5 Intriguing Reasons to Explore Hawalli in Kuwait

Post by Mark

hawalli

I’m really not a big fan of Hawalli even though my Vespa has made the traffic much more bearable but a reader thinks it’s worth giving a shot and has published an article on The Culture Trip website about it. Check it out [Here]


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Tour of Al Salam Palace Construction

Post by Mark

New Kuwait have uploaded a video of a tour of the Al Salam Palace construction site. Al Salam Palace if you aren’t aware is currently being refurbished so that it can be turned into a museum. The video tour is in Arabic and you can watch it above or on [YouTube]

On a side note what is New Kuwait and are they connected to the government? Their website is newkuwaitgov.com and their logo is in English only as “New Kuwait” but their website and all their content is only in Arabic. Why give something an English name and then create just an English logo when all your content is going to be in just Arabic?

Thanks Khaled


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New Telecom Operator?

Post by Mark

xtra

A few people have emailed me regarding what looks to be a new telecom operator in Kuwait called Xtra. I noticed a few of their outdoor adverts near Avenues and I checked their website and there really isn’t much information there. I don’t think it’s a new telecom operator because we would have heard a lot more about it in the press, but I also can’t figure out what they are.

Based on their website, the prepaid card costs KD5 and it allows you to talk unlimited local calls a day once you spend 300fils that day. It also comes with 3GB internet and unlimited access to social media applications. Here is a link to their [Website]


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How powerful is your passport?

Post by Mark

passports

Oman completely blows all its neighbors out of the water coming in at 13th place.

1 – United Stated of America (147 visa free countries)
1 – United Kingdom (147 visa free countries)
7 – Canada (140 visa free countries)
13 – Oman (134 visa free countries)
47 – United Arab Emirates (72 visa free countries)
52 – Qatar (66 visa free countries)
54 – Kuwait (64 visa free countries)
57 – Saudi Arabia (61 visa free countries)
59 – India (59 visa free countries)
61 – Bahrain (61 visa free countries)
64 – Egypt (53 visa free countries)
73 – Lebanon (44 visa free countries)

Check out the full list [Here]

Update: It seems they had made a mistake with Oman’s ranking, they’ve updated the list and Oman is now ranked 63 (54 visa free countries). Bahrain was also moved to position 57. Not sure if any other changes were made.

Thanks Musaed


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Bringing malls to the masses

Post by Mark

marzouq

The Tamdeen chairman Mohammed Al Marzouq recently had an interview with Arabian Business where he mentions a few things that are interesting and a friend mine sent me a few highlights that I thought were interesting:

– Tamdeen are developing a new residential and retail project called Tamdeen Square which will be located near Messilah on the Fahaheel Expressway. 30 of the apartments have already been sold via hearsay. Mohammed Al Marzouq is betting on the fact that skyrocketing house prices, a huge waiting list for government-issued houses and their distance from the city centre means that many Kuwaitis will prefer the convenience of apartment life. The very talented AGI Architects are the designers behind Tamdeen Sqaure.

tamdeensquare

– Tamdeen is taking over development of the stalled tennis project next to 360 Mall and will be completing it as a “massive expansion” of 360 Mall that will include a 4000-seat stadium as the home of the Kuwait Tennis Federation.

– Al Manshar Mall was demolished a few years ago for redevelopment into a much larger, more modern new mall and will now be completed by 2017. The current Al Kout development on the waterfront [with the fountains] has been rebranded as Souq Al Kout while the land side one will simply be Al Kout Mall.

– Tamdeen was formerly working on a 160000-square meter project called the Mall of Kuwait in Sabahiya but then the global economy slipped and the project went dead, but apparently it’s back on.

Check out the full interview on Arabian Business [Here]

Thanks Khaled


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Kuwait Win of the Week: Meiagib Nasser Al-Dossary

Post by Mark

mail

A reader posted the following story in the community forum and I figured I would share it here as is:

It was a routine day with a regular issue “I didn’t receive my registered mail”. I bought an item and that was shipping via registered mail from Singapore; status is showing that it has reached Kuwait on 10th of March and today was 24-March-2015.

During this gap from 10 to 24, I’ve been to Kaifan Central Post Office, Abu Halifa post office, KOC post office Ahmadi and Ahmadi Post office 3 Times.

Long story short either I was told to go to my area post office which is Ahmadi or simply “Maa Fi” and waived away. During my 3 visits to Ahmadi post office; I heard it a lot “Maa Fi” and few times that it didn’t came.

Luckily one day I was surfing net for any possible help or solution, I came to Ministry of Communication “Postal Sector” Site; on that page is a picture of Asst. Undersecretary and link to the site which is in Arabic and contains some basic info.

Site: http://moc.kw/English/post.html

Randomly I sent a text to Asst. undersecretary Engineer Meiagib Nasser Al-Dossary, and after 45 minutes I got a mobile call from Airport Post office, that guy asked my tracking number and found it in less than two minutes saying that “We received it back from your area Post Office” and you will receive it after 2 days from your own area.

I didn’t almost believed that, kind of shock that a mail I’m searching can be found so easily. I got a call from another guy and asked me same details and asked about problems I faced at area Post Office. I told him that they have found it at airport “returned”.

I believe all thanks to Mr. Meiagib Nasser Al-Dossary (Asst. Undersecretary). After those two calls, I got a call from him “sorry for delay and in future if I need any postal help I can contact him”; that felt very nice.

To check that further, I spread the word out of this help and asked my friends (who are also waiting for their registered mail) to contact him and results was again the same. He was helpful and guided them to write person.

I believe Mr. Meiagib is kind enough to let anyone contact him for help and solve the issues.

It surely can be one of the good things in Kuwait. I hope anyone get help from this incident.

