Salem Al Mubarak Street is Turning Pedestrian Only

Post by Mark

I can’t believe this is actually happening, they’re finally turning Salem Al Mubarak Street into a pedestrian only street. When I posted about this proposal back in February, I was very adamant that it would never happen and looks like I was wrong, kinda (more on that in a bit). So far they’ve closed down and dug up half of the old Salmiya street. For those of you who aren’t very familiar with this area and the street, Salem Al Mubarak Street starts off at the end of the 4th Ring Road and goes all the way down past Al Fanar Complex and down past AUK and Symphony Mall. “Old Salmiya” which is turning into pedestrian only starts at the end of the 4th Ring Road and ends at Al Salam Mall where LuLu Supermarket is. I’m very passionate about this street because I’ve lived on it (literally) all my life. So I’ve experienced it during its heydays in the 80s, I experienced it during the invasion and after in the 90s, and I’m still experiencing it now on a daily basis since I live on top of one of the shopping complexes on that street. I care about this area a lot so lets start with the good things about all this, and then I’ll mention some negative stuff which are as important.

The Good
– Back in February when I mentioned this project I called it a joke. Mostly because if they were to follow the renderings that were shared with the public (like the one above), it would have meant demolishing the whole street with all the buildings and starting from scratch. So when I spoke to the engineer behind the project yesterday, I asked him about all these modern buildings in the renderings and turns out they were just placed there as inspiration to the current building owners. Phew! That means neither my building nor all the classic two-story buildings (pictured below) on the street will be demolished. For now at least…

– Work is going to be completed pretty soon, they’re aiming to have the street ready by Q1 of next year

– My building is going to be located on a pedestrian only commercial street, how cool is that? I mean its not Carnaby Street or Liverpool ONE, but it’s still cool. Might finally have a reason to buy a Boosted Board.

The Bad
– The street has currently been dug up but no consideration has been made for pedestrians and shop owners. Yesterday I walked down the street to LuLu and in a number of spots I was forced to walk in deep sand which is very difficult to walk in. There are a whole line of shops who just have sand right outside their door because the sidewalks were dug up and no temporary path were put in its place. From what I was told by my buildings landlord, foot traffic has decreased considerably and shop owners in my building have started to feel the effect. Temporary paths should be created to keep the area and shops alive. I’m meeting with the engineer behind the project next week and I’m going to bring this important point up.

– The parking situation in old Salmiya is a mess as it is and now by shutting down the main street which included a lot of parking spots, parking is even a bigger mess. The municipality has already placed signs pointing people to parking locations in the area, but as a resident of the area myself, I found these signs hard to understand, hard to see and they don’t seem to point anywhere. I’m curious to see what parking solutions they’ve come up with to go along with this project.

– Finally, they’ve killed a lot of trees. This is probably the saddest thing about the project. They’ve so far uprooted and killed I would say around 10 large trees, maybe more. These are trees that have been there from the very start of the street (pictured above) and have survived and endured so much. The first question I asked the engineer when he contacted me on Twitter yesterday was if they were removing the trees. He responded saying “Only some .. coz i try hard to keep it but it’s need a lot of work but I kept some coz in my idea that is the land mark of this street”. In my opinion ALL the trees should have stayed and it’s sad to see them being chopped up and bulldozed away. No idea if I can convince him to stop chopping down trees but will see when I pass by their offices next week.

Overall I’m excited my area is finally getting the attention it deserves. But now I’m just hoping the project is done right. Once I pass by the project’s office next and get more details, I’ll post and update.


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Kuwait is Still One of the Worst Countries for Expats

Post by Mark

No surprise here but Kuwait is still one of the worst countries for expats according to the latest Expat Insider survey by Internations. Kuwait came in 64th place out of a total of 65 countries surveyed. On the bright side, at least we’re not in last place like we were last year.

Kuwait has improved by one place, coming 64th out of 65 countries in 2017. In fact, it’s improved by at least one place in all indices, with particular progress in the Working Abroad Index: job security has improved by 15 places, putting Kuwait in the middle of the ranking (32nd). Quality of life still remains a struggle, however, and Kuwait comes last for leisure options and personal happiness.

