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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New Brands Opening at Assima Mall

Post by Mark

Last month I posted that the UFC Gym would be opening up at Assima Mall, but since then Assima have announced that a few other brands will also be opening there.

The upmarket French department store Galeries Lafayette, the French retail chain Monoprix and the National Geographic store are three new brands that will be opening at Assima. The Assima project is located in Kuwait City across from KIPCO Tower and is expected to be completed in 2019.

For more information on Assima, you can visit their website [Here]

Thanks Zaydoun


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New Location for Picking Up Mail

Post by Mark

Just a quick update, if you’ve ordered something online and shipped it to Kuwait via snail mail (USPS for example), you now need to pick up your package from Al Sadiq and not Kaifan. They’ve changed the pick up location and here it is on [Google Maps]

Thanks Meshari!


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Chef Khaled Al Baker

Post by Mark

Khaled Al Baker, or KB for short is the brand manager and head chef at Meem Cafe. He’s also a good friend of mine and I’ve been wanting to post about him and his transformation of Meem Cafe since I’ve been watching it happen from the very beginning. Just over a year ago, Khaled moved back to Kuwait after studying culinary arts at the Johnson & Wales University in Miami. He started looking for work and decided he wanted to join MMC Catering who had a bunch of popular restaurants including LeNotre, Meem Cafe, Over Jar and Three & Barista. When he applied, one of the tasks they gave him was to pass by Meem Cafe, try their food out and let them know what he thought of it. So he invited me along with a bunch of our other foodie friends (including Hind from PantryBee) and we passed by Meem Cafe and tried out as much food as we could. My overall impression wasn’t that positive with items on the menu that didn’t make sense to be there, and what was there wasn’t that great either. But Khaled was busy taking down notes, he saw a lot of potential and so he went back to MMC with his feedback and they hired him, giving him the task to revamp and upgrade the Meem Cafe menu.

Khaled wasn’t always a chef. He originally studied accounting and finance at the University of Central Florida and then worked 6 years as an accountant in the oil and gas industry. Things started to change right after his cousin opened up the upscale butcher shop Prime Cuts. They started grilling non-stop 5-6 times a week and Khaled would have his home cook put together the sides while he did all the grilling. But his cook kept making the same sides all the time which eventually got boring, so Khaled decided he’d also do the sides himself. He started reading up a lot and experimenting and the more and more he cooked the more and more he was loving it. So he started taking cooking lessons whenever he found any and he cooked for his friends whenever he could before he eventually decided to go back to university to study culinary arts.

Over the past year Khaled has been super busy reorganizing and reinventing the Meem Cafe menu. Because I keep popping over to Meem Cafe to see him whenever I can, the whole thing to me has felt like I’ve been watching a food reality show where the chef goes into a restaurant and just overhauls the menu. The first thing Khaled did was remove all the items that didn’t fit in with the theme of Middle Eastern comfort food. After refocusing the menu under the main theme, he started experimenting with modernizing Arabic classics while also fusing others with different cuisines. He loves cooking and he’s been generally just having fun trying to come up with new dishes like zaatar fries, Lebanese nachos, burrata mana’eesh and braised short ribs hummus. The end result is a lot of good food with a lot of unique flavors. Even his chef coat is infused with Arabic by being designed like a dishdasha while incorporating the shemagh pattern.

While sitting with Khaled and interviewing him for this post I realized where all this passion with Arabic food was stemming from. He thinks that as Arabs we’re losing the food marketing war with items like hummus and pita being considered Israeli and not Arab, while Greek yogurt becoming trendy but not labneh. He thinks that if we don’t start modernizing and refining Arabic cuisine, we’re going to eventually lose it all. I never thought about it in that way but now that I do I’ve started appreciating what his doing a lot more.

If you haven’t been to Meem Cafe for awhile now then I’d recommend you pass by and try it out again. They’ve got four locations, one at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, another in Hamra Tower, another in 360 Mall and the last one in The View in Salmiya. You can also follow Khaled on his instagram account @chefkb


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Looking for Space? Check Out Elevation Al Bida’a

Post by Mark

If you’re looking for space for meetups, a place to hold your book club meetings, workshops or even movie nights, then this post might appeal to you. Elevation Burger in Al Bida’a have a top floor which is available to book for your get togethers. It’s a community space that Elevation Burger provide for free as a way of giving back to the local community. You could even book the space to watch football games, F1 races or any other sports games since Elevation have a BeIN sports receiver you could borrow. Depending on how you arrange the seating the space can hold around 40 people easily.

Most importantly, there are no strings attached. You aren’t required to order 100 burgers or anything of the sort, the space is yours to use for free as long as you let them know ahead of time. So if you’re interested in this location, contact the Elevation Burger team on marketing@tabcofood.com


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Now Pay Per 100g with Shop & Ship

Post by Mark

Aramex Shop & Ship just launched a new service called Flex in which you pay for your shipments per 100 grams instead of the standard per 500 grams. Usually if you get a package that weighs 300 grams, Aramex would charge you as if it was 500, if your shipment weighed 600 grams then you would get charged for a kilo. By paying per 100 grams instead of 500, you should be able to save on shipping costs.

It would have been a game changer in the US mailbox forwarding market if it wasn’t for the fact that to be eligible for the new pricing structure, you need to pay Aramex KD35 a year. So whatever savings you would accumulate with the Flex pricing structure, you’d most likely end up losing it all with the Flex yearly fee. Not very practical unless you order a lot of items online. If you’re interested to find out more, click [Here]


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