Where is the world’s hottest city?

Posted by Mark

dust

Even in rich cities, poor planning can exacerbate the effects of heat. In Kuwait City, the predominance of concrete and asphalt means that temperatures really ramp up in the afternoon as the hard surfaces start to radiate back the heat they’ve been absorbing all morning. As Alshafan’s own research for the London School of Economics highlights, the plans for modern Kuwait City were drawn up in the 1950s by foreign firms with little local expertise or respect for the climate.

The fierce heat is so engrained in the city’s consciousness that, even in the cooler months of the year, most locals shy away from spending time outdoors. As an architect, Alshalfan comes across this often in requests from her clients. “The requests we get are very much indoor-centric, so if we were to suggest a courtyard or a garden space, they’ll be like, ‘No, no, no, that’s just going to be collecting dust and that’s going to be a waste of our land, so let’s close it up.’ So it has become a culture thing, which is unfortunate.”

The Guardian published an article last week on the hottest cities in the world and Kuwait obviously made the list. But what I think the most interesting part about the article was a link to a research paper called “The right to housing in Kuwait: An urban injustice in a socially just system” by Sharifa Alshalfan. I’m half way through the research and find it very fascinating and insightful. Definitely worth reading if you’re into this sort of thing. Check out The Guardian article [Here] and check out the research paper [Here]


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The Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre

Posted by Mark

hotel1

Last week I found out the Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre off the 4th Ring Road had finally opened up. Construction on the hotel started years ago, before the financial crisis (I think) and then after the crisis work on it stopped until a few years ago it continued again. Even when construction started they still ran into issues with laborers not wanting to work in the basement because they thought it was haunted. Many weren’t even willing to work alone on any floor because the hotel was built where the old ghost house used to be. But this past May the hotel was completed and opened up for business. Once I found out the hotel was open I decided to pass by and check it out of curiosity. The on duty manager was kind enough to give me a tour of the place and brief me a bit on the hotel.

hotel2

The hotel is located on the corner of the 4th Ring Road and the 30th. It’s an odd location because the area around the hotel is full of old low rise residential buildings. But, according to the hotel, they’re conveniently located because they’re close to Kuwait City and also close to recreational areas like Avenues and Salmiya. The hotel has nearly 300 rooms and over 20 meeting rooms. It’s a business hotel and it’s designed with that in mind. For example all the business rooms look different so that if you host meetings often at the hotel, you can choose a different room every time to keep the employees excited. The color of the hotel room corridors is also different on every floor so you don’t get a sense of ‎déjà vu if you’ve stayed at the hotel before.

hotel3

I took a few photos while I was getting a tour which I’ve shared below. The view from the top floors was pretty cool since the hotel is the tallest building in the area by far and you could see for miles without any obstruction. Would be interesting to see how the hotel ends up doing.


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‘Shredded Diesel’ Makes the Daily Mail

Posted by Mark

dielsel

The Daily Mail have published an article on the popular Kuwaiti bodybuilder ‘Shredded Diesel’. I used to come across his photos on instagram often and thought he was just another musclehead, but turns out he’s actually a personal trainer and has worked with the likes of Timbaland, Madonna and Justin Timberlake. One interesting thing in the article is that he encourages taking candy after workouts. It sounds a bit iffy but I’m probably going to research it a bit more after this post and see if that means I can have my favorite chocolate after the gym. Anyway check out the article with loads of photos on the Daily Mail website [Here]


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The Suburban House in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

suburb

The blogger Crazy in Kuwait posted a few pictures of some interesting looking houses in Kuwait and the one that caught my attention was the house that looks like an American suburban house complete with a white picket fence. Check out the other houses [Here]


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Getting Deported Sucks

Posted by Mark

police

Last week when I posted about the teachers getting deported for working illegally, I received many emails from teachers on the subject. One email that caught my attention was from a British teacher who had gotten deported for driving without a Kuwaiti license. I thought that was a sort of an urban legend or a law at least the police were being “selective” on who they apply it to. I’ve always wondered how the deportation process works, do they give you time to pack? Do you get to close your bank accounts and transfer your money? Do you get a court hearing even? Well this is what the teacher had to say on this subject (I’ve posted two of his emails below):

I am a British teacher working in Kuwait who has been deported for not having a Kuwaiti driving license. I am not a criminal and have many parents, students and people who will vouch for my good character. I have been treated like a dog in the deportation center where there are no human rights – you are seen as a worthless animal. This abuse must stop.

—————–

I have a British and International driving license, I have not had an accident in 12 years and have never been in trouble with the authorities before.

