The Desert Wants Kuwait Back

Posted by Mark

whatroad

The recent dust storm covered some highways out in the desert with sand so deep that cars were getting stuck in it.

whatroad2


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Vetrina App

Posted by Mark

vetrina

Vetrina is a new app that was launched just over a week ago and it’s basically a Kuwait instagram shop directory. Since there are a ton of instagram accounts selling products in Kuwait, it makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for especially since there is no proper search feature built into instagram (People shouldn’t really be selling stuff on instagram anyway, they should have an online store but that’s another subject for another day). What Vetrina does is take all these instagram shops and organizes them in categories making it easy to find what you want. It’s pretty cool but one annoying aspect is that none of the products I looked at had their prices listed, instead it just said “Ask For Price”. That automatically kills the impulse buy factor for me.

The app just launched so I’m sure the price issue will probably be resolved further down the line. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices and you can check out their website for more details [Link]


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Best Local Store 2015

Posted by Mark

goodgame

nima

Winner: Good Game
I’ve been seeing a lot of party games at gatherings in recent years. There was Monopoly Deal for a while and then the more entertaining Kuwaiti knockoff. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of Cards Against Humanity, the fart joke of the party game market. Garbage. I seriously can’t stand that game. It’s like watching a compilation of “thats what she said” jokes.

So what better opportunity to tell you about Good Game, a shop in Sanabil Tower specialising in all types of tabletop games. If it has dice, a board, cards, figures or any combination of them, chances are they sell it there. They have an absurd collection of games fillings their walls with varying degrees of difficulty and complexity, they have something for everyone, nerd or non-nerd alike.

The place is great. Everyone who works in the shop has played nearly if not every game and are able to answer questions or recommend a game based what you tell them you like. I love that it became the light to which all nerds in kuwait fluttered. The place is more than a shop, it’s become something more than that. It’s become a community.

Runner up: Orchidaceae
On Mr. Mark’s recommendation, I went to Orchidaceae a few months ago to get flowers for my wife (for my cat to nibble to pieces). It is hidden away in the reinhabited industrial MadMax wasteland that is Shuwaikh. Great design, the staff know their business and they aren’t quick to recommend things they know are impractical. Surprisingly affordable insta-class.

mark

Winner: Good Game
First full disclosure, the owner of Good Game is a really good friend of mine as well as Nima. Actually, the first time I met the owner is when Nima invited me over to play the Game of Thrones board game with him and a couple of other people around two years back (what a complicated board game that was, I still don’t understand it). The owner loves board games, like REALLY loves them which is why he opened up Good Game in the first place. What I love about the shop and the reason I chose it as a winner is the fact that it has become more than just a place where you go and buy stuff. Anyone with money can open a store but what Good Game has done is create a wonderful community. Pass by anytime during the evening and you’ll find a group of guys sitting in the store playing board games, if you pass by on weekends it’s even more packed. The shop has created a space where people into board games can go socialize and pass time. In a place like Kuwait where we’re always looking for something to do, Good Game is a treasure.

Runner up: Pet Zone
If it wasn’t for the community aspect of Good Game I personally would have chosen Pet Zone as the winner. We really are lucky to have a pet shop this huge here in Kuwait especially considering dogs aren’t really loved over here. If you have a pet and you’ve never been to Pet Zone in Shuwaikh then please make sure you do.

Location: Good Game is located in Al-Sanabil Tower in Sharq, on Mezzanine 2. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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New Renderings of Avenues Phase 4 and Map

Posted by Mark

avenues4

I managed to get a hold of some new renderings of Avenues Phase 4 from the marketing department at Avenues as well as a map to help visualize where everything will be located.

map
You can download the hires version of two maps [Here] and [Here]

I’ve already posted some renderings before but they sent me new ones I hadn’t seen before so I’m sharing them all below along with a little snippet of information which they had emailed me. Based on the map it looks Avenues will be around 20% larger than it’s current state once the final phase is completed.

