Online Trading Options in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

stocks

I’m planning to purchase some shares and was wondering what online trading software you guys use and why? I previously used NBK’s Watani Brokerage but wanted to know if there is anything else better locally. I’m not interested in US based websites since they seem complicated to setup and from the few local ones I found they either seem outdated or they didn’t look very trust worthy.


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Looking for an Apartment?

Posted by Mark

apartmentshopping

Local blogger MeBlogging recently was looking for a new apartment to move into and she’s gone ahead and written about her experience. She has even listed all the real estate websites she used along with her thoughts on each. If you’re apartment hunting you might want to check her post out [Here]


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Uber Kuwait? Kinda…

Posted by Mark

easytaxi

Over the weekend Uber launched their services in Beirut which means Uber is now available in Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Uber is probably going to launch in Kuwait one day but until they do there currently is a service running in Kuwait that is kinda like Uber, it’s called Easy Taxi.

Easy Taxi is an app that’s available on iOS, Android and Windows phones and once you install it and sign up allows you to request a taxi. If you’re not familiar with how Uber or other taxi apps work its pretty simple. Whenever you need a cab you launch the app which will automatically pinpoint your location. Once your location is found a button becomes active allowing you to request a cab. When you click the button it starts scanning the area looking for available taxis. I tried it when I was at Sultan Center in Shaab and found 5 taxis in my vicinity. I confirmed the cab request and it told me the cab was 7 minutes away and that I could chat with the driver or give him a call if I needed to. The app also gave me the cars description and license plate number so I could recognize it once it arrives.

It’s pretty similar to Uber taxi except for the fact you can’t get a fare quote before requesting the cab nor can you pay for your cab using your credit card or PayPal account. But, until Uber comes to Kuwait this is a pretty good alternative. For more information on Easy Taxi just visit their website [Here]

Thanks Roberto


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Counterfeit Kuwaiti Dinars

Posted by Mark

fake

The video below has been circulating whatsapp showing two KD20 notes, one original while the other counterfeit. The video looks like it was taken at a bank and the lady shooting the video puts the two notes under a UV light revealing the difference. My guess is people are probably printing the money on their home printers hoping the lack of some peoples experience handling the new currency might fool them into accepting the counterfeit.


[YouTube]


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Ramadan Buffets in Kuwait 2014

Posted by Mark

ramadan

Below is a list of buffet prices (and in some cases set menus) of various restaurants around Kuwait. I tried to get a variety of styles of restaurants ranging from American franchises, to hotels to Arabic restaurants but if you want to include a restaurant on this list, leave the details in the comments below. What I’ve done this year as well is mention how much the price has increased or decreased over the previous year just for fun. If you don’t see any red or green number next to the price it either means the restaurant kept the same price as last year or they’re new to the list.

Abdel Wahab
Buffet Price: KD10 (+1.250)
Telephone: 1821000

Al Noukhaza Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD11.950 (-2.000)
Telephone: 24757775 or 1823888

Avanti Palace
Set Menu Price: KD3.5
Telephone: 25751081

Cafe Blanc – The Avenues
Buffet Price: KD7.750 (Buffets only on weekends) (+0.250)
Telephone: 22597568

Courtyard by Marriott
Buffet Price: KD12 (+3.000)
Telephone: 22997000

Crowne Plaza – Al Ahmadi Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD12.5
Telephone: 24757775

Hilton Resort – Teatro Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD15
Telephone: 22256222

Jumeirah Messilah Beach – Garden Cafe
Buffet Price: KD16 (+2.000)
Telephone: 22269600

JW Marriott
Buffet Price: KD13 (+1.000)
Telephone: 22455550

Leila
Set Menu Price: KD8
Telephone: 22996414

Movenpick – Free Zone – Bays Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD13.5 (+2.600)
Telephone: 24610033

Movenpick – Al Bida’a – Breeze Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD14
Telephone: 22253100

Naranj
Buffet Price: KD12.5 (+0.500)
Telephone: 22268666

Paul
Set Menu Price: KD7.900 (+0.650)
Telephone: 22597044

Qasr Al-Saraya
Buffet Price: KD8 (+0.500)
Telephone: 25711101

Radisson Blu – Al Bustan Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD13 or KD11 after 10PM
Telephone: 25673000

Red Lobster
Set Menu Price: KD7.950
Telephone: 22200536

Ruby Tuesday
Set Menu Price: KD5.750 (+0.750)
Telephone: 22444454

Sakura
All You Can Eat Price: KD14.950 1st 10 days of Ramadan (+2.000)
Buffet Price: KD15.950 11th day onwards(+2.000)
Telephone: 24757775 or 1823888

