If it wasn’t for Google Maps advising me to take the Fahaheel Expressway on the way to the city this morning, I would have gotten stuck 40 minutes on the Gulf Road. Turns out part of the Gulf Road before KFC was completely flooded. Based on the videos I’ve been watching all morning on @kuwaitup2date, it looks like a bunch of places got hit pretty bad during the night. Check out the videos [Here]
The Kuwait Government Online website is getting a facelift and you can get a preview of it right now. The redesigned website looks a lot cleaner and up to date than the current version as well as being easier to navigate. The new website is still in beta form so not everything is working yet but you can get a sneak peek at it by clicking [Here]
When I first viewed the video above I didn’t think much of it since I’ve seen better shot videos of Kuwait. BUT, then I found out that if you click and hold down the mouse button on the video while it’s playing you could move around in 360. You could look up, down or turn around completely while the video is playing. That’s pretty cool. [YouTube]
The question ‘What Do You see?’ in reference to the current state of affairs in Kuwait, is a question that I usually get in meetings and tend to dodge to avoid entering into a complaining session about the country in the middle of the work day.
Then, several months ago I was on a red-eye flight back to Kuwait and I began to think what if I am to answer the question. I started writing what came to mind. By touchdown I found myself to have jotted down a collection of contradicting thoughts that have taken the form of a written essay, albeit a loosely-constructed, colloquial essay.
That was in November of 2014. In the weeks that followed I shared that set of contradicting thoughts on LinkedIn, and other social networks, and saw an interesting discussion take place. Since then, two of my colleagues have been working on transforming those thoughts into a visual essay. The result was this well crafted video.
Thank you Mohamed Amin, who shot and edited this video, and Rula Liddawi, who produced and narrated it, for translating my written notes into visual ones.
– Fawaz Al Sirri
Fawaz is the Managing Partner at Bensirri, a local public relations firm. I’ve worked with him a few times and I actually like the guy a lot. I remember the first time I met Fawaz was a few years ago during a meeting in which a digital agency was proposing paying bloggers to write about a brand. Fawaz told the guy that it was unethical to do that and I remember thinking in my head finally, someone else who finds that wrong! It’s why I now always refer Bensirri when anyone asks me if I know of a good PR firm. [YouTube]
Not much information on this residential building but from the renderings and the bit of information that is available, it looks like we’re finally getting a decent looking high-rise residential tower. [Link]
Last year British Airways aired the first part of its four part series on Kuwait onboard all their flights. The film was well received and since then the team has been busy working on part two of the series which they just released last night. Check it out above or on [YouTube]
“Kuwait – Small Country, Big Heart” is a short 10 minute documentary on Kuwait that was requested by Kuwait Airways (most likely to use onboard its flights). It’s made by the same guys who did the Kuwait documentary for British Airways so it’s full of beautiful shots of Kuwait. Only the Arabic version is online and you can watch it above. [YouTube]
This past weekend Harley Davidson sent me to Lebanon for a bike ride as part of a media trip. They took care of my airline ticket and I hadn’t noticed until the very last minute that they had booked Kuwait Airways for me. If I had noticed earlier I would have obviously requested to change my flight to MEA but it was too late to change the ticket and I was stuck flying Kuwait Airways.
While checking in at the airport I asked if I was flying a new plane and turns out I was. I still wasn’t too thrilled about flying on the new planes because based on the photos Kuwait Airways had published in their instagram account (here and here), the new planes looked outdated, ugly and gloomy. Not sure why Kuwait Airways posted those horrible pictures but turns out they’re misleading and not an accurate representation of how the planes actually look like.
When I got onboard the new plane I was completely taken a back by how nice and bright the interior was. In the photos on the Kuwait Airways instagram account, the chairs looked dark and the walls and ceiling had a dull grey tone but in reality, the blues were vibrant and the walls and ceiling were bright and light colored. I sat down in my seat and noticed I had really good legroom as well, so far I was really impressed. I started flipping through the media center checking it out while the passenger next to me plugged in a USB stick with movies and started watching something. This is a completely new Kuwait Airways and I was liking it.
I flew both ways with the new Kuwait Airways plane and honestly I think the planes are better than the MEA ones which I normally fly with to Lebanon. There was even internet onboard the Kuwait Airways plane which I tried out on the way back ($10 for 30mins, $20 for 1 hour and $40 for 3 hours). Even the food wasn’t too bad at all and because no one flies Kuwait Airways, the plane wasn’t very packed making the experience even more enjoyable.
I did have an issue though and it was with the flight attendants. When I headed to the bathroom at the back of the plane while we were flying, I noticed one of the flight attendants was sitting in a passenger seat with the headphones on watching a movie. I thought that was pretty unprofessional. Another incident which also showed a lack of professionalism, when we landed and the plane was still on the runway heading towards our parking spot, a passenger got up from his seat and started getting his bag from the overhead compartment. Instead of the Kuwait Airways flight attendant telling the man to sit back down she got up and walked over to him and helped him carry his bag down from the overhead compartment. Then other people started getting up to get their overhead bags while the plane was still moving. Total chaos and I though it was ridiculous that the flight attendants weren’t telling the passengers to stay seated until the plane stopped. But then again this was Kuwait Airways. Although everything does look new, modern and up to date, end of the day this is still the same airline and the flight attendants are a reminder of that.
Putting aside my issue with the flight attendants I actually had a great experience with Kuwait Airways. In fact I would choose Kuwait Airways over MEA in a heart beat if the Kuwait Airways flight wasn’t an hour longer (they don’t fly over Syria, Jordan or Israel so they take a big detour). I thought the in-flight entertainment system had more than enough entertainment for the 3 hour flight, I found the seats comfortable, the legroom was great and my overall experience was very positive. The only thing I would say though is that they can update all their planes as much as they want, they can get the new A380s even and have onboard showers but that’s not going to be enough to move the airline forward unless the employees get retrained and their professionalism reestablished. And I’m not talking about just the onboard flight attendants but every employee you interact with from the minute you checkin to the last Kuwait Airways employee you see should reflect this new and improved Kuwait Airways. Other than that they’re off to a pretty good start.
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.
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.