I have a package that I need to pick up this week from the post office, should be routine but we’ll see how it goes.

Photo by Mathai


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Fire at the Airport

Post by Mark

fireairport

A friend of mine traveling on Highway 51 spotted the fire above at the Kuwait Airport. No idea if the plane is on fire or another vehicle near it.

Thanks Edgar

Update: According to a reader it was a controlled fire drill.


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Opt-Out of SMS Ads

Post by Mark

teavana

I’m not a big fan of SMS ads because brands subscribe to them without my permission and there never seems to be a way to unsubscribe from them. Two days ago I got an SMS ad from Teavana, one of the only brands I don’t mind getting ads from since one time their ad was like come by and pick up 100g of free tea (which I did). But, in their latest ad I noticed they’ve now added an “opt-out” option at the end. I’m not going to opt-out of their SMS’s but I think every brand should have this option since it’s so much more professional and as a consumer, I don’t end up hating a brand because of their spam (I’m looking at you BMW). I’ll be filing this under Kuwait win of the week.


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Sneak Peek: Al Shaheed Park

Post by Mark

shaheedtop

Last week I posted a link to an article on Al Shaheed Park which contained beautiful photos as well as a bit of information on the park. Well on Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited for a walk-around tour of the park which still hasn’t opened to the public and I have to say, it’s as impressive as the pictures made it out to be.

In this post I’m going to try and share some information that I think hasn’t been shared yet anywhere as well as answering some questions some readers asked under my previous post. First here is a photo from the park map listing all the different spaces:

map

The primary areas of the park are the two museums, the Habitat Museum and the Remembrance Museum. The Habitat Museum will house information on Kuwait’s environment, animals, birds, vegetation and weather, while the Remembrance Museum will house an interactive exhibit on the historical battles of Kuwait and the Gulf War. There are a bunch of other sections as well which are also important.

shaheedaviary

The Aviary for example is a large open enclosure for the birds, mostly migratory ones. There is a very modern and beautiful mosque located in the park. There is a 3KM cushioned jogging track that goes all around the park. There is a large lake that is used to irrigate the whole park. There is a flag pole which will replace the one that used to be in Kuwait City near the Sheraton roundabout. There is a community garden and a bunch of restaurants and cafes all around the park. There is also a two storey underground parking which will be used by the park visitors and Al Tijaria Tower across the street.

shaheed2

As of this post they hadn’t finalized how the park will function. By that I mean they’re not sure if it should be an open to everyone no entrance fee public park like a park should be or a park with some sort of entrance fee, or maybe a park with no entrance fee but a very controlled environment. If the choice was left up to me I’d probably go with the no entrance option but with a VERY VERY controlled environment with lots of security cameras and security guards everywhere. Why? Here’s why…

shaheedrest1

Al Shaheed Park is beautiful in person as it is in those wonderful photos that were posted on ArchDaily. It’s also a very fragile park with glass railings everywhere, glass windows all over the place and there are even very thin and pretty lights that look like flowers all around the park. Basically it’s a place that can easily be vandalized. Now there will be guides at the park who will take people around to see the various spaces and museums, they’ve also recently decided to triple the amount of security at the park and there will also be supervisors stationed there. But will that be enough? I’m not sure and neither are they. For now they’re going to be opening the park to the public with no entrance fee and little control so they could see what will happen. If everything remains civil then they’ll keep it that way, if all hell breaks loose then they’ll consider alternative options.

shaheedrest2

One area of the park which I think could be a big hit are the restaurants and cafes. Right now they don’t have any operators and there is a tender taking place but if the right brands take over these restaurants and cafes then I think the park could be even a bigger hit. Some the restaurant spaces looked a bit casual, others a bit more formal but all looked fantastic.

shaheedrest4

I asked about the maintenance of the park since the majority of the government projects when completed end up falling apart years later. They assured me that they’ve signed a maintenance contract and if anything breaks or if a light goes out it will get replaced right away.

shaheedchairs

Although the exterior of the buildings look great I thought the interiors looked even better, or at least if you’re like me and think retro is cool. I fell in love with some of the furniture and if the security doesn’t end up being so tight I might end up leaving the park with two chairs, a table and a lamp. So take note park people, tighten up the security detail.

When is the park opening? Very soon. They didn’t want to give me an exact date since they’re currently doing some minor fixes to the park but what I understood is that its probably going to open sometime next month but don’t take my word for it.

Anyway this is the information I thought was interesting to share but if you have any questions let me know below and I’ll try to answer it myself or have someone connected to the park answer it. Also I like to point out again that if you haven’t checked the ArchDaily post already then do so for much nicer photos.

Finally if you’re Kuwaiti, bilingual and are aged between 18 and 30 then you can apply to be a tour guide at the park [Here]


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Al Shaheed Park by Ricardo Camacho

Post by Mark

shaheedpark1

Portuguese architect Ricardo Camacho and the popular architecture website ArchDaily have put together an intellectual expose on how the new Al Shaheed Park was conceptualized. Ricardo is the architect behind Al Shaheed Park and although I have yet to see it in person, based on the photos on ArchDaily I am already head over heels in love.

shaheedpark2

This has to be the most beautiful place in Kuwait at the moment, it just looks so stunning. In the article Ricardo takes us on a tour of the park explaining all the elements and buildings but even if you don’t want to read you can still enjoy flipping through all the photos.

shaheedpark3

Also someone needs to tell the people at Al Tijaria Tower across the street that the huge advert on the side of their building has turned their building into an eyesore. Someone should also put Ricardo in charge of all of Kuwait City including the new Kuwait Airways building. Anyway check out the article and photos on Al Shaheed Park [Here]


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