I Need a Mandoub in My Life

Post by Mark

Is there a company that offers a mandoub service in Kuwait? Like say I need paperwork at the Ministry done, I could pay this company a fee to do the paperwork for me.


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busKW – Making Sense of Public Transportation

Post by Mark

Four guys have taken it upon themselves to try and make sense of the local public transportation system by mapping the bus network in Kuwait. Wilfred Waters, Jake Massoth, David Uzoni and Wael El-Ahmady are aiming to get complete stop positions, schedules and 360 imagery of the entire bus network in Kuwait and they’re pretty much on track.

According to Wil, the schedule data is the most frustrating aspect of the project due to lack of driver discipline. Drivers stop between formal stops so a proper schedule can’t be kept but they’re trying their best to get at least a rough estimate. In regards to imagery they’re halfway done (similar to google street view but for the bus routes) but they’re trying to prioritize the schedule data for now since thats the information people are after the most.

The overall problem they’re trying to solve with this project is unnecessary car trips, privately or in taxis. By collecting all this data, they’re hoping to eventually create a Bus Routing App that would provide people with easy to access and understand bus routes and scheduling information. And I think they’re onto something here.

Looking through their map data (embedded above) I was able to spot a number of bus stops near my apartment building as well as see the whole route the bus would take. Turns out the bus stop next to my apartment could take me all the way to my office in the city, and even though I wouldn’t take the bus (I love driving), I did consider it for a second. I’m sure a lot more people would use the bus if they had route and schedule information on their phones.

Back in the early 90s when I was in Canada, I used to call the bus stop near my apartment building and an automated service would let me know how many minutes till the next bus arrived. That way I didn’t have to wait out in -30°C weather freezing my ass off. Kuwait needs to upgrade the whole bus network and make it more usable, if you could track busses in Canada back in the early 90s, I’m sure Kuwait can manage the same today. Kuwait is hoping the metro project will help solve traffic issues but it might be easier right now to get the bus system sorted out right. How difficult would it be to tell drivers to let people on and off only at formal stops? Or to make sure bus stops are shaded, and to create an app that would help people plot their trips and get accurate scheduling information. I don’t think it would be that hard, easier than building a metro system from the ground up thats for sure.

For more information on the busKW project, check out their website [Here]


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Dear Kuwait, Spell Check the e-Visa Site Please

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I had to use the Kuwait e-Visa website to apply for a visit visa for my mum. While filling in her details I noticed some major spelling mistakes, ones I’m surprised haven’t been fixed already since the website has been active since last summer. Here are the mistakes just from the partial screenshot above of the e-Visa form:

biulding should be building
forth should be fourth
governate should be governorate
flour should be floor

Since this website is being used by visitors hoping to get entry into Kuwait, it’s not really a great first impression, and we haven’t even discussed the 90s look of the website either.

When I applied for my mums visa on Friday, it got denied the first time and even the denied page had a major grammatical error. “Your eVisa application was been denied” should be either “has been denied” or “was denied”.

If I’m correcting spelling and grammatical errors, then you can imagine how bad things are.

I applied for my mums visa again yesterday and it got approved the second time around. Completely random. On the plus side, even though it was the weekend, the approval/rejection process took a few hours and was pretty fast.

So whoever is in charge of the website, please fix these mistakes. I haven’t checked the other pages but I’d imagine there are probably mistakes on those as well.

Update: Spelling has been fixed!


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Top 10 Salaries in Kuwait (2017)

Post by Mark

Gulf Business released the 2017 list of top salaries in Kuwait and the top jobs according to their research are the following:

1) Chief executive officer/managing director – multinational: $34,271
2) Chief executive officer/managing director – local company: $22,178
3) Banking – treasury manager: $13,224
4) Information technology – manager: $12,097
5) Construction – project manager: $11,853
6) Legal – lawyer marketer/manager: $10,355
7) Banking – retail/personal banking manager: $9,625
8) Real estate – manager: $9,610
9) Banking – branch manager: $9,577
10) Healthcare – general practitioner/ manager: $9,416

I was comparing it to the list from 2012 and the biggest difference I noticed is that everything related to print media like advertising, PR and publishing, is now no longer on the list. No surprise there since that field has basically crashed due to the shift to digital. Check out the 2017 list [Here]

Photo by Mohammed AlSultan


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Fahaheel Expressway Flooded

Post by Mark

A friend forwarded me the video above of the Fahaheel Expressway near Mangaf completely flooded. As you can see in the video a lot of cars drowned sank and many people were stranded. I have a friend who lives in Mangaf as well where their whole neighborhood flooded and all the underground parking lots filled up drowning their cars as well. Pretty messed up.

Thanks Ghadeer


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List of Hospitals Currently Under Construction

Post by Mark

There are currently a bunch of new hospitals being constructed and designed at the moment in Kuwait and thanks to a reader, I was able to get a bit of information on them. Below is a list of some of the hospitals currently in the pipeline along with their current status and links with more details on the projects:

Al-Adan Women and Children’s Hospital
Already under construction

Al-Razi Hospital
Under tender but paused right now due to budget constraints

Al-Sabah Hospital
Already under construction

Amiri Hospital
Already under construction

Kuwait Cancer Control Centre
Already under construction

Kuwait Children’s Hospital
Currently in design phase

NBK Cancer Hospital (Oncology and Hematology)
Already complete and awaiting commissioning

New Farwaniya Hospital
Already under construction

New Ibn Sina Hospital
On hold, awaiting budget and likely to kick off 2017-2018

New Jahra Hospital
Already under construction

New Maternity Hospital
Construction to begin any day now

Police Hospital
Was tendered and awarded and now awaiting contract signature to kick off

Sheikh Jaber Hospital
Construction nearly complete

Sheikha Salwa Al-Sabah Center for Stem Cell and Umbilical Cord
Already under construction

Thanks Jassim


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Kuwait Weather – January 2017 vs Previous Years

Post by Mark

It’s been super warm all January during the daytime, I’m in a t-shirt most of the time and at night I even have the air conditioning on when I go to sleep. It feels like the warmest January ever but I just went through the Kuwait weather history on wunderground.com, and it turns out it’s just an average Kuwait January. The coldest January in the past 10 years was in 2009 and the warmest was in 2010.


