An Alternative to Uber and Careem

Post by Mark

Since it looks like Uber isn’t coming to Kuwait anytime soon and Careem stopped operating in Kuwait as well, here is an alternative app you could use for now, Q8 Grand Limo. I haven’t used them yet but a friend of mine speaks extremely highly of them. They work similar to Uber as in you load up the app and request a cab to your location, but it also has a similar feature to Careem in which you could pre-book a cab for a specific time. So say you need a cab at 4AM in the morning for a early flight, you can pre-book the cab.

Price wise it seems to be cheaper than Careem but more expensive than regular cabs. The app gave me a fare estimate of 2.250-3.750 from Kuwait City to Salmiya. I’ll be using them soon and when I do I’ll post an update. The app is available for both Apple phones and Android phones. For links to download them as well as more information you can check out their website www.q8grandlimo.com


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Invisible Speed Bumps

Post by Mark

I think speed bumps serve a great purpose considering how people speed on inside streets, but I hate how in Kuwait majority of the speed bumps have no visible markings and just blend in with the streets at night.

With my FJ I don’t really care much because if I miss one it’s no big deal, I can just fly over the bump and its a bit of discomfort for a second. But with my Lotus its a completely different story. I can’t just fly over the speed bumps accidentally, I actually missed a speed bump last week and it was the scariest thing ever with my front spoiler lip digging into the tarmac and throwing up little pebbles in the air. I thought for sure I broke something but luckily nothing happened.

Can we get clear white stripes on the speed bumps? I know majority of speed bumps start life off with white stripes, but once they start fading they should be remarked again. It’s not that complicated a problem to solve…


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How to Renew Your Driving License in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Yesterday I got my driving license renewed for the first time in like a decade. Previously they’d renew the license for 10 years but now its year by year which is super annoying but whatever, there isn’t anything I can do about it. What I wanted to write about was the required documents you need to renew your license, and the process you have to go through at the traffic department since the information on e.gov.kw is inaccurate. This way if anyone is googling information, they’ll hopefully end up on this page. So lets begin.

Required Documents:
– Civil ID Copy
– Passport Copy (photo page and visa page)
– Work Permit Copy
– Your Company’s Notarized Signatures (e3timad tawkee3)
– Two Personal Photos, Blue Background 6×4
– Your Expired License

Once you have all your documents head to the traffic department near you, I live in Salmiya so I headed to the traffic department in Jabriya. As an expat I can only renew my license in the afternoon starting from 4PM. Get there early. On arrival first thing you need to do is go to the typists who are usually located near the main entrance. Tell them you want to renew your license and hand them all your paperwork. They’ll type out the correct form with your details and then staple all the documents together. They’ll charge KD1 for this process not including making copies of any documents. You could ask them what you have to do next and they’ll point you in that direction.

The next step is to hand your paper over to the license renewal desk (it’s marked) and in my case was located inside the main hall of the traffic department. Make sure you don’t have any fines, if you do they’ll make you go settle them first. If you don’t have any fines they’ll print out a paper for you stating that. The next step is to get your documents signed by the officer in charge. The officer wasn’t at his desk when I went so they told me to go to another officer outside the main hall sitting at the front desk. When I went there I swear there was a queue with around 100 people in it. I couldn’t see the end of the line kind of queue and I’m not exaggerating. While standing there in shock and regretting not bringing my Nintendo Switch with me, I spotted an officer nearby so I went up to him just to make sure this was the line I had to stand in. So I went up to him and in English asked him where I should get this signed. He told me he doesn’t speak English, then I pointed at the document and he said go stand in that line. So I pointed to the line and was like this line?? He then asked me if I had my old license with me, and I showed him, then he asked to see a few other documents which I showed him. He then told me to get a KD1 stamp which I did. He stuck the stamp on my form, took all the documents, went behind the desk and had the officer there sign my document. That was super nice of him and I got to avoid standing in line for an hour. So good luck with this step.

Once you have the documents signed you head over to the driving license renewal desk again and hand them the papers. You’ll now have to sit and wait for your name to be called out. If your license is already expired then they’ll call your name out and tell you to go pay a KD5 fine. This fine will only pop-up at this stage, you can’t get it paid before the process. Once you pay the fine you come back and give your papers again. After a short while they’ll call your name again and send you to a room to get your photo taken. Once you get it taken you’ll have to wait for your license to get printed.

