Faisal Al Fouzan: Portraits of Kuwait

Posted by Mark

faisal

VSCO has featured the very talented local photographer Faisal Al Fouzan and they’ve shared some of their favorite shots for the world to see. The photos are all incredible and I’m extremely jealous that I don’t have Faisal’s skills in recognizing and capturing moments. He’s super talented yet he only has 22,000 followers on instagram which I think is completely unfair when compared to some other instagrammers with the most horrid of shots and subjects. But that’s instagram for you.

Check out the feature [Here] and be sure to follow him on instagram @faisalthef

belly


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The Kuwait Heritage Library Bookstore

Posted by Mark

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Last week a reader made me aware that there was a small bookshop located inside Al Bahhar Entertainment Village (Youm Al Bahar) called the Kuwait Heritage Library. The bookstore supposedly sold old hard to find books and since I was looking for a copy of The Kuwait Urbanization I decided to head there and search for it.

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Youm Al Bahar is located in Kuwait City across from the House of Parliament. I hadn’t been there for years and don’t think much has changed since my last visit. The bookstore is located inside Youm Al Bahar and it’s pretty tiny with the books mostly being Arabic and only a couple of shelves dedicated to English ones. Most of the books in the shop are about Kuwait but I couldn’t find anything interesting in the English section. But, they did have a couple of glass cabinets with some of the really old books inside. I couldn’t find the book I wanted but I did find the book pictured above which is an original copy of the 1961 Kuwait Commercial Directory. The book was in decent shape for its age but the guy wanted KD150 for it which is around KD100 more than I would want to pay for it. I did manage to snap photos of some ads from inside the book which you can check out below.

There might be other treasures hidden in the shop but you would need to know Arabic and have a bit of time to flip through the shelves. The shop only opens in the evenings and if you don’t know where Youm Al Bahar is, here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Official Kuwait International Airport App

Posted by Mark

airportapp

The Kuwait International Airport released their official iPhone App earlier today. I have no idea why they bothered since it’s not a real application, it’s just a browser that loads up the actual web page. Check out the photo above, can you tell which is the app and which is the actual website? There is absolutely no benefit to the app over their mobile website, you don’t get flight notifications or any sort of added value features. So save yourself the trouble and just bookmark the actual airport website, it’s literally the EXACT same thing. I wonder how much the developers charged them for this… [Link]

Update: According to Frankom, the app cost KD17,850 to develop! [Link]

Update2: Turns out you actually do get flight notifications. So thats the only difference over the website as far as I can tell.


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Ministry of Interior iPhone App

Posted by Mark

moiapp

The MOI released an iPhone App recently allowing you to perform a bunch of tasks like checking on your traffic violations and E-Payments. Sadly the app is not that great since it isn’t really offering anything new compared to other non-official apps that have been out longer and most of us already have installed on our phones.

My main issues with the app is the speed of some of the sections and the fact that it won’t memorize your details. To be able to check on your traffic violations for example you need to set up an account with them. That’s great since it means you don’t have to type in your Civil ID every single time you want to check on something but you still have to type in your password which is annoying. Then for some reason the E-Payments section requires you to type in your Civil ID number instead of allowing you to log in with your username and password like the other sections. It’s a mess.

On the other hand the app is free and it’s the official app. For those of you who prefer not to share your Civil ID with non-official apps this is for you. [Link]


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The New Scrap Yard Location

Posted by Mark

junk1

Back in April the government forced all the scrap yards in Amghara to close down and relocate to a new location further up north near the Saudi border. The previous location used to be located off of the 6th Ring Road, around 10-15 minutes from 360 Mall but the new location is around 45 minutes further away from that location. I’ve been wanting to visit the place but I kept putting it off because I thought it was too far away until yesterday I decided to finally check it out.

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Before I headed out I filled up my car with a full tank of gas, got a few bottles of water with me and set up a music play list. If this was going to be a long trip I wanted to make sure it was a comfortable one. The location of the new yards was on the same road as the Ali Al Salem Air Base, an area I know pretty well since it’s where I usually drive to when I take cars on a test drive. It’s very easy to get to, you just take the 6th Ring Road and drive north until you see an exit for Ali Al Salem Air Base, you then take it and drive 30 minutes further down past the base until you see the scrap yards on your right hand side. It’s not complicated and I have the exact location linked at the end of the post.

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Once I got near the scrap yard location I noticed a small sign on the main road, it had a Mercedes logo and an arrow pointing right so I exited the main road headed down a dirt road towards the area. It suddenly felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic future where I was driving in the middle of the desert looking for supplies and I just found this small lawless city. It literally was a city in the middle of the desert surrounded by sand on all four sides.

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When I finally got to the junkyards the sight was very familiar, different fenced up yards all located side by side with each one specializing in a style or brand of vehicles. I wasn’t looking for anything so I just drove around scouting the area before heading back to the city.

