Kuwaiti in the Arctic

Posted by Mark

arctic

Nasser Al-Fozaie is a Kuwaiti who is currently living in the Arctic. He emailed me a couple of weeks back and I was curious to why he was there and so he sent me the below to share on the blog:

I’ve always wanted to experience the Arctic. I’m Nasser Al-Fozaie, a twenty-three year-old Kuwaiti, currently conducting sociocultural research and fieldwork on the Greenlandic Inuit society. I dare say life in the Arctic is quite extraordinary and the environment is truly wondrous to behold. The moment I arrived to Nuuk, Greenland, I was greeted by the heavenly whiteness of the city’s mountainous terrain and the rippling waters of Labrador with its gently floating sea ice in all its grace.

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I’m currently on my second week and I plan to stay here for the next four months, God willing. I decided to come here because I’ve always been fascinated by Earth’s geographic polar regions and I myself have travelled to many parts of the globe to experience both the physiography and the cultures of the places I visit. I lived in a Fijian village, for example, teaching in a public school and performing environmental initiatives with the locals. I was actually inaugurated into a native Fijian tribe which is way cool. I also went on several solo excursions such as backpacking across New Zealand, trekking the Cornish coast of Southwest England, train-hopping across Eastern Canada and music touring across the United States.

Indeed in order to truly understand something, you will need to put in the effort of exploring and searching for the answers you covet. The esoteric beauty that lies within travel is that it teaches humility and you soon realize how wrong you’ve been living. That said, I don’t necessarily understand why a lot of people are losing confidence in their abilities – they numb themselves through the doleful modus of self-deprecation. They, in perhaps a rather puerile sense, give up on their dreams. They start to imbue a desire for comfort and contentment – average contentment. It’s as if the extraordinary is no longer yearned for or encouraged.

I think many of us in Kuwait are fortunate to be given the opportunity to luxuriate our minds with knowledge and that’s something certainly worth thinking about rather than stressing over which restaurant you’ll dine in today or which car you want to save up for – the Audi or the Jaguar, or whether you should wear Chanel or Valentino tonight. .. and such is the malady of the contemporary indulgent persona. Thus far, I have received exceptional amounts of both academic and moral edification and with God’s help, I will continue to learn and grow.

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The Greenlandic Inuit people are quite sophisticated and masters of their trade, having grown from a hunter-gatherer society to a more industrialized community – which has begotten many sociocultural and sociopolitical conflicts, like the pseudo-modernization of the Greenlandic youth and the Danish influences and how it affects the culture, linguistics, politics and economy of this autonomous state. There is so much life out here, one wonders where to begin… so let’s just leave it at this point for now.

If you’re interested you could follow my Arctic adventures on instagram @nasser_alfozaie


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A Kuwait Metro Station

Posted by Mark

metro

The design and engineering group Atkins released the rendering above of a Kuwait Metro station they had proposed. Atkins are behind a number of projects including the Dubai Metro but I still think Saudi Arabia will end up with the nicest looking stations. In any case, I’m not even sure if the Kuwait Metro project is still even alive. [Link]


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The Pen Specialist

Posted by Mark

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Thursday night I passed by the Souk Al-Mubarakiya Festival for the second time to meet up with a friend and while taking a shortcut to avoid the crowds I ended up passing by a very unique pen store. It didn’t look like much from the outside but something caught my eye and I ended up walking in.

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The store, not very big maybe 3×4 meters was just covered wall to wall with displays filled with pens and just two brands, Parker and Shaeffer. I was in awe, the displays were filled with a lot of intricate items, like they’ve been gathering up over the years and I had so many questions but the shop keeper was with a customer so I waited overhearing the conversation. The shop keeper was telling the customer how the Parker pen he was buying was made in the USA and was from the last series that was produced in the States back in 1984.

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Once the customer left I started talking to the shop keeper who was called Gomes. According to Gomes the store originally opened back in the 50s but he had been working at the store since he came to Kuwait in 1977. It used to be located in a different part of the souk but that building had gotten demolished and they had moved into the current store in 1988. The store still contained a lot of old stock or in other words, vintage pens. Gomes had taken it upon himself to display some of the most vintage pens in the display cases with little hand written notes (in a beautiful handwriting I must say) about the pens. Over the years he’s also collected trinkets from here and there and he kept adding them to the display cases and now they’re all full of random objects that add so much character to the store.

