Our Horrible Sidewalks

Post by Mark

This is going to be one of my venting posts on Salmiya. The sidewalks situation on Salem Mubarek Street in Salmiya is a horrible mess. It’s a very pedestrian heavy strip, and probably gets the most amount of foot traffic compared to any other strip in Kuwait, yet the sidewalks are miserable.

There are a number of issues with the sidewalks in Salmiya including:
– lack of wheelchair or stroller friendly sidewalks
– building construction occupying the whole sidewalk
– large bushes taking up the whole sidewalk (pictured above)
– sidewalks that have deteriorated
– sidewalks that were opened up for work but never put back together right

Yesterday I spotted the woman in the photo above with her two kids having to get off the sidewalk and walk in the street because of a large bush. Recently I’ve also been noticing a man in an electric wheelchair roaming around Salmiya occupying the same road as the cars. It’s a total mess but of course nobody cares.

/end rant


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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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Dear Kuwait, Spell Check the e-Visa Site Please

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I had to use the Kuwait e-Visa website to apply for a visit visa for my mum. While filling in her details I noticed some major spelling mistakes, ones I’m surprised haven’t been fixed already since the website has been active since last summer. Here are the mistakes just from the partial screenshot above of the e-Visa form:

biulding should be building
forth should be fourth
governate should be governorate
flour should be floor

Since this website is being used by visitors hoping to get entry into Kuwait, it’s not really a great first impression, and we haven’t even discussed the 90s look of the website either.

When I applied for my mums visa on Friday, it got denied the first time and even the denied page had a major grammatical error. “Your eVisa application was been denied” should be either “has been denied” or “was denied”.

If I’m correcting spelling and grammatical errors, then you can imagine how bad things are.

I applied for my mums visa again yesterday and it got approved the second time around. Completely random. On the plus side, even though it was the weekend, the approval/rejection process took a few hours and was pretty fast.

So whoever is in charge of the website, please fix these mistakes. I haven’t checked the other pages but I’d imagine there are probably mistakes on those as well.

Update: Spelling has been fixed!


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People Who Litter Will Always Litter

Post by Mark

A reader sent me the picture above of someone leaving their litter right next to a trash bin on the walkway between Marina Waves and Scientific Center. People who litter are littering not because they’re too lazy to walk to a garbage bin, but because they just don’t care.

Thanks Hamed


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UFC on OSN

Post by Mark

Back in 2015 I decided to ditch OSN and live TV and instead use Netflix, Hulu and HBO for all my TV needs. I’ve had no regrets with that decision and I haven’t missed live TV at all since. But, the only thing I wish I did have was access to UFC events. Recently I found out UFC is back with OSN so I decided to check the OSN website and see how much the monthly membership was. To my surprise they had their sports pack for KD6 a month and that included all the UFC events. KD6 is basically how much I’m paying right now for both Netflix and Hulu combined but since I’m a huge UFC fan, I decided it was worth plunking down KD6 just to watch the one or two UFC event every month.

So a few moments ago I tried to sign up for the package and I got reminded to why I ditched OSN in the first place.

Turns out even though they’re selling the sports package that includes UFC events for KD6 a month, you CAN’T sign up to it, not unless you sign up to their starter package which costs another KD6 and includes channels I don’t care for and don’t want. So I’ll have to pay KD12 a month just to watch UFC fights. Why can’t services like OSN just sell you what you want to watch? It’s the same issue people have with cable providers in the US, where they try to sell you 100 channels when you just want 2.

BeIN on the other hand are pretty cool. The only other sport I watch is Formula 1 and BeIN sell day passes for $8. So anytime there is a F1 race I just pay $8 and get to watch it online. I don’t need to sign up to any of their packages, I just watch what I want whenever I want to. Even their monthly pass to all their channels is just $18 which is still pretty reasonable. So OSN if you’re reading this, you guys need to become much more flexible. Netflix is already in the region and more and more people are gonna start dropping cable in favor of digital. At least have separate satellite and digital subscriptions and let people subscribe to whatever they want. I want to give you my money, just not all of it..


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The Garbage Walk

Post by Mark

It’s hard to write this post without expressing my emotions which are mostly composed of anger and lot of frustration, but I’ll try my best to be as neutral and professional as possible. Yesterday when I went to take photos of the bike sharing station near Marina Waves, I was caught off guard by what has to be the dumbest fucking decision ever an idea with good intentions, but poor execution.

