Review: Persona 4 Arena

Post by Patrick


This past week saw the release of one of the strangest mashups of game genres that I’ve ever come across: a role-playing game transformed into a fighting game. The game is called Persona 4 Arena which is available on the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360.

I’m just a casual fan of fighting games; I don’t spend hours upon hours practicing to spend even more time in the online modes. Growing up, I was a fan of Street Fighter, Tekken & Soul Edge/Soul Caliber. Later on, I got into Guilty Gear and a little bit of BlazBlue. If you’re a fan of those last two games, you’ll be interested to know that Arc System Works the developer behind them also developed Persona 4 Arena. I love the Persona franchise (as well as the other games in the Shin Megami Tensei series); it was one of the first games to really make me fall in love with role playing games on the Playstation at the time (with the help of Wild Arms and Final Fantasy VII later that year). I was a little skeptical when I read about the game and thought they were just trying to milk the franchise for all it’s worth, but after spending some time with the game I’ve come away quite impressed.

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My experience with Alghanim Freight

Post by Mark

A few days back a reader contacted me and told me he was leaving the country for good and wanted my recommendation on a shipping company. Since I had just used a shipping company myself I figured I might as well write about my experience.

Back in May I shipped some furniture and electronics to my apartment in Lebanon. I didn’t really look for a shipping company, I just contacted Alghanim Freight since I previously heard they were the best and so didn’t even bother looking for any other options. My experience was a mixed bag but truth be told, not sure they can be blamed for all of it.

The problem with shipping stuff to Lebanon right now is the the fact there is internal conflict taking place in Syria right now. Before the internal conflict shipping stuff from Kuwait to Lebanon could take anywhere from 1 to 4 days but now it takes around two weeks. The shipping trucks are held at the Jordan/Syria border a few days and then formed into a convoy and led by security to the Syria/Lebanon border. Once they get there they get stuck in a long queue waiting to be cleared into Lebanon.

Based on a previous conversation with Alghanim Freight we were told our stuff would arrive to Lebanon on June 3rd. So me and Nat booked out tickets from May 31st to June 16th. Alghanim Freight sent over a packing crew and they did an amazing job. They worked around 10 to 12 hours with just a small break packing everything into carton boxes and wrapping up stuff with bubble wrap. In the end we had a total of 105 boxes which they loaded up onto their truck and took off.

The day after they picked up the packages and while talking to Alghanim Freight we found out that although our shipment was insured, it was only insured up to $20,000. That amount was far less than the cost of the items we were shipping. To increase the insurance we were told that we would need to state the value of the items in each box. Although we had a list of all the boxes and what was inside, the descriptions were generic. Majority of the boxes were described just as “Furniture”, a few boxes were described as “Kitchen” and only a few boxes mostly the electronics were more specific. Since there was no way to know what was in each box there was nothing that could be done and so we didn’t get the extra insurance. We should have been asked ahead of time if we needed extra insurance kinda like how McDonalds asks if you want to upsize your meal while taking the order and not after you’re done.

Delivery Dates
This is where we had the biggest issue but now looking back at it I realized it mostly wasn’t in their hands. Originally we were told our shipment would arrived June 3rd. Two days after our packages were packed and taken we were told our shipment would arrive to Lebanon June 8th. That’s already a 5 day delay and the packages hadn’t even left Kuwait. When we got to Lebanon we found out that the shipment would get delayed again and in the end the shipment finally arrived on June 12th.

The Delivery
Our biggest concern was if all our items would end up arriving to Lebanon and how much we would get charged for customs. Luckily we didn’t end up having any problems. All 105 boxes were delivered with nothing damaged and nothing missing. In addition we also didn’t pay any customs at the border. Seems Alghanim Freight use trucks who have good relationships with the border people and so their cargo don’t get unloaded which is why we didn’t pay any taxes.

The fact that all our items arrived safely and the fact we didn’t pay any Lebanese taxes on our shipment is more than enough reason to use them again or recommend them to people. They were not accurate with the delivery dates but I truly believe it wasn’t in their control this time around. Total cost for shipping was around KD650.

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Review: Spec Ops – The Line

Post by Patrick

Some of you might already know that playing video games is a favorite hobby of mine and now I’ll be able to write about my thoughts on games as they get released here in Kuwait. Mark worked out a deal with the local online game rental service who will be providing the games for me as soon as they’re out. I’ll be reviewing a game every week or two depending on when they get released and if there aren’t any new releases I’ll probably write about an older game I find worth sharing.

