A day at the Kuwait Camel Race Track

Post by Mark

Yesterday me and some friends headed to the Kuwait Camel Race Club in Kabd. I had never been to a camel race before and when my friend proposed it I figured it would be something exciting to do on a quiet Saturday afternoon. My friend got in contact with a person at the track so when we got there we had a guide waiting for us.


[YouTube]

The guide got into the car with us and took us past the security gate into the center of the race track where the camel owners drive alongside their camels during the race. The Kuwait Camel Club no longer use human jockeys but instead use robotic ones due to the controversial child jockey problems faced in the past. During the race the camel owners drive down the track alongside their camels controlling their robot jockeys with wireless controllers. The guide made me tune into 93.1mhz on the FM radio because there was a live broadcast of the actual race so we could follow it that way. You could watch the short video above to get a feel of the view from inside the car. During the start of every race all the cars drive to the starting line where the owners make last checks on their camels. The camels don’t start in front of the spectators stand but 3KM away from the finish line. Once the camels are ready they are lined up and the race begins. The cars drive alongside the camels all the way to the finish line and then the cars drive back to the starting line to check on the other set of camels. We did this maybe five or six times until all the races had been finished and then we drove back to the spectator stands.

There was a black tent near the track where the winner was given his prize. Afterwards we were invited to some dates with camel butter and camel milk. The butter was absolutely delicious and even the milk didn’t taste bad at all, kinda like something between buttermilk and laban.

If you’re interested in visiting the tracks to watch a race it’s very easy to find and do. Take the 6th Ring Road and if 360 Mall is on your right keep heading straight past the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. Keep driving until you pass the new Kuwait University campus on your left (currently just hills and hills of sand surrounded by hoarding) and then after that in a bit you’ll see a sign for the 604 exit. Once you take the exit stop at the traffic light and then take a left and pass under the bridge. Then keep driving straight until you get to a roundabout, drive straight past that roundabout and keep driving until you get to a second roundabout. Once again pass that roundabout and keep driving until you hit the third roundabout. At the third roundabout go left and then head all the way till the end of the road. Once your read the end go right until you get to the end of the road again and you’ll spot the Kuwait Camel Club on your left. The whole ride shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes. There is no entrance fee and races are held every Saturday from 2:30pm between October and April. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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House of Mirrors

Post by Mark


Lidia al-Qattan explaining the Big Bang Room

I’ve being thinking about this post for the past few days trying to figure out what I was going to write exactly. The place turned out to be such a cool and surreal experience that I just couldn’t figure out where to start or how to say what I wanted to say. In the end I decided that I’ll be brief and not go into details so that you go there with no expectations other than having a good time.


Me posing outside the house with @kuzmoz

Last week a friend asked me if I wanted to join them on a tour of the House of Mirrors and since I had never been I decided to join them. The House of Mirrors belongs to Lidia al-Qattan, the widow of Khalifa al-Qattan, a renowned Kuwaiti artist. She started decorating one small wall with mirrors and through time more and more walls were decorated until the whole house inside and out was covered with mirrors.


The reception area with munchies

As I said, I’m not going to go into details because I don’t want to ruin the experience for you but simply put Lidia is such an amazing person. We were expecting the tour of the house to take around 30 minutes but it took us 3 hours and the 3 hours literally flew by. She was such an incredible host full of stories and the whole experience was seriously pretty trippy.

If you’ve never been to the House of Mirrors you should and when you do make sure you go with a bunch of friends since its an experience that should be shared. The cost of the tour is KD2 per person on weekdays and KD3 on weekends. The location of the house Street 94 Qadisiya, House 17 Block 9. You need to call ahead and make an appointed on this number 22518522.


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Activity: Wakeboarding

Post by Mark

Around a two weeks back Nat wanted us to go wakeboarding so I did a bit of research and found a group called Q8 Balance. For a fixed hourly rate they provide you with the gear, wakeboards and most importantly a boat. I ended up booking an hour for Nat and I this past Thursday but I ended up going alone since she got caught up with some work.

