Donuts in the Alps

Posted by Mark

I got the video above by Whatsapp of two old cars from Kuwait in what looks like a Swiss backdrop. Even though it’s wrong I find this hilarious. [YouTube]

drift


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5 Stripes – Custom Mixed Organic Cereals

Posted by Mark

5stripes

I heard about 5 Stripes from a friend of mine and I thought it was an interesting idea. 5 Stripes is a local creation and according to their website they’re the first company in the Middle East that allows you to custom mix your own cereal from a wide range of organic ingredients. They also have pre mixed cereals but whether you custom mix or go with a pre mix, they all come in cool long cylindrical containers.

You can custom mix your ingredients using their website and once you place an order you get a special code which you could use the next time you want to reorder the same mix. That way you don’t waste time creating your custom mix over and over again. If you’re interested, check out their website [Here]


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KIPCO Tower Residential Apartments

Posted by Mark

kipco

When the KIPCO Tower was still under construction I had heard that the first few floors were going to be residential apartments. I’d love to live in the city and I’d love living in a skyscraper especially one as stunning as KIPCO Tower. Residential apartments in skyscrapers are common in places like Dubai but not in Kuwait so I was pretty curious about them and how much they’d be going for. After KIPCO Tower opened I never heard about the residential apartments again but whenever I drove by I could see curtains on some of the floors which I figured were occupied apartments. I was a bit jealous honestly since I wanted to live there myself and I kept imagining this large open loft like space with concrete floors and an exposed ceiling. I basically created this whole scenario in my head and every time I drove by I’d be like damn, those must be the nicest and trendiest apartments in Kuwait.

Finally a few days ago I decided I wanted to see these apartments myself so I shot an email out to KIPCO whom quickly replied telling me the residential supervisor is on duty daily until 5PM. So once I finished up a few things I headed straight into the city to check the apartments out.

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The entrance to the residential section of the tower looks and feels luxurious. The entrance is at the far end of the mall and has a nice looking lobby with brown wooden walls and a security desk. Once you enter the lobby you have a seating area on the right hand side and the elevator hallway in the far right corner. On the left you have an street side entrance.

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The residential apartments are located between floors 6 and 16. They have 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and every floor has either 4 or 6 flats depending on how they’re divided. I wanted to see all three apartment sizes and when they asked me what floor did I prefer I told them the highest available. We headed to the 16th floor first to check out the 2-bedroom apartment.

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The floor hallways are long, quiet and covered in marble. There are multiple doors separating the elevator section from the apartments and the apartments from one another so it’s always going to be super quiet. Once we walked into the first apartment I just headed straight to the window to check out the view. The whole apartment is covered wall to wall with large windows and even without direct sunlight the apartment was filled with soft bright light. This is the life I thought to myself. After I was done staring into the horizon I started walking around and checking the apartment out. First thing that struck me was how small it was. It’s similar in size to apartments you’d find in large cities like London or New York but not the sizes we’re accustomed to in Kuwait. The main reception area had an open kitchen which I loved and a large round pillar which gave the room some personality but the space was a bit small and awkward. I had trouble trying to figure out how I could have a seating area as well as a dinning room in this space. The bedrooms on the other hand were decently sized with built in closets and their own personal bathrooms. Like the rest of the apartment though, they weren’t as big as I was expecting them to be.

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Once I was done we headed to check out the 3-bedroom apartment which as expected was larger but just slightly. The biggest difference other than the extra room was the hallway we walked into which was large and had closets and shelves built into the right hand wall.

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The main reception area was maybe slightly bigger but not by that much. One thing is for sure though the finishing of the apartments was great and they had some nifty features. For example all apartments have a digital keypad so you don’t need to use keys to enter. The apartments also have digital light switches, built in kitchen electronics and other small things like closet railings with LED lights. The apartments and the building as a whole definitely give off a luxurious vibe.

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The last apartment we checked out was the 1-bedroom and I thought that sized worked the best. It was the perfect bachelor pad. The main reception and kitchen area was as big as the other apartments but when you’re just one person living alone, the size works. The apartment cozy and I could easily see myself moving into the space even though it meant I’d have to give away 80% of my belongings so I could fit into this space.

