First Ring Road – An Infinite Loop

Post by Mark

firstringloop

Awhile back I was talking to my friends dad who’s been in Kuwait working on the local infrastructure since the 60s and he told me that when the First Ring Road was originally conceived it was meant to be a loop. I don’t remember the exact conversation but they ran into issues (I think a politician didn’t want a bridge overlooking his property or something along those lines) and the project never got completed. Now the project is back on track and those of you who work in the city have probably noticed a lot of road closures. Last week the road from Dasman roundabout to the First Ring Road was shutdown and dug up and yesterday the Dasman roundabout itself was dissected (pictured below) so construction can start there as well.

dasman

I’m going to try and get official pictures of the project but once construction is completed it should look something similar to my drawing on top. I’m guessing as well that once the project is completed you should be able to loop the First Ring Road without stopping at any traffic light so I’m curious to see how they’re planning to connect the current end of the First Ring Road which ends at Souk Mubarakia to the new extension which starts near the Grand Mosque and Kuwait Stock Exchange. I checked the Projects Explorer on the Ministry of Public Works website and according to the information I found there, once this project is completed there will be a total of 5 bridges connecting the current end of the First Ring Road to the start of the First Ring Road. I couldn’t find a completion date nor could I find renderings of how the project will look like also once completed but I’m trying to get my hands on them.

If you have any renderings or more information please share it.


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Kuwait is a Cheap Place to Live

Post by Mark

watertowers

The 2016 Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey was released recently and Kuwait came out pretty low on the MENA list (which is a good thing). The most expensive place to live in the MENA region turned out to be Dubai and the cheapest place to live turned out to be Jeddah.

Top 10 most expensive cities to live in the MENA region:
1- Dubai, UAE
2- Abu Dhabi, UAE
3- Beirut, Lebanon
4- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5- Manama, Bahrain
6- Doha, Qatar
7- Cairo, Egypt
8- Muscat, Oman
9- Kuwait City, Kuwait
10- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Mercer’s survey includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city, and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US$. [Source]

The 10 most expensive cities to live in the world are:
1- Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2- Luanda, Angola
3- Zurich, Switzerland
4- Singapore, Singapore
5- Tokyo, Japan
6- Kinshasa, Dem. Rep. of the Congo
7- Shanghai, China
8- Geneva, Switzerland
9- Ndjamena, Chad
10- Beijing, China

If you want to see the full report you need to register on the Mercer website [Here]

via BlogBaladi


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4DX Cinemas Now Available in Kuwait

Post by Mark

4DX auditoriums include high-tech motion seats and special effects including wind, fog, lightning, bubbles, water, rain and scents. These effects work in perfect synchronicity with the action on screen creating the most unmissable and exhilarating cinematic experience yet.

Cinescape is launching 4DX tomorrow with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Ticket prices for 4DX films is KD8 which is double the price of regular tickets. According to the Grand Cinemas website they’re also going to be launching 4DX soon.

4dx

Not sure if I care for 4DX much, it sounds like a gimmick but I guess I’ll have to try it out at least once before I make up my mind on it.

Thanks ShadowofMath


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Alazame Outdoor Gear

Post by Mark

alazame

Yesterday while at my mechanic getting some work done on my Datsun I decided to kill time by exploring the area a bit. For some odd reason there are around a dozen scuba diving shops near my mechanic and in between them was this one store called Alazame that sold outdoor gear. I decided to walk in and check their products out when I noticed they sold NiteCore flashlights. I’ve been wanting to get a new flashlight for awhile now since the one I have I now keep in my Datsun. I had researched a few and had decided on ordering a NiteCore one off Amazon and luckily I hadn’t placed the order yet. Alazame turned out to be the local dealer for the NiteCore brand and their prices are exactly like on Amazon. The two flashlights I had my eye on were the P12 and the MH12, the P12 sells for KD18 and the MH12 for KD24, which are their prices on Amazon not including tax or shipping. I ended up picking up the MH12 and figured I’d post about the place in case anyone is ever googling looking for one of their brands in Kuwait.

