Seabird – Rum Barbados

Posted by Mark

rum

Logo look familiar?


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Shipito US Mail Forwarding

Posted by Mark

shipito

At the moment my two favorite mail forwarding companies are Aramex and MyUS. I use the Aramex Shop & Ship service for packages that I am not in a rush to get and I use MyUS for packages that I need ASAP. The way these mailboxes work for those of you who aren’t aware, a lot of online stores don’t mail products outside of the US. With a US forwarding mailbox you order stuff online and mail it to your US address, then your packages gets shipped from that mailbox to your address in Kuwait and you just pay the shipping cost. Makes online shopping a lot easier.

A few weeks back I got an email from another US mail forwarding company called Shipito. According to the original email, Shipito are the biggest mail forwarders to South America and Europe and they’re hoping to become the same in the Middle East. To try out their service, they offered to ship any package for me that weighed up to 10KG. 10 freakin kilos!! I was ordering a MacBook Air around that same time but I was like nahhh, that wouldn’t really be taking advantage of their offer since it’s so light. After a bit of online shopping I realized that all the winter gear was heavily discounted because the season was over so I decided to order a snowboard, snowboard bindings and boots. They were 2015 models and were selling for 40% off at Backcountry (a really great store btw), so I decided to order them in hopes I would still manage to get some snowboarding done before the summer. That was obviously before I hurt my ankle last week.

myorder

I roughly calculated the weight of all my snowboard gear and it was going to be around 10KG, so I placed the order and shipped it to my Shipito mailbox which they had setup for me. Shipito provides you with three different US mailboxes to use each with their own advantage:

Minden, NV
The biggest Shipito warehouse. More storage (six times bigger mailbox capacity for free storage compared to California, or double of Oregon). 180 days storage for Virtual Mailbox (other locations offer 90 days). Lowest shipping cost for USPS, FedEx and DHL.

Tualatin, OR
No sales tax in Oregon! Save on 7-9% expensive purchases! Full service location. More storage space for your Virtual mailbox and shipping rates slightly higher than in California.

Hawthorne 2, CA
All shipping methods available. Consolidation available. Low shipping cost and fast speed due to proximity to LAX airport. Russian Post available. Lowest price for Airmail.

Clearly the biggest advantage Shipito has over Aramex and MyUS was the fact they have an Oregon location which means you don’t pay taxes. When I ordered my Macbook Air from the Apple Store, I paid $87.43 in taxes when I shipped it to MyUS mailbox. If I had shipped it to Shipito’s Oregon address I wouldn’t have paid any tax whatsoever. I placed my order for the snowboard gear and two days later it reached my Shipito mailbox.

snowboardgear

Once a package arrives to your Shipito mailbox, you have the option to have 10 photos of your items taken before they ship it (costs: $2.5). My packages arrived in two shipments so they took 20 photos in total and emailed them to me. They then gave me a bunch of options to help cut down on shipping. First thing I wanted to do is consolidate the two shipments into one. Then I had the option to completely get rid of all the boxes to cut down on shipping cost, or to keep the product boxes but have them repackage them so they can minimize the space used, or to leave everything the way it is. Since I needed the product boxes incase I needed to return an item, I had them redo the packaging. They did that and also sent me pictures of the whole process by email. Finally the package was ready to send and they gave me the following carriers I could ship with: DHL Express, FedEx Priority, FedEx Economy, USPS Priority Mail, USPS Express Mail, Airmail Economy, TNT Economy, TNT Express and USPS First Class International Parcel.

wrapped

I chose DHL Express and a couple of days later my package had arrived to my doorstep in Kuwait.

So would I use Shipito again?

Obviously my first experience was great since I didn’t pay for anything but since I have the mailbox already setup with them I would probably use them again. For one thing they’re great when ordering from the Apple Store. I placed an order for an Apple Watch and it still hasn’t gotten canceled by Apple so I think they ship to Shipito mailboxes. I tried previously with both my Aramex and MyUS mailboxes and both orders got canceled. Plus you don’t pay tax, that has to be the biggest advantage. Shipping cost on the other hand varies. Aramex is by far the cheapest option but also the slowest. Shipito vs MyUS is more difficult to calculate because MyUS now doesn’t charge based on volumetric weight but on actual weight (up to a certain size). So if its a big box MyUS will probably be cheaper. But if it’s a smaller box Shipito is cheaper. For example a 25x25x25cm box weighing 1KG would cost $47 with Shipito but $52 with MyUS. So yes I would use my Shipito address again mostly when ordering small electronics like laptops, cameras and other items that don’t come in a large box. Also expensive items I would save a lot on by not paying any tax.

