The Fiat 500c

Posted by Mark

I’ve previously test driven the Fiat 500 and loved it which is why I decided to rent the convertible version this weekend while I’m here in Lebanon. But, while the Fiat 500 was a lot of fun to drive on flat roads, it’s horrible to drive up a mountain.

I don’t think it’s the lack of power but more the crappy automatic gearbox. The car will just not shift down into the right gear when you really need it. It actually stalled with me TWICE on a tight steep corner which is why I’m now driving the car in manual mode not auto so I could choose the gears I want when I want them.

The version of the car I’m driving is the 500c where “c” stands for cabriolet. Since the weather is fantastic right now in Lebanon driving around in a convertible is the way to go about it. The car I’m in also has a black leather interior which looks a lot nicer than the beige interior of the car I test drove in Kuwait. But, I don’t think I could recommend anyone to get a Fiat 500 if they live in a mountainous country unless they get the manual version (or drive the auto gearbox in manual mode).


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Audemars Piguet Museum and Restoration Department

Posted by Mark

I have a lot of information to share about my trip to Audemars Piguet and I’m going to try and keep it interesting and informative since I know not everyone is into watches like I am.

First just a bit of history on how that Swiss valley where AP is located became such a hotspot for all the watchmakers. The Audemars Piguet facilities are located in Vallée de Joux which is considered to be “the heart of Swiss watchmaking”. In the early 1800′s a watchmaker moved into the valley and started producing watches and when his business started booming he needed to hire help. The valley was full of farmers who spent the summers busy outdoors farming but the winters indoor not doing much. So, the farmers got into watchmaking since the basic tools to get started didn’t cost much and even their children started learning and working with watches at a young age. In other parts of Switzerland farmers were making music boxes during the winter months but they were making watches.

Once we arrived to Vallée de Joux which is just over an hour drive from Geneva, we were taken to the AP Restoration Department followed by the Museum. The restoration department is where they work to restore old watches back to working condition while trying to preserve all their original parts. A lot of the watch parts aren’t available anymore so if anything is missing or needs replacing not only do they have to hand make the parts but they always try to remake them using the same technique they were originally made with. While we were there we were lucky that the head of the department was working on a vintage pocket watch that contained a Grand Complication movement dating back to 1899 (pictured above). A simple watch movement is a watch that indicates the hours, minutes and seconds. On the other hand a calendar is a complicated movement, a moon phase, an alarm, a minute repeater (tells time using chimes) are all complicated movements. A Grand Complication is a movement that contains a whole bunch of complicated movements all together in one watch. I’ll try to list everything the watch above does so here it goes: It has clock watch with grand and small strike, minute-repeater, split seconds chronograph with minutes counter, alarm, jumping seconds, flying seconds and perpetual calendar. Yeah that’s a lot of things and this is a watch that was created back in 1899. It’s currently valued at around 3 million Euros.

After leaving the restoration department we headed to the museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but I did manage to take the one below of a poster that I saw hanging on the wall (I want it). The museum is housed in the original AP building from the late 1800′s. Although it’s full of interesting pieces, this was probably the most boring part of the whole trip for me because I couldn’t wait to get out and head over to their main production facility. If anyone knows where I can find the Ali with Arnold poster please let me know.


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Beau Rivage

Posted by Mark

While in Geneva we stayed at a hotel overlooking the Geneva fountain called Beau Rivage. It’s an old hotel that dates back to 1865 and I doubt the general look of the hotel has changed much since then and that’s actually what I loved about the hotel.

It’s a very posh hotel and you feel that as soon as you walk in. It’s not Dubai style posh where everything is gold and shiny, it’s a lot more understated here with pastel pink colored marble pillars and ceiling decoration that dates back most likely over a hundred years. Of course the fact that everyone speaks English with a French accent doesn’t hurt.