nitecore

Alazame are the dealers for the following popular brands:

Leatherman
Gerber
NiteCore
Jack Wolfskin
Buck Knives
SOG Specialty Knives
Buff Headwear

leatherman

They have an online store with some of their products and brands which you can order from although it’s not very accurate, the NiteCore P12 for example shows as out of stock but they actually did have it in stock. Still its a good source to check prices out and if it’s something you really want you could always call them and check if they have it in the store. Their website is alazame.com and their phone number is 66322666. If you want to pass by their store then here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Wholesome Foods, A New Organic Supermarket

Post by Mark

wholesomefoods1

If you were hoping the American supermarket chain Whole Foods would open in Kuwait one day, well this is the closest thing you’re gonna get. Wholesome Foods is a new supermarket that Saveco have opened up and not only does it have the same name as Whole Foods, it basically has the same interior look and color scheme along with a similar concept (they mostly carry organic and healthy food products).

wholesomefoods2

It’s not a very large place, but it’s two floors and they have a good variety of items you won’t find at other supermarkets. They’re located in Salmiya in The View building where Marks & Spencer is so the place is pretty close to where I live. Since I’m always frustrated with the lack of product range at Sultan I’ll probably be passing by Whole Foods (can we just call it that?) to pick up whatever I can’t find anywhere else.

wholesomefoods3

If you’re wondering about the prices, they’re similar to Saveco. Whole Foods is open daily from 10AM to 1AM and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Truefitt & Hill Barbershop Opening in Kuwait

Post by Mark

trufitt

Truefitt & Hill is the oldest barbershop in the world established back in 1805 in London, and they’re opening their first location in the Middle East here in Kuwait at the Symphony Mall. I hadn’t heard of them until a redditor mentioned them and according to him they’ll be opening up by the end of the year.


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Internet Latency in Kuwait

Post by Mark

There is an interesting discussion in the 248AM Community regarding internet latency in Kuwait. Internet latency is how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another so for example, from your computer to the website you’re trying to access. When browsing the web though, latency isn’t that important, but when playing video games, latency can make a world of a the difference in gameplay. A FASTtelco employee left some information regarding local internet latency in the discussion which I thought would be interesting to share, so I’ve copied and pasted it below with some minor changes:

—————————————————

In order the get the best latency, first we have to understand the dependencies and the major elements which might effect your latency:

First, the ISP’s are contracted with international providers either by dry routes (land) or through the wet routes (sea). Sometimes it’s a direct IPLC to Europe, and sometime through other destinations. The major difference might result in higher latency, but at the present time, most of the international routes are optimized to provide the best routes, resulting in closer latency ms. So let’s put this factor on the side.

LTE:
Unfortunately, the mobile is a non guaranteed service. It always depends on the load within the closest cell tower and this changes with your geographic location. You will always be getting different ms (ping) depending on how many people are using the same cell tower and the time of day.

Fiber GPON:
This is the most guaranteed service in Kuwait. Usually the latency between the ONT box located in the house to the main point of the ISP is 10-15ms and that’s consider to be the least across all the other internet services. Another factor, we have CAT6 cables connecting between the ONT box and the main router which isn’t the situation in DSL areas (with few exceptions to DSL clients having upgraded their copper cables to CAT6 cabling from the MOC external point to inside the house). The GPON provides stability and FASTtelco does offer the gaming package on the GPON due to the reduction of error factors.

DSL:
The various ISP’s differ in local ms (ping) latency depending on the equipments they use, the different routes and the types of services they have with the MOC. The best way to compare is to test the local ms (between you and your ISP). This will indicate the exact latency which will assist you when conducting the comparison between the different local ISP’s.

