Kuwait 1985-88

Post by Mark


Kuwait City 1987. Vintage store front.

Mark Lowey (AbuJack), a construction project management professional and an amateur photographer lived in Kuwait between 1985 and 1988. The past few months he’s been scanning and posting some of the pictures he took during his time in Kuwait (and KSA) on his twitter account. I’ve taken a few of his photos along with the captions and shared them here but you can check out more photos on his twitter account @molowey


High technology in 1987?


A man and his dog, Mangaf Beach, Kuwait in 1988.


Shopping in Fahaheel, 1988.


Jack bin Mark and neighbor friends in Mangaf, Kuwait, 1988. (One cool kid has a sling-shot.)


Toshiba power plant at Mina Al-Zoor in southern Kuwait. Under construction in 1985; nearly completed in 1987.


Kids-R-Us, Kuwait City in 1985.


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What is the Oldest Restaurant in Kuwait?

Post by Mark

Someone posted an interesting query in the Kuwestions section, what is the oldest restaurant in Kuwait? One reader suggested Mais Alghanim which is possible since its been active since 1953, but I’m curious if there is anything older that is still around and active?

The two photos here were taken from the Mais Alghanim photo gallery [Here]


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Kuwait Ice Skating Rink (1995)

Post by Mark

Just digitized this video taken at the Kuwait Ice Skating Rink back in April of 1995. 1991-92 is when I frequented the ice skating rink mostly and back then the music was amazing with hits like Snap – I got the Power and Soul II Soul – Back to Life. Still, the video above should bring back memories and if you look closely you can even spot the arcades in the background.


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Digitizing Old Videos

Post by Mark

Like with the pager in my previous post, while going through old boxes at my parents place I also found a bunch of old Video8 camcorder tapes. Luckily I also found my old camcorder and although the battery no longer works, the camcorder still functions properly when plugged into power. So last night I decided to digitize some old tapes.

If you want to digitize your old videos that are on VHS tapes or camcorder tapes, its actually not that complicated to do so. I’m using the Elgato Video Capture which I bought around 7 years back and it works on both Mac’s and PC’s. The way it works is also pretty simple:

1) Plug the Elgato device into your computers USB port
2) Connect your old VCR or camcorder to the Elgato just like you would to your TV
3) Run the Elgato software on your computer and press record
4) Press play on your VCR or camcorder
5) Thats it. Once your’d done click stop and the software saves the file

So if you’ve got old tapes lying around it’s really not that hard to digitize them and if its important stuff, I’d try and get it done as soon as possible. Here is the Amazon link to the Elgato video capture device I use [Link]


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Found my old pager!

Post by Mark

Yesterday while going through some old boxes at my parents place I found my old pager from high school (circa 1994/1995). I didn’t know I still had it so was pretty surprised to find it. I looked around the device to see what kind of charging cable I needed but I couldn’t find a charging port. Then I remembered it used regular batteries so I popped open the battery cover and inserted one AA battery and lo and behold, the pager turned on!

For those of you too young to know what a pager is or how it works, it was basically a device that was used before mobile phones when you wanted to talk to someone. Every pager had a phone number and when you called it, the number you’re calling from would display on the pagers screen. The pager owner would then call back the number when they were near a phone to see who called. When you would call a pager, the automated answering system would also ask you if you wanted to leave an optional 3 digit code. That 3 digit code would show up on the persons paging device when you called. So usually you would assign different codes to different friends, so say my best friend would use “666” that way when I get a page and I see “666” after the phone number, I know it’s my best friend trying to get a hold of me. If you left “010” it basically meant fuck you, “911” meant it was urgent and I’m sure there were other numbers that also had other meanings.

What I also remembered was how when you got a page you’d go looking for a shop that would let you use their phone so you could call back the number from. I mostly ended up using the phones at baqalas but it was also an issue the other way around. Sometimes you would use the phone of a shop or a baqala to page a friend, and then you’d just wait at the place near the phone for your friend to call you back.