Avenues Phase IV includes expansions of existing districts that have been highly popular with visitors, including Prestige, Grand Avenue and The Souk. New districts with modern and diverse concepts will also be included to build on the shopping and entertainment experience. The new districts include Arcadia, The Grand Plaza, The Forum, Electra and The Cinema, as well as a five star hotel and another four star hotel.


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The 248AM Awards

Posted by Mark

248amawards

Some minor tidbits before I proceed with the awards. Firstly you’ll notice I changed the name of the awards. The reason for that is I realized we don’t actually have a proper awards ceremony in Kuwait so I figured I should take this a bit more seriously since it could be a great opportunity for something bigger. I don’t find the compliment “It doesn’t feel like Kuwait” offensive, I find it real and most importantly humorous which is what I loved about it in the first place.

The second change that is taking place is the fact at the end of every winners post, you will now have a chance to vote for your favorite place. I will gather up all the answers and once all this is done I will share the “people’s choice” winners. At the very least we’ll have an idea of what everyones favorite place is. So without further delay we are going to start off with the Best Coffee Shop award today.


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Best Coffee Shop in Kuwait 2015

Posted by Mark

bestcoffeeshop

vol1

nima

Winner: VOL.1
You know I never really drank coffee. It makes my pee smelly funny. Not haha funny but you know…odd…

But the missus bought an espresso machine and now my pee smells funny all the time. Since then, as luck would have it, Vol.1 opened.

Vol.1 is one of a few local gems that I cannot champion enough. It’s an entirely locally owned and operated coffeehouse that roasts its own beans. It’s a part of what I hope is a growing trend of small, conceptually solid places that have tremendous confidence in their product and don’t stoop to dilute themselves by offering something for everyone. This is a coffeeshop, pure and simple. It sells some of the best coffee in Kuwait. The setting is a vaguely familiar with its diwaniya-style with seating along its walls but the concrete and industrially-styled design makes me think, “wow…chinna berooklyn”. But without any hipsters. Everyone’s a winner.
Tip: It’s summer. Grab a cold one.

Runner up: CAFFEINE
This is another hidden away gem in apparently up-and-coming south mubarakiya (some call it SoMu)(please don’t call it SoMu). The owner and proprietor is a sweetie and his brew’s delicious. Try whatever espresso and ice cream dessert he gave me that was so good I forgot the name.

mark

Winner: VOL.1
Unlike Nima, I don’t drink coffee, I’ve always been a tea person. But I still love VOL.1 and I’ve been going there ever since they opened. All my friends love their coffee and I generally tag along with them whenever they head to Vol.1 just because the atmosphere over there is so cool. With the loud music playing and all the guys and girls coming in and out it’s become one of the most trendiest places in Kuwait. I personally love the treats they sell and they’re pretty healthy which is a big bonus. VOL.1 is also a successful local concept that’s competing in a field dominated by big brand franchises. That’s not an accomplishment that should be taken lightly.

Runner up: Masaha 13
For my runner up I’m going to go with Masaha 13. As a place to go have coffee it’s a different style completely from Vol.1. I would generally go to Masaha 13 for business meetings or to chill with a friend or two quietly. It’s a very cozy atmosphere and I love that about the place. They also have a large space upstairs where they hold different events and exhibitions and I think thats what makes them even more special.

Location: VOL.1 is located in Kuwait City on Mubark Al Kabeer Street in the same building as Almakan. They’re not open all day so check their instagram @vol_1kuwait for timings. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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First Arab Woman in History to Officiate at Wimbledon is Kuwaiti

Posted by Mark

aseel

Kuwaiti line umpire Aseel Shaheen admits she is living a dream after she got selected to be part of the officiating staff at the All England Club.

Dressed in a blue pinstripe shirt and beige pants – the uniform for all officials here at Wimbledon – the hijab-wearing Shaheen quickly stands out.

