Quick Shawerma

Posted by Mark

quick

For this weeks fail of the week I spotted this new shawerma place opening up in Salmiya called Quick. They’ve basically copied the name and logo of the popular Belgian fast food franchise “Quick” (pictured below) which for those of you who’ve been to Paris will easily recognize.

quick

Hashtag #kuwaitfail on instagram or email me a fail and I’ll share the best one every week.


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Mishwarna – Episode 5

Posted by Mark

Mishwarna episode 5 is out. In this week Mishwarna introduces you to the LOYAC Academy Of Preforming Arts (LAPA). [YouTube]

lapa


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark

Every weekend seems to be busier than the weekend before. Lots of cool things this week, my personal picks are the musical Nunsense (if tickets are still available), the Kuwait Bike Show, and the Street Fest market. Check out the full list of weekend events below:

Thursday
Exhibition: Al-Seef
Exhibition: A Wonderful World Under Construction
Kuwait Dino Park
Theatrical Performance “Min Hawa Al Andalus”
Musical: Nunsense
Kuwait Bike Show 2015
Rooftop Movie: Macbeth

Friday
Kuwait Dino Park
Theatrical Performance “Min Hawa Al Andalus”
Musical: Nunsense
Kuwait Bike Show 2015
The Second International Volleyball Tournament
Street Fest
Book Club Meeting

Saturday
Kuwait Dino Park
Theatrical Performance “Min Hawa Al Andalus”
Street Fest
Dhow Sunset Dinner Cruise
Acting Workshop With Colette Dalal Tchantcho
Rooftop Movie: A Prophet
Let’s Go Forward Mishref Run
Kuwait Motocross Championship

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]


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Kuwaiti Doctor Assists in World’s First Penile Transplant

Posted by Mark

Some of you might have read about the world’s first penile transplant that took place a few days ago. What you might not know is that one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery was a Kuwaiti (Dr Tallal AlQaoud). At first I was going to post about this myself but then realized it would make a lot more sense to have one of my friends who is an extremely talented surgeon himself and who has worked with Dr Tallal write the post instead. This is what he had to say about the surgery:

tallal2

Kuwaiti Doctor Assists in World’s First Penile Transplant
As you may have read on reddit and pretty much everywhere else, surgeons in South Africa’s Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town have performed the first successful penile transplant recorded in history. It was performed by Professor André Van der Merwe and a team of urological surgeons.

This may not seem very significant unless you live in country where 500 men die every year from ritual circumcisions gone wrong but this is in fact a major breakthrough.

For urological surgeons restoring erectile function, urinary function and blood flow after a patient has had a penile amputation (due to trauma or cancer) is not difficult, it’s pretty much a pipe dream. To illustrate the point, the team based their methods on lessons learned from facial transplants and with the same level of complexity.

What you may not know is the story of the guy on the right bottom corner of the photo. That young surgeon is Dr Tallal AlQaoud; a Kuwaiti resident at McGill University.

While many people in our field first fall in love it for the competition, prestige or financial prospects, it’s a rare thing to see someone who is actually willing to train himself in surgery like an athlete would for the olympics.

Dr AlQaoud jumped into medicine after graduating from NES (Yes, the New English School). He went on to do his undergraduate degree in the UK and eventually returned to do his internship in Kuwait. After finishing his internship in Kuwait he felt the need to learn how to do research and build a solid knowledge of his field so he did a masters in the UK sacrificing a whole year of operating. He then went on to do a surgical residency at Mcgill and took time off to join Professor Van der Merwe’s team in South Africa.

tallal

It’s very rare that you get to meet a person like Tallal, when he could be learning the basics of his specialty he chose to concentrate on the academic aspect of his field and published industry leading journals, when he could have specialized in Kuwait or in England. Instead he chose to go further afield and train in North America where he was exposed everything from surgical robotics to transplantation. When he could have been enjoying ski season in Quebec, he chose to operate voluntarily in Cape Town. Then there was that time he had a Friday night off and decided to join me in an emergency surgery taking out a guys colon at midnight; but that’s a story for another day.

He is truly a person who has chosen a road less travelled and one of the rare occasions where Kuwait has made it’s mark on the history of medicine.

