less than half way which made it look like either someone had already drank from it or they had run out of juice while filling it up. The second thing is the lack of chopsticks. Again it’s not a big issue but two out of the three dishes I had were Japanese like and my guess is there are more dishes like that on the menu so why not have chopsticks as well?

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In any case as I said I loved the place and I’m actually going back for lunch today. Healthy Feast is located in Bneid Al Gar and right now they’re open daily except for Sundays from 2PM to 7PM. Here is a link to their instagram account @healthy_feast and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Bringing malls to the masses

Posted by Mark

marzouq

The Tamdeen chairman Mohammed Al Marzouq recently had an interview with Arabian Business where he mentions a few things that are interesting and a friend mine sent me a few highlights that I thought were interesting:

– Tamdeen are developing a new residential and retail project called Tamdeen Square which will be located near Messilah on the Fahaheel Expressway. 30 of the apartments have already been sold via hearsay. Mohammed Al Marzouq is betting on the fact that skyrocketing house prices, a huge waiting list for government-issued houses and their distance from the city centre means that many Kuwaitis will prefer the convenience of apartment life. The very talented AGI Architects are the designers behind Tamdeen Sqaure.

tamdeensquare

– Tamdeen is taking over development of the stalled tennis project next to 360 Mall and will be completing it as a “massive expansion” of 360 Mall that will include a 4000-seat stadium as the home of the Kuwait Tennis Federation.

– Al Manshar Mall was demolished a few years ago for redevelopment into a much larger, more modern new mall and will now be completed by 2017. The current Al Kout development on the waterfront [with the fountains] has been rebranded as Souq Al Kout while the land side one will simply be Al Kout Mall.

– Tamdeen was formerly working on a 160000-square meter project called the Mall of Kuwait in Sabahiya but then the global economy slipped and the project went dead, but apparently it’s back on.

Check out the full interview on Arabian Business [Here]

Thanks Khaled


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