Once a year Arabian Business releases a list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women” and every year I go through the list and find all the Kuwaiti women and list them on the blog. This year the list seems to the be the smallest since I started posting them with only 5 Kuwaiti women making the list and all at lower slots than the previous year. Shaikha Al Bahar whom back in 2012 was in #8 dropped to #21 last year and is currently at #31. This years leader in my most powerful Kuwaiti women list is Maali Alasousi, a newcomer. I hadn’t heard of her before but according to an article on Knowledge@Wharton, “Maali Alasousi gave up a comfortable life in Kuwait to live in Yemen, dedicating herself to developing social programs in a country that is among the most impoverished in the world”.
Below is this years list of most powerful Kuwaiti women with their 2014 ranking in between parentheses:
25- Maali Alasousi (new)
31- Shaikha Al Bahar (21)
46- Rasha Al Roumi (43)
51- Maha Al Ghunaim (27)
94- Sara Akbar (67)
For the full list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women” click [Here]
A redditor left the message below and it made me realize that asking my readers to answer his/her question could be beneficial not only to them, but to any other person who might be googling this in the future:
I need help. obviously Kuwait doesn’t have any suicide hot line or anything like that. But I was just wondering, what would be the ideal choice to resolve my depression here. It’s tearing my life apart. [Link]
I personally was lucky not to fall into depression after my divorce but I do understand the affect of mood fluctuations. If you can help or have any advice leave a comment below.
An airport bus accidentally drove into a brand new Kuwait Airways plane earlier today. The plane is one of the new leased planes and had just arrived to Kuwait a couple of days ago. The driver has already been deported (not really… I think).
Until Uber comes to Kuwait we have to make due with alternatives and as of recently the only alternative we had available was Easy Taxi. I’ve used them a few times and I have mixed feelings about them. For one thing every time I book a car the driver calls me up and asks me where I am even though he has my GPS location on his map. The other annoying thing is the fact that they try to negotiate a price before they even pick me up which I hate doing. My last issue is the fact that I have to pay cash instead of having the ride charged to my credit card similar to how I do with Uber. This is where Careem comes in.
Careem is an alternative to Easy Taxi that has recently come into the market. I haven’t had the chance to use them just yet but first impressions from their app and website is that they might be a worthy alternative. Why?
– You can add a credit card to your account and use it to pay for your rides
– The rides are metered
– You can pre-book a cab in advance
The only negative I can see at the moment is that their rides will cost you more. The minimum cost for their “Economy Car” is KD3 while their “Business Car” is KD4. If you’re interested in trying them out you can download their app or visit their website [Here]
According to Numbeo, the crowdsourced global database of reported consumer prices, Kuwait has the 9th highest cost of living in the world. Qatar was next Arab country on the list coming in at 27 followed by Lebanon at 35 and UAE in 36. The ranking is based on a multiple factors including consumer prices, rents, restaurant prices and local purchasing power. I don’t think anyone living here will be surprised by this.
On the other hand if you’re looking for an affordable place to go on vacation, the list above is of the countries with the lowest cost of living. I have a friend who just came back from Nepal and according to him his room was just $7 a night. Check out the full index [Here] and the infographic [Here]
The Creative Times Report held a Q&A with Sultan Al Qassemi, the co-director of Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum and asked him about the decision to have the Global Art Forum begin in Kuwait. This is a snippet from the conversation:
CTR: Can you talk about the decision to have the Global Art Forum begin in Kuwait this year before it comes to Dubai? Kuwait was at one time a leader of the regional art scene, but attention shifted away from the country in the years after the Gulf War, and now there appears to be a resurgence of interest in Kuwaiti art and culture. What attracted you to bringing the Global Art Forum to Kuwait City before Dubai this year?
SAQ: Kuwait was the launchpad for the globalization of Gulf culture over half a century ago. Kuwait is where some of the earliest radio, cinema, theater and even political and social movements of the Gulf originated several decades ago. Kuwait was also the launchpad for the first Gulf publication in color that was sold not only in the streets and markets of the Gulf but also in Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. So for the first time, the Gulf had moved from being a receiver of culture—from the West, India and other parts of the Arab world—to being a broadcaster, a publisher, a producer of popular content. This is our way of tipping our hat to Kuwait and recognizing its pioneering role in the globalization of culture. [Source]
For those interested, the Global Art Forum will be in Kuwait from March 14 to 15. For more information click [Here]
As I mentioned in my previous post on my stay in Marrakesh, my main reason going there was for a ski holiday. Not many people consider Marrakesh as a ski destination and even I didn’t even know they had slopes until a friend pitched the idea. Preparing for the trip was a bit of a pain since there was very very little information online on skiing in Marrakesh. I couldn’t even find a website that told me if it had snowed in the mountains or if the slopes were even open. All I knew is that the ski slopes were around an hour and a half drive from the main city and located in an area called Oukaimeden. Originally I wanted to take my own snowboard and boots with me since I wasn’t sure I could rent gear over there but, since I didn’t even know if the slopes were open, I decided not to go through the hassle and instead just took my snowboarding clothes with me.