I told him how much I loved the store and how I had been coming to the souk since I was a kid but how I never m
noticed the store even though it was on the main road. I didn’t buy anything since I was on my way to meet up with my friend but I did promise him I would come back. If anyone is interested in visiting the store it’s located across from the Green Land vegetarian restaurant in Souk Al-Mubarakiya. They’re open from 8AM to 1PM and then again from 4PM to 9PM and the store is called Al-Muneefi. Here is the approximate location on [Google Maps]


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Kubbar island is super green

Posted by Mark

kubbar

The picture above was taken by @pip41 on instagram and shows how green Kubbar island is right now because of the all the rain recently. Real greenery not plastic.


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Proud 2 be Kuwaiti 2014

Posted by Mark

The P2BK 2014 event launches this coming Thursday January 30th at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds [Map] and will last up untill February 25th. This year the set up is going to be similar to last years with an outdoor old souk that was built specifically to host this event. There will be a ton of Kuwaiti businesses participating including already established ones as well as new ones plus you have the Remal sand sculpting festival taking place alongside it as well. P2BK will be open daily from 10AM to 10PM and for more information you can check out their Instagram account [Here]

On a side note, companies seem to be neglecting their websites and are starting to rely solely on Instragram. I tried to google information on P2BK and all I ended up with was my blog since their website had no information on this years event. And, none of the information was made available in English. Events like this should be advertised to the expat community as well to make sure everyone else is included to share the experience.


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Remal Sand Sculpting Festival

Posted by Mark

remal

The Remal International Festival will be opening on January 30th at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds. 73 of the world’s best sand artists came to Kuwait and worked together to reimagine the stories of 1001 Nights and according to the organizers, the sand park will be the world’s largest. The festival will be running from this Thursday all the way till the end of April and you can check out my previous post to get an idea on how grand this festival will be [Link]


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One + Eleven = Two

Posted by Mark

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The Contemporary Art Platform has a couple of interesting exhibits taking place right now but the one I got to check out recently and found fascinating is “Scattered, Gathered”. Part of the “Scattered, Gathered” is the works of Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj who I was lucky enough to meet when I was visiting CAP. I thought his exhibit was really interesting because of the story behind it and the the result of it. Issam had been working on an architectural project in the city of Cambridge for a couple of years and as the project was about to move forward with construction it suddenly got canceled. That put Issam in a depression and he retreated to his apartment where he spent the next 10 months venting out his anger and frustration on twelve volumes of the 1890 Britannica encyclopedia. He superimposed his visual diaries onto 10,232 pages of the now they’re being displayed for the very first time at CAP.

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The exhibition is running until February 8th and its worth checking out. For more information on the exhibit click [Here]


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Inside the Kuwait National Museum

Posted by Mark

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A couple of days back I passed by the Kuwait National Museum for a little bit of exploration. Last week some friends of mine were given a tour of the two buildings that were still vacant and in shambles since the 1990 invasion and I really wanted to go check it out for myself. I’ve always been curious to see whats inside so I headed there on Thursday to take a look.

The museum is made up of four main buildings with two being occupied and two vacant. One of the vacant ones had under construction hoardings all around but the other building didn’t and the door was open so I just walked in. I took some photos which you can check out above, the black and white ones are from the first building I walked to while the colored ones are from the second building. There was nothing really to see since it looks like they’re finally renovating the building but at least I got to satisfy my curiosity.

If anyone knows where I can get some photos of the museum taken right after the invasion let me know. Also if anyone can get me access to the abandoned Al-Salam Palace then please email me.


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Airsoft game in abandoned Air Force base

Posted by Mark

What I liked about this video other than the realism and the location is the fact they used a drone to shoot some of the footage. [YouTube]


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Timelapse of P2BK sand sculpture being built

Posted by Mark

Preparations are already on their way for the upcoming Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti event that will take place early next year. The above video is a timelapse of one of the sand sculptures that was built for the event which looks like its going to be even bigger than last year. Sadly some of the sand sculptures got damaged during the storm and the P2BK instagram account has two videos showing the damages. [YouTube]


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