Balance do all their wakeboarding in Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City down south since the water over there in the channels is very still. I hadn’t been there before just seen the Discovery Channel documentary on it but now that I’ve been there I’m definitely going back in the middle of the week to swim and chill out on the sand. It’s like virgin beaches all around with no trash and extremely clean water. I loved the place.

Balance sent me a map to the location of where they will be waiting for me. It took around 50 minutes from Salmiya to that location without any traffic. It’s pretty far. Once I got to the beach they picked me up and started explaining to me how everything will work since I hadn’t wakeboarded before (I’m not a sea person). They were very friendly and explained everything very clearly. I strapped on the gear and jumped in the water and the session began. Honestly for the first 15 minutes I didn’t think I’d ever be able to wakeboard since I kept falling down and drinking so much sea water. It was horrible but then gradually my body got used to it and I was finally able to stand and wakeboard. It’s really harder than it looks.

The guys were super friendly and helpful and I really had a lot of fun. The only downside really is the price. It’s KD35 an hour which isn’t so bad if you split it up between two or three people but since I did it alone it was a big chunk to pay. They’re also pretty popular so you’ve got to book ahead of time which means no spontaneous outings, you need to book a week or more in advance in most cases. I was actually considering not posting about them since I didn’t want to end up having trouble finding an empty time slot with them. If you’re interested in wakeboarding with Q8 Balance you can visit their website [Here] or their Facebook page [Here]


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Rugby Players Needed

Post by Mark

There’s a youth rugby club in Kuwait under the name of Saracens Kuwait. They’ve been around for a few years and were previously known as the Nomads. There are different divisions of different ages ranging from under 8’s and under 19’s, for both boys and girls. They play competitively around the Middle East and this year, the under 19’s division has a chance to tour in England and South Africa. However, the under 19’s division is currently in need of more people to join in order to make an official team.

If you are interested in joining then you can come to the Hassan Abul Sports Center in Dasma on Friday from 8:30am to 10:30am. Participants do not need to know how to play rugby in order to join.

The first 3 weeks of practice are free and if the participants are interested in joining the club, then they will have to pay 50KD for the year and will receive everything they need.

Saracens has a website but it is a little outdated, you can check it out [Here]

If you have any question you can contact Aziz on azoznfl@yahoo.com

Although not very popular in Kuwait, rugby has been played here since way back in the 1940’s. Check out some old photos [Here]


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Auditions for a New Improv Group

Post by Mark

Do you constantly make your friends and family laugh?
Do you enjoy being part of a dynamic team?
Are you looking for ways to get involved in Kuwait?

If you answered with a resounding YES to any of the questions above, then…

Audition for Kuwait’s first-ever “Sketch & Improv Comedy Troupe” (in the style of Whose Line Is It Anyway, SNL, etc.)

Auditions are this coming Tuesday, September 25 at 7:00pm at the Kuwait Little Theatre in Ahmadi.

No preparation necessary. Just show up with a positive attitude and be willing to play a few theatre games. A brief workshop reviewing the major tenets of improvisation comedy will be held at the auditions. Once selections are made, the troupe members will rehearse on a weekly basis and perform throughout the year.

For questions, contact Hassan at 97329695 or by email using [This Form]


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Kuwait Little League 2012/2013 season registration is now open

Post by Mark

The Kuwait Little League Baseball and Softball is an organization that has been working with the children of Kuwait since the early 1980s. They function strictly with the efforts of volunteers and are a non-profit organization with all the income going towards the maintenance of the field and the equipment needed for the players.

Last year due to the kind support of sponsors they were able to get television quality lights on two of their baseball fields and scoreboards installed on three of them. They are of course as I mentioned a strictly volunteer organization that is 100% dedicated to providing children with a great, inexpensive, sport experience. This past year they took teams to international tournaments in Qatar, Dubai, Poland and the US. This was all achieved with the help of volunteer coaches, who not only gave up their evenings and weekends to work with the kids but also give up vacation time in the summers to go to competitions. The video above is their year in review video.

