Old Kuwait Postcards – Part 2

Posted by Mark

carlton-hotel-kuwait

A few months back I posted a collection of old Kuwaiti postcards which I had found by mistake on eBay while searching for something else. This time around I found a larger collection of old Kuwaiti postcards but I was deliberately looking for them.

phoenicia-hotel-kuwait

What I find fascinating about these old postcards is the fact they highlight important locations and buildings of that era, ones that are forgotten about or don’t even exist today. That’s why for this post I’ve highlighted these two specific postcards, one of the Carlton Hotel and the other of the Phoenicia Hotel. According to this old scan from a 1966 magazine, Phoenicia was the a beautiful place where you could experience the most beautiful days of your life. Good times, check out all the postcards below.

To purchase any of these postcards visit this [Link]


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1st Healthy City in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

yarmouk

Yarmouk became the first healthy city in Kuwait this month by fulfilling the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO). Some of the requirements they fulfilled included:

- Fighting against obesity
- Having a walk marathon
- Beautification and cleaning of the city
- Setting up a well-equipped walking track
- Planted trees
- Saved power and water
- Washed streets with water and soap
- Organized exhibitions for young entrepreneurs a
- Established an environment-friendly park
- Organized cultural, social, educational and health symposiums and lectures
- Urged people to donate blood
- Combatted smoking
- Fighting swine flu

I think thats really great now if only the same formula could be applied to my area or other areas around Kuwait. Checkout the article on KUNA [Here]

Photo by Samira


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Blog Update: New Middle Column

Posted by Mark

column

As part of the blogs expansion I’ve added a bunch of new sections to the blog and because I know it can be annoying to keep clicking every section to see if there is anything new, I decided to solve that issue by updating the middle column. After playing around with it for awhile now I’m finally comfortable with the way it looks and the function it provides.

If you take a look to the right side of this post you’ll find “More from 248AM”. These are posts that aren’t on the main blog page but instead posts that have been published in one of the other sections. So if you’re looking for more content to read, keep your eye out for articles that pop up over there.


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Four Seasons Hotel – Cairo at Nile Plaza

Posted by Mark

fourseasons1

A couple of weeks ago I went to Cairo for a friends wedding and since the wedding was taking place at the Four Seasons, me and my friends all ended up staying at the same hotel as well. I hadn’t been to Cairo since back in 2008 when I went down to film the Wataniya Airways launch commercial and back then I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel which I really didn’t like. The Four Seasons is literally across the street from where I stayed last time but the experience this time around was worlds apart.

cairo2

The last time I was in Cairo the city was full of tourists but this time there were barely any. Even when we went to touristic places like Khan Al-Khalili and the Pyramids we barely saw any tourists and the hotels are obviously affected by this. When we were at Four Seasons the hotel was mostly occupied by people attending our wedding and people attending another wedding that was also taking place there and from what a friend told me, the prices the hotel was charging for the rooms was around 40% less than they used to charge when the city was bustling with tourists. I ended up staying in the Diplomatic Suite which turned out to be a lot larger than I was expecting it to be. When you first walk into the room you have a small hallway with a guest bathroom and a small closet. Right after the hallway is the main living space with a large LCD screen, a couch which unfolds into a sofa bed, a work area and a large terrace overlooking the Nile. At the far end of the room is a doorway that leads you into the bedroom where theres a second large LCD screen, a huge walk-in closet and a large marble clad bathroom with two sinks. I think this was pretty much the largest room I had ever stayed in at a hotel.

cairo3

The hotel as a whole felt a lot like a cruise ship and some of my friends treated it that way by not leaving the hotel the whole weekend we were there. Other than the restaurants and the pool, the hotel also had a bar, a club and a department store all located on premises. The pool area is where we spent all our mornings tanning and recovering from the night before by relaxing on their really comfortable lounges. The only downside to the pool area and actually one of the only issues I had with the hotel is the fact by 12:30PM the sun ends up behind the hotel casting a shadow over the pool area and basically putting a stop to any tanning that was taking place.

