Chowking Now Open in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

chowking

Chowking the Philippine-based fast food chain opened up their first branch in Kuwait over the weekend. I passed by on Saturday evening just to check the place out and it was insanely packed with long lines and nowhere to sit. The menu consists mainly of fried chicken, dimsums and noodles (you can check it out here).

They opened their first branch in Salmiya near Johnny Rockets and Shake Shack where Dunkin Donuts used to be. That specific location is considered cursed due to the amount of places that have opened up and shut down over the years but I think Chowking has the potential to break the curse. Here is a link to their [Facebook Page]


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UFC Fighters in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

mattbrown

Three UFC fighters are in Kuwait for the next few days to support the US troops. Matt Brown, Mike Pierce and CB Dollaway arrived last night along with 2013 ADCC grappling champion Joao Assis. This isn’t the first time UFC fighters have come to Kuwait to support the troops and I believe it’s Mike Pierce’s second time since he came back in 2012. If anyone knows where they are staying let me know, I would love to get my UFC tshirt signed by Matt Brown. So far my shirt has signatures from Dan Henderson, Brian Stan, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping and a few other fighters.

Thanks Ray


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Kuwait Moves up in the Environmental Performance Index

Posted by Mark

sofa desert

According to the latest Environmental Performance Index done by Yale University, Kuwait is now ranked #42 out of 178 countries listed. This makes Kuwait the 3rd best performing Arab country behind only the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait has moved up more than 100 places since I first posted about this index back in 2012 when Kuwait ranked nearly last. According to the Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs, the improvement of the government environment policy was a major reason for the 2014 EPI improvement.

Check out the full rankings [Here]

Thanks Ali


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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.

kipco2

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.

kipco3

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.

kipco4

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.

kipco5

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.

kipco6

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.

kipco7

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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