If you’re interested in signing up your children to the Kuwait Little League they’ve just opened registration for the 2012/2013 season. Below is the list of divisions with their ages:

Tee Ball – Boys and Girls – 5 to 7 years old
Minors – Boys and Girls – 8 to 10 years old
Majors – Boys and Girls – 11 to 12 years old
Juniors – Boys and Girls – 13 to 14 years old
Seniors – Boys and Girls – 15 to 18 years old
Softball – Girls only – 11 to 18 years old
Challenger* – Boys and Girls – 7 to 12 years old

*This is a division for children with special needs

To sign up visit the Kuwait Little League website and click on “Register Online Now” [Link]


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MILSIM at Shaab Park

Post by Mark

After posting about the MILSIM Failaka battle thats going to take place in November, my friend called me up and told me to pass by him at their location in Shaab Park. I posted about that location last year but never checked it out until now. The place is ridiculously cool with a battle ground littered with broken cars and random objects creating a realistic war like environment. Once I got there my friend gave me a handgun and took me to a time trial course in which I think I did fairly well in for my first time.


[YouTube]

Once I was done with that I was handed an M4 Carbine rifle and attached what looked like a silencer. Turns out the silencer had a built in UV light that lit up glow in the dark airsoft pellets on the way out. What you end up with is tracer pellets which you can see in the video above.

The Shaab Park location is like a paintball field, you just pay KD7 for the gear rental and spend the whole day there playing if you want. You just pay extra for the ammo. If you missed my post on the epic Failaka battle that’s going to take place check it out [Here]


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La Reserve – Lebanon

Post by Mark

When I was in Lebanon over Eid a friend of mine told me about a place called La Reserve. It’s a location deep inside Lebanon where you could do a bunch of outdoor activities under the supervision of experts. We decided to turn it into a two day plan, first we’d camp for the night in a beautiful isolated area and then the next day we’d head to La Reserve which would be around a two hour drive from our campsite.

Camping was great, it had been ages since I had done it and I completely missed it.

Next morning we woke up at dawn and headed towards La Reserve.

Those of you who’ve been to Lebanon or know Lebanon, La Reserve is located in an area called Afqa and once you hit Jbeil (Byblos) it’s around an hour and a half drive from there. The road starts really great and wide but once we started hitting the old villages the roads turned narrow and slow. We finally reached the destination and we met up with the people running the place and they told us to choose our activities. We chose the zip-line, rappelling, rock climbing, mountain biking and caving.

We started with the zip-line which turned out to be pretty disappointing. The zip-line is a cable line that’s tied at both ends and you get hooked onto it and zip down the line. It was really unexciting and very short. A snoozer and I’d skip this activity. The second activity we did was rappelling. This was also unexciting. Rappelling is when you descend a rock cliff using a rope (pictured above). You hold the rope with two hands and when you open your hands you start to drop and when you close your hands you stop. The best part is your first step off the cliff but after that there really isn’t much to it. Looks harder than it is but really gravity is doing all the work. After rappelling we did mountain biking which was horrible. The bikes were rusted with deflated tires and the road was a brutal uphill filled with rocks. I kept wishing I had brought my own bike since the view was a killer and I just wanted to keep going but the bike was falling apart.

So really this whole two hour trip was starting to look like a waste and you’re probably wondering why I’m even posting about it. Well after the bike ride everything got so much better. First we had lunch which was your typical Lebanese mezza followed by grills but everything we had was delicious and unexpected since we weren’t really expecting anything good from them by this point.

Once we were done with lunch we headed to the rock climbing area. This turned out to be a lot of fun, like the best fun I’ve had in ages. It was exhausting, difficult and I personally left with a lot of cuts and bruises all over but I repeat, it was A LOT of fun. If you’ve ever done the climbing wall at Marina Waves then this is kinda similar except instead of climbing up an artificial wall you’re climbing up a real cliff. They have different cliff faces to climb each with a different degree of difficulty going from level 1 up to 7. It was such a blast that I’d go back just for that. We managed to get to complete levels 1 to 3 but by then the sun was starting to set and we had one more activity to do, caving.