I was stopped by the police and immediately they started shouting at me, and swearing at me, I showed them my license and they said no that is not enough. My daughter was with me who was crying, I called my friend to collect her, they took me to the police station, booked me in and then to the prison in Talha. I was treated like a piece of shit by the police, I told them I want to speak to my embassy who visited me and said if I stay and wait for a decision I will be here for a long time, so it is better to leave. I told my family to pack up there things and take the same flight as me.

Whilst in prison I was not allowed to use the bathroom, we slept in filthy conditions and ate on the floor like animals, all for not having a Kuwaiti license – which incidentally the standards are much lower compared to British driving standards.

All the people getting deported where not criminals, there where business men, designers, sales executives, teachers, all whom contribute in a positive way to the country, yet we are being deported.

This needs to stop.

I know that this story is going around on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I now have to start my life again, no job, no money, no house of my own, no school for my kids, I will get back on my feet, I accept i have broken the law, but is this sentence not too harsh for such an offense.

I have to agree, I also believe this sentence is too harsh for such an offense in a similar way to how I found the KD1,000 fine for illegally barbecuing to be out of proportion (and later replace by deportation), or how you could get deported for fighting in public or merely being annoying on a jetski. I have no idea why the answer to everything is deportation but whatever their reason might be, I hope I never end up on the wrong end of the stick.

Photo from Kuwait Times


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Trampoline Park in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

trampo

Over the weekend I was over at the Sahara Restaurant Village and noticed a trampoline park was opening up. The location is pretty big so I’m hoping it’s going to be similar to Bounce in Dubai where it’s as much for adults as it is for kids. No idea when the Sahara location is opening up but based on their instagram account, it looks like they’ve opened up a smaller version in Hawalli.


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The metro is the solution

Posted by Mark

highway

Re:Kuwait is back from the dead and with an insightful post on why more highways aren’t the solution to Kuwait’s traffic problems, instead other solutions like the metro is. Check out his post [Here]


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New Ice Skating Rink, Musical Fountains a Skatepark and other new projects

Posted by Mark

iceskating

Awhile back a reader on the blog mentioned that TEC (Touristic Enterprises Company) were building a skatepark, so I emailed the person asking about it as well as a few other things and this is what I found out:

– The new skatepark will be located next to the ice skating rink in Kuwait City. There will be a new sports complex built there and the skatepark will be a part of it. The project is currently on hold because TEC is working with the Diwan Al Amiri to integrate the whole area which will include a new ice skating rink and a new musical fountain with water screens and fire shows. Initially they wanted to build each of the projects separately but the new TEC CEO wants to combine them all into one large project and make it as great as Al Shaheed Park which is right next door. The new project will have to work around the existing Discovery Mall building.

– Regarding the Kuwait Towers, the Amir wants the Kuwait Towers to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site so all work on the interior had to be put on hold. Work will continue after a meeting with UNESCO in Paris where they will receive the rules and specifications required to be approved as a UNESCO site. UNESCO doesn’t mind the exterior as much as the interior but the original plan of the towers had a disco dance floor as well as a bar so they’re waiting to see exactly how much of that can be changed.

entertainmentcity

– As I previously posted, Entertainment City is shutting down. They’re bringing in a firm to do a feasibility study so they can rebuild the park from the ground up. My contact didn’t mention Six Flags and he literally said “we will start re-building it” so my guess is the park will remain with TEC.

– TEC is currently considering turning Shaab Park into a LEGO Theme Park

– There are still around 12 other projects in the pipeline including a world class water park

I found all this very encouraging and exciting except for one aspect, the ice skating rink. I really hope they don’t demolish the current one, I think it’s as important to Kuwait’s History and landscape as are the water towers and Kuwait Towers. I wasn’t able to get access to the 3D renderings of the sports complex project because the contracts with the design firm hasn’t been finalized but if anyone here has them by any chance please email me them.

If I find out any more information on any of the above projects I’ll make sure to share them here on the blog.

Entertainment City photo by Ahmed Al Bather


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Making of the Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City Marina

Posted by Mark

If you’re into How It’s Made style documentaries then you’ll appreciate this video on the making of the Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City Marina. The most interesting part for me is the fact that you can take Styrofoam, cover it with cement and then end up with a 20ton floating concrete deck. It’s only 11 minutes long so check it out. [YouTube]

marina


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Kuwait is Building the Largest Museum in the World

Posted by Mark

According to the 40 minute film below, the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center that is currently under construction will be the largest museum in the world once completed. The museum will be located next to Shaab Park on the Gulf Road and include:

– A Natural History Museum
– A Science Museum
– A Museum of Islamic History
– A Space Museum
– A Fine Arts Center
– A 350 seat Theatre


[YouTube]

I knew the project was huge but I didn’t think it would end up being the largest museum in the world. I still find that hard to believe. Check out the film above and for more information on the project including 3D renderings click [Here]

Thanks Arad


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