This week I’ll be reviewing a fairly new release called Spec Ops: The Line, spoilers will be kept to a minimum.


Spec Ops: The Line is not your ordinary war themed video game. It isn’t anything like Call of Duty, Battlefield or Medal of Honor. Spec Ops: The Line has a proper, mature script that will have you talking about the game long after you put the controller down. The gameplay is flawed and has trouble dealing with the issues that the script raises, but it’s still a lot of fun to play. Think of it this way: if Call of Duty is a Michael Bay movie, Spec Ops: The Line is Apocalypse Now (which it has been compared to). There was some controversy in our region due to the fact that the game takes place in a destructed Dubai. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. All major metropolises get destroyed in games and movies; how many times has New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo been demolished by either a giant monster, war or aliens? As far as I’m concerned, the fact that Dubai is destroyed in this game is a good thing. If the UAE government is concerned about the portrayal of their citizens, then they have nothing to worry about. In the game, Dubai may resemble real Dubai, but it’s not an exact replica. You’ll see skyscrapers that look like they should belong in Dubai, but you won’t see an exact copy of Burj Khalifa.

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Review: Sony NEX-7

Post by Mark

I’ve had a love and hate relationship with the Sony NEX-7 even before I got my hands on it. Specs wise the camera is nearly flawless and Sony have somehow managed to fit a ton of great features into a really compact camera… that is until you mount the lens onto it. Thats where the hate comes in. Because the sensor on the Sony is so large, the lenses needed to be large which turned a very slim compact camera without a lens into a not so practical I might as well carry a DSLR size with the lens. In addition to that, the only lens I wanted for it cost as much as the camera itself. But, I’m an open minded person and I change my mind all the time and after trying the camera out it might have.

I picked up the Sony NEX-7K (comes included with a 18-55mm lens) last week from the Sony dealership along with the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 lens. The Zeiss lens is the one I really wanted to try with the camera and it’s the one I ended up using 95% of the time. The packaging for the camera is one of the nicer ones out there and feels premium right away with the black velvety textured interior and the way the items are laid out. The camera is also solidly built and doesn’t weigh too much even with the lens on which was unexpected. The camera without the lens as I mentioned is very compact and could easily slide into a jeans pocket which makes me wish Sony releases more pancake lenses for the camera (currently they only have the 16mm f/2.8). There are two circular knobs on the back of the camera which are used to control certain options in the camera like aperture, shutter speed and exposure. The viewfinder is electronic but is the first one ever to use an OLED screen which means the blacks are really black. Finally there’s a high resolution tilt’able 3″ screen on the back which tilts down 45° and up 80°.

I took the camera and headed to Souk Mubarkia on Friday afternoon since I wanted to see how easy it would be to capture moving people. I got there as the sun was setting but the weather wasn’t really great and the lighting was very poor and flat. Still, I tried to make the best of it and started walking around snapping pictures. What I like about Souk Mubarkia is that it’s frequented a lot by tourists so the people there are not intimidated by cameras. One of the few places in Kuwait where you can snap away without worrying you’re going to offend anyone. I shot with the camera’s ISO set on Auto since I knew the camera had great ISO capabilities. My favorite feature in the camera has to be the tilt’able screen on the back. Most of my first digital cameras like the Nikon Coolpix 2500 and Sony F717 used to tilt and I used to like that. But lately none of the cameras I’ve purchased had such a feature and until I started using it again on the NEX-7 I had completely forgotten how practical it was. I actually found myself using the rear screen a lot more than the view finder but that might also have been because of the fact people are less aware you’re taking a picture of them when the camera isn’t plastered to your face. The camera is pretty fast and by fast I mean it focuses quickly and shoots instantly which really helped when I was walking around trying to capture certain moments. I did get some blurry shots, maybe around 4 or 5 shots out of a hundred but that mostly had to do with the poor lighting conditions and moving subjects. The Zeiss lens is superb and really is the lens to have for this camera.