If you want to find out more about Shipito you can visit their website [Here]


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My First Surgery

Posted by Mark

Last week was a pretty eventful one for me and it all started Monday morning when I headed to Khiran for my wakeboard session. I spent the first half of the session doing jumps and the second half learning to ride switch. Just before the session was over I figured I would perform some more jumps and thats when I messed up. I got a bit over confident and rushed into a jump and ended up taking off wrong and then landing nose first into the water. The board immediately sank into the water and then snapped back out again aggressively which is when I felt an instant pain in my ankle area. Right away I knew I was hurt and so I took off the board and swam back to the boat before heading back to shore. When I got to shore I picked up my board and gear and started walking towards my car. I could barely put any weight on my left leg without feeling pain but I kept heading towards the car since I just wanted to get home. While leaving Khiran I found a bakala van so I pulled up and bought a bag of ice which I then used to ice my ankle while driving back home. It was around an hour drive to get home and a painful one. By the time I got home my ankle has swollen up to the size of a large mango I googled sprained ankles online and how to treat them and started following instructions. I didn’t think it was too bad, figured I might need 2 weeks or so to get all better.

fracture

A few hours later I decided to head to a doctor. While reading about ankle sprains online I realized there were three levels of sprains and my symptoms didn’t really fit under any one of them. So I visited a doctor so I could find out exactly how badly sprained my ankle was. I headed to International Clinic and saw and orthopedic doctor there. He made me move my ankle a few directions and it didn’t seem like I had any muscle problems. So he told me just to be safe we should do an x-ray. I had an x-ray done and when I got back to his room he was like I have some bad news, you’ve got a fracture. I was like whaaaaaattttt?? He was like not only do you have a fracture but you need surgery, we need to insert two screws to connect the dislodged bone back to your ankle. I was in complete shock and became sad and depressed. Right away in my head I was thinking that means no more wakeboarding, it means no more gym and it means I wouldn’t be able to go snowboarding in Sweden the following week. I just imagined myself sitting on the couch for a month pigging out on junk food and gaining like a zillion kilos. I told him I needed to get a second opinion and he completely understood that. We wrapped my leg in a half cast and I headed home.

halfcast

I was sad and upset for like an hour before my mood and feelings about the whole thing completely changed. I basically had a little chat with myself in my head. I asked myself what do I prefer? No extreme sports but also no injuries, or would I rather have fun and enjoy life but every now and then get injured? I obviously prefer the later and right away my mind started working trying to solve various issues. How will I go grocery shopping? Simple I’ll order my groceries from Saveco since they deliver. How will I shower? How will I do my laundry? How can I make breakfast? One by one I found answers and solutions to all my questions. I didn’t want my fractured ankle to change anything in my life. I figured I can even continue to go to the gym but I would just weight-lift while seated or lying on my back. I accepted my injury and started feeling so much better about the whole thing, I started looking at the injury like a cool scar and I was kinda proud of it.

The next day I headed to Seef Hospital for a second opinion. I saw the doctor there and he told me the exact same thing, I needed surgery and two screws. I tried to schedule the surgery for the same day but we ended up scheduling it for the next day 8AM. I didn’t want to wait, I just wanted to get it done with and start the recovery process. I asked about the brand of screws I was going to get inserted. I figured if they’re going to be in me I wanted the best screws available. He told me I was going to get two titanium Stryker screws which were some of the best, I tried googling reviews funnily but obviously didn’t find any. I noticed the color of the screw online was purple and was going to ask him if I could choose the color I wanted but decided that might be a bit too anal of me.

view

Wednesday morning at 6AM I checked into my room at Seef Hospital. I had such a beautiful view but really wasn’t in the mood to appreciate it at that moment. I never had a surgery before, this was going to be my first one and I was going to get two screws drilled into me. I was quiet and emotionless. Whenever I am in a situation where I should be scared I instead feel nothing, no fear or anything, I just become quiet and didn’t care that I was having a surgery in an hour. Anyway to cut it short, I ended up having the surgery and it went well. I spent the morning falling in and out of consciousness because I was so sleepy. I wasn’t in pain and I ended up checking out later in the evening around 8PM. I hadn’t told my friends or anyone about the surgery, I just wanted to go through it alone and I found the whole process very therapeutic.

