Fight at City Center

Posted by Mark

One of the consequences of Instagram is that people end up sharing just 15 seconds of video. It’s frustrating since I couldn’t find the full fight video on YouTube, the one above is two 15 second clips put together. In both clips the cops were at the scene trying to break the fight apart. [YouTube]

fight


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Have an American Passport? Say hello to the IRS

Posted by Mark

facta

According to zDistrict, the Kuwaiti banks will now be complying with FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) which means any American citizen will have their bank information automatically passed on to the IRS for tax purposes. For Kuwaitis with dual citizenship this might end up being a problem with no easy way out. Check out the post [Here]


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This isn’t an oil leak

Posted by Mark

notpolution

The image above has been making its rounds on instagram and whatsapp reportedly showing a large ship leaking oil into the Kuwaiti sea near the KPC building in Shuwaikh. Other than the fact that I think this is an old picture, according to a redditor who works with large ships this isn’t even a leak:

When it gets shallow the props brings the mud off the bottom, then it kid of sits there in a cloud while a tug boat is pushing it off to the side. The pollution regulations are huge when it comes to shipping, if it was a leak the last thing that would be happening is a tug boat spreading the oil with it’s props. [Source]


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Ministry of Interior iPhone App

Posted by Mark

moiapp

The MOI released an iPhone App recently allowing you to perform a bunch of tasks like checking on your traffic violations and E-Payments. Sadly the app is not that great since it isn’t really offering anything new compared to other non-official apps that have been out longer and most of us already have installed on our phones.

My main issues with the app is the speed of some of the sections and the fact that it won’t memorize your details. To be able to check on your traffic violations for example you need to set up an account with them. That’s great since it means you don’t have to type in your Civil ID every single time you want to check on something but you still have to type in your password which is annoying. Then for some reason the E-Payments section requires you to type in your Civil ID number instead of allowing you to log in with your username and password like the other sections. It’s a mess.

On the other hand the app is free and it’s the official app. For those of you who prefer not to share your Civil ID with non-official apps this is for you. [Link]


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How Safe is Kuwait’s Tap Water to Drink?

Posted by Mark

howsafeistapwater

A few days ago I posted a question asking if anybody drinks the tap water unfiltered and it got a lot of responses with the general consensus being that the water is fairly safe only if you use a filter. Well today I got invited to pass by the Water Resources Development Center in Shuwaikh to get a better idea on the subject and I left impressed.

Turns out Kuwait’s tap water is actually very safe to drink straight out the tap, so safe it’s currently close to getting an ISO certification. The Water Resources Development Center which is located behind KPC in Shuwaikh has two laboratories, a chemistry lab and a bacteriology lab. On a daily basis samples are collected from various institutions around Kuwait (schools, hospitals, mosques etc..) and delivered to the laboratories where tests are conducted. If the water is contaminated, the source of that water is closed down right away and only reopened once the problem has been fixed.

If the water you receive at home isn’t clean it’s because there might be a problem with your buildings pipes, boilers, storage tanks etc.. which is why it’s recommended to use a filter in that situation.

So there you have it, Kuwait’s tap water is absolutely safe to drink unless there is an issue with your building.


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KIPCO Tower Residential Apartments

Posted by Mark

kipco

When the KIPCO Tower was still under construction I had heard that the first few floors were going to be residential apartments. I’d love to live in the city and I’d love living in a skyscraper especially one as stunning as KIPCO Tower. Residential apartments in skyscrapers are common in places like Dubai but not in Kuwait so I was pretty curious about them and how much they’d be going for. After KIPCO Tower opened I never heard about the residential apartments again but whenever I drove by I could see curtains on some of the floors which I figured were occupied apartments. I was a bit jealous honestly since I wanted to live there myself and I kept imagining this large open loft like space with concrete floors and an exposed ceiling. I basically created this whole scenario in my head and every time I drove by I’d be like damn, those must be the nicest and trendiest apartments in Kuwait.

Finally a few days ago I decided I wanted to see these apartments myself so I shot an email out to KIPCO whom quickly replied telling me the residential supervisor is on duty daily until 5PM. So once I finished up a few things I headed straight into the city to check the apartments out.