When an ISP conducts a test on the clients house, they check the external point, and that’s what’s guaranteed. Meanwhile, the local building cable (copper) is out of the scope. Therefore, a proper cable needs to be in place. Today most of the DSL areas are over 30 years old and so we heavily recommend to replace those old copper cables with CAT6 cables in order to have a much more stable service.

The router also plays a major part with the service and is the last factor that can effect your internet latency.


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List of Real Estate Websites in Kuwait

Post by Mark

apartment

A friend who’s currently looking for a new home suggested this post. It’s a list of all the real estate websites where you can find an apartment or a house to rent in Kuwait. If you have any which I haven’t listed below then let me know in the comments. Also if you have any experience with any of them, share it in the comments as well since it might help other people.

Real Estate Websites
Al Tijaria
Aqar Real Estate
Asas International Real Estate Co.
Deirah
Hilite Homes
Horizon Q8
KREIC
Kuwait 4 Rent
My Q8 Home
Q8 Realtor
Kuwait Real Estate Directory
The House Box

Other
248AM Classifieds
Expatriates
FindQ8
Just Landed
Mourjan
OLX


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Bait Al Arab – Kuwait State Stud

Post by Mark

Bait Al Arab is another project under the umbrella of Diwan Al Amiri, the same diwan thats responsible for various large local projects like Shaheed Park, the Kuwait Cultural Center and the museums in Shaab. Bait Al Arab (previously called Arabian Horse Center) was originally established back in 1980 and prominently positioned Kuwait on the world’s Arabian Horses map until it’s destruction during the 1990 invasion. Six years after the invasion the members of the Arabian Horse Committee were given the task to re-establish the center by traveling the world and bringing back with them the finest Arabian horses.

baitarab

Today, Bait Al Arab is committed to supporting private Arabian horse farms in the country by providing stallions and conducting cultural workshops on horse nutrition, breeding, training and veterinary skills. The video above which showcases Bait Al Arab was shared with me by Tamdeen Group who were commissioned to design and develop the project. Several Arabian horse beauty contests have already been held at Bait Al Arab with the most recent one being the International Arabian Horse Festival Kuwait 2016. Check out the video on Bait Al Arab above, or on [YouTube]


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Iftar at the Kuwait Towers

Post by Mark

kuwaittowersdinner

Last night I had an Iftar dinner at the Kuwait Towers and to my surprise it wasn’t that bad. Firstly, if you try and get a hold of them via telephone thats not going to happen because I tried calling them for two days over and over to book a table but I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. Not an operator, not their reservation desk, nothing and I tried calling at different times of the day like 12PM, 4PM, 6PM, 8PM etc.. and all with the same results. Luckily when we got there it wasn’t that packed (yes there were people) and we managed to get a table right next to the window.

The interior actually doesn’t look that bad at night since it was nicely lit with not very bright lighting. The service was probably the most impressive thing about the place, the staff there were pretty professional, knew exactly what they were doing and it felt like we were dining at a 5 star hotel restaurant. When it came to the food that was also a lot better than I was expecting (in buffet standards). There were a bunch of different mains to choose from from traditional Arabic ones to more international ones with quite a good selection of seafood, meat and chicken dishes to choose from.

The only issue I had with the whole place was the price. I was expecting the buffet to cost somewhere between KD12 to KD15 per person based on the kind of food that was served but it turned out to be KD19 per person which ties it with Jumeirah for the most expensive Iftar buffet in Kuwait. **UPDATE BELOW** I think they also have the most expensive soft drinks in Kuwait since a can of coke costs KD1.5. You shouldn’t be drinking soft drinks anyway so I guess thats a good preventative measure. I think it’s not a bad place to go to if you’ve got an out of town visitor and if you keep your restaurant bill you’re allowed access to the the Kuwait Towers observation deck for free which is usually a KD3 cost per person. Overall I left impressed.

Update: Ok turns out I can’t calculate for shit nor can my friend. 28 divided by 2 is 14 and not 19. The buffet turned out to be KD14 per person which means its actually not expensive and what I was expecting the buffet to cost.


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