Cinescape is Wheelchair Friendly

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I went to the movies to watch Jumanji, a good movie by the way, just censored the hell out of in Kuwait. Seriously this has to be the most censored movie I’ve ever watched in Kuwait, and I have no idea how that’s possible since it’s a PG-rated film.

So, originally we were planning to watch it at Grand Cinemas in Hamra Mall, but surprisingly, they didn’t have any theater that would accommodate a wheelchair. I don’t mean the theater playing Jumanji, I mean neither of their theaters playing any movie had wheelchair access.

So I gave Cinescape a call and they told me they had wheelchair access at ALL their theaters except for two, Laila and Central Place. The operator also told me that if the person was permanently in a wheelchair, then they could get a lifetime pass to watch movies for free at their theaters.

I think that’s pretty thoughtful of Cinescape and pretty odd of Grand Cinemas considering their Hamra theater is fairly new. The only feedback I would give Cinescape is to mark the wheelchair areas on the seating map since I had to call the operator and find out where they were. For example, the map above is how it currently looks like while the map below is what I think they should do (notice row J).

Anyway just wanted to thank Cinescape with this post for being so considerate.


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VOX Cinemas Coming Soon to Kuwait

Post by Mark

VOX Cinemas, one of the leading cinema chains in the Middle East is opening in Kuwait this coming March. VOX will be opening at Avenues Phase 4 and house 17 screens with a seating capacity of around 1,679 seats.

Kuwait already has three cinema chains operating locally, Cinescape, Grand Cinemas and Sky Cinemas, so VOX will be the fourth. And yes, movies will also be censored at VOX. For more information, click [Here]

Thanks lovelykuwait


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Bayt Lothan is Getting Demolished

Post by Mark

Two years ago, the non-profit organization Bayt Lothan sadly closed down. The community center had become an important part of the local culture scene, hosting a variety of workshops and events, but the owners of the building decided they wanted to move on to other things.

Now the historic building that used to house Shaikh Sabah Al Salim, the former Amir of Kuwait, is getting demolished.

The odd thing is, when I passed by this morning, there were no trucks or workers. It kinda looked like a bulldozer had driven in through the main structure, turned around and then driven back out. The building was also not surrounded by any sort of fence so anyone can right now just walk in and walk around, even though the building is partially demolished and could collapse at any second. Pretty dodgy, kinda like they decided to this now quickly due to the amount of publicity the building was starting to get again on word that it was finally getting demolished.

So sad. For pictures of the location before it closed down, click [Here]

Update: I was just informed that it won’t be turned into a food complex. They might build a boutique hotel or something along those lines, they’re still undecided, but it definitely won’t be a food complex. Also a fence will be put up shortly.


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Wejha – A Collaborative Space for Artists & Musicians

Post by Mark

There are a number of collaborative workspaces in Kuwait like Niu and Reyada, but Wejha is the first one to target artists and musicians. The collaborative space opened up a few weeks ago at Pearl Marzouq in Salmiya, and I got a small tour of it last week while checking out the F160 exhibition.

The space is pretty big, if you attended Qout Market when it was being held at Pearl Marzouq a few years ago, then you’ll most likely recognize it. It’s the area where the kids section used to be. The space is divided up pretty nicely with a large collaborative space overlooking the Pearl Marzouq garden, and then various small studios spread out all around. They offer a number of benefits to artists including offering them exhibition space, both public and private, meeting rooms, workshops and the possibility to meet and interact with other artists that are based there.

The only downside is their prices which might not be in reach for a lot of young artists and musicians who may just be starting up. If you want access to just the coworking space the cost is KD150 a month, but if you’re looking for your own private studio, then the prices start at KD250 and go all the way up to KD450. Actually, KD250 might not be bad for a studio since I’ve seen dodgy spaces in basements in Hawalli going for as much.

If you’re interested to find out more, check out wejha.com and also their instagram page @wejha.arts


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Taxi Apps in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Although we don’t have Uber in Kuwait yet, we do have various other apps that pretty much do the same thing. Over the years I’ve posted about a few but never in one concise post, and since some have stopped working over the years, this list is of current active ones.