The pager model I had I think was the most popular (Panasonic EK-2097), but I think there were only ever two models of pagers available to choose from back then. There were no private telecom companies, the pager I have was from the government operated Mobile Telephone Systems Co. (K.S.C.) which I think later became Mobile Telecommunications Company (M.T.C.) which later became Zain. If I’m wrong, let me know in the comments.


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Shops that Sell Old Kuwait Memorabilia

Post by Mark

Yesterday I mentioned I found an old copy of a Kuwait TV Guide from 1989, what I failed to mention is that I bought it from an antique shop. I thought I had posted about these antique shops before, but when I searched through my blog, I couldn’t find anything about them. There is a basement in old Salmiya near Marina Mall filled with shops that sell antiques.

I passed by there last week since I needed to pick up a few items to use as props for a clients photoshoot, and thats when I got the old TV guide and a few other things. The shop I was in actually had a whole bunch of old TV guides along with a whole lot of old magazines and newspapers (even books) from the 50s and 60s all the way up to the 90s. I ended up buying a few things, a copy of “Majala Al Kuwait” from 1975, two 8-track tapes, the old TV guide and most importantly, a 7-inch vinyl record for the song “Haydoo – Our Camel, Lovely Camel”. If you aren’t familiar with the history of this song, I posted about it back in 2006 and its still an interesting read today. Here is the [Post]

Off of my head I think there are around 8 shops located in that basement all of which sell old memorabilia. There is one store that specializes in old records and another in old coins and rare bank notes, but most sell stuff you grew up with as a kid. In between all this randomness you’ll also find some super odd things like Nazi memorabilia.

The opening hours of the shops are pretty random since from my experience the owners are rarely there. But the building caretaker has the keys and will let you in if the shops are closed. If you find something you like he can take a photo and whatsapp it to the owner to get you a price but it also makes haggling more difficult. If you’re interested in checking these places out, the shops are located in the basement of a corner building near Marina Mall. The ground floor has shops that sell hair products but the basement is all antique stores. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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KTV2 Guide from August 1989

Post by Mark

I recently found a copy of Kuwait TV guide from August 1989 and figured I’d scan the KTV2 section and share it on the blog. For those of you who grew up in Kuwait during the 80s you’ll probably remember we had only two channels, KTV1 in Arabic and KTV2 in English. On good days we could also pick up the English Saudi channel and on rare occasions the Bahraini one. KTV2 used to only start at 6PM and then close down by midnight. Much simpler times.

1989 was a good year for TV, going through the guide I came across a lot of my old time favorites including:

Starman
Bionic Six
Charles in Charge (My childhood crush > Nicole Eggert)
Danger Bay
Simon & Simon
TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes
Silver Hawks
Miami Vice
Moonlighting

If you want to flip through the TV guide, I’ve scanned it and uploaded the pdf [Here]


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Watch Hours and Hours of Old Videos on Kuwait

Post by Mark

A YouTube user going by the name jalili99Q8 has been uploading tons of old videos on Kuwait. The videos range from music videos, interviews, shows, documentaries and more. Personally I like the documentaries similar to the ones I’ve embedded in this post. Most of the videos I’ve come across have been in Arabic, but there are a few English ones and even if they’re in Arabic, you can still flip through them since the music is usually very 70s or Miami Vice 80s which is amazing.

I’ve shared some videos below but if you want to flip through his whole channel click [Here]

Thanks Twit

Read the rest of this entry »


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History of the Behbehani House Complex

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


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Kuwait by John Feeney (1974)

Post by Mark

This is a short 23 minute documentary on Kuwait that dates back to 1974. While watching it I felt there was something different about it, the soundtrack along with the framing of some of the shots made this documentary feel a bit artsy. Then near the end of the film at the 18:30 mark, it started to get a bit trippy, like a mixture of Apocalypse Now and 2001: A Space Odyssey. So once the film was over I waited for the credits to roll to see who it was directed by and turns out it was directed by a guy called John Feeney who was nominated for an Academy Award.. twice! So totally worth watching, if you don’t have the time then just forward to 18:30 of the film. [YouTube]

Film by Filmoteca Española


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