Tesco products now available at SaveCo

Posted by Mark

tesco

Back in July I posted that according to one of my sources, SaveCo supermarket would be getting Tesco products. Turns out my source was correct since yesterday while checking out the British Ambassadors instagram account, I spotted the photo above of SaveCo with an ad mentioning they now carry Tesco products.

I’m not interested in any Tesco products but if you are now you know where to get them from.


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EDO Shaab Closing Down

Posted by Mark

Over the weekend I found out that the EDO location in Shaab is closing down for good. It seems the owner of the villa wants it back and so they will be moving out at the end of the month. They recently opened their Sahara Country Club location which although has a great view sadly doesn’t have the cozy and warm atmosphere of their 1950’s villa in Shaab. It’s very sad that they’re closing it since there really isn’t any other restaurant like it. Their last operating day is December 31st so if you’ve never been to EDO before you should before its gone for good, it’s one of my favorite sushi places in Kuwait. Here is a link to their [Website]


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The Early Bird Truth

Posted by Mark

bianca

The Early Bird was one of the first breakfast places to open up in Kuwait back in 2007 and is still a pretty popular place. But, according to a recent blog post by the original owner and creator Bianca (pictured above), it seems her Kuwaiti partner took over the business and kicked her out without giving her a single penny. She just put up her side of the story online and you can check it out [Here]

Update: I sat with the Early Bird people and they will be sending me their side of the story soon as well.


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Talabat was NOT hacked

Posted by Mark

talabat

Last week there were rumors going around online and on whatsapp about Talabat’s customer database being hacked. The hacker supposedly was able to get access to Talabat’s customers addresses and published a file online containing a sample of addresses with a promise that more would be released soon. So I contacted Talabat right away to find out if this security breach was true before posting about it and I received the following response from them:

Dear Mark,

We have our internal security monitoring tools that notify us automatically in case of any hack attempts and have not received any threats about data leak. All our customer information is secured and not leaked to anyone. However, we take notice of such things very seriously and assure you that we are going to investigate this issue thoroughly and will get back to you upon completing our investigation.

talabat2

Earlier today Talabat called me up to let me know that after thorough investigation they’ve concluded it to be not true and that their customers information were not leaked. I was also invited to pass by their offices and get a behind the scenes look on how they operate which I will be doing sometime this week.

From the looks of it this incident could be a competitor trying to smear them or even possibly a disgruntled ex-employee. In any case if anything new develops I’ll update this post.


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Kuwait, the fattest country in the world… forever

Posted by Mark

fat

According to the latest Food Security Index, Kuwait is the fattest country in the world coming in first place. This isn’t a shock really since Kuwait has been scoring high on the fat chart for years now but I don’t think it’s fair this time around. Although the 2014 Food Security Index was recently released, the data on world wide obesity is from 2008!

I personally believe a lot has changed since then and as a nation we are no longer as obese as we once used to be. But, news sites have already started referring to this chart and Kuwait is back in the news again as the fattest country in the world.


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Petition to stop the Kuwait Towers refurbishment

Posted by Mark

kuwaittowers

The Kuwait Towers are on UNESCO’s tentative list to become a World Heritage site. It’s only the first step but if it does get approved, then the Kuwait Towers will become the first modernist building in the entire Gulf region to be designated a World Heritage Site. I’ve written in more depth about this [Here]

petition

One of the requirements for a building to become a World Heritage Site is for the building to be restored to it’s original state. This is where the issue is with the Kuwait Towers right now, there are currently plans to refurbish the building which would mean it would no longer be able to become a World Heritage Site.

I’m not sure why they’re still going ahead with a refurbishment plan with an opportunity like this at the door, in any case if you would like to voice your opinion on this there is currently a petition calling to stop the refurbishing and to restore the Kuwait Towers to it’s former glory. You can view and sign the petition [Here]


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Become a Mystery Shopper

Posted by Mark

alshaya

Years ago I posted about a friend of mine becoming an Alshaya mystery shopper. Back then as a secret shopper you were required to shop at Alshaya stores every week and write about your experience. You also got two meals at Alshaya restaurant every week worth KD14 which you also needed to write about. Pay wise, back then new shoppers would get KD75 a month while silver level shoppers got KD150 and gold level got KD300.

I’m not sure how much of that has changed but my guess it would probably be similar. In any case the reason I’m bringing this up again is Alshaya are currently looking for new mystery shoppers. I know when I posted about it before a lot of people were interested in signing up so if you’re also interested, follow this [Link]


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Kuwait ranks first among Arab countries in Global Gender Gap

Posted by Mark

kuwait

The Global Gender Gap Index seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. This year Kuwait came first among Arab countries coming in 113th place. Although that sounds great, Kuwait came 113th place out of 142 so yes it performed better than Arab countries but is still far behind the rest of the world overall.