I did have some issues with the camera. I was walking around Mubarkia with the camera on and in my hand ready to shoot at any moment, sometimes I’d have two hands holding it sometimes one. When I’d find a shot I’d raise my camera and shoot, thats when I started noticing two annoying issues. The first is the fact I thought the rear knobs were too easy to turn. Every time I put up the camera to shoot I would notice either the exposure compensation shifted or the aperture wasn’t what I had previously set. Maybe I’ve got fat fingers, or maybe I was just holding the camera wrong but if only the knobs were slightly more difficult to turn, that would have made a huge difference with my clumsy hands. The second issue I noticed is when I tried to shoot from my waist (only works with a tilt’able screen). I’d hold the camera with two hands from the sides and then suddenly the rear LCD would go dark for a second or two. It happened a few times before I realized what was going on. The viewfinder has a sensor that detects when the camera is close to your face so it shuts off the screen and turns on the viewfinder. Somehow while holding the camera my thumb was sometimes passing in front of the sensor which was shutting off the screen. Annoying to say the least but by the end of the day I had gotten used to keeping my thumb away from that area.

So is it still a love and hate relationship? The answer isn’t that straight forward. The camera is ridiculously good and if I hadn’t taken the shots myself I would have guessed they were taken with a DSLR and that’s because the NEX-7 is basically a DSLR in a compact body. Where my view on the camera hasn’t changed is with the size. It’s not a compact camera. Yes, it is more compact than a DSLR that’s for sure but it doesn’t compete with Point & Shoots in the same way the Panasonic GX1 or Leica X2 do. The NEX-7 competes against the bigger guys and if you’re looking for DSLR quality but want something in a much smaller package than this is the camera to get. Just don’t expect it to fit in your pocket. The price of the camera with the kit lens is actually pretty good in Kuwait. The local dealer is selling it for KD449 which is not far off from Amazon who are selling it for KD418 without tax and shipping. The Zeiss lens on the other hand which is the must have lens for this camera sadly costs KD515. It’s still not available on Amazon yet although they have a pre-order price of around KD340 without tax and shipping. Even at the Amazon price it’s not easy to dish out a price of a camera on a lens. The most expensive lens I’ve personally purchased is the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 for KD200 and that was second hand and it’s really a huge lens with lots of glass. KD340 for a prime lens? Not sure I’d have the courage to pay that.

If you’re interested in checking the camera out Sony have it on display at their Avenues branch although I picked up the review unit from their new branch at Tilal Complex. The next two cameras I’m trying to get my hands on are the Sony RX100 as well as the Olympus OM-D.

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Vuzix Wrap 920 Review and Giveaway

Post by Mark

Late last month while at the Avenues I spotted the Vuzix Wrap at Xcite and since I’ve always wanted to try one of these before I contacted them so I could get one to review. The Vuzix Wrap is a video eyewear which basically means you watch video through tinny screens that are fitted inside the glasses. According to the package, watching videos using the Vuzix Wrap will feel like watching a 67″ screen siting 3 meters aways. After playing around with it for a week I have my personal opinion on video eyewear’s in general as well as this specific model.

The Wrap works with regular AA batteries which means you can use them wherever you are. The batteries are fitted into a small external compartment which you could keep in your pockets and the Wrap is connected to the batteries using a wire. The Wrap comes with earphones as well which you need to plug in separately into each side of the eyewear. Inside the box Vuzix also includes an adapter to connect the glasses to Apple devices like the iPhone as well as RCA cables so you could connect it to a videogame console or your TV receiver.

I downloaded Truth in 24 II from the Apple Store (which is the sequel to an incredible documentary btw) and watched it on the Vuzix. At first I was expecting it to feel weird and uncomfortable like trying to watch a 3D movie with 3D glasses but the experience was actually pleasant. I’m not sure if it felt like watching a 67″ screen from 10 feet away, but the screen definitely didn’t feel like it was 2cm’s away which is what I was expecting. These kind of glasses could be pretty useful when traveling on a plane since you can watch whatever you want in complete privacy and also zone out from your surroundings since once you have the glasses on you’re pretty much watching TV in your own little room.

But there are a whole bunch of things I didn’t like in the Vuzix Wrap. The video quality left a lot to be desired, other than the fact the screen resolution is low, I felt the contrast lacked with the blacks looking more like grays. I tried to adjust the settings as much as I could but I wasn’t able to improve on it that much. Another issue I had was with the earphones. First you can’t connect your own earphones which is a let down and second I found the included earphone wires to be too distracting. Each earphone plugs into a socket thats located in the front of the glasses so the wires were touching my eyebrow and face while on their way back to my ears. The eyewear along with the various attachments also felt very plasticky and cheap but the biggest issue I had with the Wraps were how stupid I looked wearing them. If you sit on a plane and put these on people are either going to think you’re Ray Charles or some douche with horrible taste who thinks its cool to wear sunglasses inside a plane. This is why although they would be practical to use while traveling, they might be better off being used in the privacy of your home where you can play Xbox on these glasses without having to hog the living room’s TV.