The hotel is 5 floors high and my room was on the 4th floor which was great since I usually prefer the higher floors since they’re quieter. Once I walked in I was amazed at how big the room was. I think it’s probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and it was beautifully decorated. I’m not really into this classical style but it worked really well in this case. The room was decorated very tastefully and I had 2 large windows that were bringing in a lot of natural daylight and more importantly I had an incredible view. I also had a fireplace, a real one not just for decoration. No idea if they actually use them in winter (I doubt) but the idea is great. Each room in the hotel is also individually decorated so no two rooms are the same.

The hotel has a couple of restaurants including one that has a Michelin star.They also have a bar with a really great outdoor seating area that also overlooks the famous Geneva fountain. I didn’t pay for the room but according to the rate card, my room rate was 1,600CHF a night which is around KD480. The hotel is located walking distance from the main shopping streets and is also just a 15 minute ride from the airport without traffic. It’s definitely one of the best hotels I’ve stayed in.


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Kuwait Airways Entertainment System

Posted by Mark

This is too funny. It seems Kuwait Airways hands out DVD players with a bunch of DVDs to Business Class passengers because the planes built in entertainment system doesn’t work. Check out more pictures on Omarker’s blog [Here]


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My trip to Audemars Piguet

Posted by Mark

I’m back in Kuwait now and I’ve got a bunch of things lined up to post about my trip to Geneva. I’m trying to sort through all the photos I took and once I do hopefully by tonight I’ll have a few posts up. In summary though it was a very educational trip and I got to meet some great people be it the guys who were with me from Kuwait or the AP people in Geneva. Just to give you a preview though I’m going to be posting about the hotel we stayed, a post about the restaurants I got to try out while there and of course a post or two about our visit to Audemars Piguet. So stay tuned.


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Back to Kuwait

Posted by Mark

I’m currently at the Abu Dhabi airport awaiting my flight back to Kuwait. I’m going to miss the view from my Geneva hotel room window. Goodbye blue skies with big white puffy clouds.


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The view while having lunch

Posted by Mark

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Geneva is beautiful

Posted by Mark

I finally understand why people say Geneva is a boring place. There doesn’t seem to be much to do here and everything closes early. But, right now that’s exactly the place where I want to be, somewhere really chilled out where I can relax. It’s so peaceful over here with no traffic or crowds. While walking in the supposedly “busy” Geneva shopping district it really wasn’t busy at all, kinda like Avenues in the middle of the week.

The sky is so blue and full of fluffy clouds. I’ve got a slight neck pain right now and it’s probably because I spent most of the day walking while looking up.

Today was mostly a free day with just a dinner that was arranged for us in the evening at Le Lion d’Or. Tomorrow on the other hand is going to be a full day, we’re going to be waking up at 7:30 for breakfast and then heading to Vallée de Joux to visit the Audemars Piguet museum followed by the main Audemars Piguet building where they make all the watches.

I’m posting a lot of pictures on Instagram all day long so make sure you keep checking instagrid.me/mark248am


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My Etihad Airways Experience

Posted by Mark

I flew Etihad Airways to Geneva via Abu Dhabi and honestly I was kinda disappointed, mostly with their airport. For some reason I had the impression that the Abu Dhabi airport was going to be huge but it wasn’t. There were a bunch of high end boutiques like Hermes and Rolex plus a decent amount of restaurants but the problem is they’re all squeezed into a very small place. The business class lounge was also pretty small with low ceilings and it filled up pretty quickly with barely any room to sit. Food was good plus they have a spa but there wasn’t much space in the lounge to chill out.

The flight from Abu Dhabi to Geneva was pretty comfortable but that’s because I hadn’t slept and it was already 9AM by then. The Etihad business class is slightly claustrophobic since it looks like it’s divided into cubicles but unlike British Airways for example, the space didn’t feel bright or big. But, my seat folded into a flatbed which is all I cared for. Service was also friendly and the bathroom had a window (I love that).


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Hello Geneva

Posted by Mark

I just checked in to my room awhile ago at the Beau Rivage. The view is amazing (pictured above) and the weather is fantastic. I’ve got a ton of emails which I need to catch up on but since I only have 4 hours before we’re all off to dinner, I’m going to use this time to try and do some shopping instead.


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