Hawalli Traffic Department

Posted by Mark

muroor

Every year I have to go through the dreaded process of renewing my car registration and I hate it. The traffic department in Maidan Hawalli is just a chaotic, over crowded unorganized mess. It involves a lot of pushing and shoving and lots of waiting. But this year, something changed.

I had already finished my car check in the morning without any incidents so I headed to the traffic department to get my car registration printed. Right as I walked in I noticed they had setup a desk at the main entrance and an officer was standing in the doorway leading to the main hall. The officer was not letting anyone through unless they had stood in line and gotten their paperwork checked and stamped at the desks. I naturally stood in line which wasn’t long at all, just two people ahead of me and when it was my turn the guy behind the desk checked my papers and then told me I needed to get a stamp from the machine. I went got a stamp while he patiently waited, I then passed him the stamp, he stuck it on my papers, signed it and gave it back to me and told me to go inside. I walked into what usually is a large, noisy and overcrowded hall and walked up to a window and handed the guy my papers. A minute later he called my name and I went and he gave me my new car registration. I walked out dumbfounded.

I am a pro at renewing car registrations since I do it a few times a year for my cars and my parents cars and I’ve been doing it for a fairly long time now. Not once have I ever managed to get anything done there in under 30 minutes. It usually takes longer but lets use 30 minutes as a number for now. This year the process took less than 10. Not only that but I didn’t get shoved, I didn’t have people try and push in front of me and I didn’t have to sit in an over crowded room watching people getting yelled at by an overzealous police officer.

Whomever they’ve put in charge at the traffic department in Hawalli needs a medal. It was literally the quickest and simplest governmental service I think I’ve ever experienced anywhere yet alone in Kuwait. Why can’t all of Kuwait’s government processes be so organized like this?


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Speedcam Fail

Posted by Mark

camerarevenge
It seems someone got upset at a speedcam and decided to cover the camera flash with his shemagh. Don’t know why he didn’t just cover up the camera instead.

Thanks Nicolas


google plus share facebook share twitter share

The New Land Rover Discovery Sport

Posted by Mark

disco0

I’m a big Discovery fan and have been one ever since the late 80s when I watched a Camel Trophy event on TV. Watching those Discoverys tackle ridiculously insane terrain led me to really respect the car. So when I heard that Land Rover had launched a completely brand new Discovery, I contacted the dealer and asked them if I could test drive one.

I passed by the dealer Thursday afternoon and picked up the car for the weekend. My first impression wasn’t that great. The Discovery was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, it looked more like a crossover than a proper full fledged SUV. I couldn’t figure out why Land Rover would shrink the car so much, I was confused. And then I realized something, this wasn’t a replacement for the large LR4, this was a replacement for the smaller Freelander and then everything made sense.

disco1

Land Rover have the large Range Rover and then they have the smaller Range Rover Sport. They’ve now gone and applied the same naming scheme to the Discovery which is what confused me in the beginning. So now you have the large Discovery (LR4) and also the smaller Discovery Sport. I was never a fan of the Freelander, I thought it was just one of the most hideous looking SUVs you could buy and mostly because I just hated how the rear of the car looked like. The new Discovery Sport has design elements taken from the Range Rover family and so it ends up looking like a baby Range Rover. It’s a much much better looking car than the Freelander and this time around the rear of the car is probably my favorite thing about the car. Suddenly, the Discovery Sport didn’t seem bad at all.

interiortrunk

Since it’s a Land Rover I decided to take the car to the abandoned military barracks in Bnaider. I wanted to test the cars offroad capabilities a bit as well as take some good photos while I was at it. The test drive vehicle I was given had only two rows of seats but you can also get a third row as an extra option. Since I was taking my wakeboard with me, I dropped the second row seat down so it could fit inside. Although the car is small it’s got a pretty large trunk and once you drop the second row seats down it becomes very IKEA friendly. I finished loading up my gear and headed off to Bnaider.

interior

The interior of the Discovery Sport is simple but tasteful. It’s borrows a lot of elements from the Evoque like some of the switches and the circular gear selector that sleekly pops up when you start the car. The Discovery Sport also shares the same 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed transmission with the Evoque as well. The model I drove had a large panoramic roof which really helped make the interior look a lot larger and spacious than it actually is. My car also had the optional Meridian Audio sound system fitted which sounded fantastic. The user interface of the cars 8inch touch screen is also very tasteful and nicely designed. The screen looked a bit low-res and pixelated but it was generally pleasant to use and helped give the interior a more premium feel. The interface was definitely much sleeker than the last few cars I test drove.

disco2

Although the car has a 4-cylinder engine I didn’t find it slow at all on our flat roads. It was very easy to pick up speed and I was actually turning on the speed limiter on most of the roads since I found it very easy to overspeed. Once I got to Bnaider I shifted the driving style program from “general” to “sand” and headed offroad towards the abandoned barracks. The ride on hard packed sand was pretty loud and bumpy because of the large 20″ wheels that were fitted on the car. The low ride height also made me more cautious while approaching obstacles but once I got to the barracks things got a lot easier. The abandoned barracks have basically been turned into a small offroad circuit which I decided to explore in the Discovery. Even with stock tires I didn’t have any issues at all traversing the deep soft sands and I also didn’t face any issues tackling the extreme uphill and downhill descents. I highly doubt anyone would use this car for anything this intense but if they did they’d know the car can handle it. Actually the only thing that was an issue was when I climbed a curb in the parking lot behind Pick Yo in the city. While climbing back down from the curb I actually hit the bottom of the car because of the poor ground clearance.