I’m pretty glad I finally got to try video glasses on and I kinda understand how Google’s Project Glass is going to end up working. Price wise Xcite currently have a special offer on these glasses until the end of the month and they’re selling them for KD89.900. If you want to check them out they have them on display at the Avenues branch OR even better you could try to win a pair. All you need to do is just leave a comment below and tonight I’ll choose a winner using Good luck!

Rules: Only one entry per person and please make sure you use a working email since the winner will be contacted by email. If winner doesn’t respond within 24 hours another winner will be randomly chosen.

Update: Comments are closed and I had choose two numbers, a winner and a backup winner in case the winner doesn’t respond.

Winner is #94: Abdullah
Backup is #20: Ahmed

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The Synology DS1511+

Post by Mark

Originally I was planning to write a small post on my experience with the Synology backup drive and maybe compare it to my Drobo but in all honesty, the thing turned out to be a lot more than just a simple backup drive and so the tiny post has turned into a much bigger one.

Synology DS1511+ Web Interface

Firstly a quick brief about what the Synology DS1511+ is. In it’s most simplest form it’s an external backup hard drive that can take up to five 3TB hard drives and has data protection which means if one of the five hard drives fail my data is still protected. But the DS1511+ (from here on I’ll just call it the Synology) is also a mini server and so doesn’t require to be connected to a computer.

Xbench disk test

Performance wise the Synology turned out to be a lot faster than my Drobo. How fast? Copying a 2.48GB file from my computer over FireWire 800 to the Drobo took 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Copying the exact same file over gigabit ethernet to the Synology took just 42 seconds. That’s over 10 6 times as fast!

So yeah if you’re looking for a backup drive to put all your important files onto it and still have your data protected in case the drive fails, the Synology is great. But, the Synology is also more complicated to setup than the Drobo. Cost wise they’re selling the Synology drives in Kuwait for cheaper than Amazon and you can find them at either Blink (where I got mine from) or Cameo. Cameo also has the newer but slightly more expensive DS1512+.

Now that I got all that out of the way this second part is what REALLY makes the Synology cool. Continue below for the second part of this review.

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Green Land Vegetarian Restaurant

Post by Mark

This is going to be a somewhat strange review since I have no idea what I ate or what ingredients made up my meal. I don’t even like vegetables but when I found out about the place from @basilalsalem’s Instagram, I decided to pass by and try it out.

Green Land is an Indian restaurant located in Souk Al Mubarkia. It looked pretty trendy based on Basil’s picture but my first impression got a bit tarnished since the table cloth on my table had food stains on it. Turns out they don’t change them after each customer but instead just brush off the dirt. That’s just gross.

I ordered a bunch of things for me and my brother, most of which were recommended by Basil and some by the waiter. Here is the whole list:

Masala Dosa KD0.900
This is pictured above, it looks like an oversized crepe but instead of it being filled with Nutella it’s filled with a potato mash of a sort and comes with Marak sauce on the side which is spicy and full of flavor.

Subzi Maharaja KD1.600
I believe this dish is the one pictured at the bottom of this post. No idea what’s exactly inside just that it’s a mixture of vegetables and topped with a bit of cheese. It kicked ass. Definitely worth going back for.

Dal Makhni KD1.250
I also have no idea what this dish was. It’s picture in the photo below (it’s the pot on the right). It was also great, my brother preferred the Subzi Maharaja but for me both are equally as good. If the Subzi Maharaja has one slight advantage it’s that it’s less saucy and so easier to eat with bread.

Poori KD0.300
Easily the best poori I’ve ever had. The order comes 8 in a basket each around the size of a CD. They aren’t very oily and are delicious.

Butter Nan KD0.400
Again the best butter nan I’ve ever had. The order comes 4 in a basket.

Phulkas (Chapathi) KD0.400 (for 2 orders)
Great but waited for the poori and nan to run out before ending with these.

Mango Juice KD1.250
They have a juice stand in the middle of the restaurant that makes fresh juice by order. I went with the Mango juice and it was great since the mangos used were ripe.