By now I had started guessing how much the apartments were worth. I figured the 1-bedroom would be around KD1,200 a month with the 3-bedroom close to KD2,000. Turns out I wasn’t even close. The 1-bedroom apartment starts at KD650 and goes up to KD750. The 2-bedroom goes for KD1,000 to KD1,160 while the 3-bedroom is between KD1,300 and KD1,500. I’m not going to comment on the 2 and 3-bedroom apartments but at KD650 I think the 1-bedroom is a really good price. A couple of years back when I was looking for an apartment I had put a KD500 budget to find a decent 1-bedroom flat and I couldn’t find anything close to this. Actually other than this KIPCO 1-bedroom flat I don’t think there are any other luxury 1-bedroom flats available in Kuwait or at least not that I know of.

That being said I do have some issues with the whole concept. Generally apartments in the skyscrapers are located on the highest floors not the lowest. With office towers right across the street you don’t really have much privacy all day long. With the lowest floors you don’t have much privacy from the street as well which explains why most occupied apartments on the lowest floors keep their blinds shut. They also don’t have any apartments with a sea view even though the building has a sea view. All their apartments are facing the city which is a shame since I know many would prefer the sea. These issues aside, unless Hamra Tower opens up residential apartments, KIPCO Tower is probably the best option available right now for those wanting to live in a skyscraper.

Update: For those of you contacting me, I don’t have their phone number but you could email them on sales@ufm.com.kw


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Sneak Peek: eFashion

Posted by Mark

emall1

Last month I posted about a new multibrand store that’s opening in Hawalli called eFashion. What grabbed my attention was their teaser image on Facebook which had multiple brands that weren’t officially available in Kuwait yet like A&F, Hollister and Under Armor. I didn’t really understand how they were getting all these brands but I assumed it was just old stock. That comment irked the team behind the project which is why they invited me to pass by the store and get a sneak peek.

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eFashion is a new project by Eureka electronics and it’s going to be located in their new eMall building located in Hawalli opposite Sultan Center. eMall is what Eureka are calling the building which houses Eureka electronics, eToy family amusement center, eFashion which I am going to talk about now and a bunch of restaurants including Zaatar w Zeit, Cafe Supreme, Nestle Cafe, Mrs Fields, Chiquita Fruit Bar and opening soon the popular Turkish bakery Simit Sarayi and the Lebanese restaurant Villa Fayrouz. There’s also an eSocial Cafe that is opening in a couple of months where all the tables will consist of Microsoft Surface multimedia tables.

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eFashion is located on the second mezzanine floor of eMall. Once you step out of the elevator you will walk out into the cosmetics department which separates the sports wear on the left hand side and casual wear on the right. We walked into the sportswear section first where I was met with the familiar Nike section followed by other sections like Puma, Adidas, Umbro, Speedo and more.

nike

What I wanted to pass by was the Under Armor section since it’s a brand everyone wants but nobody had carried until now. I asked them how they were able to get the brand to Kuwait and turns out that Under Armor will officially be coming to Kuwait in around 10 months time but until they do, eFashion will be stocking up on their gear.

underarmour

Once we were done with the sportswear section we headed into the casual wear section which was divided into three parts, men, women and kids. I walked around the whole area which was still being put together and noticed many brands including A&F, Hollister, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren RLX‎, Lacoste and more. Thats when I brought up the question on how they were able to bring these brands to Kuwait when some of the brands don’t exist at all or even when some of them already do. Specifically I wanted to know how they were able to get A&F and Hollister. According to the person I spoke, the A&F and Hollister clothing is brought in from the US with some strict restrictions by the company which I am guessing is a very limited range of products. You won’t find everything on the A&F website in their store for example and the section is fairly small consisting of one corner and a few tables in front of it. But they’re official A&F products which is all some people will care about. Other brands like Lacoste for example, the line they’re importing is different from what you will find at the Lacoste store in Kuwait.

