Argania Complex in Shuwaikh

Post by Mark

By now its clear that Shuwaikh has become the new hotspot. VOL.1 and Super/Foods were already giving me a reason to start heading there, ARABICA is soft launching this weekend as well (invite only) and more and more places are planning to open up in that block. Argania is another new complex that is also opening up in a couple of months in that area and it looks to be pretty cool as well:

“Argania, short for Argania Spinosa, is the Latin name for the Argan tree, found in the southwestern region of Morocco. Presenting to businesses and the public a unique escape directly within the heart of a thriving commercial zone, Argania has been designed in line with its traditional Moroccan roots, complemented by soothing water and landscape features.”

The project’s external garden and space is inspired by morrocan architecture. It is a mixed use development with retail and F&B outlets. Expected opening date end of Q1, 2017. Project is owned and developed by ALARGAN International Real Estate Company (www.alargan.com)


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Fathering the Grey by Tareq Almulaifi

Post by Mark

Fathering the Grey is a new E.P. by Kuwaiti singer/songwriter Tareq Almulaifi. I was recently put in touch with him and kinda liked his stuff so wanted to feature his work on the blog.

Tareq got involved with music when he was really young. Since he moved a lot throughout his childhood (his father was a diplomat), he turned to music since it was his only constant wherever he went. He played percussion in each school he moved to as well as joining the school choirs. Once he picked up a guitar and started singing and writing his own music, he’s been doing it ever since. He currently lives in New York and does music full time either playing his own stuff or collaborating with different artists as a singer-songwriter (like the KID SINGAPORE video above) while also working as a drummer for hire. He plays drums for an average of 3 bands at a time, some of which are Lilly Wolf, Da Nomads and Wild Blue Yonder.

You can check out his E.P. Fathering the Grey on [SoundCloud] or embedded below.

You can also keep up with what he’s doing by checking out his website tareqalmulaifi.com or by following him on instagram @tareqalmulaifi


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New Airport Expansion Terminal to be Operational by November

Post by Mark

The new expansion terminal that’s being constructed near the cargo terminal is currently 30% complete and will be operational by November of this year. This is not the new triangle shaped terminal designed by Foster+Partners that will eventually replace our current airport. That airport is set to be completed by 2022, this new expansion terminal on the other hand is being constructed in the mean time to relieve pressure from our current airport. The new expansion terminal will have 14 gates and will be operated by Kuwait Airways. With new planes and now a new terminal, Kuwait Airways are really upping their game. [Link]


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Happy Shani Day!

Post by Mark

shaniday

Have you gotten your loved one a Shani today? [Link]


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Review: The Leica Sofort Instant Camera

Post by Mark

I’ve wanted an instant film camera ever since I was a kid since I always found them a bit magical because you’re kinda creating something out of nothing. It’s the same reason I’ve always had a thing for fax machines, you put the paper in the machine on one end then, a few seconds later, it starts coming out on another machine all the way on the other side of the country. But for some reason I never ended up getting an instant film camera, probably because I didn’t really have a reason to get one. I’ve always had cameras growing up and later digital cameras and phone cameras so the need for an instant camera wasn’t there, until I saw the Leica Sofort. I’m not a Leica fan. I think Leica M series are over hyped, extremely over priced, and I can’t understand why anyone would want to shoot with a manual focus camera. But, when I saw the Sofort I just fell in love with the way it looked. It had a great minimal and very retro design while also not costing an arm and a leg.

The Leica Sofort comes in three colors, white, orange and mint. I knew right away I wanted the Mint color but when I tried finding one it was completely sold out everywhere online. After searching for a couple of days I finally ended up finding one shop in London that still had the mint colored Leica and quickly placed my order. When my package finally arrived to Kuwait and I opened it I right away knew I made the right choice in color. It just works really well with the retro look, the orange I think would have looked a bit like a toy while the white would have just been boring (for me at least). I’ve had the camera now for two weeks and I’ve used it in a variety of different environments. What I’ve concluded is that the camera is a hit and miss when it comes to the pictures, but thats not a surprise, thats actually exactly what I was expecting from an instant film camera.