Water Melon Juice KD1.250
My brother ordered this and I tried it. Tastes exactly like you’re eating water melon so it’s very refreshing.

Small Water KD0.450 (for 3 orders)


Bill Total: KD7.800

Although we started off on the wrong foot with a dirty table cloth, I have to say the food made up for it. As I said I don’t like vegetables but these dishes were so delicious that I realized I probably don’t like vegetables because I’ve been having them the wrong way. Kinda like how I grew up hating zucchini and then I tried it grilled a few months back and now love it. All the breads we had were great, even the dough of the crepe looking dish was delicious and kinda makes me want to go back with a jar of Nutella and ask them to spread it all over the inside. Price wise they’re on the affordable side with just the juices adding a bulk to our bill. The service was fast and the waiters friendly and helpful. Their menu is huge with no descriptions so you either have to know the dishes or get recommendations like I did. I had a good time and I’m definitely going back to try more stuff.

Green Land is located at the edge of Souk Al Mubarkia in Kuwait City in the block behind Shater Abbas Restaurant. If you ask around for Shater Abbas everyone knows it. They open from 8AM to 4PM and then again from 6PM to 11PM. Their phone number is 22424246 or 22424247

Update: Forgot to add an important point. They don’t accept Knet or credit cards so make sure you bring cash with you.

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Face-off: iPhone and iPod Speaker Docks

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I picked up three different speaker docks from the Digits Apple Store to review. Even though all three do the same thing they’re not really direct competitors, either because of the price difference or because of their abilities as you’ll see in my short reviews below.

Logitech S715i
The Logitech speaker was the smallest and most portable of the three. It’s also the only one that comes with built in rechargeable batteries which makes it really convenient to take to the beach and other places where power outlets aren’t available. The speakers are loud although the sound isn’t the greatest with pretty weak bass but that’s to be expected due to the size. One thing that really bugged me about the speaker dock is that I couldn’t connect my iPhone to it unless I removed the iPhone bumper which was annoying. Overall a fairly decent speaker that doesn’t win on style or sound but is priced competitively at KD35. Personally I’d check out the Jawbone Jambox first if I was looking for portability but that also costs twice as much.

Altec Lansing iMT800 Digital Boombox
When I first pulled out this boombox from the box I was a bit disappointed. I had just finished with the Monster Beatbox and compared to it, the Altec Lancing felt very plasticky, light and flimsy. It also didn’t sound as good nor was it as pretty. But it did have some features the Beatbox lacked and one of them is the built-in FM radio tuner. If you’re a fan of Linda on the Superstation you’re going to really want this. Another feature is the fact that it has three inputs, one iPhone/iPod dock and two auxiliary inputs so you could hook up 3 iPods if you want. Finally and more importantly is that the Altec Lansing can run on 8 large D-cell batteries which actually is a useful feature. Now because of the size of the Altec Lansing I thought it was competing with the Monster Beatbox but turns out they’re currently selling this for KD34 which suddenly makes this not so great speaker dock a really great deal. It sounds a lot better than the much smaller Logitech, it also has a small digital screen that shows you details like artist and album name as well as having the ability to run on batteries if needed. I actually emailed Digits back to confirm they hadn’t mixed up with the price. Turns out they’re having an offer on these and I’m guessing because of the newer iMT810 version.

Monster Beatbox by Dr. Dre
This by far was the best sounding speaker of the three. Even compared to my Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 the Monster Beatbox sounded really great with a lot more deeper bass. It was also the easiest of the three to operate and it also had the most solid build. The Beatbox is pretty simple with just an iPhone/iPod dock in one corner and a volume knob on the other. To give you an idea of how big a sound the Beatbox has, I live in a two story apartment and while I was sitting upstairs Nat was listening to music downstairs and I couldn’t tell if she was listening to music off our home theater or the Beatbox (turned out to be the Beatbox). The amount of bass it gives out for it’s size is just ridiculous, it really does shake the house. I did have one big issue with the Beatbox and that is the fact the dock can’t hold an iPad. I know you’re probably wondering who would want to use an iPad as a music dock anyway and the answer is anybody who’s tried the iPad version of Spotify. I use it with my BeoSound 8 and it’s unbelievably cool so much so that while I’m home I no longer listen to my MP3’s. The iPad Spotify app is fantastic plus I prefer to keep my phone on me and not plugged into a speaker dock. But that’s nit picking a bit which is fine since this is a review. Price-wise if you’re interested in the Beatbox, Digits are selling it for KD100 to my readers. Just tell them you saw this price on my blog and you’ll be able to get it for KD100 which is around KD20 cheaper than Amazon (not including tax and shipping).