When I was there yesterday they were having technical issues with the license printing machine so I had to wait two hours to get my license printed. The employees actually stayed late after their working hours to make sure everybody got their license printed including the main officer. They were pretty apologetic about the delay. Thankfully there was a Formula 1 race taking place last night, and so I got to watch it live on my phone while I waited which wasn’t too bad.

So there you have it, this is what you need to do to renew your license.


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How to Get Euro Plates for your Car

Post by Mark

One of the first modifications I wanted to do for my new Lotus was to swap out the car plates. The car came with the squarish shaped U.S. plates but because of the low and wide stance of my car, I knew the much wider and slimmer Euro plates would look better on it. But I didn’t have any idea on what the process was to swap the plates, nobody I asked had any idea and I figured it probably meant I needed wasta or something. Turns out, all you need is a bit of time and patience.

A reader got in touch with me last week after he reading my Lotus post in which I requested info on plate swapping. He told me he was going to the General Traffic Department to get his damaged Euro plates swapped for new ones, and I could come along and swap my square plates for Euro plates as well. All I needed was:

– Civil ID Copy
– Car Registration Copy
– U.S. Sized Car Plates
– KD5 Stamp
– The Car
– Bdal Talef Loha Orobiya “بدل تالف لوحة اوربية” (you get this from the typing guys outside the traffic department)

I got this done at the Asma branch of the General Traffic Department. Not sure if you could do this anywhere else, the license plate printing facility is located in Asma and I don’t know if they have one located elsewhere. Below is the process to getting your plates swapped:

– First thing you do once you get to the traffic department is visit the container room outside that houses the typists. You need to request “بدل تالف لوحة اوربية” which is the European plates request form. They will request a copy of your car registration and civil ID. They charge KD1 for typing this request out onto the proper form.

– Once you get the form with all the copies stapled, you need to head inside the building and then upstairs. When you’re up you’ll find a stamp machine, buy a KD5 stamp and stick it on the top left of the document.

– Next you need to head over to the the raed’s office “رائد” (Police Major) who will need to sign the document. Now here things might vary for you. As the raed was about to sign my request, he asked what the car was and I told him a Lotus. He didn’t know what that was and so told me to take the car to the vehicle inspection area to have them confirm I could fit Euro plates on the car. I told him I had pictures of the car I could show him, but I think he just wanted me to do a little running around.

– The vehicle inspection area is right next door, so I took my car and headed there, gave them the papers and they just signed and stamped it for me.

– I then headed back to the raed, he took my paper and signed and stamped it as well.

– Now you’re nearly done. The next step is to make a copy of your signed document and then take both the original and copy of the document and head to one of the computers so they could insert your request. Depending on how nice the person handling your papers are, they might have on of the helpers make the photocopy for you which is what happened in our case.

– Once your request is inserted into the computer you need to leave the building and drive over to the car plates section which is located on the side of the main traffic department building.

– Make sure you have a copy of the request along with your old car plates. You need to remove them off your car yourself so make sure you have the correct tools with you. Hand over the final document along with your old plates to the guy sitting behind the desk and in around 10 minutes you will get your brand new plates.

The whole process took nearly 2 hours, it might take you less or more depending on the amount of people there and the steps that they make you take. No wasta is required though which is great and the new Euro plates look much better on my car now.


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Taxi Meters

Post by Mark

Something weird has been happening with me and cabs recently and I’m having a hard time understanding the logic behind it. Years ago on the blog I complained about how cabs weren’t using the meters and instead charging whatever they wanted even though the meters would result in a cheaper rate. So for example a ride might cost 800fils based on the meter but the cab would tell he wants KD1.5 for the trip. They basically made more money not following the meter which they are required by law.

Recently though the price of fuel was increased and along with that the taxi meter rates. But I don’t think cab drivers themselves have increased their rates.

This past month I’ve had to use a cab twice, and both times I was quoted a lower price by the driver than the meter eventually read. So first time the cab driver told me the ride would cost me KD2, I got in, he started the meter and by the time we got to the destination, the meter read KD2.6, but I just paid KD2. The second time I was quoted KD2.5 and the meter at the end of the trip read KD2.9. So I’m really confused, if they use the meter which they are supposed to by law, they get more money. So why are they not using it? I don’t get the logic here.


