Things to do in Kuwait this weekend

Posted by Mark

flyingstart

Thursday
Exhibition: Ghadah Alkandari – Secretary
STOMP Theatrical Show

Friday
STOMP Theatrical Show
Spraybox Opening
Book Club Meeting

Saturday
STOMP Theatrical Show
The Flying Start Triathlon
Yoga Fest

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


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Wizr, Kuwait’s Greatest Driver

Posted by Mark

lastwizr

Back in the 70s there was a British journalist living in Kuwait by the name of Keith Wells. He used to work for the Arab Times and in his spare time he also used to write books about Kuwait, including a witty series on a character named Wizr who was Kuwait’s greatest driver. Between 1979 and 1984, Keith released three Wizr books but sadly there really isn’t a lot of information on them nor Keith online. In fact, there is a blog dedicated to keeping Keith and his Wizr series alive but even the blog doesn’t have much info nor content. The books document life in Kuwait during that period with humor and nicely drawn illustrations.

wizr2

Since The Kuwait Bookshops is closing this might be your only chance to own one of his Wizr books. In 1984 he released “The Last Wizr Book” and The Kuwait Bookshops in Muthana still has copies of it remaining and they’re selling them cheap for KD1.5 (the bookshop is selling everything for 50% off). The book was his last one on the Wizr since the illustrator he had teamed up with for the previous two books had passed away. I tried to find the other two books online and I managed to snag his second book (pictured above) on eBay for KD7.5 and his first book on the series (pictured below) for KD16. It was more than what I wanted to pay, but I somehow felt compelled to save this part of Kuwait’s history. So try to grab his last book from Muthana if you can.

wizr1

If anyone has any interesting information related to Keith or his books let me know.


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Celebrate Oktoberfest in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

octoberfest

My friend sent me the screen capture above, at first I thought it was a joke but I called Hilton up and it’s actually taking place tomorrow.


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2aorganic

Posted by Mark

organic

2aorganic is a local website which claims to have the largest collection of organic products for sale in Kuwait. I didn’t count their products so I can’t really confirm that claim although by quickly flipping through the website I could tell they do have quite a large selection. So if you’re interested in organic products here is a link to their [Website]

On a side note not sure why they chose such an awkward name. How do you even pronounce 2aorganic?

Thanks Khaled


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Drama in the local blogosphere

Posted by Mark

americanblogs

A bit of drama has erupted over the past few days between a few local American female bloggers. From what I’ve been able to grasp so far it turns out Expat and the City is not who she says she is, personal information on Crazy in Kuwait was released and supposedly American Girl’s World started all of this.

Personally I find all this drama entertaining to read but I’m also completely against outing someone who wants to remain anonymous. Even Single in the Shires recently posted that people have figured out her identity as well. There are plenty of good reasons to post anonymously in Kuwait so its very understandable why these girls would want their real lives to remain private. Plus, I don’t think it really matters if the blog stories or characters are fictional, a blog can be whatever it wants to be.

In any case this is turning into an episode of The Only Way is Essex, so if you’re bored and want to catch up on whats been going on, here are some links in chronological order:

Expat and the City 1
American Girl’s World
Crazy in Kuwait
Expat and the City 2


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There is no Ebola in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

According to KUNA, the Ministry of Health quashed reports on social media that Ebola cases were discovered in Kuwait, terming them as “baseless”. The Rumaithiya police station had requested the Health Ministry come and examine some Asian and Ethiopian expat women held there who turned out to only have an upper respiratory tract infection.

On the other hand Al Rai newspaper has reported that the detainees in question will be deported so problem solved.


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Sign up your dog to Bark in the Park

Posted by Mark

barkinthepark

K’s PATH are organizing their fourth Bark in the Park event which includes the popular dog show competition and which will be held the beautiful Ahmadi South Public Park.