Who thought it would be a great fucking idea to plaster bright orange garbage bins at eye level every 10 fucking meters on the side facing the sea???!. Now I am aware of the garbage situation in Kuwait and specifically Salmiya, I’ve written about it a number of times on the blog before, but I do believe this idea could have been executed better. I guess people have been throwing garbage on the floor so someone (I’m assuming at the municipality) decided to add more garbage bins all across the beautiful scenic path near Marina Waves. The issue is, the garbage bins are bright fucking orange, raised up to eye level, and most importantly, they’re placed every 10 meters on the side of the path that is closest to the sea.

The pathway is popular because the view there is spectacular. It’s a popular location for photos and its one of the most beautiful aspects of Kuwait along with the whole Gulf Road. So why ruin this amazing view by sticking bright fucking orange bins so high up on ugly poles? Why couldn’t they add more bins, but ones that blended in with the environment better instead of sticking out like a sore thumb? For the benefit of the doubt, lets assume they had a very limited budget to work with, and these cheap plastic bins were the only ones that fit into their budget. Why couldn’t they place them on the other side of the path so that the sea view isn’t blocked by hundreds of these floating orange bins? Whoever is behind this I am guessing was behind a similar stupid idea in Salmiya a few years ago where they plastered yellow bins every 10 meters on the side of Salem Mubarek Street. That idea failed because it was fucking stupid not well thought out, and these orange ideas aren’t a good solution either.

Also, do people who litter do so because the garbage bin is to far, or do they litter because they don’t know any better and just don’t care? My guess is the later, the below is taken from the City of Chicago website:

Why Do People Litter?
People litter because they do not feel responsible for public areas like streets and parks. The more they litter, the more it becomes a habit, and the worse the community looks. People usually litter outside their own neighborhood where their trash becomes someone else’s problem.

I highly doubt these garbage bins are going to stop people from littering, what we need is probably an awareness campaign that educates the public on why they shouldn’t litter, followed by strict enforcement of the littering law (which I believe we have).


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13 Hours With No Electricity

Post by Mark

Last month the power went out in my neighborhood for around 8 hours, this weekend it went out for 13. The thing is, it shouldn’t have been out for that long.

At exactly 9PM the power was cut in my neighborhood, the fact it was cut at exactly 9PM leads me to believe this was a planed maintenance cut. The problem though the portable generators like the one pictured above only arrived to my neighborhood at 1AM. There were 8 trucks and by the time they were all connected to the various power transformers around the block, buildings only started getting electricity by 3AM. By 4AM all the buildings got electricity except mine. Now if you’re planning on cutting the power off to hundreds of families in the middle of the hottest month of the year, at the very least have the generators ready to be plugged in ASAP so that people don’t have to suffer. Or, how about notifying the neighborhood by placing posters at the entrance of the buildings that will be affected to let them know that power will be cut off at this day at this time so that people can be prepared.

Now as I mentioned, by 4AM power was restored to all the buildings except mine. So me and some neighbors called up 152 which is the hotline for Electricity & Water Emergency. 152 was pretty useless. They transferred us to the electricity office up the street from my building in Salmiya. We explained to them what the problem was and they told us they had nothing to do with it and that we needed to contact the electricity office in Jabriya. We called Jabriya up and they were like this has nothing to do with us and that we need to contact the Salmiya office. So after running around in circles Jabriya finally agreed to send someone to check it out. by 5:30AM nobody had come yet so we called Jabriya up again. They told us there isn’t anything they can do now since the shift is nearly over and we would have to wait for the new shift at 6AM. 6:15AM we call them back up again, they were like they aren’t going to send someone over because there is maintenance work going on and power will be back soon. We asked if they could tell us where in Salmiya the work was being done so we could pass by them and get a time estimate from them. The guy on the other end got super pissed off, started yelling and telling us its none of our business and we had to end the call. Power came back four hours later 10:12AM.

What a clusterfuck. Whomever is in charge in Salmiya obviously doesn’t care about the residents. I’ve posted about the horrible garbage situation a million times before (still hasn’t been fixed btw), the horrible urban planning, the tall residential buildings with zero parking and now the complete lack of empathy towards its residents. There should be town hall meetings where residents can meet with whomever is in charge so we could voice our complaints. Better yet put me in charge of Salmiya already!


