Red Bull Failaka Showdown

Posted by Mark

This is a new promotional video for Red Bull Kuwait in which they’ve pit a free-runner against a drifter and shot the whole thing on Failaka Island. It’s a well made made video that will make you want to go exploring around Failaka. [YouTube]

freerunner


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The Avenues Phase 4

Posted by Mark

phase4

Construction work on The Avenues Phase 4 has begun and the new extension will officially include the following:

– A five-star hotel
– Grand Avenue extension
– Prestige extension
– The Electra District, modeled after Times Square in New York
– The Plaza District, inspired by Piazza San Marco in Venice
– The Orchid District, an area with boutiques and hanging gardens with restaurants at the center
– More entertainment options

orchid

They are planning to have Phase 4 completed by late 2016. You can see a rendering of the Orchid District as well as the hotel in an old Avenues Mall animation [Here]. Not sure how accurate those two areas are but everything else in the video was already built and in reality looks similar to whats in the video.

Thanks ChaoticTranquility

Update: According to a contact of mine it seems I might have highlighted both Phase 4 and 5 in yellow on the first map on top. Also I was informed there is a plan for an underpass or bridge similar to Marina Mall that would cross over (or under) the Ghazali highway to the other side where more phases will be built in the future (check map below).

avenuesphase10


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Fines for picking flowers, smoking indoors and littering

Posted by Mark

IMG_9034.JPG

According to Arabian Business, Kuwait has introduced new legislation that will fine people for various offenses like KD250 for picking flowers, KD500 for littering and KD100 for smoking indoors. Now the part I found interesting was that a new police force division was also being established to specifically monitor these new rules. I’m hoping this means the laws will actually get enforced this time around. Check out the full article [Here]


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Jazeera Airways Blunder

Posted by Mark

durex

It seems whoever is handling the Jazeera Airways twitter account also handles the twitter account of Durex and last week confused the two by posting a Durex advert under the Jazeera account. Either that or Jazeera Airways want to promote their mile high club.

Jazeera Airways quickly pulled the ad down and posted an apology but not fast enough since someone managed to grab a screenshot and now their mistake lives on the internet forever. [Link]

Thanks Basel


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Fight breaks out at the airport

Posted by Mark

Not something you really want to see right as you’re walking out of the arrivals gate. [YouTube]

airportfight


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Life in Kuwait back in the 1950s – Part 1

Posted by Mark

Back in May while doing some research about Kuwait in the old days I contacted a person by the name of John Beresford and asked him if he had any old photographs or videos of Kuwait from back in the old days. Turns out he didn’t have any videos but he did have some photos and more importantly, a treasure of information, mostly stories of simple things from life back then that many people might have forgotten or not even have known about. I’ve been trying to figure out how to share this trove of fascinating info for the past week and just decided I would share it in parts.

This is
Life in Kuwait back in the 1950s – Part 1
by John Beresford

————————-

Ahmadi was built from scratch, power, drains, everything. My father arrived in April 1949 – he missed the last flying boat service by a week which always disappointed him – he fancied the flight from Beirut via the Iraqi Marshes to Shuwaik. One of the people he arrived with got up, walked to the door, looked out and went back to sit down – he did not get off the plane. Dad did and spent 2 weeks in a tent before graduating to a nissen hut, which was far too hot – with limited power there was no overhead fan. He shared with some fairly coarse drillers from Oklahoma who kept a pistol which was passed around in turn to everyone. It was the job of the person with the pistol to go outside at night and shoot any braying donkeys that were keeping people awake. The only thing he kept from the experience was a taste for iced tea and a distaste for drillers.

My parents got married in 1954. Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) gave them a married quarter and equipped it. Furniture, linen, plates, cutlery, aluminium saucepans, were supplied. I still use the cutlery – EPNS from Mappin and Webb, and some for the saucepans and chip pans. They are stamped with ‘KUOCO’. The crockery had a green band around the edge – I don’t remember who made it. You supplied your own curtains, carpets and bedding. There was nowhere to buy such things so KOC had a commissariat and issued such items. Later on, in the 1960’s, it decided to stop doing this and let everyone keep what they had already received. There was a laundry in the industrial area, North of the South tank farm, where items could be laundered, dry cleaned and starched if necessary. I threw away an old KOC laundry box this summer- it had been used to store tools in the garage. The system was pretty much the same as the army used, and most people employees had been in the forces. They had been posted overseas and had little desire to return to the UK as it was cold, depressed and depressing. Quite a few had been in the British Palestine Police and after 1948 moved elsewhere. There was quite a mix of people around; Dad liked playing rugby in Basrah because there were lots of nightclubs and shows populated by white Russian dancers who could not go back home.

house1

In the picture of the front room note:

– The gas fire – every KOC European/US house had a gas fire , and we used it!

– There is an electrical fan on the floor. I don’t know if this means there was no air-conditioning yet. Overhead fans did exist. The air-conditioning was not as nowadays, with individual units to each room. KOC had a central Ice Plant, that produced ice (obvious from the name) and a lot of cold water. This was piped around the European part of Ahmadi (the management/supervisory accommodation) because managers and supervisors tended to be European, and had higher spec accommodation. The Indians and Pakistanis (IPs) had their area and type of houses, and the Arabs had theirs. Arab managers had management houses. The original drains were made of cast iron and the manager in charge of the domestic infrastructure got bored and did a survey to see haw the drains stood up to use. His conclusion was that the drains in the IP areas corroded more quickly that in the Arab areas, and the Europeans’ drains corroded least of all. He attributed this to the diet.

