Qatar Airways has a 3 day sale

Posted by Mark

qatar

Qatar Airways have a 3-day sale taking place that started yesterday and finishes tomorrow. They’re offering 30% off on flights so Kuwait to London for example now costs KD168 and to New York just KD238. If you’re planning to travel next month during the national holiday, this could be a good deal. Check it out [Here]


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The Lumineers – Live in London

Posted by Mark

The Lumineers

The Lumineers were the last concert I had planned for the week and I got to see them perform live last night here in London. The doors were going to open at 6:30PM so I was hoping to arrive to the venue at around 4:30 but ended up arriving at around 5:30PM. There were two long lines when we got there and we decided to stand in one of them but then I noticed a third line that was fairly empty, at first I thought it was a priority line or for people without tickets but we asked one of the organizers and he told us it was a third line they had just opened. So we ended up moving over to the newly opened line and headed right up to the front. When the doors finally opened we headed straight to the stage area and it was still empty since we were the first group to get there so we ended up standing second row center stage.


[YouTube]

The venue the concert was being held at was a palace located on top of a hill surrounded by acres and acres of park land. From the main entrance into the main concert hall we had to pass through 2 large palace wings, the first had the security and ticket check while the second wing had an indoor market, they had picnic tables in the middle surrounded by different food stalls all around. The actual concert hall I guess was originally a huge ballroom and easily fit us all even though we were over 10,000 fans last night according to the organizers.

The Lumineers

Before The Lumineers came on, a band called Thao & The Get Down Stay Down opened up for them. I hadn’t heard of the band before but the lead singer had a lot of charisma and was pretty cool to watch. They played for less than an hour before The Lumineers finally came on.


[YouTube]

I have no clue how we ended up second row to The Lumineers but it was incredible since it made the concert a much more personal experience. They’re super talented obviously with each band member playing on multiple instruments throughout the night. At one point even the drummer and pianist swapped places with each playing the other persons instruments. They pretty much played all their popular songs from their album in addition to ‘Gale Song’ which is off the new Hunger Games movie soundtrack as well as my personal favorite, ‘This must be the place’ which is a cover for the Talking Heads (watch it above).

It was a great night and I’d highly recommend watching them live if you ever get the chance to.


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Imagine Dragons and Atlas Genius Live

Posted by Mark

atlas genius

Last night I got to see Imagine Dragons and Atlas Genius both perform live here in London. I was supposed to arrive at the venue two hours ahead of time so I could try and end up close to the front of the stage but in a typical Mark move I ended up arriving two hours ahead of time… at the wrong venue. The concert was being held at the O2 Academy Brixton but I ended up going to the O2 Arena so after finding out my mistake I had to spend 40 minutes in the subway heading to the correct location on the other side of town. Although I didn’t end up right up front it wasn’t bad at all since I was still pretty close to the stage.


[YouTube]

The first band to perform last night were Atlas Genius. Even though Imagine Dragons are performing in London for three nights, Atlas Genius were only opening up for them on the first night and since I’m a fan of theirs I decided to get tickets for that night. Atlas Genius aren’t that popular but they’ve got two songs I really love one of which would probably make it into my top 20 indie tracks list. They weren’t that exciting performers live but nevertheless it’s still always great to hear a favorite song being played live in front of you.

Dan Croll came on after Atlas Genius but I only knew and liked one song of his (From Nowhere) and even though his performance was better than Atlas Genius, I couldn’t wait till he finished so Imagine Dragons could come on.


[YouTube]

Imagine Dragons were the third and final act for the night and I had heard they were great live. After watching them live now I can say that is very true. I was actually surprised by their whole performance. Even though they had arrived to London from LA just 5 hours before the show, they played every song with so much passion and energy I was just blown away. My favorite song of theirs is Amsterdam (watch it here) but I think their performance last night for Radioactive which I’ve embedded above was my favorite. Oh yeah the stage was full of percussion instruments which the whole band participated in therapeutically venting out on through out the night.

imagine dragons

Yesterday was the first time I took my GX1 camera with me to a concert. Micro 4/3 cameras like the GX1 are perfect for concerts since they look like point and shoot cameras which you’re allowed to bring in, but the quality of the shots is closer to DSLR’s which you aren’t allowed to bring into events. I was taking photos with my camera and then transferring them to my phone using the Eye-Fi card which I posted about the other day, and then uploading them to Instagram.

Two more concerts left and then it’s back to Kuwait.


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KAFI, a Kuwait Airport tracking app

Posted by Mark

kafi

If you’re looking for an advertisement free Kuwait Airport arrivals and departures tracking app then KAFI is the one to get. The app is very simple in case a flight you’re tracking hasn’t arrived yet you can turn on notification for that flight so that once it lands the app will let you know. The app is available for both iOS and Android and can be found by searching for KAFI or by using one of the links below:

iOS Version
Android Version


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Abu Dhabi: O1NE by Skybar

Posted by Mark

This is my last post on Abu Dhabi but I actually posted it on Blog Baladi since it’s related to Lebanon as well. Those of you who visit Lebanon in the summer and party at Skybar probably know that they close down in the winter because of the weather. Well Skybar are now launching O1NE in Beirut next month and it’s basically Skybar but indoors.