As much as I’d like to have interviewed him for this story or tried to promote him on it, he never had an instagram account, a blog and I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten his Facebook password. His response to me on whatsapp are in this post. I am indeed honoured to say I scrubbed in with a Kuwaiti who made it to the history books.

- Post by Saud, a Kuwaiti doctor living and working/training in Montreal. Twitter: @saudnz


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Interview: Simon and Adrian Nelbom of Mr Karak

Posted by Mark

mrkarak1

I’m not a big fan of interviews but I do like stories especially interesting ones. This is why I’m going to try and post one interview a week with someone I think has a story worth sharing. For my first interview I met up with two intriguing brothers, Simon and Adrian Nelbom who make and sell karak tea under their self created brand, Mr karak. I first met them at one of the Secret Garden brunches so when they proposed we meet up there for the interview I thought it was very appropriate.

Two Danish brothers in Kuwait making Indian karak tea? I needed to know how, what and why.

A year and a half ago Adrian had just finished his studies in Copenhagen and Simon was working in a very famous organic bakery. They were both in periods of their lives where they didn’t know what they wanted to do. After a bit of contemplation they both decided to come to Kuwait since they had relatives from here. One of their families’ closest friends of 50+ years was a Danish woman married to a Kuwaiti. During the interview they kept referring to them as relatives and understandably so because of the close family ties.

When I think of Danish drinks, I think of Carlsberg or Tuborg beer and definitely not karak which is why I wanted to know how all this came about.

When Adrian and Simon came to Kuwait their relatives introduced karak to them. Simon had traveled to India back in 2012 and he had chai all the time while there. He didn’t know what it was but he was having it wherever he went. So when his relatives introduced and explained karak to him he loved the idea of milk with tea since they didn’t have it in Denmark. Karak was also relatively new to Kuwait. It was popular in places like Bahrain and Qatar but it was still picking up here in Kuwait. When Simon was working at the bakery in Denmark they used to have the best milk and the best coffee, so he decided to take it upon himself as a challenge to try and make the best karak he possibly could.

They started researching the local market and realized majority of the people were using either long life milk or canned milk. The idea of using canned milk, which had a 1-year shelf life didn’t make any sense to Simon. He told me milk should come from a cow and you drink it, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Milk is not supposed to last a year sitting on a shelf. That’s gross. He then continued telling me that was the first thing they decided, no long life milk. Fresh milk is available in Kuwait so they started using it.

mrkarak2

With that as a starting point they continued the same principle across all the ingredients, they wanted to create an all fresh and natural karak. They kept experimenting with different fresh ingredients and even started importing ones they couldn’t find like Cinnamomum verum. The fact that they were both Danish made things difficult since they don’t drink and eat a lot of Cardamom so they started adding other ingredients. Finally after lots of tasting sessions with their Kuwaiti relatives, they finally ended up with karak that everybody liked. Once they were ready they signed up for Qout Market and launched their brand. That was back in March of last year.

Other than just using the right products, Adrian and Simon both spend a lot of time educating their customers on the benefits of their ingredients. For example the most popular cinnamon used is cassia (Chinese cinnamon) which when you look up you’ll realize has health risks. The real cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka and is called Cinnamomum verum. Not many people know this (I didn’t) which is why Qout Market was a special launch place and still is a great venue for them. The people who visit them at Qout are always interested to listen and learn about their products. Later on they got another seal of approval when they finally became part of the Secret Garden family. To become part of this family meant getting an approval from the culinary genius and shakshooka and Secret Garden mastermind Mimi. They’re now regulars there as well albeit without their Mr Karak brand due to strict Secret Garden rules.

