Random Fact

Posted by Mark

nokiaceo

Rajeev Suri who was appointed as the new Nokia CEO a couple of days ago was raised and spent a major part of his life here in Kuwait.

Thanks Chris


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Escape from Kuwait

Posted by Mark

escapefromkuwait

Escape from Kuwait is an interesting short story about a guy who managed to escape Kuwait through the desert during the 1990 Iraq invasion. Below is an excerpt from the story:

As time wore on it was becoming obvious the Iraqis wouldn’t leave. And, one by one, the families I was providing with sustenance were “discovered” (informants were rampant) and arrested. I also ran out of Dinars. I did what everyone was doing to stay alive: I used to drive up to Basrah (the Iraqi city neighbouring Kuwait) to sell my electronics one by one; first the VCR, then another, then my Boom Box, my mini Hi-Fi, then the big stereo, the small TV etc… The only thing nobody wanted was my Amiga 1000. When these had gone I started disposing of the white goods: the dishwasher, the dryer, the fridge (we had practically doubles of everything). Iraqis were eager to buy since such goods were not widely available in their land, but the money they paid was peanuts. Still, no choice. The situation gradually became desperate, and I realised that I had to leave. I gave to our Philippina maid 3 months’ salaries and told her that she should go to her embassy (Asian and African officials were organising mass evacuations). The poor thing was crying so hard. I exchanged my wife’s car, a Chevrolet Caprice Classic, to a Daihatsu Rocky a Palestinian colleague had. This would normally be a dumb deal, as the Chevy was worth 4 times the Daihatsu. But I needed a 4X4 vehicle to escape through the desert. With most of my last Dinars I bought essential spare parts, two cans of motor oil and a tank of gasoline at the black market. I bid farewell and good luck to the families that remained hidden, and one early dawn in early October I headed a convoy of 6 trucks south to Saudi Arabia. I had gotten a makeshift “map” from a Swedish photographer who used to race in desert rallies a few years back and now pieced together escape convoys (an aside: why wouldn’t he himself leave?… He was in love with an Indian girl who had not left the country yet… ah, the power of love).

The story is not too long (around 3 pages) and interesting all the way through.
Check it out [Here]

Photo above from Kuwait Invasion: The Evidence.


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Submarine off Kuwaiti waters

Posted by Mark

A lot of people spotted a submarine out in the sea today, turns out it’s part of the Pakistani fleet on a goodwill visit. Pretty cool. [YouTube]


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Kuwaiti Word a Day

Posted by Mark

itlookstasty

Kuwaiti Word a Day is an interesting blog where every day they teach you one new Kuwaiti word. Actually I think the writer herself is learning a new Kuwaiti word everyday and sharing it with her readers. What I found specifically interesting about the blog is the fact that the posts are informal, sometimes personal and generally pretty entertaining. You can check it out [Here]


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The Kuwait Embassy in Japan

Posted by Mark

kenzo

A completely random but interesting fact, I recently found out the beautifully designed Kuwait Embassy in Japan (pictured above) was designed by the same legendary architect behind the original Kuwait Airport, Kenzo Tange. The building was built in 1966, 13 years before the Kuwait Airport.

via @kashkool_kw

Note: If you click the original Kuwait Airport link you can see photos of how the Kuwait Airport originally looked like.

kuwaitairport


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How KDD Ice Creams Are Made

Posted by Mark

kdd

A while back I contacted KDD and asked them if I could visit their factory so I could post about how my favorite ice creams were made. After a few emails back and forth I finally got to pass by earlier this week for a private tour. I was given some basic rules with regards to photography. I wasn’t allowed to shoot video or take wide shots of the factory floor and all the shots I did take would have to be approved by them. I thought these were fair requests and as long as I could still tell the story of how the ice creams were made I didn’t mind them.

The KDD factory is located in Subhan and is really huge. Before going on the tour I was required to wear a lab coat, a hair net, wash my hands and remove any jewelry. We then had a long walk to the ice cream making section of the factory and when we finally got there it turned out it was my lucky day. The first ice cream machine was busy making my favorite ice cream ever, KDD Silver. Because the post is long and full of pictures you have to click on the link below to check it all. Also if you want to go on a tour yourself there is contact info at the end of the post.

Read the rest of this entry »


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The demise of theaters in Kuwait

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

The Arab Times have an interesting Q&A with Kuwaiti film maker Shakir Abal on the demise of theaters (not cinema) in Kuwait. The most fascinating part for me had to do with censorship:

Q: So there is a very strict censorship in Kuwait?
A: When you read the censorship laws, it is not very strict. But the problem lies in the unpredictability which in turn is due to the fact that it is open to interpretation by whoever it is. So when you have invested say 50,000 KD in a play or 100,000 KD on a production, which needs to be done even before the first show is staged, you cannot afford for this one guy who comes from the censorship one day and tells you ‘Well this is wrong. You have to close the play down for whatever reason”.

Q: So you mean to say there are no clear cut ‘dos and don’ts’ as far as censorship is concerned?
A: The laws are not clear cut, and it is, unfortunately, being controlled by people who lack in knowledge. I am 56 years old. I do not like a 25 year old putting restriction on what I can see or cannot see. And that is what is happening. That is wrong. If a script is approved, it is approved. End of the story. If they cannot or do not know how to read the script, then it is not my fault.

Who would want to invest time and money in a show if it could get shutdown without warning by a censor? Obviously not a lot of people hence the demise. Check out the full interview on the Arab Times website [Here]


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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.

arctic2

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.

arctic3

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

pen1

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.

pen2

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.

pen3

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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