disco3

Whenever I take out cars for test drives I always ask myself if I’d want one for myself. Most of the time its yes but other times like on this occasion the answer is no. In this case it has nothing to do with the Discovery Sport itself, I think the car is very capable and the most accessible Land Rover since it starts at around KD15,750. But, it’s just not for me. If I was looking for a compact SUV I’d choose the much more sexier looking Range Rover Evoque for example. The Discovery Sport is more of a family oriented car since it’s slightly larger than the Evoque and can fit a third row of seats in the back. It’s a practical everyday car that’s easy to drive especially considering it has helpful features like parking assist where the car parks itself for you. So yeah I think its definitely aimed towards soccer moms and the like. If you’re interested in the car then you should definitely pass by the dealer and request a test drive.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Speed Cameras Rotated

Posted by Mark

speedcamera

On my way to Khiran yesterday I noticed a few of the speed cameras on the 30th had been rotated to face the front of the cars instead of the rear. I didn’t take a photo but a reader sent me the one above and told me he had spotted rotated cameras on the 5th, 6th and 7th Ring Roads as well.

At first I thought they might have something to do with the emergency lanes being available for the public to use but I don’t think thats the case anymore. I found rotated cameras on parts of the highway that didn’t have any emergency lanes so that theory didn’t work. My best guess now is they’ve just rotated some cameras so that people can start slowing down much sooner than before.

Thanks Dragos


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Emergency Lanes Now Open from 6AM to 10PM

Posted by Mark

emergencylane

According to an instagram post by the Ministry of Interior, the emergency lanes on some of the major highways are now open to the general public to use from 6AM to 10PM as long as you don’t exceed 45km/h. The roads are the ones highlighted in blue in the map above. Their post is in Arabic so I couldn’t understand most of it but looking at the map my best guess is the emergency lanes they’re talking about are on the 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th roads, as well as the 5th and 6th Ring Roads.

Now for a bit of venting…

Why isn’t this information on their website? What about all the expats like me who can’t read Arabic? Why is the road open only from 6AM to 10PM? I mean if it’s open during the whole day why not just keep it open 24/7 instead of making it illegal after 10PM. It just complicates things. And why are they limiting the speed to 45km/h? Why don’t they just pave the road and turn it into a proper lane and again simplify things. It’s as if they still haven’t made up their minds on if they should completely cancel the emergency lanes or keep them.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Our Taxis Suck

Posted by Mark

ourtaxissuck

I got a press release from the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai a couple of days back that pissed me off. It’s about a new device that’s being installed in their taxi cabs to help reduce accidents:

Once the taxi reaches a speed of 60km/hour, sensors fitted to the front and rear of the car are activated. If the taxi enters within the safety zone of the vehicle in front, a safety message will be sent to the taxi’s speaker inside the car. Similarly, if a vehicle approaching a taxi breaches the safety zone, they will receive a message through their own radio. This safety message will tell the driver to back away from the vehicle in front and to remember to keep a safe distance as it could be carrying a friend or loved one,” [Link]

The press release pissed me off because it’s frustrating to keep seeing how much more advanced Dubai is getting while we can’t even get our cab drivers to use a simple device like a taximeter. I would personally use cabs more often and I’m sure other people would do if it didn’t mean we would have to haggle for every ride.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

New Police Car Graphics

Posted by Mark

police1

It looks like the cop cars are getting a graphical facelift. The images in this post have been circulating social media showing four new car graphics for the cop cars. I kinda like the current blue and fluorescent yellow combo we have right now, the new colors seem a bit dull.

police2

police3

police4


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Uber for Tow Trucks, and it’s Local

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Yesterday when I was on my way to Khiran to wakeboard, I passed a tow truck which had its phone number printed on the back. In my head I was thinking I should remember that number because what if my car broke down here, in the middle of nowhere what would I do? Oddly enough later during day a friend of mine sent me a link to the advert above for a locally created app called WINCH.

winch

WINCH is Arabic for tow truck and the app works similar to Uber where as in when you need a tow truck you launch the app and request one. The app requires you to fill in some basic information the first time you run it like your name, email and phone number but after that it automatically logs you in. The app uses your GPS location to find you as well as displaying nearby tow trucks on the map. Cost wise, according to the app description WINCH is free to use but for the towing cost you need to deal directly with the tow truck company. From my previous experience with tow truck, that usually means a bit of haggling.

The app is a good idea, it’s definitely not something I will be using often (I hope at least) but it’s a good app to have if I ever need a tow truck. The app is free and available for [iPhones] and [Android]

Thanks Musaed


google plus share facebook share twitter share

New Police Rescue Car Livery

Posted by Mark

Based on the video above that has been circulating Whatsapp, it looks like the local police enforcement are getting new “Rescue” vehicles with their very own car graphics that look a bit rice. Based on the video they’re just waiting for approval before releasing the cars onto the streets. [YouTube]

police


google plus share facebook share twitter share

This can’t be right

Posted by Mark

obstruction

Awhile ago as I was pulling up into my street and into my buildings underground parking, I noticed a cop car parked on the side of the road. I then noticed a bunch of cars that were parked legally on the side of the road had tickets on them. So I pulled up next to the cop and I asked him if this was a no parking street, he replied saying no he’s ticketing them for “عرقلة” which means obstruction.

ticket

What exactly are these cars obstructing (for example the 4 pictured on top)? I checked the tickets and noticed he left the space where he’s supposed to explain what the ticket is for blank. That can’t be right or fair can it?


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Page 1 of 9012345678910Last



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]