Uber Kuwait? Kinda…

Posted by Mark

easytaxi

Over the weekend Uber launched their services in Beirut which means Uber is now available in Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Uber is probably going to launch in Kuwait one day but until they do there currently is a service running in Kuwait that is kinda like Uber, it’s called Easy Taxi.

Easy Taxi is an app that’s available on iOS, Android and Windows phones and once you install it and sign up allows you to request a taxi. If you’re not familiar with how Uber or other taxi apps work its pretty simple. Whenever you need a cab you launch the app which will automatically pinpoint your location. Once your location is found a button becomes active allowing you to request a cab. When you click the button it starts scanning the area looking for available taxis. I tried it when I was at Sultan Center in Shaab and found 5 taxis in my vicinity. I confirmed the cab request and it told me the cab was 7 minutes away and that I could chat with the driver or give him a call if I needed to. The app also gave me the cars description and license plate number so I could recognize it once it arrives.

It’s pretty similar to Uber taxi except for the fact you can’t get a fare quote before requesting the cab nor can you pay for your cab using your credit card or PayPal account. But, until Uber comes to Kuwait this is a pretty good alternative. For more information on Easy Taxi just visit their website [Here]

Thanks Roberto


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His Essentials Barbershop

Posted by Mark

he1

Until late last year, my hair cut was pretty simple, I’d just get it shaved with a machine at the small barbershop under my building and that was it. Then one day, I decided I wanted to grow my hair, I didn’t have a plan or anything in mind, I just hadn’t changed my haircut in 14 years and decided I would grow it. A few months passed by and I was in Lebanon with a friend and he decided to take me to his barber called Bob. Bob was really talented and worked on my hair as if it was a sculpture. I hadn’t seen anyone work in the same way he did and by the time he was done I couldn’t believe my hair could look that good. Fast forward a few weeks and I’m in Kuwait, my hair has grown and I’m looking for someone to cut it. I considered flying to Lebanon for a weekend but didn’t think it would be feasible to fly out twice a month for a haircut, I needed someone locally.

I asked my friends and got two recommendations, the first guy I called was on his annual leave so I ended up going to the second barber who ended up butchering my hair. He cut it too short and killed any style that my hair had, it was depressing but the worst part is, a month later I headed back to the same friggin’ guy! Even though he sucked at least I knew what to expect and to me that was a safer bet then going to someone else and possibly ending up with something even worse. My second hair cut sucked even more than the first one since he ended up cutting my hair even shorter. So when one of my contacts called me and told me about a new barbershop she was helping launch, I thought maybe its time I try someone else.

he2

The new barbershop is called His Essentials and is located on the ground floor of Dar Al Awadi. When I got there I was contemplating if I should take my camera inside with me or leave it in the car. I wasn’t expecting much of the place honestly so didn’t think I would take any pictures but in the end decided I would take it in just in case. Once I walked in the place looked pretty cool. It wasn’t very big but the curvy design of the store gives you the impression of a very long hallway that would lead you somewhere, a cool illusion that makes the place look bigger than it actually is. I told the receptionist I had an appointment and he lead me to my barber and his station. I explained to the barber the story of my hair, how the other barber messed it up twice and also showed him photos of when I had first gotten it cut in Lebanon. He told me not worry about it and that he would get my hair looking good again. Right away my barber started noticing where the other barber went wrong. He highlighted the areas the previous barber had cut too short and he then proceeded to tell me how he would fix my hair by not cutting some parts at all and letting them grow. Thats when I started feeling comfortable and I knew I was in good hands. Once he was done I looked at my hair, it was still long and it was starting to get its style back and I loved it. Although not as good as Bob I was happy I had found a good barber locally that would at least not butcher Bob’s work.

Before I left the shop I got a small tour of all the various brands they sold which they’re importing to Kuwait themselves including: Baxter of California, Eshave, Balla Powder, Brooklyn Grooming, Beardition, Emerald Bay Tan and California Tan.

I know from my friends that it’s very difficult to find beard products locally and they had a whole bunch including beard shampoos, conditioners, oils and even little cool beard combs. I ended up paying around KD32 for a royal haircut, a beard trim, a Baxter deodorant and an Emerald Bay tanning lotion. When it comes to haircuts and shaves they have two options for each. The royal haircut costs KD15 and includes washing your hair twice, a head massage, a hair mask and oil while the classic haircut is your regular haircut and costs KD8. The regular beard trim/shave costs KD5 but they also have a royal shave for KD10 and that involves 8 various stages of products as well as cold and hot towels. I’d personally get a classic haircut next time since I think KD15 is just too much to pay for a haircut.

If you’re interested to check out the place their phone number is 22322336 and you can check their instagram account for their opening hours [Here]


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Counterfeit Kuwaiti Dinars

Posted by Mark

fake

The video below has been circulating whatsapp showing two KD20 notes, one original while the other counterfeit. The video looks like it was taken at a bank and the lady shooting the video puts the two notes under a UV light revealing the difference. My guess is people are probably printing the money on their home printers hoping the lack of some peoples experience handling the new currency might fool them into accepting the counterfeit.