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The entrance to the residential section of the tower looks and feels luxurious. The entrance is at the far end of the mall and has a nice looking lobby with brown wooden walls and a security desk. Once you enter the lobby you have a seating area on the right hand side and the elevator hallway in the far right corner. On the left you have an street side entrance.

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The residential apartments are located between floors 6 and 16. They have 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and every floor has either 4 or 6 flats depending on how they’re divided. I wanted to see all three apartment sizes and when they asked me what floor did I prefer I told them the highest available. We headed to the 16th floor first to check out the 2-bedroom apartment.

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The floor hallways are long, quiet and covered in marble. There are multiple doors separating the elevator section from the apartments and the apartments from one another so it’s always going to be super quiet. Once we walked into the first apartment I just headed straight to the window to check out the view. The whole apartment is covered wall to wall with large windows and even without direct sunlight the apartment was filled with soft bright light. This is the life I thought to myself. After I was done staring into the horizon I started walking around and checking the apartment out. First thing that struck me was how small it was. It’s similar in size to apartments you’d find in large cities like London or New York but not the sizes we’re accustomed to in Kuwait. The main reception area had an open kitchen which I loved and a large round pillar which gave the room some personality but the space was a bit small and awkward. I had trouble trying to figure out how I could have a seating area as well as a dinning room in this space. The bedrooms on the other hand were decently sized with built in closets and their own personal bathrooms. Like the rest of the apartment though, they weren’t as big as I was expecting them to be.

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Once I was done we headed to check out the 3-bedroom apartment which as expected was larger but just slightly. The biggest difference other than the extra room was the hallway we walked into which was large and had closets and shelves built into the right hand wall.

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The main reception area was maybe slightly bigger but not by that much. One thing is for sure though the finishing of the apartments was great and they had some nifty features. For example all apartments have a digital keypad so you don’t need to use keys to enter. The apartments also have digital light switches, built in kitchen electronics and other small things like closet railings with LED lights. The apartments and the building as a whole definitely give off a luxurious vibe.

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The last apartment we checked out was the 1-bedroom and I thought that sized worked the best. It was the perfect bachelor pad. The main reception and kitchen area was as big as the other apartments but when you’re just one person living alone, the size works. The apartment cozy and I could easily see myself moving into the space even though it meant I’d have to give away 80% of my belongings so I could fit into this space.

By now I had started guessing how much the apartments were worth. I figured the 1-bedroom would be around KD1,200 a month with the 3-bedroom close to KD2,000. Turns out I wasn’t even close. The 1-bedroom apartment starts at KD650 and goes up to KD750. The 2-bedroom goes for KD1,000 to KD1,160 while the 3-bedroom is between KD1,300 and KD1,500. I’m not going to comment on the 2 and 3-bedroom apartments but at KD650 I think the 1-bedroom is a really good price. A couple of years back when I was looking for an apartment I had put a KD500 budget to find a decent 1-bedroom flat and I couldn’t find anything close to this. Actually other than this KIPCO 1-bedroom flat I don’t think there are any other luxury 1-bedroom flats available in Kuwait or at least not that I know of.

That being said I do have some issues with the whole concept. Generally apartments in the skyscrapers are located on the highest floors not the lowest. With office towers right across the street you don’t really have much privacy all day long. With the lowest floors you don’t have much privacy from the street as well which explains why most occupied apartments on the lowest floors keep their blinds shut. They also don’t have any apartments with a sea view even though the building has a sea view. All their apartments are facing the city which is a shame since I know many would prefer the sea. These issues aside, unless Hamra Tower opens up residential apartments, KIPCO Tower is probably the best option available right now for those wanting to live in a skyscraper.