Date: Saturday 8th November 2014
Location: KOC Ahmadi, South Public Park
Time: 11:00AM to 3:00PM

Competitions:
1. Best Child Handler
2. Best Dressed
3. Best Look Alike
4. Agility Course
5. Best Mixed Breed
6. Best Rescue Story
7. Temptation Alley
8. Most Adorable

Advanced Registration Required:
Adults KD5, Children under 16 KD3, Children under 3 years – free entry
Participating dogs KD6, Non-participating dogs KD3

– Registration closes Thursday, November 6th

Register by clicking [Here]
The online form also guides you to calculate entry fees, which can be paid at the door on the day of the event.

For more information on the event and the original flyer click [Here]


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Ebola in Kuwait?

Posted by Mark

ebolainkuwait

According to alrayalaam.com, three men of African origin that were being held at the Rumaythia Police station exhibited symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus. The three men are currently being quarantined until the test results come out. Some sources like @aldostor_news have stated the three men actually are infected with Ebola but not sure how reliable those sources are so I wouldn’t panic until the results come out.


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Save The Kuwait Bookshops

Posted by Mark

kuwaitbookshop1

As a kid growing up in Kuwait in the 80s I used to pass by Muthana Complex in Kuwait City all the time with my family. Back then Muthana Complex was what Avenues is to Kuwait today, it was a beautiful mall and it used to get pretty packed on weekends. We had friends who lived in the apartments in Muthana so we were there pretty often, probably once a week. Whenever we used to be done visiting our friends we would head into the mall and the first shop we would see was The Kuwait Bookshops. We’d always walk in and either me or my sister would always end up leaving with a book or a magazine. But the Kuwait Bookshops was around way before the 80s and way before I was born. Last night I sat down with the owner of the bookshop Bashir Alkhatib and this is the story of The Kuwait Bookshops.

kuwaitbookshop4

The History

Bashir moved to Kuwait in 1959 after studying in the US. He started working at the Ministry of Information and grew frustrated really quickly that he couldn’t buy any books in Kuwait. He used to love to read and there wasn’t any place that sold books so he thought to himself, this town needs a bookshop. In 1961 he opened The Kuwait Bookshops in the Thunayan AlGhanim building on Soor Street. It was one of the most advanced buildings in Kuwait at the time and one of the first to have an elevator. According to Bashir, the bedouins used to come in from the desert and stand in line to watch “the horse” that can go up and down. Back then the Thunayan AlGhanim building also housed the KOC offices as well as the British Consulate and they were his best customers. Bashir continued to work at the Ministry while also running the bookshop, he actually had to work at the Ministry overtime so he could afford to pay the expenses of the bookshop.

alghanimbuilding

One of the bookshops customers was a British guy who used to come in regularly to pick up the English paper The Times. One day he came in to pick up the paper but he couldn’t find any so he asked Bashir, why don’t you have The Times? Bashir replied telling him he hadn’t paid the bill so they stopped sending his bookshop the papers. He asked him how come you didn’t pay the bill? Bashir told him that he didn’t have the money so he couldn’t. Turns out the customer was a manager at Gulf Bank and told him to pass by him at the bank. So Bashir went to Gulf Bank and sat with the manager who asked him, whats your dream? Bashir told him his dream was to have a bookshop similar to the ones in England and the US. After around an hour of chatting the manager told him he would give him an overdraft of KD10,000 guaranteed by the manger himself. Bashir took the money and got on the plane and headed to London where he met with various publishers. He managed to strike deals on credit where he would be able to buy books and newspapers and pay them back 90 days later which helped him a lot financially. The Kuwait Bookshops became one of the first to import books and newspapers to the Gulf.

