Guy Scrawls “Claudia I ♡ You” Across Kuwait

Post by Mark


This is just insane, a guy called Wilfred scrawled the message “Claudia I ♡ You” across Kuwait using GPS. It took him 11 days to get it done and by the end of it he had ridden, driven and kayaked over 2,000km. The message itself is 615km long. He also took a ton of photos and videos of the whole journey and even has an animation showing the whole trip. I can’t even figure out the logistics behind this, it’s crazy. Here is some more info:

Software Used: Osmand, Google Earth, QGIS, ArcMap, Google Earth, CartoDB, Basecamp
Hardware Used: Samsung Note 2, Garmin GPSMAP 64s
Highlights: the struggle to fit the ♡ between the oil fields, an epic dust storm south of the I, getting beaten into submission by the elements when kayaking the U and seeing V-22 Osprey night practice flights west of the O. Two portions involved offroading at night – the NE shoulder of the O and the first part of the bottom of the Y. Click video points in these locations for more detail.

So check out the animation first [Here]
Then once you’re done check out all the videos [Here] (randomly flip through them)

Oh and yeah, Claudia obviously liked this.

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Boy Scouts Of America – Troop 965

Post by Mark


A reader emailed me about a Boy Scouts of America open day thats taking place end of this month along with some photos. I had no idea the Boy Scouts of America had a local chapter and based on the photos I was sent it actually looks like it’s pretty legit. I was a boy scout when I was younger back in Lebanon and I loved it since we spent so much time outdoors. Check out some photos below and for more information on their upcoming event click [Here]

Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet Mr Kim

Post by Mark


There is a really old Korean guy called Mr Kim that has a shop in my building and I always found him fascinating. He’s got fairly long white hair, wears white bell bottoms with funky vintage shirts and drives a very well kept classic Chevrolet Caprice. I’ve actually posted about his shop before but never about him since I didn’t really know his story. But, recently he asked me to help him set up an Instagram account and we got to talking and it turns out he’s got such an interesting and random story.

Back in 1981 Mr Kim was the General Secretary of the Boxing Federation in Korea when Sheikh Fahad Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (the founder of the Kuwait Olympic Committee) was visiting Korea. Sheikh Fahad met with Mr Kim and offered him the position head coach of for the Kuwait National Boxing Team. Mr Kim accepted the position and came to Kuwait in 1982 and right away helped the Kuwaiti team win two bronze medals at the Asian Games that same year.


Mr Kim continued to train the Kuwait National Boxing Team before leaving a few years later to train the Kuwaiti police and later the army. Around 88-89 he left boxing behind and partnered up with Carlton Hotel to open a Korean restaurant (which is still there). In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, he was on vacation at the time but his two daughters and son were in Kuwait. His children stayed at the Carlton Hotel at first and later stayed at the home of an employee of the Korean embassy.

In 1991 Mr Kim came back to Kuwait after the invasion and got into a disagreement with the Carlton Hotel and so left the restaurant. In 1992 he opened his current shop which sells mostly hair bands and random little trinkets he brings in from Korea. His children and wife now live in Korea while he lives here alone. He’s 71 years old.


As I’ve mentioned before his shop is really worth checking out. I’ve actually taken a bunch of friends there and everyone was always surprised at how visually intense the interior is. So pass by him if you can, his shop is located on the mezzanine floor of Anjari Complex in Salmiya [Map]. You can also check out his Instagram account [Here]

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Trapped Inn – The Largest Escape Game in the Middle East

Post by Mark


Escape games are adventurous group games where each group is locked in a themed room and have 60 minutes to solve the mystery. Back in June I posted about one called Room of Clues thats located in Kuwait City but there is a new one opening up in Symphony Mall in Salmiya and it’s supposed to be the largest facility in the region. They started taking bookings yesterday and the prices range depending on how many people you are but generally they’re around KD10 per person and up. The most interesting aspect is that I counted six different type of games available to play which means if you take part in one escape and like it, you could come back and play one of the other games.


Trapped Inn opens on September 2nd and if you’re interested in finding out more or booking a game you visit their website [Here]

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Inside the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center

Post by Mark


The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center is set to be the largest museum in the world covering Natural History, Science, Space and Islamic Heritage, together with a Theatre and Fine Arts Centre. Construction has been on the way since June of last year and from what I am told construction will be completed by the end of this year. Once the buildings construction is completed, the interior work will begin and new renderings were recently released giving us a glimpse of how the museums might end up looking like. Below is some information on each of the museums as well as a link where you can check out the renderings.

The Space Museum (4,300m²) incorporates a 130 seat planetarium and tells the story of planet earth, the universe, space exploration and will also include an immersive reconstruction of the International Space Station. [Link]

The Science Museum (6,800m²) includes galleries for Human Body & Mind, Technology & Transport, Experiment and Robotics, with exhibits featuring hands-on experiments, games and simulator experiences. [Link]

The Natural History Museum (7,700m²) will offer visitors a unique insight into the natural world and includes a stunning ecosystem experience that allows visitors to explore a living rainforest, mangrove and coral reef. [Link]

The Islamic Museum (2000m2) tells stories of the importance of knowledge in Islam, the Islamic way of life and Islamic legacy in Kuwait. Features include stunning scale models of iconic mosques from around the world, a Treasures gallery and interactive exhibits that communicate the development and preservation of Islamic knowledge in science, arts and literature. [Link]

If you’d like to see how the exterior is going to look click [Here]

Thanks Khaled

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Where is the world’s hottest city?

Post by Mark


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

Post by Mark


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.


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.


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

Post by Mark


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

Post by Mark


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

Post by Mark


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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