[YouTube]


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Tesco Coming to SaveCo

Posted by Mark

tesco

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years then you’ve probably seen my previous posts on Tesco (here is a link that summarizes them). Originally I had posted that Alshaya were bringing the Tesco brand but then it turned out they were getting Florence & Fred, the clothing division of Tesco. I then posted that Sultan Center was bringing Tesco but that deal fell through and Sultan ended up getting Waitrose products. Now though my source tells me the new SaveCo supermarket will be bringing the brand to Kuwait.

The company that has an exclusive agreement with Tesco to supply their products to the Middle East is called MH Group and they already supply Spinneys in Lebanon and Qatar with Tesco products. Now they’ve supposedly signed with SaveCo who will start stocking the products in around a months time once they arrive.

Based on the order list my source sent me it seems they will mostly be stocking non-perishable food items like canned goods, sauces and spices. That’s similar to the Waitrose items Sultan Center stocks although it looks like SaveCo might be bringing in a much larger selection.

I can’t publish the list of products they’re bringing but if there is a specific Tesco product you’re interested to know if they’re getting, let me know and I’ll check and see if its on the list.


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First Drive: Porsche Macan S

Posted by Mark

macan1

The Porsche Macan S is Porsche’s new crossover SUV that just recently joined their lineup as the baby Cayenne. But, unlike the Cayenne the Macan has one thing that’s really going for it, it has the hottest rear end of any crossover on the market right now. I just loved the design of the lights on the back which is why I took so many pictures of it. Getting to test drive the Macan wasn’t that easy. Back in early May I emailed my contact at Porsche and asked them if I could borrow the Macan over the weekend. Turns out there was a two months waiting period since the Macan was fully booked every weekend. So, I put my name on the list and waited and waited until I got the call last week telling me to pass by and pick up the car.

rear3

When I first sat inside the Macan the first thing I realized was how much smaller it was than I had expected it to be. It was pretty compact and felt more like a large hatchback instead of a small SUV. The second thing I noticed was all the buttons going down the center console. I love buttons, but the amount of buttons going down the center of the Macan was just intimidating. I drove off the lot and headed onto the highway and thats when things started getting pretty impressive. Because the Macan is a pretty small and low car, it handles and feels like a small sports car. The engine is a 340HP V6 twin-turbo which is more than enough to get you some speeding tickets. The car is pretty fast… and extremely extremely quiet. Probably too quiet because when you’re on the highway its very difficult to tell how fast you’re going unless you’re constantly looking at your speedometer. You can’t hear anything, not the engine noise, wind noise or even road noise. Porsche did an amazing job with the sound isolation.

dials

Speaking of sound, the Macan I drove came with the optional Bose sound system. I am generally not a fan of Bose sound systems and if I hadn’t heard it I would have recommend to shell out KD1,370 for the optional Burmester sound system when buying the car. But, after spending a weekend with the Bose sound system I have to say I was impressed and it’s just a KD340 option. At low volumes the Bose can be a bit boomy but it’s very capable at high volumes and I was listening to a variety of music from electronic to indie. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) which is the cars stereo was also very practical. Its a touch screen which makes getting to controls quick and it’s also iPhone compatible. I was able to stream music either via USB located in the center console storage compartment or via bluetooth.

rear1

It was getting close to the golden hour so I decided to head out into the desert to take some photos of the car. The Macan is an all wheel drive car that comes off-road ready, there’s even a button marked “OFF-ROAD” which when pressed will adjust the cars various settings including ride height and traction settings in preparation for an off-road trail. I didn’t venture much off the tarmac since I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the middle of nowhere but the little I did go off-road, the Macan handled well. But, it was mostly soft sand and nothing too deep to really test the car out in.

legroom

Later that day I picked up some friends and headed out to dinner. Although the Macan is a 4-door car, the rear passengers don’t have much legroom. It’s a pretty tight space and even getting in and out of the rear seats isn’t very graceful. But, no one really complained or asked for the front seats to be pushed forward so that’s a good thing. It probably has to do with the fact it’s a Porsche and looks like a sports car so people don’t expect much legroom in the first place. The roof height on the other hand was perfectly fine even with the optional panorama roof which my car had.

rear2

Once the weekend was over and I gave back the car did I realize how practical of a car the Macan was. I’ve been considering getting a sports car for some time now, a car that would compliment my current FJ Cruiser. The Macan though is two cars in one, it drives like a sports car but has the flexibility of an SUV albeit not the same full capabilities as either one. It’s an all round car, a crossover and one that works really well. Price wise the Macan is pretty reasonable starting at around KD20,000 for the S model and KD28,000 for the Turbo. I custom built a Macan S on the Porsche Kuwait website and pimped it out with all the options I wanted and ended up with a model thats around KD24,000 before the discount. Unlike in some other countries, many of the optional features come standard in Kuwait so even if you go for the base model, you’re still getting a lot of car. My color recommendation? Agate Grey for the exterior with the Monochrome Black exterior package and black leather sport seats for the interior.