In 1964 he opened his second location in Ahmadi due to popular request since his KOC customers kept asking for a location closer to them. Bashir used to originally get his magazines and papers from England but there was a distribution company that used to get magazines and newspapers from the US so in 1970 he decided to purchase that distribution company. Due to the amount of books, magazines and newspapers they were getting they had to get a warehouse to store all the items since there wasn’t enough space in the Soor and Ahmadi locations to display everything. Then in the mid 80s Muthana Complex started being built down the street from their Soor location so he purchased a shop there. In 1986 Muthana opened and The Kuwait Bookshops was one of the first shops to open there.

bookshop1990

In 1990 the invasion happened and the shop got ransacked by the Iraqi soldiers. After the invasion Bashir went to his publishers one by one and asked them how much he had owed them but the publishers all told him that any debt he owed before the invasion would be wiped clean and they would start fresh from again. In 1992 The Kuwait Bookshops reopened and it’s been there ever since.

kuwaitbookshop2

The Present

Due to irreconcilable differences between the partners, The Kuwait Bookshops is currently at risk of getting liquidating. The only way to save the bookshop is to buy out the other partner. If by December 5th the bookshop isn’t saved, then the bookstore along with it’s history will vanish. It’s depressing because The bookshop is a part of Kuwait’s heritage and once it’s gone its gone. There is currently a hashtag being used #savekuwaitbookshops on Instagram and Twitter so if you do pass by the store please hashtag your photos. Maybe with enough awareness someone will come in and help save the shop. If anyone by any chance is interested in possibly buying out the other partner, please [Email Me]

Note: First photo on top taken by Fabio Sabatini. Second photo taken by Nadia Nader.


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Life with the Vespa – Part 1

Posted by Mark

vespa

Every now and then I’m going to post a series of posts on life with my Vespa. It’s something I thought about doing when I decided to get the bike and I think it would make for some interesting posts. It’s been a month since I got my Vespa and I’ve basically been riding it every day. I’m actually trying to ride it as much as I can because whenever I’m on it I feel like I’m on a vacation. It’s such an odd feeling but it makes sense since the only times I ever ridden a scooter before were on vacations. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m usually in my shorts and a tank top while riding the Vespa (and helmet of course).

I’ve been using the Vespa mostly for trips in and around Salmiya, for example I live in the beginning of Salmiya while my two best friends live on the other end of Salmiya. Previously I used to drive my FJ Cruiser over to their place and get stuck in traffic but now I take the Vespa and it cuts down on so much time and stress. There are no traffic problems when I’m riding my Vespa since I just zip between cars all the way to the front of the pack. I’ve actually practically stopped using my FJ for any Salmiya trip because riding the Vespa around isn’t only much more fun but so much more convenient. Even picking up groceries from Sultan is really doable with the Vespa since there’s a large compartment under the seat which holds all my grocery bags.

I’m also really glad I went with the yellow color, it really looks great on the road even though I end up getting much more attention than I want. I keep getting stopped by people asking me about the bike which is nice but sometimes all you really want to do is just get from point A to point B without socializing so it kinda feels like a waiter opening a conversation with you while you’re trying to enjoy your meal. On more than one occasion I would be at a red light waiting and the person in the car next to me would start making conversation over the bike or after parking the bike somewhere, someone would come up to me and ask me where I’ve gotten it from and how much it costs.

Other than strangers though my friends also ask me about the bike but mostly on the fact if I’ve gotten into any dangerous situations. So far not really, I thought I would have issues with taxi drivers and bus drivers whom I usually detest the most when in my FJ, but turns out they’re actually the friendliest drivers to me when I’m on my Vespa. The only close call I’ve actually had wasn’t related to the Vespa. I was riding down Baghdad Street in Salmiya and the road was empty since I had taken off at the previous traffic light first and all the cars were behind me when I suddenly see an SUV driving towards me. Turns out an old man took the wrong turn at a traffic light up ahead and ended up driving down the wrong way of the street. I slammed my brakes and pulled over to the side quickly (thank you ABS!) while he continued to drive past me only to realize there was a fleet of cars right behind me. That’s when he realized what he had done wrong and stopped his car. Luckily all the cars stopped their cars as well and allowed him to climb over the median strip over to the correct side of the road. So bizarre.


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