Blog Notice

Post by Mark

I’m migrating some of the blog sections to a different server this weekend. If you post anything on Classifieds or Kuwestions this weekend, there is a chance it won’t make the move. Sorry about that.

This is a temporary post.


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Things to do in Kuwait this Long Weekend

Post by Mark

If you’re in Kuwait this weekend there are surprisingly a lot of things going on. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Jaqen H’ghar is in Kuwait this weekend for the Comic Festival. There are also two movies showing at Al Shaheed this weekend, a photographers bazaar and a Vietnamese food pop-up. Check out all the events taking place this long weekend below:

Wednesday
Exhibition: Byproducts of Development
Performance: Rise Up
Good Game: Dungeons & Dragons Encounters
The Legit Open Mic

Thursday
Exhibition: Byproducts of Development
Performance: Rise Up
Comic Festival Convention
Movies at the Park: The Sound of Music

Friday
Hatha Yoga in the Park
Good Game: Magic – The Gathering
Salwa’ Walk and Socialize Meetup
Comic Festival Convention
Red Bull BC One Kuwait Cypher 2017
Voices and Verses – The Season Finale

Saturday
Yoga with the 3
Performance: Rise Up
Comic Festival Convention
The Tailor’s Club
OYSHO Outdoor Yoga Event
Viet Nom + Barba
Photographer’s Bazaar 2
Movies at the Park: The Pursuit of Happyness
Peak Vertical Marathon

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so always double check with the organizers.


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Movies Showing in Kuwait this Long Weekend

Post by Mark

The movies below are now showing at either Cinescape, Grand Cinemas or Sky Cinemas:

New This Week:
Free Fire (7.2) ♦
Monolith (4.7)
The Assignment (4.5) ♦
The Circle (7.5) ♦
The Lost City of Z (7.2) ♦

Other Movies Showing:
Colossal (6.8)
Fast & Furious 8 (7.5)
Ghost in the Shell (6.8) ♦
Max Steel (4.6)
Mine (6.1)
The Boss Baby (6.5)
Unforgettable (6.3) ♦
Smurfs: The Lost Village (5.8)

The movies below are now showing at the Scientific Center IMAX theater:

A Beautiful Planet 3D (7.9)
Flying Monsters 3D with David Attenborough (7.6)
Humpback Whales 3D (7.2)
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D (N/A)
Journey to Space 3D (6.5)
Kenya 3D: Animal Kingdom (6.0)
Mysteries of the Unseen World 3D (7.5)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.


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Core Fitness is now XAthletic

Post by Mark

Seven years ago I decided to get off the couch and join a gym. I was overweight, I was eating extremely unhealthy and I wasn’t involved in any sort of physical activity. Through my blog I ended up meeting Fahad (aka Trying to be Fahad / @thedietninja) who invited me to come by and try out his gym called Core Fitness, and ever since I haven’t stopped going.

Lots of gyms have popped in the past seven years, a lot of beautiful looking gyms but I kept going to Core mostly because I was comfortable there and because I had my routine and didn’t want to break it. It was a small personal training gym, maximum three people at once (each with their own PT) and it was an all guys gym which I’m always more comfortable in. But the place really didn’t change much over the years and although I didn’t mind it, when I recommended it to friends they always found it visually underwhelming.

But recently, things changed drastically. First thing that happened was we moved to a new location, the 10th floor of the new Crystal Tower in Kuwait City. The second change was that the gym changed its name from Core Fitness to XAthletic and with that, a complete revamp of the brand and interior look (which now resembles a traditional gentlemen’s club). They also brought in a bunch of new trainers and replaced all the previous gym equipment with beautiful new ones. And my favorite part? They installed four huge ass speakers in the gym that pump out a ton of bass. Pretty dramatic overnight changes and I’m loving it so far and there are supposedly more things coming.

The gym is currently in its soft launch phase but is officially opening on May 1st. If you’re interested in finding out more you could check out their instagram account @x.athletic


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The Kuwaiti Violin Maker

Post by Mark

A few years ago I posted about a Kuwaiti violin maker and since its a slow news week, I decided to repost that article. You can check the original post [Here] but I’ve also copy pasted it below. It’s a very interesting story if you haven’t read it before:

Article originally posted on July 24th, 2013

Last night I passed by and met Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a local violin maker. We met at his small cozy workshop in Rawda located right outside his home. When you walk into his dimly lit workshop you’ll see a small diwaniya on the left with around a dozen violins hanging on the wall, while on the right hand side is his workstation where he crafts all his violins. He filled a kettle with water and put it on a small electric stove next to him and we started talking.