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Canada Beats Kuwait 91-0 in Under-19 American Football

Posted by Mark

footballinthesun

Host country Kuwait trailed 50-0 at halftime before eventually losing 91-0. In what looks to be a pretty accurate ranking, Canada is ranked No. 1 in the power rankings while Kuwait is ranked eighth. [Source]

I’m not surprised that Kuwait lost to #1 ranked Canada, what I’m surprised about is the fact this is taking place in Kuwait and no one knows about it. Also if they’re playing American Football in this weather all geared up then I don’t think the World Cup in Qatar is going to be an issue.

Thanks Ali


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Translation at the Mishref Coop

Posted by Mark

spellinginkuwait

Taken by @nazmraz


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The Jazeera Airways terminal that never came to be

Posted by Mark

jazeeraterminal

Jazeera Airways recently opened four new exclusive gates at the Kuwait Airport but at one point it looked like Jazeera Airways was going to get its own terminal. Back in 2012 I posted renderings of a terminal design I had found online but I now found another rendering of a completely different design (pictured above) that looks even better than the previous one I had posted. You can check out larger renderings of the terminal along with more information [Here]


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Where does motivation come from?

Posted by Amy Freeman

motivation

Post by Amy Freeman

Someone asked me the other day, how long have you been exercising? I said, ‘well since I can remember I have loved being active. When I was around 10 years old I started going to classes at the gym sporadically but then at around 13 I started going to the gym regularly (that was in the days when minimum age wasn’t enforced much).

In fact I used to pester my parents so much to go that my dad would get me a gym membership for my birthday or at Xmas. I would come home from school, deliver leaflets around the neighborhood (my after school job) and then beg my mum to drive me over the other side of town to the fitness center.

My client was shocked and asked ‘What made you love it so much at that age?’ This question really made me think… and think… and think.

Finally after much deliberation I found the answer was really simple. ‘Because I wanted to be like my dad’.

He was my idol. He never ever pressured me to exercise or workout but I wanted to be as fit as he was. He had run marathons, he was a really good swimmer and generally just really fit. I remember one day venturing out on my first run aged around 11 (not really knowing what a marathon meant or that it was a specific distance) and I called him straight after and said ‘Dad I just ran a marathon!’. In actual fact I had just run around the 5km block that he helped me map out.

I also recall the school triathlon, I entered when I was maybe 9 and he helped me train for it. I remember looking for him in the crowd as I crossed the finish line and I ran and literally fell into his arms totally exhausted. He made me love sport because there was never anything negative attached to it and never any pressure or expectation and that meant I always felt like I was achieving something great.

To this day there is only positive emotions and memories that come from my sporting and exercise experiences. It’s probably why when there have been challenges in my life it’s the thing I turn to for comfort. I guess that’s why I love my job so much and wju I want to help other people experience that.

I tell this story because all to often people come in and they will openly admit they hate working out, or they hate the gym and after I got asked those questions by my client, I can’t help but think, do they hate the gym because it has negative meaning to them beyond just working out?

For example, some people start gyming because they are depressed and hate how they look so the gym represents those feelings related to low self esteem.

Or for some people the gym represents all the failed attempts to get in shape.

Or the gym and working out represents pain and feeling weak.

Does lasting and true motivation come from something bigger and more profound than just doing it for yourself?

I think it does. The human mind is a complex thing and I think that to believe that we are capable of achieving greatness in fitness goals (or really any life goal for that matter), without the belief of doing it for something greater, without the help of something greater than yourself isn’t enough.

Athletes are refreshing to talk to at times because they think of their body as a machine and a tool for doing a chosen task. When I asked an athlete what gets them excited about their sport the answer was ‘when I visualize the crowd cheering me on and the people and kids I’m inspiring it motivates me to bring my best’.

Or on a smaller scale I know a lady that runs marathons and she said that when she is 10km out from the finish line and in agony she visualizes her children cheering her on and that gives her the push she needs.

What if the gym represented part of what you do to stay healthy, happy and fit for your family or for a sport and you took the vanity out of it? I know it sounds crazy because most people have a goal when they join the gym and it’s usually ‘I wanna lose weight’, ‘it’s my wedding in 3 months’ etc etc. These kind of goals cause you to exert pressure on yourself and rather than being present in each workout and enjoying it, all you want is to get your goal and maybe workout again when you have another goal. So your weight and fitness goes up and down and so does your self esteem.

To illustrate this I have a client that has been one of the most successful weightloss/fatloss candidates I’ve ever trained. When I asked her what makes her so dedicated and determined her answer was refreshingly simple and went something like this:

‘Because I want my kids to know that being heathy is important and they are so impressed when they see how strong I have gotten.’

And you know what, this client always turns up with a smile and a positive attitude every day and has never missed a training session.

Happy Training Kuwait.

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by Edie**


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Flashing Lights on the Highway

Posted by Mark

flashinglights

What are these flashing lights on the side of the highway supposed to mean? Originally I had heard when they’re flashing it means you could drive on the emergency lane and that they only flash during rush hour. But, they’re now flashing during the evenings even when there isn’t traffic.


[YouTube]


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