Q8 Grand Limo
This is my favorite app/service right now, and the one I’ve been using constantly. It’s really made my cabbing experience in Kuwait great, the cars are super clean and fancy, the drivers are very polite and tidy, and I haven’t had any issues with them since I started using them back in May. Costwise, they’re more expensive than regular street cabs but the experience really makes up for the price. Plus, they gave me a 20% promo code when I posted about them back in May so for me, trips don’t cost that much more than regular street cabs. They’ve got around 30 cabs in operation including a Mercedes S400 in case you want to splurge. I actually got picked up by the S400 a few weeks back when they were super busy and didn’t have their regular cars available. Let’s just say I forgave them for being late and they can always pick me up late if they’re gonna do so in the S400. You can also book a cab ahead of time which I’ve done when I needed a middle of the night ride to the airport. [Link]

Careem
Probably the closest thing to Uber in Kuwait right now since they’re Uber’s main competitor in the region. I’ve never used them but I’ve got friends who swear by them. Like Grand Limo, they also have a ride later option which many people use to schedule airport rides and they also have their own fleet of cars. [Link]

Q8 Taxi
This is an app I posted about a few years ago and were one of the early ones to launch in Kuwait. I tried using them back then a few times and had a fairly average experience and then one day, it just stopped working. Now it seems they’re back since they’ve been advertising their app pretty heavily. Haven’t tried them and don’t think I will, but they’re the cheapest option in this list since they use regular street cabs to pick you up. [Link]

If there are any other apps I’ve missed let me know in the comments.


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The Kuwait Heritage Museum

Post by Mark

I could swear I’ve written about the Heritage Museum before but I can’t seem to find the old post for some reason. The Heritage Museum is located inside the Kuwait National Museum and I passed by yesterday since I wanted to check and see if the Planetarium at the museum was still open. The Kuwait National Museum is currently being refurbished (I’m so glad they decided not to demolish it) so I wasn’t sure if visitors could still access it or not. Turns out, for the most part, its inaccessible including the Planetarium, but the Archaeology Exhibit and the Heritage Museum can still be accessed.

Archaeology Exhibit
I didn’t find this exhibit to be that interesting and it’s pretty small. It’s located right as you walk into the museum and it will take you just a few minutes to skim through the stuff on your way to the main Heritage Museum.

Heritage Museum
This part of the museum is a lot more interesting to check out and is fairly big which makes the trip worthwhile. The Heritage Museum is divided into three areas, the first is a wax museum where different aspects of Kuwait’s traditional past are on display. The wax models aren’t very realistic but there are a lot of different displays and the whole thing is meant to resemble an old Kuwaiti street so it’s at least visually interesting.

The second part of the Heritage Museum is where different items from Kuwait’s past are on display. These aren’t wax objects but actual real objects that were collected and put on display. An example of a display would be for example a collection of old radios that were used in Kuwait back in the old days.

The final part of the Heritage Museum is a small photography exhibit where old photos of Kuwait are on display. This is a fairly small cooridor which you’ll be walking through on your way out of the exhibition and is fairly dark so it’s hard to see the photos properly.

If you’ve never been to the Heritage Museum you should check it out mostly because of how odd it is. I mean the eerie dark mood of the museum is alone worth the trip and with the construction taking place, it just adds to the whole creepy mood. If you want to pass by, the museum is open from 8AM to 2PM and then again from 4PM to 8PM. There is no entrance fee. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Not only do we have an addiction treatment center in Kuwait, but its actually so good that addicts from other GCC countries come to Kuwait to get treated here. Recently through a friend, I managed to find out a lot about our treatment facility, and I was so impressed I decided I’d share what I learned.

If you have a drug problem, the first thing you need to do is admit yourself into the KFH Addiction Treatment Center in Shuwaikh [Map]. You go to the reception and you ask to see the doctor (they don’t admit on Fridays). The doctor will ask you a few questions including what substances you use and you will also be administered a drug test. After this first step is completed, you’ll be admitted.

As part of the admittance process you will be given a full body search to make sure you don’t have any drugs on you. You can check-in your belongings before admittance and you can also put money on your account in case during your stay you need to purchase something from the baqala like cigarettes since money isn’t allowed inside the center. Once you admit yourself into the center, you can’t leave for 21-28 days.

The treatment facility is for everyone including expats. Until recently, it was also free for everyone but with the new health fees, expats now have to pay a fee per day.