Update: For those of you contacting me, I don’t have their phone number but you could email them on sales@ufm.com.kw


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KUWAIT – Through Our Eyes (Part 1)

Posted by Mark

The first part of the documentary on Kuwait that is airing on British Airways this month has been uploaded online in full HD. It’s nearly 12 minutes long and you can watch it above. [YouTube]

throughoureyes


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The Kuwaiti Resistance

Posted by Mark

resistence

On the occasion of the Kuwait Invasion I thought I would share a very informative article on the Kuwaiti Resistance. The article was published by the Middle East Quarterly back in 1995 but is actually taken from a book called “Days of Fear“. It’s very interesting to read although it’s a bit long. I actually had to send it to my Kindle so I could read it since I don’t generally read articles this long in a web browser.

The article contains intricate details on the resistance and lots of accounts of their heroic actions, many which I hadn’t heard of before. Here’s a snippet just to give you an idea of the kind of stories that the article contains:

On some occasions, Kuwaitis had no choice but to take severely wounded Resistance fighters to the hospitals, sometimes only steps ahead of the Iraqis. In one incident, a youth shot in the head was admitted as a traffic accident victim. The Iraqis knew that someone had been wounded and would end up in a hospital, so they searched the operating rooms just as he was about to undergo surgery. The patient was obviously in a bad way but the Kuwaiti doctor could not risk telling the cause of his wound. The patient’s x-rays would clearly show the bullet in his head, so the Kuwaiti doctors played a trick: One of them left the room, ostensibly to get the images that were just then being developed, but actually x-rayed his own head and showed the film to the Iraqi, who was satisfied by this ruse and left the hospital staff to get on with its work.

And here is another:

About ten days before the land war, in late February 1991, another gaffe outside Kuwait may have undone much of their good work. The Resistance informed the government-in-exile that it had sabotaged the Iraqi mining of the oilfields, and that most of the wells apart from the Wafra field and a few others were safe. An official apparentlyfoolishly broadcast news of this accomplishment. The Iraqis may have heard the broadcast or may have simply decided on their own that they had to test the circuits for real. In any case, they tried to blow up a number of wells at Rawdatain, in the north of Kuwait, as a test. They failed to explode. The Iraqis then checked the charges and discovered the sabotage. Over the next few days, Iraqi army engineers frantically reset the detonators, and then blew the wells. Overall, the operation was still a victory for the Resistance, for while about 720 wells were destroyed, the Iraqis did not have time to reset and blow the other 300.

As I said the article is pretty long but it’s thorough. Check it out [Here]

Photo: Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty Images


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The Kuwait Invasion Anniversary

Posted by Mark

invasion

Since it’s the anniversary of the 1990 Kuwait Invasion I always like to share the important links below.

Free Kuwait
This is a website that focuses on the campaign that was led by Kuwaitis in exile and is loaded with photos and information.

Kuwait Invasion – The Evidence
This is a website that contains over 1,200 pictures taken right after the 1990 invasion as photographic evidence to all the destruction caused by Iraq.

Short movie: Hearts of Palm
Hearts of Palm is a short movie set in August 2nd 1990 and deals with Kuwaiti students living in Miami Florida during the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait.

The Class of 1990
This is a short documentary about reuniting class mates years after the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Homemade video from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
Video clips taken by a Kuwaiti family during the Iraqi invasion

Desert Storm Photos
Photos taken by soldiers during Desert Storm.

Photo by Adel Al-Yousifi


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The New Al Jahra Hospital

Posted by Mark

jahra1

Along with the other projects I’ve already posted about previously (Here and Here), the Al Jahra Hospital is another project that was commissioned by the Amiri Diwan. This hospital is going to have around 1,100 beds and will be bigger than the Jaber Hospital which is also currently under construction.

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Major departments include: Accident and Emergency with Helipad on the roof and separate Adult and Pediatric treatment areas; over 20 Outpatient Clinics; Outpatient Procedures including Endoscopy, Pulmonary and Cardiology; Radiology and Nuclear Medicine; Same Day Medical observation unit; a modern Surgical suite with 20 OR’s including 2 hybrid rooms; a Women’s Center including Women’s Surgery, Infertility Clinic and Outpatient services, NICU and Special Care Nurseries, Women’s Surgery. Inpatient beds include Adult, Pediatric and Women’s Center beds as well as 12 unique ICU bed units.

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The hospital is expected to take just 36 months to complete.


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