The journey really wasn’t bad at all, there is never any traffic on that road and it’s really peaceful. If you’re interested in heading out there, here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Lion Found Near the 7th Ring Road

Posted by Mark

Supposedly the video was taken earlier tonight but I can’t confirm it. [YouTube]

Thanks Anes

lion


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Help Out the British Airways Media Team

Posted by Mark

The European production company behind the 4 part documentary on Kuwait that is being aired on British Airways will be in Kuwait next week and they need your help. The 4 part series is being spread out over a one year period, the first part was released last week while the second will be released before the end of the year.


[YouTube]

The second part of the documentary will be focusing on tourism so they’re looking for places or activities to film that are off the beaten track. Meaning, they know about Souk Mubarkia and the Scientific Center, what they’re looking for is less popular but still very interesting things to do. I’m not sure how long the team will be in Kuwait for but here are my suggestions:

Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (aka Khiran)
Paddle Boarding
Wakeboarding
House of Mirrors
Fish Market Auctions
Powered Paragliding
Friday Market
Weekly Al-Farsi Kite Show (not sure if they’re active in the summer)
Cinemagics Rooftop Movies (currently not active because it’s summer)
Qout Market (currently not active because it’s summer)
Shakshooka Market (currently not active because it’s summer)

This is all I could think of for now but if you have any other suggestions leave it in the comments below.


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Go by OSN – A Netflix for the Middle East

Posted by Mark

gobyosn

A few months ago OSN launched a video streaming service similar to Netflix called ‘Go’. For just $10 a month you get access to a large library of movies and TV shows which are all available to watch at any time from your desktop or your mobile devices.

I found out about the service today and after playing around with it for a few hours I liked it, even though I don’t have a use for it.

The service isn’t anywhere near perfect but it’s a good start nonetheless. I have two main issues with ‘Go’, the first is the limited library. In the TV shows category they only have 15 shows, all old seasons which most of us have watched before. I compliment them on the fact they have one of my favorite shows ‘Boss‘ available but that show got canceled like 2 years back. The movies category is a lot better just don’t expect any of the latest blockbusters. Their movie section actually reminded me of Blockbuster back when I used to rent videotapes from them in Canada. Once I would be done watching everything in the top 20 I would wander randomly around the store looking for old classics I might have missed out on. Groundhog Day, Good Morning Vietnam, Top Gun, Medicine Man.. all classics available to watch along with other more recent hits. If only they would allow us to sort through the movies by release date, it would make things a lot more practical.

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The second issue I had with ‘Go’ was the quality of the video stream. I’m on a 10Mbps connection and I had difficulty getting a decent quality stream going. They don’t even let you control the quality of the video, they do it automatically for you based on your current speed so if your connection is fluctuating so will the quality of the video. One minute I’m watching a clear 1.3Mbps stream a few seconds later it drops down to 300Kbps, then back up to 800, then back down to 500. It’s really irritating and I wish they had an option similar to YouTube where I could choose the quality, hit pause and let it buffer up a bit and then hit play. On my iPhone things were slight better just because the screen is smaller so compression artifacts didn’t show as much.

On the plus side $10 a month is pretty cheap and I loved the fact I could play anything I wanted instantly. Even skipping randomly into different sections of the movie was fast. On the iPhone you could also leave the app while watching something and when you come back to it, the app will remember your last position and continue playing from where you stopped.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not a bad start for a service that just recently launched. You don’t need to be an OSN subscriber to sign up to ‘Go’ and they also have a 7-day free trial so you could give it a spin before deciding if you want it or not. Here is a link to their [Website]

Thanks Sara


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Vintage KDD

Posted by Mark

kdd

KDD needs to seriously bring back their old packaging. The picture above was posted awhile ago on instagram by @moath9, it was taken back in 1984 while filming a commercial for KDD.


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How Safe is Kuwait’s Tap Water to Drink?

Posted by Mark

howsafeistapwater

A few days ago I posted a question asking if anybody drinks the tap water unfiltered and it got a lot of responses with the general consensus being that the water is fairly safe only if you use a filter. Well today I got invited to pass by the Water Resources Development Center in Shuwaikh to get a better idea on the subject and I left impressed.

Turns out Kuwait’s tap water is actually very safe to drink straight out the tap, so safe it’s currently close to getting an ISO certification. The Water Resources Development Center which is located behind KPC in Shuwaikh has two laboratories, a chemistry lab and a bacteriology lab. On a daily basis samples are collected from various institutions around Kuwait (schools, hospitals, mosques etc..) and delivered to the laboratories where tests are conducted. If the water is contaminated, the source of that water is closed down right away and only reopened once the problem has been fixed.

If the water you receive at home isn’t clean it’s because there might be a problem with your buildings pipes, boilers, storage tanks etc.. which is why it’s recommended to use a filter in that situation.

So there you have it, Kuwait’s tap water is absolutely safe to drink unless there is an issue with your building.


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