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We started talking about prices and I mentioned Sears which I had also mentioned in my previous post on eFashion. According to them, unlike Sears all their products are current to the season and they also have full size runs of all the items they’re stocking. Price-wise they will also be similar to US prices, so if you find something on the A&F website for example that’s $40, it should cost you around $40 at the store as well.

eMall is currently open but the eFashion floor will be opening in ten days time on August 15th. If you don’t know where eMall is located, here it is on [Google Maps]


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Kuwait taking part in the World Championship Tank Biathlon

Posted by Mark

kuwaittank

Kuwait along with Armenia, Belarus, Venezuela, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, Russia and Serbia is participating in the 2014 Tank Biathlon in Russia. The championship is being held in four stages:

The first one – an individual race – will be held from August 4 through 6. August 4 will see the first crews competing in three races with four tanks in each. The first race will include tank crews from Angola, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Serbia. The Russian national team will be performing in the second race along with teams from China, Kuwait and Armenia. The first day of the championship will end with a race among the crews from India, Belarus, Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan. The individual race envisages a seven-kilometer three-round itinerary.

The second stage – the sprint – will be held on August 8-9. The sprint distance, as is traditional in biathlon, will be the shortest one: three kilometers. It will be this stage that will set the sequence and temporary start-time gap in the pursuit race.

The third stage – the pursuit race – will be held on August 11-12. This type of biathlon race will be based on the results of the sprint (individual start) race.

The final stage will see the first four teams resulting from all three stages identifying the winner during a relay race. Three crews from each national team will make three four-kilometer rounds on one tank (with crew replacement). [Source]


[YouTube]

I didn’t know such a competition existed and Kuwait seems like the odd one out amongst the 12 countries. Video from the first day of the championship is already online, you can see Kuwait come in at the 2:14:44 mark.

Thanks Abdul


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KUWAIT – Through Our Eyes (Part 1)

Posted by Mark

The first part of the documentary on Kuwait that is airing on British Airways this month has been uploaded online in full HD. It’s nearly 12 minutes long and you can watch it above. [YouTube]

throughoureyes


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Demolition Blunder

Posted by Mark

demo1

So you know that parking lot in Salmiya I’ve posted about that’s filled with graffiti and is now getting demolished? Well whoever is demolishing the building messed up, not just once, not twice, but three times!

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As you can see from the photos, the demolition has damaged the still brand new unopened mall in three different places.

demo3

What probably is worse is the fact that the demolition area isn’t cordoned off which means kids from the neighborhood could just walk into the demolition site or just go up the easily accessible stairs of the partly demolished lot. Sadly it’s not a big deal because most of us here have grown accustomed to the lack of professionalism involved in demolition. On a similar topic, a reader the other day left the following comment under the Family Bookshop post:

Speaking of demolishing. An Indian that works for our company became paralyzed from the waste down just this past month because the building next door was being demolished. The side wall of the building fell into their building knocking down the wall to his room.

That’s messed up.


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Thinking of going to Cuba?

Posted by Mark

cuba

A couple of weeks ago, me and a friend where looking for places to travel this coming October and Cuba was on the top of our list. We didn’t manage to do much research other than finding out which airline would take us there but, the local travel blog Hello 965 just posted some information on Cuba including how to get there and what to do once you’re there. So if you’re ever considering flying to Cuba, this post should interest you. Check out her post over [Here]


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A Porsche Spyder from Kuwait in London

Posted by Mark

Someone recently spotted a Porsche 918 Spyder from Kuwait in London and recorded a video of it. Not sure what hotel is in the video but based on all the Kuwaiti cars parked there you’d think it was a hotel in Kuwait. The Spyder starts at KD265,000 but the one in the video is a modified Oakley Design model and might possibly be the first and only Spyder in Kuwait at the moment. [YouTube]

spyder


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Orbea and Olma Bicycles

Posted by Mark

orbea

If you’re looking for a good branded bike in Kuwait you really don’t have much options other than Trek. I actually had to order my bicycle online due to this fact but things are starting to get better. VIB is a small bike store that opened around a year ago in the Al-Rai area but recently moved to Salmiya and opened up shop right next to Extreme Sports (the Trek dealer).

VIB carry two brands of bicycles, Olma and the race winning Orbea which is the more popular brand and the one that a lot of top racers use. Back at the Beijing Olympics two gold medal winners were on Orbea bikes for example. They carry both road and mountain bikes and seem to have a large variety to choose from. Prices vary but most of the ones I checked hovered at around KD300.

If you’re interested in their bikes, they’re open from 10 to 1 and then again 3 to 9. Their phone number is 55219829 and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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