screws

I’m now moving about normally although very slowly because I’m using crutches. Crutches by the way are such a workout, I was worried at first that I was going to end up turning into a couch potato but because the crutches are such a workout, I’m actually feeling fit. I’ve customized my crutches with stickers to try and make them look less medical. I’m still eating healthy, I just cheated with my last meal before surgery by having a burger but since the surgery I haven’t cheated at all. I’m taking a break from my gym this week but will hopefully start going back next Saturday. The doctor told me I can start putting some weight on my ankle starting from next week so thats good news. The most difficult thing I’ve been dealing with is making my bed every morning, it’s such a slow process using crutches but I’m getting it done. I’ve also been doing laundry, ironing and the dishes all while standing on one leg. My right leg is definitely going to bulk up over the next few weeks,

crutches

One thing I’ve noticed is I hate the way some strangers look at me with pity because I’m on crutches. It really bothers me because I don’t want anybodies pity, I’m doing just fine and I can take care of myself. I noticed Sultan Center Shaab have a wheel chair and a motorized scooter at the entrance for those who need it. It’s an extremely nice gesture but there is no way I would use them. I don’t want to feel helpless or weak so I would rather exhaust myself hopping around with crutches then take a wheelchair or scooter. I noticed whatever I do, I try not to show any weakness, even when I went to the hospital for my surgery I went and stayed in my gym gear. When I’m hopping around with crutches… I always have a smile on my face. The psychology behind all this has been entertaining.

sultan

I’m finding this whole experience with my ankle and crutches to be so educational and interesting. I am so not bothered by my fracture at all anymore, in fact what it’s done is slowed my life down, something which I needed to do anyway. I have been feeling so much more relaxed and less stressed since I hurt my ankle last week. I’m also having fun solving all these puzzles of trying to do stuff with crutches and one leg. The doctor said I can remove my cast after 5 weeks and then I can then start my rehab. I think time is going to fly by pretty quickly.


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A new kind of cinema censorship

Posted by Mark

censored

The scene above is from the movie Mad Max, seems the censors are now airbrushing some scenes with revealing clothing. Not sure how I feel about this, on one hand its better than completely cutting the scene, but on the other hand it’s still censorship and that sucks.

via @HHajyah


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Worst own goal of the year

Posted by Mark

Kuwait football player Mohammad Al Azmi scored a self goal the other day during an AFC Cup match. Some are calling it the worst own goal of the year which is why I’ve chosen it as this weeks fail of the week. [YouTube]

owngoal


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark

This weekend there are a lot of cool things going on so here are my personal picks. Tonight there is the music event For the Love of Music featuring some great international and local artists. On Friday the 3rd Annual International Museum Day is taking place at the Amricani Cultural Centre and includes a lot of different activities like live music, plays, food and more. Finally, Saturday is the first day of Urban Culture Week, a six day event loaded with creative workshops. Check out the full list of weekend events below:

Thursday
Sky Mosque & Plaza Exhibition
NEST Simulation
Exhibition: Geometry of Colour
“Africa” Pop Up by Ecru
For the Love of Music – Imagination Express
Rooftop Movie: Goodbye to Language
Sirdab Movie Night: Seven Pounds

Friday
Sky Mosque & Plaza Exhibition
NEST Simulation
Exhibition: Geometry of Colour
3rd Annual International Museum Day
Culinary Event: Mastering Sauce

Saturday
Sky Mosque & Plaza Exhibition
NEST Simulation
Mindfulness Session at the Park
Exhibition: Geometry of Colour
Urban Culture Week
Behance Portfolio Reviews – Kuwait
Movie Night: Got the Facts on Milk?
Rooftop Movie: Citizenfour

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events for the month click [Here]


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Fail: Handicap elevators that can only be reached by stairs

Posted by Mark

disabled

Spotted this picture on Kuwaitiful awhile ago and it cracked me up. It was taken at Arabella by @william_in_arabia.


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Man charged with selling fake In-N-Out franchises in the Middle East

Posted by Mark

innout

Prosecutors say Craig Stevens, 55, started sending out emails in January 2014, telling people that franchises of the popular West Coast burger chain were available at $150,000 per location, with royalties costing $250,000 a year, the Los Angeles Times reports. This scheme brought in $4.27 million, charging documents say, and Stevens allegedly committed wire fraud last June by sending a counterfeit In-N-Out licensing agreement via email to an investor in Lebanon. He pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud on Monday, and is free on $10,000 bond. [Source]

I wonder if he sold the franchise to anybody in Kuwait as well?