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GT4 For Sale

Post by Mark

This is probably the coolest thing thats gone up for sale in my classifieds section so far, the rare Cayman GT4. The GT4 was one of the other cars I had my eye on before deciding on the Lotus. Check it out in the classifieds section [Here]


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My Datsun’s Final Send-off

Post by Mark

Last September my Datsun was used in a commercial for the groceries delivery brand Baqal. They were doing an old school commercial and my car fit the theme so they paid me to do donuts in an empty sandlot (always fun). Since then I’ve been waiting for the commercial to come out so I could post about it, and it finally did… a week after I sold my car. So I guess it kinda works out as a final farewell to the Z. She will be missed.


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Hello Lotus!

Post by Mark

Those of you who follow me on instagram and twitter probably already figured out that I sold my beloved Datsun last week because I bought a Lotus Exige instead. It wasn’t a planned purchase, it just happened, I guess something like an impulse buy but on a grander scale. Last Saturday I went with a friend to check out a 1972 Chevy C10 pickup truck which I was planning to buy. On our way back I had to drop my friend off at a garage when I came across a used car lot that had a yellow Lotus Exige displayed for sale, the same one I had reviewed nearly a year ago. So I sent the Lotus brand manager a message about it and he told me if I had an itch to drive the Exige again, they had the roof off on their current vehicle and I could come in the next morning and take the car out for a couple of days. Who would say no to that?

The next morning I headed straight to the Lotus dealership and picked up the Exige. A few minutes after driving off in the car, I had a huge smile on my face I remembered why I loved it so much when I took it out last year to review. So when the brand manager messaged me back the next day to confirm I would be dropping the car off in the evening, I told him I had fallen in love with it and this time I wasn’t bringing it back. After a couple of days of negotiating on the price over whatsapp, I went back to the dealership and paid for the car. I’m still unsure if I got a good deal or not since I don’t consider myself a great negotiator (Tip: Do NOT tell the dealer you love the car), but I’ve got the car now with no regrets so thats all that matters.

When I originally wrote my review of the Exige last year, I described it as a car not meant for 99.9% of the people and I still stand by that. I actually spent most of that review complaining about the car. It’s extremely quirky to put it nicely with a lot of odd and unorthodox things about it. But, with all the issues I had with the car when I reviewed it, something about it really attracted me to it. I’ve reviewed a lot of amazing cars for the blog but nothing connected with me the way the Exige did. I love sitting inside the small cozy cockpit, I love the way it looks on the outside, I even love how awkward it is to get in and out of and I definitely love recording videos of my friends trying to get out of the car. If the Exige was a person, it would be an awkward introvert and I think thats why I love it.

There are only 3 Exige’s in Kuwait at the moment, my midnight blue one, a white one and a yellow one so it’s a pretty rare car and I feel special. But, I’m now curious to see what that means to the cost and availability of parts, supposedly service costs is similar to Lexus which is great, but I didn’t ask about the parts since I didn’t want to freak out and change my mind about buying the car. Speaking of parts, there is a pretty active online community of aftermarket parts and I’ve already got my eye on some carbon fiber body panels and other upgrades, but the first thing I want to modify on the car is the license plates. For some reason Alghanim (the dealer) installed square ones on the car but I think the wider rectangular ones would look so much nicer on it. So if anyone knows what the process is for swapping the square plates for the rectangular ones is, please let me know!


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Goodbye Datsun

Post by Mark

240z-1

Next week would have been my one year anniversary with the 240z but yesterday, I sold the car. I didn’t want to sell it, but I’m getting another car and it just wouldn’t have made sense to own three cars. The night before I sold the car, I took it out for one last drive and it was just so sad. I felt like I was giving away my dog. Not sure why I was being very sentimental since I had the car for only a year. I think was because I was driving it everyday and had spent so many late nights at my mechanic making her a daily drivable car.

240z-3

Luckily a good friend of mine who is a car nut bought the Datsun from me so I’ll still get to see it. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what he’ll do with it since he’s restored other old cars before and my Datsun could use a bit more TLC from someone like him. Watching him drive off with the car though was still a pretty sad moment.

So no more Datsun, it was fun while it lasted.


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Fahaheel Expressway Flooded

Post by Mark

A friend forwarded me the video above of the Fahaheel Expressway near Mangaf completely flooded. As you can see in the video a lot of cars drowned sank and many people were stranded. I have a friend who lives in Mangaf as well where their whole neighborhood flooded and all the underground parking lots filled up drowning their cars as well. Pretty messed up.

Thanks Ghadeer


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