Surprisingly, Bahrain was voted as the best place in the world for expats. Check out the full result of the survey and rankings [Here]

Thanks Bashar


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Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

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

New This Week:
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (6.4)
IT (8.5)
My Cousin Rachel (6.1) ♦
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D (8.5) ♦
The Glass Castle (7.2)

Other Movies Showing:
American Made (7.5)
Annabelle: Creation (7.2) ♦
Birth of the Dragon (4.1)
Seven Sisters (6.9)
The Dragon Spell (6.2)
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (7.3)
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (4.5)
Wind River (8.0) ♦
Wish Upon (4.7)

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

A Beautiful Planet 3D (7.9)
Dream Big 3D (7.9)
Humpback Whales 3D (7.2)
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D (N/A)

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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Staged in Kuwait Lunch

Post by Mark

Staged in Kuwait are getting ready to start their 6th season, continuing the long legacy of community theatre in Kuwait that started in 1948 out in Ahmadi at The Kuwait Little Theatre. To welcome the start of season six, Staged in Kuwait are having a lunch to get you excited about all the activities they have planned for the year ahead.

sik

So if you’re interested in learning what shows they have scheduled, when the auditions are, want to know how to get involved behind the scenes or if you just want to meet other theatre inclined friends, then join them for lunch next Friday September 15th. To RSVP and more details, visit their website [Here]


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Vigonovo is Closing Down

Post by Mark

vig1

Vigonovo, the cute and cozy Italian restaurant in Al Khalid Complex is closing down today. Due to a number of factors including an increase in their rent, today will be their last day of operation. So if you’ve been meaning to check the place out then this is your last chance. @vigonovo_kw


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The Sultan Center Hiku Shopping Device

Post by Mark

Over the holidays Sultan Center sent me a Hiku device to play around with and try out. The Hiku is a small device that lives in your kitchen and can scan barcodes, recognize your voice and is basically used to create a shopping list. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets, even my egg tray connects to the internet so I wasn’t going to say no to adding another gadget in my kitchen. Plus, I enjoy scanning barcodes for some reason, I even owned a CueCat back in 2001 which strangely is considered one of the worst inventions ever. Anyway, enough throwbacks for now.

The Hiku is a pretty tiny device that connects to the internet and the Sultan Center phone app. The way you use it is pretty simple. Say you’re running out of popcorn, instead of opening your notes app or whatever app you use to remind you about what you need from the supermarket, you just take the Hiku device and scan the barcode on the popcorn box. The Hiku automatically recognizes what you just scanned, beeps once letting you know all is ok and then adds that item to your Sultan Center shopping list. If the Hiku doesn’t recognize the item, it will beep three times. Some items like bananas for example don’t have barcodes, so instead of scanning a barcode, you press the button on the Hiku and just say bananas. The Hiku device will recognize your voice and add bananas to your shopping list.

Once you’ve got everything on your list, you can then add the stuff to your shopping cart and purchase them using the Sultan Center app or, you can just open the list the next time you’re shopping and use it as a reminder.

So what do I think of the Hiku? Currently I use the Clear app on my iPhone for my grocery list reminders. It launches instantly and its very easy to add an item to a list and swipe it off once I get it. I don’t think I’ll be changing my habits and start using the Hiku especially since I don’t buy my groceries online. The Hiku makes more sense for people who do order grocerries to their home, by having all the items added to your Sultan Center account, it makes it super practical to just checkout and have the items delivered.

But, the biggest issue I faced is that not all the items I scanned got added to my list even though the Hiku recognized the items. For example the popcorn I used as an example in this post, when I scanned the box the Hiku didn’t add it to my shopping list even though it beeped once to let me know it recognized it. I scanned a different flavored popcorn box and it also didn’t get added to my list. I figured maybe the items were out of stock so I manually checked for the popcorn on their website and one of them wasn’t available, but the other was. Even if both items were out of stock I think they should still get added to my shopping list so that when they’re back in stock I could purchase them. Popcorn wasn’t the only thing it didn’t add to my list, I scanned a bunch of items in one of my kitchen drawers, and in the end it just added two of them to my list even though again the Hiku recognized all the other items. Super annoying.

Another issue I have is with the price of the Hiku. Although the device costs KD12 on Amazon, Sultan Center are selling it for KD25. I don’t know why they’d sell it for double the price, if anything they should be selling it at cost price so that they could get more people to buy it, which in return will lead to more people using their app and website.