Thanks Susan and Angel


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Girl Falls Off Ride at Shaab Park

Posted by Mark

This happened two weeks ago but I just found out about it now. The employees response after the fall was pretty poor, “get water” instead of “call an ambulance”. Supposedly the girl didn’t break anything, she was just badly bruised. [YouTube]

via sala6a

shaab


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The New Land Rover Discovery Sport

Posted by Mark

disco0

I’m a big Discovery fan and have been one ever since the late 80s when I watched a Camel Trophy event on TV. Watching those Discoverys tackle ridiculously insane terrain led me to really respect the car. So when I heard that Land Rover had launched a completely brand new Discovery, I contacted the dealer and asked them if I could test drive one.

I passed by the dealer Thursday afternoon and picked up the car for the weekend. My first impression wasn’t that great. The Discovery was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, it looked more like a crossover than a proper full fledged SUV. I couldn’t figure out why Land Rover would shrink the car so much, I was confused. And then I realized something, this wasn’t a replacement for the large LR4, this was a replacement for the smaller Freelander and then everything made sense.

disco1

Land Rover have the large Range Rover and then they have the smaller Range Rover Sport. They’ve now gone and applied the same naming scheme to the Discovery which is what confused me in the beginning. So now you have the large Discovery (LR4) and also the smaller Discovery Sport. I was never a fan of the Freelander, I thought it was just one of the most hideous looking SUVs you could buy and mostly because I just hated how the rear of the car looked like. The new Discovery Sport has design elements taken from the Range Rover family and so it ends up looking like a baby Range Rover. It’s a much much better looking car than the Freelander and this time around the rear of the car is probably my favorite thing about the car. Suddenly, the Discovery Sport didn’t seem bad at all.

interiortrunk

Since it’s a Land Rover I decided to take the car to the abandoned military barracks in Bnaider. I wanted to test the cars offroad capabilities a bit as well as take some good photos while I was at it. The test drive vehicle I was given had only two rows of seats but you can also get a third row as an extra option. Since I was taking my wakeboard with me, I dropped the second row seat down so it could fit inside. Although the car is small it’s got a pretty large trunk and once you drop the second row seats down it becomes very IKEA friendly. I finished loading up my gear and headed off to Bnaider.

interior

The interior of the Discovery Sport is simple but tasteful. It’s borrows a lot of elements from the Evoque like some of the switches and the circular gear selector that sleekly pops up when you start the car. The Discovery Sport also shares the same 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed transmission with the Evoque as well. The model I drove had a large panoramic roof which really helped make the interior look a lot larger and spacious than it actually is. My car also had the optional Meridian Audio sound system fitted which sounded fantastic. The user interface of the cars 8inch touch screen is also very tasteful and nicely designed. The screen looked a bit low-res and pixelated but it was generally pleasant to use and helped give the interior a more premium feel. The interface was definitely much sleeker than the last few cars I test drove.

disco2

Although the car has a 4-cylinder engine I didn’t find it slow at all on our flat roads. It was very easy to pick up speed and I was actually turning on the speed limiter on most of the roads since I found it very easy to overspeed. Once I got to Bnaider I shifted the driving style program from “general” to “sand” and headed offroad towards the abandoned barracks. The ride on hard packed sand was pretty loud and bumpy because of the large 20″ wheels that were fitted on the car. The low ride height also made me more cautious while approaching obstacles but once I got to the barracks things got a lot easier. The abandoned barracks have basically been turned into a small offroad circuit which I decided to explore in the Discovery. Even with stock tires I didn’t have any issues at all traversing the deep soft sands and I also didn’t face any issues tackling the extreme uphill and downhill descents. I highly doubt anyone would use this car for anything this intense but if they did they’d know the car can handle it. Actually the only thing that was an issue was when I climbed a curb in the parking lot behind Pick Yo in the city. While climbing back down from the curb I actually hit the bottom of the car because of the poor ground clearance.

disco3

Whenever I take out cars for test drives I always ask myself if I’d want one for myself. Most of the time its yes but other times like on this occasion the answer is no. In this case it has nothing to do with the Discovery Sport itself, I think the car is very capable and the most accessible Land Rover since it starts at around KD15,750. But, it’s just not for me. If I was looking for a compact SUV I’d choose the much more sexier looking Range Rover Evoque for example. The Discovery Sport is more of a family oriented car since it’s slightly larger than the Evoque and can fit a third row of seats in the back. It’s a practical everyday car that’s easy to drive especially considering it has helpful features like parking assist where the car parks itself for you. So yeah I think its definitely aimed towards soccer moms and the like. If you’re interested in the car then you should definitely pass by the dealer and request a test drive.


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