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Singarea Korean Supermarket & Restaurant

Post by Mark

I have no idea how to begin this post honestly. In fact, in the back of my mind right now I’m going “don’t post about this place” over and over because I loved it so much and I don’t want to share it with anyone. But it’s because I loved it so much I really HAVE to post about it. Singarea is a small Korean Supermarket with a small cozy restaurant on the upper floor. It’s located in one of those plazas (plaza is actually too nice a word here) in dajeej surrounded by stores that sell cheap furniture and lights. By the looks of the place outside I was expecting it to be pretty dodgy on the inside but wow was I wrong.

When I first walked into the supermarket I was surprised at how clean and organized it was. Majority of their products are imported so there were many interesting things I hadn’t seen before. After I was done taking pictures and wandering around the aisles aimlessly I decided to go upstairs and check out the restaurant.

The plan was to snap a few shots, check out their menu and leave but once I saw how the restaurant looked like there was no way I could leave without having lunch. It just felt like I was no longer in Kuwait. The wooden roof, the dark tables combined with the green chairs and the decorative partitions all combined gave the interior a very calm cozy and foreign feeling. I decided to sit in a corner where I knew I’d have a good view of the interior and enough light to take my food shots. There was only one other table occupied by three asian business men so it was peacefully quiet. The waitress was extremely helpful and friendly. She gave me the menu and asked me if it was my first time there which I replied to yes. She started to help me out with the menu explaining how they had Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine. My eyes quickly started checking out the things I knew like sweet and sour chicken but I resisted going with what I was comfortable with and instead asked the waitress to help me choose my dishes. Since I was in a Korean restaurant I wanted to try Korean dishes and asked her to recommend me some options. In the end I decided to go with the following (descriptions taken from the menu):

Deuk Bokki: Stewed rice cake with spicy Gochujang. Especially youngster’s favorite.

Main Course
Beef Bulgogi: Most favored Korean barbecue. Savory and succulent.

Frappe: Fruits, sweet red bean paste and one of three flavors, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry syrup over shaved ice.

Red Vinegar Drink: Naturally brewed red vinegar from red Ginseng, pomegranate, Ume helps changing body into alkaline.

I forgot to mention that as soon as I sat down I was served corn tea (Oksusu cha) at room temperature. Never had that before and didn’t know you could make tea from corn. It tasted better than regular tea at room temperature.

My starter arrived a short while later and using my chopsticks I started to eat. The rice cakes were a bit spicy but full of flavor. I didn’t like the dish that much but I did appreciate all the flavors in it. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Korean food, I figured their flavors would be a bit safe like Thai food but it turned out to be more exciting like Chinese food which actually makes sense since they’re neighboring countries.The red vinegar drink was very refreshing and although I was expecting it to taste like vinegar it didn’t. It tasted more like a cocktail you’d have pool side and is a great summer drink. Because the rice cakes were spicy sipping the red vinegar helped cool things down. My second dish the Beef Bulgogi was ridiculously good and I mean I wiped the plate clean kinda good. It was sweet and the beef was very tender and oh I’m so going back just to have this dish again. Finally the desert arrived and although I’m not a fan of most fruits especially blueberry, I still wanted to try the dish just because I wanted to experience a Korean dessert. I expectedly didn’t like it but that was no surprise.

They have a huge menu and although I’m really tempted to order the Beef Bulgogi again on my next visit I’m going to try and not do that and instead try something else new. I generally eat the same thing all the time so it was very exciting to experience some new flavors. I really loved the place, the food, the ambiance, the service the whole experience was like nothing else in Kuwait. I can’t believe this place has been open for over 2 years and I just decided to pass by now.

Finding Singarea is a bit difficult but I’ve highlighted it on this [Map] If you can get to Sears then it’s easy. If Sears is on your left side, drive straight until you have the option to go straight or turn right and get onto the 6th Ring Road. From that point drive straight around 30 meters and you’ll find the plaza on the left. Singarea is inside that plaza. I recommend you park the car outside and walk in since during the daytime it’s incredible chaotic inside there. It’s a great place I highly recommend it.