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Jahra Bridge Now Open

Post by Mark

The huge bridge that connects Kuwait City to Jahra is now open. Last week I was heading back from Sabbiya to Kuwait City and got on the newly opened Jahra bridge and damn did it save me so much time. I think I probably saved anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes just because of the bridge. It’s super long and flies over all the small roads, traffic lights and roundabouts that you would usually have to take. Only downside at the moment is that the bridge ends as a two lane road outside of Cozmo/McDonalds Kaifan, so there was a bit of traffic at the end as the cars funneled, but the amount of time I saved still made up for it.

Oh and just a small note, there are no speed cameras on the bridge at the moment.

Update: Ok so you need to watch out for the parked speed cameras like the one pictured below. (Thanks Forzaq8)


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Become a Park Guide

Post by Mark

If you’ve got free time to kill and enjoy being outdoors, Al Shaheed Park are looking for part-time park guides. The only requirements are you be proficient in Arabic and English, and also be aged between 18 and 30.

If you’re interested, here is the link to the application form. [Link]


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48 Hours in Kuwait

Post by Mark

A reader recommended I put together a list of places which visitors to Kuwait could check out on a short trip. It was pretty difficult to put the list together since I didn’t want to make the list too long but also struggled with places like Al Shaheed Park (Would tourists want to visit a park?). With that in mind, below is the list of my recommendations. If you have better suggestions which I’m sure you do, let me know in the comments and I might add it to the list.

Places to Visit

Kuwait Towers: I like standing under the towers and looking up more than I like going up to the towers. The observatory deck might be worth checking out if you’re interested in seeing the Kuwait City skyline although I personally don’t think it’s that great of a view. The windows are also usually dirty and at night you can’t see anything outside because the observatory deck is too brightly lit on the inside. The restaurant in the Kuwait Towers isn’t that bad, but there are better places to have a meal.

Water Towers: I recommend the water towers in Adailiya since they’re located inside the park and so you can walk up to them very close. They were also recently painted so they’ll look good in photos (pictured above).

Maritime Museum, Modern Art Museum, Dickson House and the Amricani Cultural Center are all located right next to each other so you can cover them all in 2-3 hours easily since neither of them is that big. [Link]

Souk Mubarkiya: A must visit place if you’re looking for an old traditional market.

The Avenues Mall: I know its a mall but it’s a great one and in the summer it’s probably the best place to go if you want to shop. You’ll find everything there from high end designers to IKEA and a ton of different places to eat at.

Al Shaab Gate: There are a few old city gates left but I’d recommend visiting the one adjacent to Al Shaheed Park since the area around it was recently renovated.

Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre: Beautiful architecture and a large garden with an animated musical fountain to check out. If you’re lucky there might be an event or show taking place during your visit so check their website for tickets. There are also restaurants located at the centre in case you want to have a meal there.

Restaurants

Cocoa Room: My favorite breakfast place and is usually always busy.

Street by Al Makan: Good food, gets pretty busy at night mostly with a younger crowd, located in a trendy area. Also walking distance to Souk Mubarakiya. Pass by Vol.1 located under it for coffee after dinner.

Solo PN: A very popular pizza place thats always busy. Recently won an award for the 3rd best pizza in the world.

Al Shemam: Located right in the middle of Souk Mubarakiya next to the vegetable market. Has great grills (fish, meat and poultry) but is also a pretty ghetto looking place so not for the squeamish (pictured above).

Freej Suwaileh: A very popular and affordable Kuwaiti cuisine restaurant that’s open till 5AM.

Dar Hamad: A high end Kuwaiti cuisine restaurant with a beautiful interior.

Events

There are always events taking place so if you’re looking for one to go to during your visit, make sure you check out the events page [Here]

Off the Beaten Path

Friday Market: A large flea market that takes place on Fridays, usually gets really packed and you can find lots of random things for sale there from old gaming systems to washing machines and furniture. Although you might be tempted, avoid the animals section.

Salem Mubarek Street: A street stretching out around 2KM filled with shops on both sides. Used to be extremely popular in the 80s and early 90s (pictured above).

Al-Rehab Complex: If you’re into video games you’ll love this complex since the mezzanine floor and basement are filled with video game shops. By filled I mean every single shop there is a video game shop, easily over 50 shops.

Ice Skating Rink: Popular in the 80s and early 90s but not very popular nowadays. Worth checking out if you’re looking to cool off during the hot summer months.

House of Mirrors: The House of Mirrors belongs to Lidia al-Qattan, the widow of Khalifa al-Qattan, a renowned Kuwaiti artist. She started decorating one small wall with mirrors and through time more and more walls were decorated until the whole house inside and out was covered with mirrors.


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