The First Graffiti Park Coming Soon

Posted by Mark

Cozmo Entertainment will be opening Kuwait’s first Graffiti park really soon. The park will be called Cozmo Spraybox and it’s going to be located near Sultan Center Shaab. I passed by recently to check it out (which is how I ended up with a small cameo in the video above) and I really liked the idea. The space isn’t very big but the ideas they have for it is pretty interesting, basically they’re going to rend out space for artists to come graffiti and they’ll provide the spray cans and everything. For now the video above is a bit of a preview, will share more info once I get it. [YouTube]

spraypark


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Impromptu Dance in Japan

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Zaina is a Kuwaiti Zumba instructor who was in Japan recently and had a pretty cool experience which I thought would be interesting to share here:

Quick background story: I was in Osaka, Japan with some friends right outside the metro station en route to Kyoto. On the way in I noticed a bunch of different dance crews practicing in their own corners, with their own boom boxes. I sat around and watched for a while until my friend suggested we Zumba!

Despite the major language barrier between us, we managed to find a way and communicated through dance. This is definitely one of the best moments that I’ve encountered on my journey in the Zumba and dance world. OH I also need to mention that this video is the first and only shot. This amazing group of dancers had never heard the song or seen ANY of the choreo prior to what you see!

I loved the whole thing from the story to the video which is why I wanted to share it here. If you’re interested in Zumba you can follow Zaina on instagram @zainzumba or on Facebook [Here]

zaina


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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.

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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.

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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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The Kuwaiti Resistance

Posted by Mark

resistence

On the occasion of the Kuwait Invasion I thought I would share a very informative article on the Kuwaiti Resistance. The article was published by the Middle East Quarterly back in 1995 but is actually taken from a book called “Days of Fear“. It’s very interesting to read although it’s a bit long. I actually had to send it to my Kindle so I could read it since I don’t generally read articles this long in a web browser.

The article contains intricate details on the resistance and lots of accounts of their heroic actions, many which I hadn’t heard of before. Here’s a snippet just to give you an idea of the kind of stories that the article contains:

On some occasions, Kuwaitis had no choice but to take severely wounded Resistance fighters to the hospitals, sometimes only steps ahead of the Iraqis. In one incident, a youth shot in the head was admitted as a traffic accident victim. The Iraqis knew that someone had been wounded and would end up in a hospital, so they searched the operating rooms just as he was about to undergo surgery. The patient was obviously in a bad way but the Kuwaiti doctor could not risk telling the cause of his wound. The patient’s x-rays would clearly show the bullet in his head, so the Kuwaiti doctors played a trick: One of them left the room, ostensibly to get the images that were just then being developed, but actually x-rayed his own head and showed the film to the Iraqi, who was satisfied by this ruse and left the hospital staff to get on with its work.

And here is another:

About ten days before the land war, in late February 1991, another gaffe outside Kuwait may have undone much of their good work. The Resistance informed the government-in-exile that it had sabotaged the Iraqi mining of the oilfields, and that most of the wells apart from the Wafra field and a few others were safe. An official apparentlyfoolishly broadcast news of this accomplishment. The Iraqis may have heard the broadcast or may have simply decided on their own that they had to test the circuits for real. In any case, they tried to blow up a number of wells at Rawdatain, in the north of Kuwait, as a test. They failed to explode. The Iraqis then checked the charges and discovered the sabotage. Over the next few days, Iraqi army engineers frantically reset the detonators, and then blew the wells. Overall, the operation was still a victory for the Resistance, for while about 720 wells were destroyed, the Iraqis did not have time to reset and blow the other 300.

As I said the article is pretty long but it’s thorough. Check it out [Here]

Photo: Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty Images


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Graffiti Parking Demolished

Posted by Mark

parkinglot

The old abandoned parking lot in Salmiya that was popular with graffiti artists was demolished today. I thought it was going to get refurbished since a new mall opened up right next door and now I’m wondering if it will be rebuilt as a parking lot or more likely… another mall will be built in it’s place.

graffiti2


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Photos of Old Cinescape Theaters

Posted by Mark

oldcinescape

I managed to get my hands on some old photos of Cinescape (KNCC) movie theaters. Some of these photos were taken back when the theaters were still active while others were taken I am assuming before they were demolished. I wasn’t aware we had open air cinemas before, I knew of the open air drive-thru cinemas like the Ahmadi one but didn’t know we had seated open air cinemas. Must have been an interesting experience watching a movie outdoors in this heat.


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Kuwait in a 1000 Words

Posted by Mark

krishna

“I’ve been in Kuwait for 12 years now. I am here to support my wife, my daughter and my two sons. I used to clean at the Airport. Now I clean here around the Kuwait Towers. I have only been able to go home to Nepal and see my family 3 times in 12 years. I miss their faces very, very much……But I am happy”. – Krishna

Kuwait in a 1000 Words in a new Facebook page by Tim Carr (TJC Films). Tim meets a lot of interesting people because of his work and so he decided he would introduce the people he meets to the rest of the world. As of this post he has introduced 22 people ranging from street cleaners to artists and even Big D. Everyone has a story and this is a great way of showcasing them. Check out the Facebook page [Here]


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Hooligans Chase Away Cops

Posted by Mark

copschased

A friend sent me the video below which according to the uploader was recorded just a few days ago. Not really sure what started this incident but in the video you can see the cops being chased away by some young men who start throwing bottles at their car. Later in the video the riot police show up but they get welcomed with green laser beams. Check out the full video below.


[YouTube]

Update: Video has been removed by the uploader.


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A Story About the Twenty Dinars Note

Posted by Mark

20kd

Uwe is a well known photographer in the local advertising scene and he’s lived in Kuwait since 1983. I’ve known him for a few years and awhile back when I posted about the new Kuwaiti currency he emailed me a very interesting story regarding the photo of the Court Complex on the back of the old KD20 bank note which I thought was interesting to share. This is what he told me:

Shortly before the invasion I was contracted to photograph the Court Complex which was to be used as part of the design on the soon to be introduced KD20 bank note. I headed to the Court Complex on a Friday morning with someone from the Central Bank to shoot the building. We parked our Toyota 4-Runner on the side and I got up on top of it with my camera and tripod to take photos. A short while after two police cars with sirens on showed up and told me to get down from the roof of the car. They asked us what we were doing and when we told them they asked for our permission papers. THe person who was with me from the Central Bank had forgotten to bring the permission papers with him so the police took me into the court house and held me there until the person went and fetched the permission slip and came back. It took him 7 hours to bring that paper! From then on whenever I look at the KD20 note I remember that messed up Friday.

On a side note, why does the Central Bank of Kuwait website ask you if you want to visit their old website or their new one? Why not just automatically load the new one?


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Inside the Factory Producing the New Kuwaiti Bank Notes

Posted by Mark

currency

BBC have an article and a short video report on De La Rue, the company that designed and printed the new Kuwaiti Dinars. In the video below the reporter is at the factory while they’re printing the Kuwaiti Dinars and you get to see her hold an uncut sheet of the notes as well as discuss the currency a bit with an employee. Check out the video below and then the article [Here]

Thanks Neil


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