I’ll start with the good stuff, the battery lasts a pretty long time. It comes with a small rechargeable battery which I charged on the first day for like an hour. Since then I’ve used the camera to take around 80 photos and the battery is still showing as full. Another great thing about the camera is that it uses Fuji Instax Mini films which you can find all over Kuwait. I’ve been getting mine from Xcite and a double pack which contains 2×10 packs sells for KD5. That means each photo I take costs 250fils which isn’t that bad. I think the camera performed best when I took it to the “Walk This Way” sneaker event this past weekend since the photos came out looking like they were taken in the 80s or 90s which fit perfectly with the theme of the event. The portrait shots all came out great and best part is, after I took the photos, I just handed the pictures over. Like souvenirs they could keep. Even when the results didn’t come out as expected (like the ones above), the photos still had a pretty cool look.

But like I said the camera is a hit and miss. The exposure is all over the place, some portrait shots using the flash resulted in the subjects being super overexposed with washed out colors while other times the shots came out perfectly exposed with all the colors still intact. During bright sunlight a lot of shots would also be overexposed and even when I chose to underexpose (there is an option for that) it didn’t really do much. But, my biggest gripe with the camera is the fact that all the settings reset back to the default settings once you turn the camera off. One of the things I like about this camera is you have options you can choose from like selecting between four scene settings for different lighting situations, having the flash on or off, if you’d like to over expose or under expose a shot and finally most importantly, the camera has two focus modes, close (under 3m) and far. Since I mostly shoot landscape or architectural shots I would want my settings to be no flash and the focus set to further than 3m. But I need to set that up every time I turn on the camera because by default, the camera sets the flash to auto and the focus distance to close. On more than one occasion I’ve taken photos only to have them come out blurry because I forgot to set the focus or I’ve had the flash go off because I forgot to turn it off. Super annoying and I don’t understand why Leica decided to do this.

Overall though I’m happy with the camera. Yes the output isn’t consistent and sometimes random, but I like that because every time I take a picture I now eagerly wait for the photo to develop to see what I got. It’s a surprise every time. The Leica Sofort cost me around KD95 including shipping via PostaPlus to Kuwait. It’s not cheap, but it is one of the cheapest Leica’s you can buy. The camera that is the closest to it in terms of capabilities is the Fuji Mini 90 which I’ve read is what the Sofort is possibly based off. The Mini 90 costs around KD40 on Amazon without shipping or tax so basically half the price of the Leica. If you’re interested in getting the Sofort, I got it from Dale Photographic whom as of this post have all three colors in stock. [Link]


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Did You Watch CATS?

Post by Mark

The blog “Ladies who do lunch in Kuwait” posted a review on their experience watching CATS at the newly opened Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre. I’d say the review leaned towards being negative more than the positive. The main issues they had were the upper level seats being so far away from the stage, the value of the tickets, the super long lines to the restroom and the snack stand as well as the difficulty getting to the fountain/restaurants area of the park after the show was over. You can check out their impressions [Here]

Did you watch CATS? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.


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Kuwait, the Second Most Toxic Country in the World

Post by Mark

The Eco Experts recently revealed the “most toxic countries in the world” and Kuwait came in second place. The data was compiled by taking five environmental factors into account:

– Energy consumption per capita
– CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
– Air pollution levels
– Deaths attributable to air pollution
– Renewable energy production.

Even though last year I posted a study which ranked Kuwait’s air quality as the 9th worst in the world, I still found this new study as surprising as I found that one. I guess because when I imagine bad air quality I imagine those articles in the news about China, where the smog is so bad planes can’t land and visibility is down to nothing. But here, I mean other than the occasional dust storms, the weather is usually pretty clear and doesn’t seem polluted at all.