cairo4

On the plus side I didn’t get any food poisoning while I was there. Before leaving to Cairo everyone was warning me about how easy it was to get food poisoned and not to have any salads or drinks with ice so by the time I got to Cairo I was planning on not eating for the whole trip. In the end hunger won and I spent most of the weekend having the hotel burger for brunch and then mixing it up with dinner either by eating at the hotel or somewhere around Cairo. The location of the hotel was pretty great since it was right on the Nile which meant the view from my room was spectacular. The staff were all really friendly and professional and you really don’t feel like you’re in Egypt when you’re inside the hotel. A good example on how good the staff is, on the last day after checking out we were waiting outside the hotel for our rides when the doorman noticed one of the girls with us was holding a pair of shoes in her hand. Without her asking he went and got her a paper bag and placed the shoes inside for her. That earned the hotel a lot of points in my book.

nile5

Overall I had a great weekend in Cairo and the hotel was part of the reason why. This is the third or fourth Four Seasons Hotel I’ve stayed in and so far they’ve all turned out to be pretty great. There are two Four Seasons in Cairo, the one I stayed in was the Nile Plaza one (not the one with the casino) and you can check out their website [Here]


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“CONTAMINATED” Now Part of the Miami Fashion Film Festival

Posted by Mark

contaminated

“CONTAMINATED” is a short film that was written and directed by the Kuwaiti film maker Moe Al-Saeed and a couple of days back he got word that it was officially selected to be part of the upcoming Miami Fashion Film Festival. Moe is the guy behind some great locally produced videos including my two favorites the Happy Kuwait video and BirdTalk: Dance.

He’s is still working on a trailer for “CONTAMINATED” but for now I was able to get the film synopsis:

God Shiva starts the tandav cosmic dance of death to wake the “children” up. She gives them beauty and power. The children blossom and as they reach their crescendo they get contaminated. Their time is up and Shiva destroys what she has once created.

Sounds pretty strange and interesting so can’t wait to see it.


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Red Bull BC One Kuwait Cypher 2014

Posted by Mark

cypher

A few weeks back the Red Bull Cypher battle took place in Kuwait where 16 of the best b-boys battled for the prestigious title as well as the chance to compete against the worlds best in Paris. This was the first year Kuwait had a b-girl compete but in the end it was b-boy Seasick who took home the title.

Check out the video of the event below put together by TJCfilms.


[YouTube]


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The Best Sports Mixer

Posted by Mark

blenderbottle

I’ve gone through a whole bunch of sports mixers over the last few years and really wasn’t happy with any of them. The majority would either start falling apart after awhile, not mix my drink properly or worst of all, start leaking. Sports mixers are used to mix protein shakes, energy drinks or nutrition supplements and are pretty common with gym goers. Recently I noticed one of the protein stores I frequent (Health Planet) started carrying the Blender Bottle brand. I purchased a small bottle and I’m in love with it, by far the best sports mixer I’ve ever used. It’s really well made, looks great, does a great job of mixing because of the wire ball wisk inside and most importantly, it hasn’t leaked on me yet. There are two sizes of the sports mixer, 20oz and 28oz. The one I got which is pictured above is 20oz which is the perfect size for me. The price for both sizes are similar coming in at KD6.750 and KD6.950. So if you want to pick one they’re available at Health Planet.


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Kuwait Law: How can I get a release from my company?

Posted by Fajer Ahmed

Hello everyone, although I haven’t posted here in a while, I have been reading your questions and emails. Over and over there is one question that is constantly being asked so I have decided to post the answer here, so you can all benefit.

“How can I get a release from my company?”