On the other hand, UAE ended up coming two places behind at 115 and Saudi Arabia at a lower 130 which is what you would expect. What I didn’t expect though is Lebanon coming in five places lower than Saudi Arabia in 135th place. That’s just messed up. Check out the full report [Here]


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Save The Kuwait Bookshops

Posted by Mark

kuwaitbookshop1

As a kid growing up in Kuwait in the 80s I used to pass by Muthana Complex in Kuwait City all the time with my family. Back then Muthana Complex was what Avenues is to Kuwait today, it was a beautiful mall and it used to get pretty packed on weekends. We had friends who lived in the apartments in Muthana so we were there pretty often, probably once a week. Whenever we used to be done visiting our friends we would head into the mall and the first shop we would see was The Kuwait Bookshops. We’d always walk in and either me or my sister would always end up leaving with a book or a magazine. But the Kuwait Bookshops was around way before the 80s and way before I was born. Last night I sat down with the owner of the bookshop Bashir Alkhatib and this is the story of The Kuwait Bookshops.

kuwaitbookshop4

The History

Bashir moved to Kuwait in 1959 after studying in the US. He started working at the Ministry of Information and grew frustrated really quickly that he couldn’t buy any books in Kuwait. He used to love to read and there wasn’t any place that sold books so he thought to himself, this town needs a bookshop. In 1961 he opened The Kuwait Bookshops in the Thunayan AlGhanim building on Soor Street. It was one of the most advanced buildings in Kuwait at the time and one of the first to have an elevator. According to Bashir, the bedouins used to come in from the desert and stand in line to watch “the horse” that can go up and down. Back then the Thunayan AlGhanim building also housed the KOC offices as well as the British Consulate and they were his best customers. Bashir continued to work at the Ministry while also running the bookshop, he actually had to work at the Ministry overtime so he could afford to pay the expenses of the bookshop.

alghanimbuilding

One of the bookshops customers was a British guy who used to come in regularly to pick up the English paper The Times. One day he came in to pick up the paper but he couldn’t find any so he asked Bashir, why don’t you have The Times? Bashir replied telling him he hadn’t paid the bill so they stopped sending his bookshop the papers. He asked him how come you didn’t pay the bill? Bashir told him that he didn’t have the money so he couldn’t. Turns out the customer was a manager at Gulf Bank and told him to pass by him at the bank. So Bashir went to Gulf Bank and sat with the manager who asked him, whats your dream? Bashir told him his dream was to have a bookshop similar to the ones in England and the US. After around an hour of chatting the manager told him he would give him an overdraft of KD10,000 guaranteed by the manger himself. Bashir took the money and got on the plane and headed to London where he met with various publishers. He managed to strike deals on credit where he would be able to buy books and newspapers and pay them back 90 days later which helped him a lot financially. The Kuwait Bookshops became one of the first to import books and newspapers to the Gulf.

In 1964 he opened his second location in Ahmadi due to popular request since his KOC customers kept asking for a location closer to them. Bashir used to originally get his magazines and papers from England but there was a distribution company that used to get magazines and newspapers from the US so in 1970 he decided to purchase that distribution company. Due to the amount of books, magazines and newspapers they were getting they had to get a warehouse to store all the items since there wasn’t enough space in the Soor and Ahmadi locations to display everything. Then in the mid 80s Muthana Complex started being built down the street from their Soor location so he purchased a shop there. In 1986 Muthana opened and The Kuwait Bookshops was one of the first shops to open there.

bookshop1990

In 1990 the invasion happened and the shop got ransacked by the Iraqi soldiers. After the invasion Bashir went to his publishers one by one and asked them how much he had owed them but the publishers all told him that any debt he owed before the invasion would be wiped clean and they would start fresh from again. In 1992 The Kuwait Bookshops reopened and it’s been there ever since.

kuwaitbookshop2

The Present

Due to irreconcilable differences between the partners, The Kuwait Bookshops is currently at risk of getting liquidating. The only way to save the bookshop is to buy out the other partner. If by December 5th the bookshop isn’t saved, then the bookstore along with it’s history will vanish. It’s depressing because The bookshop is a part of Kuwait’s heritage and once it’s gone its gone. There is currently a hashtag being used #savekuwaitbookshops on Instagram and Twitter so if you do pass by the store please hashtag your photos. Maybe with enough awareness someone will come in and help save the shop. If anyone by any chance is interested in possibly buying out the other partner, please [Email Me]

Note: First photo on top taken by Fabio Sabatini. Second photo taken by Nadia Nader.


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Meet People, Make Friends

Posted by Mark

meetpeople

A lot of people complain about how difficult it is to meet people in Kuwait and they’re generally right. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible and there are a number of ways you can go about making new friends and one way is with meetup.com. Although it sounds like a dating site, Meetup is actually a way for groups of people who share similar interests to get together and socialize. Just by visiting the main Meetup home page you will see there are quite a few different meetups taking place in Kuwait ranging from a Toastmasters club to an expats club. So if you’re looking to socialize more check out [Meetup]


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