Back in 2000, Haitham was a oud player but was interested in getting into violins. He started looking for a good violin to buy in Kuwait but he couldn’t find any. Most of the violins available in the market back then were of poor quality from low end brands. That’s why Haitham decided to make his own violin using documents and instructions he found online.

Haitham hadn’t crafted any musical instruments before, he had dabbled with some minor oud repair but nothing major. This got me even more curious, how can a 25 year old with no previous woodworking skills be able to craft such a delicate instrument as a violin? Well the answer I believe might be in his genes. Haitham’s father, grand father and great grand father were all dhow builders. Woodworking had existed in his family for generations and it was just natural for him to be good at it.

Haitham’s first violin wasn’t flawless, it had mistakes and was made using locally sourced wood but yet the sound it produced to his ears was beautiful. This encouraged him to build a second better violin with imported tonewood (wood cut specifically for musical instruments). He started frequenting forums and participating in online communities where other violin craftsmen from around the world would share their tips and techniques. His violins kept improving with every build and soon he had his own tips and tricks to share with the community. He loved crafting violins so much that he quickly forgot about wanting to play them. He became obsessed in building and perfecting his own creations.

When Haitham first started making violins he was spending 4 hours a day working on them and each violin would take around 2 months to complete. Nowadays he’s too busy with work and family so it takes him around 9 months to complete a single violin. But he’s fine with that. He never started making violins with the intention to turning it into a profitable business. Even his prices have remained the same over the years even though his violins kept getting better and demand for them kept increasing. He just loves making violins and isn’t interested in expanding. It’s a hobby he’s just really good at. He also does a lot of repair work on violins which to many musicians is a lifesaver. Musicians bond with their instruments and having a local violin maker means that a damaged violin no longer needs to be discarded but instead can be repaired. Only two of the violins hanging on the wall were his, the rest were either in for repair or were being sold by other musicians.

Once we were done with the interview, Haitham served us some tea. Throughout the whole interview which lasted around 40 minutes I had watched him make us the tea using two kettles, a can filled with what I assume is tea leaves and a box filled with I don’t know what. He then skillfully poured the tea from the large kettle into three glasses that were sitting amongst a dozen on the table in front of us. The tea was delicious and to me summarized the kind of person that Haitham is, a perfectionist.

If you’d like to contact Haitham for any reason you can do so by emailing him on hghareeb.koc@gmail.com


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Pick & Adidas Originals Now Open at Al Hamra

Post by Mark

Pick opened up in Al Hamra Tower last week and I personally think this is their best location yet due to the amount of people who work in the tower. Currently there seems to be a queue all day long during office working hours but I overheard they’re getting a second cashier to cope with the high demand.

A standalone Adidas Originals also opened up in the basement of Al Hamra. Previously Adidas Originals was part of the regular Adidas store in the basement, but that location got shut down and they opened up this new Adidas Originals shop next to the old one. The mall is finally turning into a much more interesting place, even WH Smith Bookshop is opening up in the basement.


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History of the Behbehani House Complex

Post by Mark

The Behbehani House Complex located behind the church in Kuwait City is one of the few remaining historical buildings in that area. I never knew the history behind it but a redditor recently posted a link to a chapter from the book “Cities in Transition” that talks about the history of this beautiful complex. Here is one paragraph from that chapter:

The Behbehani House Complex is located in al-Watia area, which means “footmarks” in the local Kuwaiti dialect. The area was given this name because people used to stroll beside the sea shore along the Arabian Gulf bay leaving their footmarks on the muddy sand shore thus giving this area its common name. In the early 1940’s Yusuf Shreen Behbehani built this complex as his first major real estate project. Al-Watia area was a wild and lonely place, where few town people dared to venture. When Yusuf Behbehani bought this piece of land, half of it used to be covered by high tide seawater, so he reclaimed it and made it higher and then started to build, as Al-Rashoud 1995 has noted. This represented one of the first attempts to reclaim parts of the Arabian Gulf bay along the Kuwaiti waterfront, which now became almost common practice in most waterfront development projects.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Behbehani House Complex, then check out the full chapter [Here]

Photo by kimprint


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Getting a Power of Attorney in Kuwait (Tawkeel)

Post by Mark

I’m sending my Lotus to Bahrain this coming weekend so I needed to get a Power of Attorney done for the trailer driver. The process turned out to be pretty simple and the experience surprisingly good. Since I originally had trouble figuring out where to go, I wanted to post about it in case somebody googles this question in the future.