During your stay at the treatment center, doctors will check up on you often. There are also different workshops and lectures that take place there for example, there are lectures on recovery, lectures on how to deal with negative thoughts and lectures on judgment errors and what they are. In addition to the lectures, there are also group therapy sessions that take place. All the lectures are given by therapists with a few exceptions where doctors give the lectures themselves. Every Tuesday there are also sessions for family members called “Tawasal”. These sessions allow the parents to understand and cope with family members who are in there for treatment.

It is important to state here that your medical file with the treatment center is not shared with any other party and remains with the center. So your admittance won’t pop up when applying for a job or anything of the sort.

After around 21 to 28 days you’ll be able to check out of the center. They then highly recommend you stay in a halfway house which is a temporary living arrangement for people suffering addiction. The halfway houses are run by recovering addicts who are helping other addicts stay clean. Unlike the addiction center, there are no nurses or doctors here and you’re allowed to leave at any time you want. But, if you decide to become a resident at a halfway house, there are rules to abide by. There are rules like having to wake up early, having to clean your room, do some house chores and also signing in and out throughout the day. The rules meant to provide structure for the addicts who at this point don’t have any.

The halfway houses also provide group therapy sessions and are where the addicts are introduced to the 12 Steps of NA, the Narcotics Anonymous program. The program is essential to recovery once they leave, it becomes part of their lives and they keep at it after they leave the halfway house to stay clean. Even though you’re allowed to leave the halfway house anytime you want, the recommendation is that you work through the NA program. Part of the program is choosing a sponsor and attending external NA meetings. I attended a meeting with my friend as support and was completely taken away by it. I attended an English NA meeting and there were around 30 guys and girls from different age groups and backgrounds. It’s difficult to put into words what I felt, but it was very emotional. Once a week they meet up with other people who are going through the same things they are going through, even though most of them don’t know each other, they all still connect on a very personal level and I found that to be so beautiful.

Once you work your way through the NA steps and reach step 5, and you’ve got your external affairs in order, that is when it is recommended that you graduate from the halfway house. There is no specific timeframe to reach this step, some people have been able to do it in 3-4 months, others have taken 1 to 2 years. The average is around 1 year.

So that is basically it. I was so surprised at the quality of support addicts have here in Kuwait I really wanted to write about it. I think what surprised me the most is the understanding and sophistication involved from the government on this subject. I assumed because this is Kuwait, addicts would be treated like criminals and arrested, but instead, the government understands that addiction is a complex disease that can be treated. It’s instances like this that make me really appreciate Kuwait sometimes.


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Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit Progress

Post by Mark

Yesterday some drone photos of the Kuwait Motor Town race circuit were floating around on WhatsApp. Not sure why I didn’t think of going there and taking a drone photo of the circuit myself since Google Maps really hasn’t updated the view since construction started. These drone photos, on the other hand, show that a lot of progress has been made and that the hardest part of the construction, the paving of the track asphalt is basically done. You can also see the dragstrips in the photos as well as the grand stands under construction.

The first phase of the Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit is targetted to open by the end of March, I’m hoping that’s still on track. I’m so excited!


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The Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is Nearly Done

Post by Mark

Originally expected to be completed by the end of this year, the completion time for the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre in Shaab has now been pushed back a tiny bit towards the end of January, early February.

The exhibits are already being fitted and I’ve been seeing trucks the past few weeks unloading more and more stuff. If you look carefully while driving by on the Gulf Road you can even spot dinosaurs and I think even a large Shark hanging on display.

The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is currently one of the largest cultural and science projects in the world and once complete will house four museums, Natural History, Science, Islamic and Space.


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Skydiving in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Kuwait Skydive is the first skydiving center to open up in Kuwait. They’ve only just opened and they’re offering tandem jumps out of a plane with an instructor, as well skydiving lessons.

The cost of a tandem jump with Kuwait Skydive is KD160. That’s KD5 cheaper than the cost to skydive in Dubai which was where everyone was going previously.

Kuwait Skydive also offers an AFF course for KD1,000. The course includes 8 jumps and takes around 7-10 days to complete. Once you’ve completed the course you’ll receive your own jump log book and you’ll be able to start jumping out of the plane by yourself.

Their jump location is in Khiran and they’re open daily except for Sundays. Currently, they’re only accepting booking via phone since their website is under construction. So if you’re interested you can call them up on 65566226. For more information you can also visit them on instagram @kuwaitskydive or kuwaitskydiveco.com


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