Once my friends and me were in Marrakesh we asked around if there was snow in Oukaimeden and to our relief turns out there was. We rented a car with a driver and headed out to the slopes the following day. We ended up leaving the medina at around 9:30AM and arrived to the slopes before noon. The road to the top of the mountain was small and not very eventful except for this one incident involving a camel. Some people have camels on the side of the road for tourists to sit on and take photos and one went wild and ran into the middle of the road just as my driver was speeding to overtake another car on the road. Luckily we missed the camel which continued running down the run barely missing other cars.
Once we arrived to the slopes things got a bit intense. Two of my friends had never snowboarded before and needed an instructor. We spotted some guys hanging around on the side of the road and when they noticed we were tourists they all attacked our car. Turns out they were all instructors / guides and started arguing amongst each other on who saw us first and who should get us. Too dramatic but understandable since it’s a very poor country and everyone is trying to make a living. After having our driver translate for us we found out that they charge 100dhms an hour to take care of us either by instructing or just helping us get around. 100dhms is just KD3 so we each took a guide and headed towards the best equipment rental store to get our gear.
Their best equipment rental store was ghetto, like if your local bakala decided to rent out 90s ski gear (including neon colored one piece ski suits). But, compared to the alternative (people renting boots and equipment on the side of the road) this place seemed like a great find. Renting boots and a snowboard cost us 250dhms (KD7.7) each for the day, which I think was expensive compared to everything else. I think we could have gotten them even cheaper if we had asked for the gear for half a day or at least haggled. Once we got our stuff we headed to the first slope. A day ski pass to access the slopes is just 50dhms (KD1.5) which is the cheapest I’ve paid anywhere… ever. The bottom of the slopes was pretty packed but once you get the lift and head to the top its empty. That’s because many people just play with the snow at the bottom of the slopes or ride sleds. There aren’t many people who ski and there weren’t any other tourists from what I could tell.
One thing I found interesting is there were people walking around the slopes selling coffee and traditional Moroccan sweets. There was even a stand where you could pick up a bowl of steaming hot snails (a delicacy over there) if you wanted to. It’s actually pretty smart especially if you’re looking for a bit of an energy boost.
After spending sometime at the first slope we then decided to tackle their largest and steepest slope but that was a bit of a distance away. Our guides gave us three options of getting there:
1) Drive there by car
3) Take a donkey ride
Obviously we opted for the donkey ride which was a ton of fun and something again I hadn’t experienced in any other ski slope in the world.
Their highest slope was insanely cool and according to my guide 3000m high. The ride to the top was fairly long, maybe around 20 minutes and the closer we got to the summit the worst the visibility got. It was extremely foggy with a visibility of around 10m or so. Once we got off the lift at the top I couldn’t tell where the slope started and just figured I’d accidently end up flying off a cliff on my way down. But my guide knew the route by heart, which was great since we were going to snowboard down the slope blindly. It had snowed all night and there was a blizzard while we were at the top so the snow was fantastically deep and powdery.
Getting a guide was the smartest thing I did since I really couldn’t see shit the first half of the route down. I kept yelling at him that I couldn’t see and he just kept yelling back that if I see rocks to start turning the other way. Simple obvious advice but it worked.
Anyway I got to the bottom of the slope in one piece even though I did face plant on more than one occasion. Would I recommend skiing in Marrakesh? Hell yes I would, it’s a wonderful experience and they have enough strange characteristics to make the experience unique to them. It’s also a very affordable ski experience, one of the cheapest I’m aware of. Since it’s difficult to find information online what I would recommend to do if you’re interested in skiing in Marrakesh is to call a hotel there and ask them if the slopes are open. I would also do a search for #oukaimeden on instagram since I found a few photos of people on the slopes that way. If anyone has any questions let me know.
The other day I shared an article from KUNA stating the Kuwait Towers were opening on February 25th. According to a couple of readers who visited the towers, that article was incorrect and the towers are still closed. But, according to a security guard at the towers, they will be opening on March 10th.
The Cube is a new complex that has opened up near Sultan Center on Salem Mubarek Street in Salmiya. The complex is mostly made up of restaurants but there are also a few other non food related shops that have or are opening up soon. I passed by the complex yesterday and a few places like Xcite and Paul are open but the majority are still under construction Here is the list of places that are currently at the complex, the asterisk (*) indicates the place is currently open:
Tallu Hbabna Lebanese Restaurant*
Juan Valdez cafe
Zaatar w Zeit
Caffe Vergnano 1882