While I was in Abu Dhabi last weekend I found out they had opened up there so I ended up passing by to check it out. What I really wanted to see was the interior since a friend of mine who works for Skybar had previously told me they designed the interior with the concept to project visuals across the full 360 degrees of the interior. The outcome looks pretty great and if you’re curious to see how O1NE in Beirut will end up looking like check out my post [Here]


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Abu Dhabi: Formula 1 at Yas Marina

Posted by Mark

So the main reason I was in Abu Dhabi last weekend was for the Formula 1 Grand Prix which I had never experienced before. In Abu Dhabi the track is located on Yas Island surrounded by a whole bunch of entertainment facilities like a marina, a hotel, Ferrari World, Waterworld, O1NE by Skybar, Du Arena and more. The evening of the F1 practice sessions I was in the car heading to one of the super yachts when I heard the sound of the F1 cars live for the very first time. At that moment it was the most beautiful sound in the world that gave me goosebumps and sent an adrenaline rush through my body. It was incredible loud and powerful and I couldn’t wait for race day.

I think we had one of the best seats in the house for the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 event. Our seats weren’t really seats but more like a lounge with 5-star catering and a balcony with a seating area overlooking the start line and located right over the Ferrari pit lane. We were in the Paddock Club. If that wasn’t cool enough we had a few celebrities in our lounge including football legend Maradona, Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff and the founder of Pagani Motors, Horacio Pagani. With the Paddock Club access we also got access to the pit lane which meant we could check out the teams prepping the cars for the race.

Watching the race at the track was a pretty strange experience since I spent most of the time watching it on the large screens that were located across from us because you couldn’t see the whole track while sitting in one location. So even though I was physically at the race I was still watching it as if I was sitting at home except I was sitting next to Maradona and Hasselhoff.

It was a once in a lifetime experience and as I told our hosts, I’m now probably spoiled and don’t think I could ever watch a Formula 1 event live again unless I get to experience it the same way I did on this trip.


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Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Posted by Mark

Before I arrived to Abu Dhabi I was given a bunch of activities to choose from and one of the available options was a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Ever since I watched the video of the 3D mapped projections on the mosque two years ago I’ve been fascinated by the mosque. I hadn’t seen or heard of the mosque before that video and after watching it I thought that place looked really beautiful.

I was put up at the Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi which was located practically across the street from the mosque and as I drove by on my way to the hotel I realized the place was as big as I imagined it would be. On the second day of my visit I was taken on a private tour of the mosque and I loved it. While still outside the mosque the first thing you’ll realize is that you can see the courtyard inside since the sides of the mosque are open and overlook a pool of water giving the place a very open feel. Once you walk through the main entrance the first area you get to see is the large courtyard. The sky was a nice blue and the mosque was crystal white so I was able to get some beautiful shots of the courtyard before we were led to the other end where we had to take off our shoes before being taken inside the mosque. Once inside I just couldn’t focus anymore, there was so much to see all around with one of the largest chandeliers in the world hanging above my head to the worlds largest carpet below my feet. The walls and ceilings were all intricately designed and I was just wandering around with my jaw dropped while the guide was explaining everything. It’s such a beautiful place and like nothing else I had ever seen before.

If you’re in Abu Dhabi and want a tour of the mosque they do offer public tours a number of times a day. You can find out more about that on the mosques website along with more information [Here]

Since I knew before hand I was going to visit the mosque I ended up borrowing the super wide angle Sigma 12-24mm lens from AAB World. If it wasn’t for this lens I wouldn’t have been able to capture the mosque in the way I did in the photographs above. Especially once I was inside the mosque since a normal lens wouldn’t have been able to fit so much detail and architecture all into one shot. I was planning to have a stand alone review for this lens but while I was getting all the photos ready for this post I realized sharing these photos would be the best review I could give it. It’s definitely not a day to day lens but on occasions like this I wouldn’t want to be stuck without this lens.


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Abu Dhabi Done

Posted by Mark

I’m currently on the way back to Kuwait from Abu Dhabi after spending an exciting and thrilling long weekend here. We were in total around 14 writers who were brought in from different parts of the world to experience Abu Dhabi during the Formula 1 weekend and I’ve got quite a bit to write about. In summary, wow that was fun.


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Off to Abu Dhabi

Posted by Mark

It’s currently 3AM right now and I’m at the airport waiting to board a flight to Abu Dhabi. A couple of weeks back I got an email from the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority inviting me to visit Abu Dhabi for their Formula 1 weekend and enjoy all the activities they had lined up. They sent me my weekends schedule and it includes kayaking in the mangroves, sand surfing, tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Jay Z concert, the Muse concert, Ferrari World, Waterworld and best of all, I get to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend from the paddock club suite followed by the Depeche Mode concert! I’ve never been to Abu Dhabi so this is probably the best way to experience it. I’ll be posting pictures on my Instagram to add me if you aren’t already following me @mark248am


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In London this Eid? Visit Scalini

Posted by Mark

If you’re still in London then you should stop by Scalini before you get back to Kuwait. Scalini is supposedly Signor Sassi’s direct competitor here in London and it’s also supposed to be better. I tried both out and even though I preferred Scalini they’re both really very similar. Scalini have a great seating area with a skylight which I loved since it brought in a lot of natural daylight into the place.I also enjoyed the food at Scalini a bit more than at Signor Sassi. I had the fresh clams linguini at Scalini and the spaghetti lobster at Signor Sassi and between the two I preferred the fresh clams linguini just because I hadn’t had clams in years and thought the dish was delicious.

Price wise Scalini and Signor Sassi are very similar. The bill at Scalini for three people came out to just over 200 pounds but nearly half that was for the wine. So, it’s around KD15-20 per person without the wine but including two shared starters, three main dishes and three different desserts. Scalini is located walking distance from Harrods at 1-3 Walton St. You need to call and book in advance.


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