But it is.

A friend found out the local US Embassy has a Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) which you can check out from your phone or browser. According to the index, the air quality at this very moment as I write this post is “Very Unhealthy”. That’s pretty scary. You can check the AQI yourself by clicking [Here]

Now if we go back to the list of most toxic countries, you’ll notice something in common with the top 10:

1- Saudi Arabia
2- Kuwait
3- Qatar
4- Bahrain
5- United Arab Emirates
6- Oman
7- Turkmenistan
8- Libya
9- Kazakhstan
10- Trinidad and Tobago

All 10 nations are all heavily involved in the oil and gas industry. If you want to read more about this study, here is a [Link]

Maybe a doctor can chime in in the comments below about the potential health issues that can be caused by this.

Update: Since I published the post the current air quality index has gone up to the status of “Hazardous”! WTF?!

Thanks Omair and Nibaq


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VOL.1 Shuwaikh Now Open

Post by Mark

The new VOL.1 location in Mayar Complex (what I prefer calling VOL.2) is now open daily from 12PM to 7PM. I was invited to the pre-launch event a few weeks back and I fell in love with the place. Not only is it the best looking coffee shop I’ve ever been to, but I also think it has one of the best looking interiors of any place I’ve been to in Kuwait.

A video posted by VOL.1 (@vol_1kuwait) on

Here is the location for Mayar Complex [Google Maps]. Super/Foods is located in the same building so you could stop by Super/Foods for a bite and then VOL.1 for coffee. Thinking about it, thats probably what I’m gonna do for lunch today.


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How To Get Your Car Plates Back After Parking Illegally

Post by Mark

noplates

As you’re probably aware by now, cops are resorting to remove the license plates of illegally parked cars in an effort to stop the habit. A reader last week left a comment under one of my old posts detailing the process involved in getting back the plates and I’ve went ahead and summarized it into bullets points below:

– Cops took his car plates after he illegally parked in old Salmiya

– They left a ticket and a sticker on the windshield with information on which traffic station to go to

– After waiting for a few days he went to the traffic station in Jabriya where he presented them with his traffic ticket and paid a fine of KD20. He then had to get a signature from the supervisor and after that was told to come back the next day

– Next day he headed back to Jabriya where they told him to go to the Salmiya traffic station instead

– After getting to the Salmiya traffic station he had to get another signature from the supervisor there

– After getting the signature he then had to go to another room where an officer gave him back his plates and asked him to sign a document stating he received his car plates

– You don’t get your screws back so you need to pass by a hardware store before you head back to your car with your plates to screw them back on

The process seems like such a hassle I hope I never get my plates taken. Not that I park illegally anyway, but in Salmiya there are some parking spot you might think are legal but are most likely illegal (Exhibit A).

Thanks RJP


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The Cultural Center Rainbow Road

Post by Mark

The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center is the second cultural center that is being constructed next to Shaab Park on the Gulf Road. Last night when I drove by I noticed they had their multicolored roof lights on so figured I’d try to sneak in and take some shots. That failed since there was security stationed at every entrance.

I then tried to hop over the wall from the Women’s organization building right next door but as soon as I stepped onto their property, their building security stopped me as well. Need to go back in a full black ninja outfit and try again.

Anyway I still managed to take some shots from the outside which I’ve shared in this post.

After taking the video above I realized the rainbow roof lights look like a real life version of the Rainbow Road from the Mario Kart game. So someone needs to fly a drone over this “track” ASAP pretending they’re racing in Mario Kart and then add the Rainbow Road soundtrack to the video so we can share it on Reddit.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this project, it’s located on the Gulf Road right before Shaab Park. The project consist of six main buildings:

– A Natural History Museum
– A Science Museum
– A Museum of Islamic History
– A Space Museum
– A Fine Arts Center
– A 350 seat Theatre

The cultural center is expected to be completed by the end of this year. For previous posts on this cultural center with renderings and more information, click [Here]


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