Kuwaitis
Originally I was told to get a POA I needed to head to the Liberation Tower [Map]. Once I got there though I found out it was only for Kuwaitis and instead I was directed to the Ministries Complex which is a short drive away. If you’re Kuwaiti, the area to get the POA done is located on the first floor of what they call the Ministry Mall at the Liberation Tower. Just head up the escalator, take a left, then another left and then one more left and head straight through the door ahead that says Ministry of Justice.

Expats
If you’re an expat and need a POA done, you need to head to the Ministries Complex [Map]. If you’re driving there in the middle of summer then be aware, the parking is a good walk away from the complex and there is no shade until you’re inside the Ministries Complex. Once you get to the Ministries Complex there are no signs to let you know which building to enter so just follow the crowd. Once you’re inside you also won’t find that many signs and when you do they’ll only be in Arabic. So ask around or look for the sign above that says Ministry of Justice, once you enter that doorway you’ll find the POA department.

When I got there I took a number and waited, there were around 15 people ahead of me but the POA department also had around 16 stations with employees manning them so the wait wasn’t that long. The employee I dealt with was very helpful and spoke both Arabic and English. The trailer company I’m using is based in Bahrain and they sent me copies of 10 ID cards of the different drivers they might send to Kuwait to pick up my car. I had to get the POA done for all 10 drivers and the government employee didn’t blink an eye, she took all the ID cards and told me it wasn’t an issue and typed all their info out.

The cost of the POA was a KD2 stamp and no running around involved, you just deal with one employee for the whole process. A super smooth experience.

Photo on top by Nawaf Ahmed


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Dual Bowls Project Update

Post by Mark

On Wednesday I posted about the interesting local Kickstarter project by a Kuwaiti artist called ‘Dual Bowls‘. The Kickstarter ended up reaching its £40,000 goal within 3 days of launch and right now the pledges are up to £60,000 with still 35 days to go. Crazy!

You can check out the Kickstarter page [Here] or if you didn’t read my post on this project then click [Here]


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Kuwait on VICE: Fast Food of Arabia

Post by Mark

As Americans become increasingly health-conscious and junk food sales plateau in the States, fast food companies are spreading to new global markets, expanding their revenue — and the waistlines of their customers.

VICE correspondent Gianna Toboni travels to Kuwait, now one of the most obese countries on the planet, to witness the health effects on a country deep in the throes of an unlikely obsession with U.S. fast food. “Fast Food of Arabia” airs on HBO Friday, April 21 at 11pm.

I just watched this episode a few moments ago and although it doesn’t bring to light anything we (as in people living in Kuwait) didn’t already know, it did make me realize two things:

1) Some of the most prime seaside real estate is occupied by fast food chains
2) There needs to more education by the government on healthier living

I don’t have any numbers to back this up but I personally don’t think Kuwait is as obese as it used to be 10 years ago when I first brought to light the obesity issue. Back then we didn’t have close to as many gyms as we have today, people were a lot less active (even I used to be an overweight couch potato) and we definitely didn’t have as many healthy food options as we do today. But there still are a vast majority of people who don’t know how to eat healthy. We tend to assume everyone knows what is good or bad for them but thats not the case which is why I think there needs to be more education on this subject. Maybe nutrition classes should be mandatory in schools or something along those lines.

Here are also some interesting dates I got from this episode of VICE:

First KFC in Kuwait – 1973
First Hardees in Kuwait – 1980
First Pizza Hut in Kuwait – 1982
First Mcdonalds in Kuwait – 1994
First Burger King in Kuwait – 1997

I also found out that the Hardees in Kuwait was their first Hardees outside of the U.. So now I’m interested to know the story on how that came to be.

This episode of VICE is 30 minutes long but only the first half focuses on Kuwait so it won’t take too much of your time. Based on Gianna Toboni’s instagram account, she filmed this in Kuwait last August. If you have HBO NOW, you can watch this episode [Here]

Update: If anyone wants the lyrics to the Domino’s Pizza cult song, here they are:

Who are we?
Domino’s Pizza!
What are we?
Number 1!
What’s our job?
Make more pizza! Have more fun!
Make more pizza! Have more fun!
Make more pizza! Have more fun!
Wooow!

Domino’s asking all the right life related questions…


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