The brothers now serve a variety of different karaks including “The Original” and “The Masala”. The first consists of ginger, saffron and cardamom while the second consists of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and mint leaves. They also have a nondairy version which was another story of experimentation as well since the first thing that comes to mind is using soya milk. But soya milk isn’t that great for you which is why they tried using the much healthier almond milk. But when they started boiling the almond milk, they were ending up with texture they didn’t like so they kept looking for another alternative. After a bit of a search they found organic coconut milk which ended up working really well especially with all the spices. So those are the three main kinds of karaks they have but they then came up with two more. They were getting ready for the April Qout Market last year and the weather was fairly warm so they wondered if people would want to drink hot tea out in the sun. They started brainstorming ideas and they came up with karak shake using vanilla ice cream (I personally tried it at the last Qout and loved it). But what about the people who were counting calories? They decided to make another cold karak using crushed ice. So their menu now is composed of five types of karak drinks.

mrkarak3

Other than karak the guys also serve chapatti. Again they use all natural ingredients to try and make it as healthy a chapatti as possible and even try to use healthy spreads (no Nutella or Kraft Cheese).

One thing both Adrian and Simon wanted to make clear through out the interview is none of their success would have been possible without their amazing team who have mostly been with them since day 1. They also hinted that they’re currently looking for a place to set up a permanent shop but haven’t found a good location yet.

Sitting with the brothers it was very clear that they’re extremely passionate about their karak. In fact the interview was around an hour long but I tried to share as much as possible here without making this post so long that no one would want to read it. I highly recommend you try their karak (especially the shake) and I also recommend having a chat with the two since they’ve got so much more to share. If you’re interested, they’ll be taking part in the Street Fest market this coming weekend and hopefully if they get approved they’ll be at Qout Market next month. Here’s a link to their instagram account @mrkarak


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Cops Got Trikes

Posted by Mark

trike

I was in Kuwait City yesterday heading to a meeting when I spotted a Police Can-Am 3-wheel motorbike parked. Not sure when they got them but have been fairly recent since I hadn’t seen a cop version before.


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Al Shaheed Park by Ricardo Camacho

Posted by Mark

shaheedpark1

Portuguese architect Ricardo Camacho and the popular architecture website ArchDaily have put together an intellectual expose on how the new Al Shaheed Park was conceptualized. Ricardo is the architect behind Al Shaheed Park and although I have yet to see it in person, based on the photos on ArchDaily I am already head over heels in love.

shaheedpark2

This has to be the most beautiful place in Kuwait at the moment, it just looks so stunning. In the article Ricardo takes us on a tour of the park explaining all the elements and buildings but even if you don’t want to read you can still enjoy flipping through all the photos.

shaheedpark3

Also someone needs to tell the people at Al Tijaria Tower across the street that the huge advert on the side of their building has turned their building into an eyesore. Someone should also put Ricardo in charge of all of Kuwait City including the new Kuwait Airways building. Anyway check out the article and photos on Al Shaheed Park [Here]


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Kuwait Airways Building Getting Demolished

Posted by Mark

kac

I passed by the Kuwait Airways Building in Kuwait City last night and noticed it was getting demolished. The new building that will replace it is pictured above (right) and looks like your typical lets build the ugliest and cheapest looking skyscraper we can. Kuwait City would look so much more prettier if all the buildings looked like KIPCO Tower or even the smaller Mazaya and KPT Towers.


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Abi Modaris App

Posted by Mark

abimodaris

Abi Modaris is probably the most horrendous looking app available on the iPhone. Not only does it look like an app designed back in 1996, it also looks like it was designed using Microsoft Word. But, the purpose of the app is pretty useful. Abi Modaris is Arabic for “I need a teacher” which is literally what this app is about. If you’re looking for a physics tutor, you just scroll down to physics and click on it to get a list of 18 different physics tutors. When you click on any one of them you get their phone number. Other than the horrible, horrible design, the biggest issue I see with this app is the lack of differentiation between all the tutors. So you’ve got a list of 18 physics tutors but there is no way to tell which is better or which is cheaper than the other. If there was some sort of feedback system were students or parents can rate the tutors then I think you’d have a much more effective app. Kinda like Yelp but for tutors.

If you’re interested in the app search for “Abi Modaris” in the app store. It’s free but there will be ads soon.


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The State of LTE in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

lte

The website Open Signal has posted interesting numbers regarding the state of LTE around the world. Kuwait for example turns out has the third highest time spent on LTE networks but also has the second slowest LTE internet connection compared to everybody else. Check out the full report [Here]

Thanks Haneyl


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