However, reverting to the a/c, the insulated pipes carried the chilled water to the main a/c unit in every house, and from there cooled air was pumped around the houses. It was an efficient way of supplying a/c. The houses had large ducts made of asbestos sheet that cooled most rooms. I don’t know of anyone that has blamed any subsequent cancer on having had their a/c ducts made of it. Of course when my father had been doing some plumbing and had failed to complete it before the ice plant started to pump its cool water around town he had to phone up and tell them to stop the pump until he was all watertight again! As he was by this time in charge of Ahmadi’s services as well as the oil company’s electrics he could get away with a lot.

– The standard lamp is the one issued by KOC. The entire front room looks shockingly similar to the 1950s room in the Geffrye Museum – a small museum in London, North of Liverpool Street Station, that displays the British domestic front room throughout the centuries. So many people had rooms like the one in the museum. Especially the textiles.

oldhouse

The photo above shows the house after my parents had moved in. There is no garden. It was easier to get the fence and other bits from KOC and build your own. Dad bought concrete flagstones and brought them home 2-3 at a time. In the distance another house is being built. This is up in the Ridge area of Ahmadi. Our house backed onto desert (from the photo at this time it seems to have fronted onto desert as well) and at the back were well heads from the Ahmadi field. In 1956 someone took exception to the Suez Crisis and blew one of them up. This really annoyed my mother. I had 24 terry nappies that were reusable and most of them had been boiled and were hanging on the line when the explosion happed. The fire that resulted covered them all in oily soot and Mum never managed to get them white again. The clean up afterwards she never forgot. Things had to be cleaned. If she had thrown them away there were no more to be obtained. This ridge area was covered in houses when we left in 1972. Houses were every 30-40 yards or less. As it started to drop down the long incline to the sea the slope arrived at the Hubara Club, and the golf course, neither of which had been built when this photo was taken.

Some houses were called PMQs others were called Swedes because they were wooden houses, prefabricated and shipped in from Sweden. Ours was made of Basrah brick which is quite soft. Generally the Americans had bigger houses and earned more money because they were Americans. It was said that everything cost more in the USA. If it did then, it certainly does not nowadays. Everyone had their grade of housing – very much like the armed forces. Bachelors had their accommodation in the guest house where we sometime went on fridays to have a curry. Only rarely, but we enjoyed it greatly. Again, the ‘Bachelors’ Mess’ was modelled on the armed forces.

One way or another you could get most things from KOC. After prohibition came in he and one of his staff, who had worked in a distillery, had the fitters in the electrical division make a still, a proper one, with thermostats, electrical heating, a cooled column for fractionalisation with about 800 marbles in it to increase the surface area for condensation, and the distillate was filtered through charcoal. They then distilled it a 2nd time for purity and then converted it into whatever tipple they wanted, usually gin and brandy. A mail order shop in New York sold food colouring and ingredients especially designed for home-made hooch. The cook made the caramel for the brandy (Dad liked the treacly taste of the Cypriot Keo brandy) and to add flavour he threw a handful of white oak chips into each bottle to simulate aging in a cask. Once his shipment got stopped by Kuwaiti customs and he had to explain what it was for to get release; he said that the white oak chips were for smoking fish, and took along an article explain how kippers were made to help. After much scepticism the shipment was released.

I mentioned a cook. KOC gave managerial staff an allowance to be spent on a servant. The choice was an ayah or a cook. We had a cook. He was a fantastic cook. He was a Pakistani and before partition had been a demonstration chef at the Indian Army School of Cookery. He could cook anything well and knew all western culinary techniques, and if he had forgotten he said so, and asked for a Larousse or some such to refresh his memory. He must have been quite old as he remembered being caught in the great Quetta earthquake and that was in the 1920s.

————————-

End of Part 1


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TV Blooper

Posted by Mark

likescock

The image above went viral early in the week, it was captured from a local television show. I guess nobody on the show reads English.


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Gia has reopened

Posted by Mark

gia

After being closed since the start of Ramadan, Gia has reopened again after expanding into the shop next door. Sadly their menu hasn’t expanded that much and they’re still serving the same salads which I think I’m over already. The new place looks great though with more seating inside and a few tables outside.

If you’re looking for a healthy cafe it’s hard to beat this place. [Link]


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Kuwait – The worst country to be an expat

Posted by Mark

expatdestinations

According to the latest 2014 Expat Insider report by InterNations, Kuwait ranked last ast the worst country to be an expat. The report is based on responses from 14,000 expats in 160 countries and the categories measued quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance, and overall satisfaction living abroad. According to the report:

Kuwait ranks last in the overall country ranking. This is largely due to its low results for personal happiness and in the Ease of Settling In Index. Expats in Kuwait do not think it is easy to settle down there, make friends, or feel at home. Only 5% of survey participants feel completely at home there, and only 7% find it very easy to make local friends.

That reasons sound right but I’m not sure how Saudi Arabia managed to rank as a better place than Kuwait. Check out the full report [Here]

Update: Due to the lack of maturity by some I’ve decided to close this post for comments.


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Huge fight at Avenues over Eid

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Looks like another big fight has taken place at the Avenues except this time it looks like the security guards kicked major ass. The video above is a top view of the incident but you can check out the fight from other angles at the following links:

[Link 1] [Link 2] [Link 3] [Link 4]

Thanks AK

avenuesfight


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