Update: The supermarket has changed location. Check this post for details [Link]

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Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review

Post by Mark

Late last month I picked up the Fuji X-Pro1 camera from Xcite to review and after spending a lot of time with it I can confidently say I loved it. How much? Well I wouldn’t mind it over the much more expensive Leica M9 but more on that later. I took the camera with me to Lebanon while on vacation and I carried it around and shot with it as much as I could.

The first thing I loved about the camera is the way it looks. When I first saw pictures of it online I was like I need to have it! It’s a simple black boxy looking camera that has a very timeless look to it. It’s bigger than I expected it to be but not that much different from the Leica M9. One thing that’s a lot different to the Leica is the weight. While the Leica M9 is a pretty hefty camera, the X-Pro1 is a lot lighter and that’s a good thing. I walked around with the X-Pro1 strung across my shoulder and I never felt the camera was bothersome or heavy. On the other hand I’ve walked around with a Leica M9 slung over my shoulder before and it’s presence was felt very quickly. Although the camera doesn’t look very ergonomic it felt comfortable in my hands and during use.

The X-Pro1 is a 16MP camera with a sensor that’s similar in size to most DSLR’s. I had the very bright 35m f/1.4 lens for the review and it’s really the only lens you need. The 35mm lens is equal to a 50mm lens on a full frame camera and that’s generally considered the most popular focal length since it’s close to what the eyes see. There are two knobs on the top, one for the shutter speed and one for the exposure. The camera also has a quick menu button which brings to focus the most commonly used options and a customizable FN button which in my case was calling up the ISO list.

Carrying the camera around and shooting with it was a lot of fun. The camera has a hybrid viewfinder similar to the Fuji X100 which is always fascinating to use. The hybrid viewfinder is something unique to Fuji and it’s basically an opticalviewfinder with information digitally displayed on top of it. There is also a switch on the front of the camera which when pressed turns the hybrid viewfinder into an electronic one. I didn’t use the EVF much since I’m not a fan of them but many people will appreciate it’s accuracy over the hybrid viewfinder. Although I read online about the camera’s focusing issues I didn’t run into any while shooting with the camera. I didn’t shoot any sports or fast action but I was shooting with the camera wide open and in different lighting conditions and maybe only once or twice did I have difficulty getting focus. ISO performance is another thing this camera is good at. At ISO1600 the noise is barely noticeable.

I have a few issues with the camera but none very major. First the on/off button gets switched on by mistake all to often and I can’t even count the times I found the camera on when it should be off. I have a similar issue with the aperture ring on the lens, it’s too loose and easily rotates with a minor bump or rub. Another more important issue is manually focusing with the camera. Manually focusing using the hybrid viewfinder isn’t an easy task since there are no markings on the screen to aid you and you can’t estimate using the focus ring on the lens since the focus ring works digitally (it also rotates infinitely).

Now the difficult part is deciding if this camera is right for you. If you’ve always wanted a Leica M8 or Leica M9 then get this camera. Other than the fact the Leica is nearly 4 times more expensive, the X-Pro1 has another advantage and that is the fact it has auto focus. The lenses are also like 10 times cheaper so really it’s a no brainer. If you’ve considered the Sony NEX-7 at one point then you should also consider the X-Pro1. I think the NEX-7 is a great camera but let down by a terrible collection of lenses. Personally I want this camera but I can’t seem to figure out when I would use it. I have the Panasonic GX1 which is my compact camera I take on vacations and dinners. Then I have the Nikon D800 which is what I use for my important stuff. The Fuji would have to replace one of those two but it wouldn’t be able to do the job of either of them right. It’s not compact or versatile like my GX1 and it also doesn’t have the large full frame sensor of my D800 or the lenses to compete with it. As I said earlier, deciding on this camera is the most difficult part.

The camera is selling as a kit for KD646. The kit includes the X-Pro1 camera, the 35mm f/1.4 lens and the original case kit. It’s only available at the new photography section in the Xcite store in Avenues. I just found out the camera kit is actually available at three Xcite branches:

X-PRO 1+X35mm Lens+X-Pro 1 Case (kit) – KD646 – Available in Rai, Fahaheel & Avenues
X18MM (Prime Lens) – KD159 – Available only in Avenues
XF60MM (Macro Lens) – KD182 – Available only in Avenues
EF-X20 (Shoe Mount Flash) – KD58 – Available only in Avenues

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