How I Became a Slave in Kuwait

Post by Mark

welcometokuwait

On landing in Kuwait, immigration officials confiscated her documents, along with those of all the other women.

The moment the immigration officials saw that I had a domestic work visa, they took away my passport and I was taken to a room where dozens of other girls were locked up.

They spent the night without food, water or blankets amid the wintry temperatures. Though gravely uneasy, she tried to comfort herself with thoughts that things would be better in the morning.

I was released the following morning when a lady by the name Hanan who introduced herself as our employment agent came to pick us up.

A clickbait title and a story is one we’ve heard over and over, but one thing caught my interest in the article and it’s the paragraph above. Why are immigration officials confiscating the passports of domestic workers and then locking them up in rooms overnight without food and water? I find it disturbing because it gives the impressions that the local authorities condone this trade.

Here is a link to the article and full story [Link]


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More Details on Al Shaheed Park Phase II

Post by Mark

phaseii

Ricardo Camacho, one of the leading architects behind Al Shaheed Park posted some more information on Phase II which I posted on yesterday. Ricardo mostly discusses the thinking process behind Phase II and the numerous obstacles they had to be aware of.

Following the research survey of numerous youth-related facility units within Kuwait City’s urban perimeter, the Al Shaheed Park extension (phaseII) assumes a mixed program along the following facilities: a. Educational; b. Social/Culture; c. Health; d. Food+Beverage; e. Retail; f.Sports. The majority of the program typologies assumed for this site, encompass a range of facilities (outdoor and indoor) that in Kuwait are usually in centralized locations within a residential neighborhood and directly connected to institutional facilities such as schools, mosques and Coops.

His full post is on Linkedin and you can check it out [Here]


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Kuwikipedia – Questions & Answers Related to Kuwait

Post by Mark

kuwikipedia

Kuwikipedia is a website I setup yesterday just for fun. I get people emailing me questions all the time and most of the time its questions I had previously answered which becomes frustrating. So I decided from now on anybody that asks a question related to Kuwait I’d post it up on Kuwikipedia along with the answer.

But, I’m hoping it could become community driven site where people could come in ask questions and other people from Kuwait could answer it for them. I don’t have any idea if this will work or not, might end up just being me answering all the questions but since it didn’t take much time to setup, I’m not really losing anything.

So check out Kuwikipedia [Here]


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What are they building here?

Post by Mark

emptyplot

There is a HUGE plot of land right across the street from the Green Island and right adjacent to all the embassies on the Gulf Road. Recently they removed all the greenery on that land and demolished all the structures. They’ve basically flattened out the land in preparation for construction and are now in the process of putting up a temporary wall around the plot. It’s the huge block of land I’ve highlighted in the image above. Does anyone have any idea what they’re going to be building there? Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Update: Turns out its going to be a huge real estate project called “Balamlaq” that will transform that plot of land into an area that will contain residential and commercial buildings, hotels, parks and entertainment facilities. It’s being handled by KIPCO who are aware of how unique and rare this plot of space is which is why they’re going to be setting an example with the high level of planning and construction. So thankfully it’s not a new giant food complex. For more information click [Here]


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Kuwait – Discover the Opportunity

Post by Mark

QCPTV just released their 3rd documentary on Kuwait which will be aired on British Airways flights this coming July. This 3rd part focuses on the changing economic and investment climate of Kuwait, as well as showcasing the lifestyle and vibrant city life Kuwait has to offer. This film will be aired onboard British Airways international long-haul flights across its global network throughout the month of July. [YouTube]

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25th Anniversary of 1991 Kuwaiti Oil Fires

Post by Mark

sheep

In April of 1991 following Iraqi military setting the Kuwait Oil Fields aflame, photographer Sebastião Salgado documented the environmental disaster. The New York Times featured some of his photos a few days ago which will be featured in his upcoming book, “Kuwait: Desert on Fire” which will be released by Taschen this coming August 2016. Check out his photos [Here]

If you want to purchase original prints of some his photos can you do so from [Here] but expect to pay on upwards of KD2,000 for a print.


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No Smoking in Malls, it’s Actually Happening

Post by Mark

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but it looks like malls are finally starting to enforce the no smoking law. I know this sounds like a broken record but I think they’re serious this time around. I was at The Avenues over the weekend and didn’t catch anyone smoking outside the new glass smoking rooms they’ve installed. Also the restaurant I sat in made it clear from the start that smoking wasn’t allowed even though we were sitting outside the restaurant overlooking Grand Avenues. Last week while having lunch at The Cube food complex in Salmiya, I was also told smoking wasn’t allowed anymore as soon as I sat down. Finally this morning Al Hamra Tower sent out a notice to everyone in the building saying smoking was no longer allowed in the mall and tower.

I’m impressed Kuwait.