Sheraton – Coral Tent
Buffet Price: KD17.250
Telephone: 22422055

Symphony Style Hotel – Luna Restaurant
Buffet Price: KD14
Telephone: 25770000

THE One
Buffet Price: KD9.500 or KD4.750 for kids under 12
Telephone: 22244511

The Southern
Set Menu Price: KD9.5

Villa Fairouz – The Avenues
Buffet Price: KD12.5 (+1.000)
Telephone: 22597200

Zafran
Buffet Price: KD7.5 or KD4 for kids 5-10
Telephone: 25750647

Zahr El Laymoun – 360 Mall
Buffet Price: KD8 (+0.500)
Telephone: 25309511


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Kuwait Metro Project is Back from the Dead

Posted by Mark

kuwaitmetro

Kuwait will tender the much-delayed USD multi-billion metro rail project in its next five-year development plan, according to the Gulf emirate’s minister of state for development and planning.

Hind Al Sabeeh said other major projects to be included in the 2014-2018 plan involve Mubarak port, the media city the privatisation of schools, university and cooperatives.

“The next development plan includes the tendering of large projects in Kuwait such as the Metro and rail projects,” she told the Saudi satellite TV new channel Al Arabiya on Sunday night. Her comments were published by Kuwaiti newspapers. [Source]

metro

A couple of years ago the expected operational date was 2020 but I’m guessing that date will now be pushed back since they really haven’t started on anything yet. The above is a rendering of how a metro station would look like while the metro map below shows where all the metro stops will be located.

You can view a higher resolution version of the map [Here]

metromap

Finally below is a video presentation of the planned metro project.

Kuwait Rapid Transit & Rail Road Systems ENG from Designa Comunicacion on Vimeo.


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Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center Project

Posted by Mark

museum1

Last week I posted about the demolition of the Al-Maidan Cultural Center and the construction that is taking place there. Because of the fact the construction was moving very fast I assumed the project belonged to Al-Diwan Al-Amiri, turns out I was right. A reader sent me an email with full details on this project and it turns out its going to be a museums district.

museum2

The project that will occupy the site next to Shaab Park will house four world class museums, a fine art center, a theatre and two information centers. The project will compliment the Kuwait’s Cultural Center that’s located in Kuwait City which I previously posted about [Here]

museum3

The project will consist of six main buildings:
- A Natural History Museum
- A Science Museum
- A Museum of Islamic History
- A Space Museum
- A Fine Arts Center
- A 350 seat Theatre

museum4

The Natural History Museum will feature:
- Wildlife and Biodiversity
- Arabian Wildlife
- Pre-History
- Earth and Environment

museum5

The Science Museum will feature:
- Experimental Atrium
- Technology and Transport
- Health and Medicine
- Human Body and Mind

museum6

The Space Museum will feature:
- Planetary Science
- Space Exploration

museum7

The project is expected to be completed in 20 months which is why the construction has been taking place day and night.

Based on my previous personal experience with Al-Diwan Al-Amiri, I have full confidence that this project will be completed on time and look spectacular. The best part about this (for me) is the fact these museums will be located down the street from my house. I’m super excited.


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Expats vs Locals Across the Gulf

Posted by Mark

watertowers

Arabian Business published some figures comparing the percentage of expats to locals across the Gulf. I’ve taken the liberty to list them below with the country with the highest percentage of locals on top and the lowest on the bottom. No surprises really except for Bahrain which I assumed had a larger expat population.

KSA: Total population 29,595,084. 68 percent locals and 32 percent expatriates.
Oman: Total population 3,770,473. 56 percent locals and 44 percent expatriates.
Bahrain: Total population 1,217,701. 49 percent locals and 51 percent expatriates.
Kuwait: Total population 3,823,728. 30 percent locals and 70 percent expatriates.
Qatar: Total population 1,836,676. 14 percent locals and 86 percent expatriates.
UAE: Total population 9,036,488. 13 percent locals and 87 percent expatriates.


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The State of the P2BK Village Today

Posted by Mark

p2bkentrance

Yesterday a reader sent me photos he took a couple of days ago of the Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti village in Mishref. It seems after the event was over it turned into an abandoned village with no one willing to clean it up. The images of the garbage covered village had already been circulating around social media so I decided to pass by myself this morning and check it out myself.

middlearea

When I first arrived to the P2BK main gate I quickly recognized the scene from one of the photos I had been sent. Outside the village wall, the area between the P2BK village and the Remal Sand Park area looked like it had been hit by a tornado. There was trash everywhere, overturned stands, painted sculptures lying all over the place and lots of broken gypsum boards. It was a disaster.