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Rounding Up the Fils

Post by Mark

coins

Last week I was at Boots and purchased two bottles of medicine at 880 fils each. When I went to pay the total was KD1.750. At first I thought Boots rounded up because the horrible mathematician in me calculated 880×2 to 1.740 and I was a bit bothered. But, the total instead was 1.760 and Boots had rounded down to 1.750. Then last night I decided to pay my phone bills, I’ve got two lines, my main line is with Viva while I have another line I don’t use as much with Zain.

viva

My Viva bill was KD 17.502 and I ended up paying that exact amount with my knet card. On the other hand, my Zain bill was KD 1.994 but the Zain website refused to let me pay 1.994. Instead it kept rounding up my total to KD2.000. I tried to manually fix it but it would keep changing it back to 2.000 and in the end I was forced to pay that.

zainpayment

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, I mean it’s just 6 fils but if Zain are doing this with me they’re most likely doing this with all their customers. To give you a bit of perspective, they have over 45 million customers across their network and if they’re taking 6 fils from every customer then thats an extra KD225,000 profit every month!

Update: A reader made me realize the extra 6 fils goes back into my Zain account as credit. No idea why they’ve complicated things.


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Shop & Ship & Knet

Post by Mark

shopandship

Last week I had a disaster of an experience with Aramex since they had misplaced a package of mine. What actually pissed me off was the lack of transparency from their support team. My package was coming from Germany and like all Shop & Ship packages stop in Bahrain before heading to Kuwait. On February 13th my package left Bahrain and after no updates for a few days I decided to contact support via their live chat. According to Aramex, my package was clearing customs, no biggie so I continued to wait. By February 21st, over a week after my package left Bahrain my tracking number had still not been updated. So I contacted support again and they told me they’ll check on my package and have someone call me.

Since I was frustrated, I decided to vent my frustration to Aramex on their twitter account. They replied back telling me they had checked on my package and it was currently clearing customs. That didn’t help with my frustration since my package was just a pair of sneakers and I didn’t know why it needed 8 days to clear. Since it wasn’t urgent though I was like whatever. Then, a few minutes later I get a call from Aramex telling me that they can’t find my package and they needed a few days to try and figure out where it was. I was like WTF? You guys just told me on twitter that my package was in customs. The guy over the phone told me the people managing the twitter account didn’t have access to check my package status.

So I went back on twitter now noticeably upset since I couldn’t understand why they would tell me my package was in customs while I was also being told my package was lost. In the end though it looked like the twitter account people were right while the person that called me was wrong since my package ended up getting it’s status updated then then delivered the following day.

For some reason, Aramex have recently turned into a big mess and I just wish they were more transparent. Things happen and consumers are mostly understanding. When my internet connection at home is down, first thing I do when I call support up is ask them if the problem is from their side or mine. If they’re facing issues I just reply telling them ok just wanted to check and then hang up. If my package usually takes 3 days from Bahrain to arrive to my door in Kuwait and now suddenly it’s been 8 days and my package was still not delivered, something is clearly wrong so fill me in and don’t act like it’s business as usual. If you’re having issues with flights from Bahrain, local customs officials being lazy or whatever the reason, I’d like to know so I can be understanding.

aramex

In any case the reason I wanted to post about Aramex in the first place is that we can now finally pay online with Knet. You’d think this would have been their first feature on their website but up until now we could only pay by credit card or PayPal. Knet obviously makes things a lot more convenient.


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So Much for a Greener Salmiya

Post by Mark

nograss

Back in 2011 the Salmiya municipality dug up the middle sidewalk in the old souq where I live. The trees originally were surrounded by a small square dirt patch but someone in the municipality decided to enlarge that patch more than double the size and then merge all the trees with one large dirt pit. When I had spoken to one of the employees who was digging up the street back then he told me the plan was to plant the sidewalk like on the Gulf Road. I obviously knew that wasn’t going to happen since we have a major garbage situation that wasn’t getting solved so I had doubts they were planning to “beautify” Salmiya with greenery. But, a few of my readers thought I was being pessimistic and were all for a greener Salmiya.

Well just an update 5+ years later, nobody has planted shit and the dirt pit is still a dirt pit.


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