With all that being said, the Hiku is a fun little gadget. If you want to find out more about the Hiku, visit the product page on the Sultan Center website [Here]


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The Onam Festival 2017

Post by Mark

The Onam Festival is back and will be taking place tomorrow Monday the 4th of September. Onam is the biggest and most important festival of the state of Kerala in India and it’s also celebrated here in Kuwait. A few Southern Indian restaurants in Kuwait offer the traditional vegetarian dish the Onasadya during the festival and below are some of those restaurants.

Caesar’s Dakshin Restaurant – Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Al Jawhara Building
Price: KD3.500
Telephone: 24319191, 24310303 [Map]

Udupi Restaurant – Fahaheel, Green Tower
Price: KD2.250
Telephone: 25456565 [Map]

Saravanaa Bhavan – Fahaheel, Humoud Towers
Price: KD2.500
Telephone: 23929099 [Map]

If you know of any more places serving Onam, let us know in the comments.


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Four Seasons Now Open

Post by Mark

I just got back from having dinner at Dai Forni, the new Italian restaurant at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel. The hotel just opened up a couple of days ago along with the restaurants Dai Forni, Elements, Al Bandar and Al Soor lobby lounge.

Dai Forni is currently fully booked for the next 5 days because of Eid, but you could call and reserve spots for after Eid. Sintoho the Pan-Asian restaurant is still not open for now but will be opening in the next 2-3 weeks.

Four Seasons is located in Kuwait City opposite Discovery Mall [Google Maps] and their instagram account is @fskuwait. Their phone number is 22006000.

For more pictures of the hotel, check out my previous post [Here]


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Movies Showing in Kuwait Over Eid

Post by Mark

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

New This Week:
American Made (7.5)
Birth of the Dragon (4.1)
Inhumans (N/A)
The Dragon Spell (6.2)
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (4.5)
Wind River (8.0) ♦
Wish Upon (4.7)

Other Movies Showing:
Annabelle: Creation (7.2) ♦
Blind (5.2) ♦
Bling (4.6)
Bushwick (6.4)
Dunkirk (8.6) ♦
Kidnap (6.0)
Logan Lucky (7.5)
Security (5.8)
Seven Sisters (6.9)
The Beguiled (6.9) ♦
The Emoji Movie (1.7)
The Hatton Garden Job (6.6)
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (7.3)
The Recall (5.1) ♦
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (6.7)
War for the Planet of the Apes (8.5)

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

A Beautiful Planet 3D (7.9)
Dream Big 3D (7.9)
Humpback Whales 3D (7.2)
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D (N/A)

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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Shows to Watch: 13 Reasons Why, Atypical and Ozark

Post by Mark

Now that Game of Thrones finished for the season last night, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some great new shows I recently watched.

13 Reasons Why
This show first aired back in April but I just got around to watching it a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like it but I got hooked right away. 13 Reasons Why is about a high school girl called Hannah who ends up committing suicide. Before she died, she recorded 13 tapes with each tape discussing one of the 13 reasons why she decided to commit suicide. The show is 13 episodes long with every episode covering one tape and I loved that format. Although a lot of people found the show disturbing when it was first released, but I don’t think it’s that bad. Actually the only thing I found disturbing in the show was her suicide scene which I forwarded through anyway since I don’t like watching emotional scenes like that (or rape scenes for that matter). If you have Netflix, watch this if you haven’t already.

Atypical
Atypical aired a couple of weeks ago and I binge watched all 8 episodes back to back in one day. I loved it and its right up there in my top 5 or 6 shows of this year but thats probably because the show deals with autism, a subject I’ve been fascinated with for some time now. The show follows an 18-year old high school student called Sam, who is autistic and has decided to try and find a girl friend. The result is a lot of super awkward scenes and some really great development of characters including the dad who’s played by Michael Rapaport. This show is also on Netflix, and is also a must watch.

Ozark
Starring one of my favorite comedians Jason Bateman, this show is far from being a comedy. Ozark is a super dark drama in which Jason Bateman plays the role of a financial advisor that ends up relocating his family to the Missouri Ozarks after his dealings with a drug cartel go wrong. It’s such an out of character role for Bateman especially when he’s mostly know for his character Michael Bluth on the television sitcom Arrested Development. But Bateman played the role so well that now its going to be awkward for me getting used to him again as Michael Bluth when the 5th season of Arrested Development premiers. This is the last show on my list here but if you had time to just watch just one, this would be the one I’d recommend.


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