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People in Kuwait Getting Unhappier

Post by Mark

The World Happiness Report was recently released by the United Nations and Kuwait once again dropped down the list from the previous year. When the list originally came out in 2012, Kuwait was ranked 31st under the list of happy nations. But, since then, Kuwait has been falling back every year and in the latest report Kuwait is now ranked 41. The scoring is based on answers submitted by people who were asked to evaluate the quality of their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10. In comparison, the UAE came in 28th place while Saudi Arabia came in 34th. Let me repeat that one more time. Saudi Arabia came in 34th place. No clue how that happened.

The happiest country in the world? It’s Denmark. Download the full report from the World Happiness website [Here]


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The Kuwait Towers – Everything You Need to Know

Post by Mark

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Yesterday the Kuwait Towers officially opened to the public for the first time in over 4 years. Here is everything you need to know in case you’re planning to visit it.

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Entrance Fee
There are two main area in the Kuwait Towers, the restaurants sphere and the viewing sphere. If you want to go to the viewing sphere it’s KD3 per person. If you want to go to the restaurants there is no entrance fee. If you eat at the restaurant then you can go to the viewing deck for free as long as you keep your meal receipt. Children under 4 go in for free. If you’re going to the restaurants you can also park inside the Kuwait Towers parking lot.

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The Viewing Sphere
This sphere is located in the top most part of the Kuwait Towers. It’s split into two floors with the top floor having a rotating platform and a small food stand. It’s open from 9AM to 11:30PM.

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The view from the top is spectacular and better than before since we now have a beautiful city skyline because of all the new skyscrapers like Hamra Tower.

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For a closer look they’ve kept the original coin operated binoculars.

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The only issue I had with the viewing deck is that it smelled of popcorn because of the food stand. The food stand really should have been a Starbucks since right now it reminds me of those small dodgy food stalls located under the stairs in old Salmiya. They have drinks, a few cold sandwiches, soft serve ice cream and popcorn.

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The Restaurant Sphere
There are two restaurants and a lounge in the restaurant sphere which is also divided into two floors. The first restaurant is called Horizon (pictured above) and is located on the top floor of the sphere. It’s an open buffet and they’re open from breakfast to dinner, here are the details:

Breakfast Buffet 8AM to 11:30AM for KD7.5
Lunch Buffet: 12:30PM to 4PM for KD14
Dinner Buffet: 7PM to 11:30PM for KD14

For reservations you can contact them on 22444021 or 22444038

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There is a second restaurant (pictured above) which as of this post hasn’t opened yet. Its located on the lower floor of the sphere and it’s called Le Cafe (but it’s going to be a steakhouse). It looks slightly more fancier and instead of being a buffet it will have an à la carte menu. Once it’s open the timings will be 8AM to 12AM (midnight).

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Right outside the second restaurant on the lower floor is a small lounge. You can order beverages there but it’s a fairly small lounge with only three seating areas similar to the one pictured above so good luck trying to find an empty one.

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Finally if you’re taking a guest to the Kuwait Towers and they were hoping to leave with a souvenir well they’re going to be disappointed. According to an employee at the Kuwait Towers, the souvenirs shop that was originally located on the ground floor has be closed down and will be converted to a prayer room.

If you’ve never been to the Kuwait Towers I would highly recommend going. If you’ve been to it before I’d also recommend passing by just for the nostalgia. It’s still by far one of my favorite places to take visitors who come to Kuwait.

Update: I added a bit more information to the post, specifically the reservation numbers and information regarding souvenirs.


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Introducing Double Jump!

Post by Patrick

Dj4

I’ve been interested in Podcasts for the longest time but I was always hesitant to get into it because I’m more of a writer than a speaker. But then I ended up meeting some of the guys from the LuckyGG Arabic gaming podcast who encouraged me to take a chance and start my own Podcast especially since there aren’t many English podcasts about video games in this region.

I co-created the podcast with Yaqoub Al- Hussaini who is one of the hosts of LuckyGG and we’re also joined by Abdullah Boushehri also from LuckyGG. The goal of Double Jump is to discuss games we’ve been playing, news that we find interesting and regional news that we feel like our listeners would be interested in. The goal is to record an episode a week and publish it every Wednesday. These episodes will be two hours long.

Dj4

I’m also planning on recording Double Jump episodes where I’m on my own and some episodes with a different co-host each week but this is still a work in progress, hopefully I’ll be able to start publishing those episodes sometimes mid-March.

We recorded and published our first episode last week and I’ve linked to it at the end of this post. We’re learning as we go and I think Yaqoub and Abdullah both did a great job especially since English isn’t their first language. I also appreciate the fact that they’re willing to go out of their comfort zone for me. I’m learning a lot after listening to just this one episode and feedback is always welcomed so feel free to leave a comment with suggestions or thoughts.

In this first episode we discuss a variety of games, mainly The Division Beta and Street Fighter V. We also discuss some major news that came out these past few weeks like the pricing of the HTC Vive. Our first episode is available everywhere!

iTunes | Android | RSS | Play in New Window | Download

Posted by Patrick


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