Then I proceeded through the main gates into the P2BK village and the scene wasn’t as bad inside. The place is abandoned and it’s outdoor so obviously it’s not going to be in pristine condition.

village

There was trash lying around mostly in corners or up against the walls but the majority of the space in the village was just empty. It was windy this morning so while walking around there was lots of banging of doors that hadn’t been closed. Lots of doors had fallen off their hinges even but the majority were just flapping with the wind.

Once I was done wandering around the village I decided to head across to the Remal Sand Park area. The Remal Sand Park was the largest sand sculpture park when open and even though the space is abandoned and the park long closed, majority of the sand sculptures are still up and in excellent condition. They definitely didn’t just use sand and water to build these things.

sandpark

The majority of this space like the village was empty and clean of trash except for one side, where I spotted a bunch of overturned stands and broken gypsum boards strewn across the floor. I have no idea why there is so much broken gypsum boards everywhere, I think that made up the majority of the litter at the park and village.

Generally, both areas weren’t that bad with the biggest issue being the space between the Remal Sand Park and the P2BK village. As I was about to leave in my car I noticed the wind was blowing garbage into this area from one direction. I looked in that direction and noticed two large garbage bins, one was overflowing with garbage, the other empty but there was garbage on the floor all around.

garbage

You can also see a trail of garbage from these two bins towards the area between the P2BK and Sand Park. I realized what was happening, whenever there was strong wind, garbage was flying from these bins towards the village where they gathered outside the village walls. I continued driving past those two bins and spotted another large pile of trash in the area behind the sand park.

So is the situation bad? Yes, but just as bad as it is anywhere else in Kuwait. I think what makes this situation different is the name of the event, Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti and here you have the event over and the place looking like a junk yard. Most of it is not their fault, at least garbage wise which seems to fly towards their space from the large dumpsters nearby. But the broken gypsum boards everywhere and overturned stands and decorations, those are their fault. It shouldn’t be difficult to clean up but the question is then what? Well I think I have a solution.

P2BK Village Idea
I think this area should be turned into a paint ball park. It literally looks like a small village which ads realism and it also means lots of hiding places. A round of MILSIM there would be amazing.

bikepark

Remal Sand Park Idea
Unlike the village, the ground here is just sand so I came up with an idea which I think would work and it’s something we don’t have in Kuwait, a mountain bike park. Mountain bikes are meant for off-road trails which we really don’t have any in Kuwait (maybe just the Mutla Ridges). In the US and in Europe you can find mountain bike parks which are man-made trails with various obstacles to recreate riding your bike on a mountain trail. The picture above is an example of one. There are already some elevations and tunnels in the current sand park, all you would need to do is compound the sand in some areas, add floodlights to make it usable during the evenings, add maybe a few ramps, maybe some wooden boards here and there and you’ll end up with a great looking mountain bike park surrounded by beautiful large sand sculptures.

So thats what I’d like to see happen to the village and sand park. If you have any better ideas just leave them in the comments.

fluffy

On my way out of the fair grounds I kept spotting white fluffy stuff all over the sidewalks everywhere. At first I thought they were some kind of tacky decorations but on closer inspection I realized they were tissues, papers and white nylon bags that were caught in the weeds that had grown from the sidewalks. If anything I thought that was a bigger issue since its in everyones face on their way in and out of the fair grounds. Depressing.


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A Walk Around Gate Mall

Posted by Mark

gatemall1

Gate Mall is a new mall that recently opened in Egaila near Al Bairaq Mall. I wasn’t really interested in the mall until I saw a photo of the building from the outside in one of my whatsapp groups and thought the mall façade looked pretty cool. So I passed by earlier today to check it out.

gatemall2

First problem, there is no parking. For some reason the mall decided they didn’t need parking so the only parking I saw available was a large parking lot outside that is shared by two other surrounding malls. It was before noon on a weekday and I had trouble finding parking so I can imagine it would be near impossible to find parking on a weekend. The only alternative is to park at Al Bairaq mall and then walk through Al Bairaq towards Gate Mall.

Once you walk into the mall though things do get better. The mall is six floors and most of your favorite brands are there including the likes of Zara, Nike, Al Ostoura, Debenhams, H&M, Victoria Secret and Sephora. Food wise there was a Starbucks and Pinkberry open with a number of other places opening soon like Shake Shack, Tim Horten’s, Coldstone, Just Falafel, Cafe Baza and Margherita.

gatemall3

There were no movie theaters from what I saw. Other than the major parking issue the mall should prove to be useful for the people living in the area but by no means a replacement to Avenues or 360 Mall. If you want to know how to get to it, here is the location on [Google Maps]


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