We were all tired and none of us wanted to do it. We thought it was going to be a waste of time but they told us the cave was located on the road out of the village and we could try it out, 5 minutes in if we did’t like it we could leave. So we went for it and good thing we did since it turned out to be an unbelievable experience.

The cave is around 6km long and still not fully discovered. It’s not a cave that’s been prepped for tourists with lights and walking paths and it’s definitely not for anyone that feels claustrophobic. The only lights we had were the ones on our helmets. When we first walked into the cave we had to go through a hole in the wall (pictured above) that was less than meter in diameter and required us to crawl in the muddy ground for a few meters before we got to the other side. The idea of being in this dead space inside the mountain with no phone signal and no lights except for the ones on our helmets was just freaky.

We kept going in climbing down wet and slippery rocks in out of different large rooms only to go back into extremely tight and long crawl holes (pictured above) and then up steep ledges. It was scary and fun both at the same time. Since it was Lebanon the guides decided to take a smoke break half way through the trip. It’s like WTF we’re in a cave! Then at one point we had to choose between two options, a passageway with freezing water up to our shoulders or another tight low ceiling and long passageway. I think that was the only problem with the caving, is the fact we weren’t told what to expect and so we weren’t dressed appropriately.

An hour later we finally came out in another location from where we started and it was just breathtaking. After being in the dark cave for an hour we came out as the sun was setting into an open space that wouldn’t look out of place in Jurassic Park. It was so beautiful and it was a relief to finally be out in the open again. I loved the whole experience.

If anyone is planning a trip to Lebanon I highly recommend you book a day with La Reserve. I’d go back again and spend the first half of the day rock climbing and the second half freaking out in the dark cave. Lunch was also fantastic and the price for a whole day full of activities and lunch came out to be just $58 per person. That’s it. I can’t think of anything you could do in Lebanon for a full day thats as fun and for just $58. So if you’re interested in outdoor activities check them out. Here is a link to their [Website]


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MILSIM: Battle Field 3 – Close Quarters

Post by Mark

The first international airsoft event in the Middle East is going to take place in kuwait on the island of Failaka this November. It’s a huge three day military simulation event that should turn out to be epic!

Location: Failaka Island
Date: November 8 to November 10, 2012
Price: KD35 (includes registration, accommodation and food)
Accommodation: Ikarus Hotel / The Village on Failaka. Registration price includes shared accommodation for 2 nights. Private rooms available at an additional charge.
Transportation: Speed Boat from Marina Crescent leaves Thursday November 8 in the afternoon and comes back Saturday November 10 at noon.

Registration needs to be paid by September 7, 2012.

This is a National Tactical Airsoft Association non-profit event.

To sign up contact MILSIM on +965 65680661

Here is a link to the event page on Facebook. [Link]

This is a public event that is open to everyone but you need to be a MILSIM member. You also need to bring your own equipment. To become a MILSIM member you need to be 15+ and pay just KD5. If you don’t have equipment then you can purchase a starter package from MILSIM for KD290 that includes the following:

1. M4 GBBR CQBR Airsoft Rifle
2. 3 Real Cap GBB Mags
3. Tactcial Goggles
4. Milspec Tactical Vest
5. Green Gas
6. 4000 0.25BBs

For more information on becoming a member click [Here]
To become a member call MILSIM on +965 65680661

If you don’t know what MILSIM is watch the video below.


[YouTube]

This is not paintball. This is SPAAARTAAAA! No seriously it’s really different from paintball. The weapons are very realistic and look like real ones and unlike paintball you don’t fire off a million shots and hope they hit. MILSIM involves a lot more strategy and ammunition needs to be conserved similar to real life scenarios. You can check out my previous post on them [Here]


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The Flying Start Triathlon

Post by Mark

Early bird registration just opened for this years Flying Start Triathlon. They’ve got two levels of competition, The Sprint and The Olympic. If there wasn’t any swimming involved I might have been able to compete in The Sprint level but I can barely swim a lap around the pool before collapsing from exhaustion.

The event takes place on the 19th of October but early registration earns you a 20% discount. If you’re interested to find out more head to their Facebook page [Here]


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