This question is not as simple as it seems, the answer depends on a few things (I am assuming you work in the private sector and Kuwait Labor Law 6/2010 applies to you):
1) If you have passed the 100 day probation period or not
2) The type of contract you have (specified or not specified)
3) Whether your employer was providing you with your rights as per Kuwait Labor Law

So therefore I tried to simplify the answer in a flow chart below:

chart

I really don’t like how some employers are keeping foreigners here against their will by using a specified contract, putting travel bans against them and doing other manipulative things. This isn’t a perception I have but stories I keep hearing EVERY SINGLE DAY! So my advice to you is, if you want to leave and they won’t let you go, email your boss with all the things they are doing that are against the law or your contract, for example withholding your passport, not paying you on time, not paying you over time, working more than 8 hours a day and so on (Read your rights here)

Also I would like to take some cases pro-bono with a help of lawyer friends, so please email you if you feel your employer is not being rightful!

As for company’s please read this link that has employee rights, you have no excuse to treat foreigners this way.

If you have any further questions please write them below, I will try to answer you here.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Help K’S PATH raise funds

Posted by Mark

kspath

K’S PATH, the local non-profit animal welfare and environmental protection organization needs your help:

You can make a difference to the lives of 232 shelter animals this summer by supporting our Summer Fundraising Campaign! Help us raise six months worth of food – which totals KD10,000 – by 31st May 2014 for our dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, tortoises, turtles, rabbits, ferret and baboons. Your generosity will enable us to continue providing our animals the nutrition they need to be happy and healthy. Please do spread the word and give us a call at 67001622 or email info@kspath.org to make a donation. Thank you!

Out of the KD10,000 they need, as of this post they’ve raised around KD9,500 which means only KD500 is left. So contact them if you can help them reach their goal.


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The Emergency Lane Confusion

Posted by Mark

copemergencylane

I have no idea whats going on with the emergency lane situation in Kuwait but there seriously seems to be some major confusion. The other day an article in the Arab Times said the following:

Jail, 3-Mth Vehicle Seizure For Emergency Lane Violators
Director of Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department and Acting Director of Security Media Department, Brigadier Adel Al-Hashash has announced the activation of a traffic law which punishes motorists who use the emergency lanes, reports Al-Shahed daily.

Al-Hashash explained those who drive in the emergency lanes will be detained at police stations for between 24 and 48 hours and the Al-Anba daily added their vehicles will be impounded for three months. He denied motorists were allowed to use the emergency lanes because of traffic congestion. He added, the Interior Ministry’s media department had earlier issued a statement in this regard. He said the law was activated on May 19 and the security authorities will implement this law in its strict sense.[Source]

First of all it seems no one gives a crap about that new law because over the weekend during heavy traffic on the Fahaheel Expressway not only were people using both the left and right emergency lanes, they were using it even when there was a police car in front of them (pictured above). No one was afraid of getting stopped, fined or punished. But then again, I’ve seen people run red lights in front of cops with no reaction from the cops so don’t know why I was surprised by this.

If that wasn’t bad enough, today there is another article in the Arab Times but this one contradicts the statement I highlighted in bold and italics in the article above. I’ve copy pasted this new article below:

Move To Reduce Congestion
Ministry of Interior has permitted the use of safety lanes on certain roads at specific times to reduce congestion.

In a statement, the ministry indicated roads specified for this purpose include King Faisal Expressway from the Sixth Ring Road, King Abdul-Aziz Road from the Sixth Ring Road to First Ring Road, and Al- Maghrib Highway from King Fahad Road to the First Ring Road.

The permitted timings are 6:00am-9:00am and 12:30pm-3:30pm, noting the times specified are the busiest in the country because Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees and students leave and return from the schools, institutes and universities during the period.

The statement added the decision was based on directives from the Interior Minister and Acting Minister of Awqaf Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary Lieutenant General Suleiman Fahad Al-Fahad.

The road users can only use the safety lanes during the specific period and at specified locations to follow regulations, reiterating the lane is originally for ambulances, fire engines, police cars and civil defense but other vehicles can use it now, as instructed, and the speed limit is 45 km/h. [Source]

So a few days after one person issues a statement saying that no one is allowed to use the emergency lane not even during rush hour, another person releases another statement contradicting the the first person. Talk about lack of communication and confusion on this subject.


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