London may be swarming with veiled Arabs, especially in the summer, but the sight of a woman in a headscarf in tennis circles is definitely not common.

“It’s an indescribable feeling being here. It’s something big, it’s a challenge. I’m the first female from the Arab world to be an umpire at Wimbledon. I was worried that they wouldn’t accept me because I wear a hijab but on the contrary, they really accepted me,” Shaheen told Sport360° at the All England Club.

Another fantastic accomplishment to add to the list for Kuwaiti women. [Link]

Thanks Nibaq


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DNA Tests Mandatory for Everyone in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

dnatesting

In a move that will make privacy advocates cringe, Kuwait passed a law yesterday making DNA tests mandatory for all residents. According to the AFP, people who refuse testing will face a year in prison and a hefty fine.

The draconian law will establish a comprehensive database of all residents in Kuwait, presumably making it easier for law enforcement to track down criminals after the fact. The country’s 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents will all be affected. Roughly $400 million has been set aside to implement the national DNA database program.

Many countries, including England, Sweden and the United States, routinely store the DNA of convicted criminals. Kuwait’s program would be the first such mandatory DNA test for every resident of a given country, regardless of criminal history. [Gizmodo]

Not sure how I feel about this. Don’t think I’m allowed to have feelings on this anyway, it’s compulsory so if I don’t like it I’ll have to GTFO or else I’ll have to spend a year in jail.


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The Chinnah Mo Kuwait Awards – 2015

Posted by Mark

chinnah

Last year I was contemplating what to get Nima (a close friend of mine) for his birthday when I decided to give him a 24 hour pass to post whatever he wanted on the blog. He’s always critical of what I write so I was like here, take my blog and see if you can do a better job. He took the pass and started thinking of various ways he could use the blog, maybe even turn it into one of his art projects.

Months after I gave him the pass we were sitting down and I asked him what ideas he had come up with and after sharing some with me one stood out. He was joking around about how he wanted to give a “Chinnah Mo Kuwait” award to a place that made you feel like you weren’t in Kuwait. “Chinnah Mo Kuwait” translates to “It doesn’t feel like Kuwait” and I thought that was actually a brilliant idea. It’s the best compliment you can give a place in Kuwait so, instead of just a 24 hour pass, I told him we should expand this idea and turn it into a proper awards with different categories and different winners. Now this is the plan, starting next week both Nima and I will be announcing winners for the following categories and in the following order:

Best Coffee Shop
Best Local Store
Best Shopping Mall
Best Bank
Best Hospital
Best Fitness Center
Best Art Gallery
Best Cinema
Best Internet Provider
Best Customer Service
Best Leisure
Best Restaurant

I won’t be editing Nima’s opinions nor censoring them. So if you have any complaints with his writing then direct it to him. Without further ado, here is Nima:

————————–

“It doesn’t feel like Kuwait”

The aspiration of anyone with means. To build a house, garden, restaurant that filter out the elements of the everyday ‘struggle’ of being here. Our mutual disdain for the loud, hot, smelly, smoggy, honk-happy traffic. To filter-out loud and obnoxious riffraff. To trip-up the loud screaming children who insist on playing football with anything remotely shaped like a ball and foot. This, my dear loathsome friends is the highest compliment we can offer.

Oh, shut up, don’t act so incredulous. You’ve said it too. Maybe you were at your grandfather’s farm or a friends chalet. And they’ve spent considerable effort to build walls up to block out the sounds of the road, mere meters away and traffic mere centimetres apart. They lined the walls with trees and bushes to block out the…lets say…overly enthusiastic sun. They’ve hired gardeners and maybe an agricultural engineer to keep the plants from incinerating. And you refuse to pay him the greatest complement in this countries vernacular?? I think not. This is so nice, it doesn’t feel like you’re in Kuwait. Chinnah Barees.

That is why we, the custodians of current events in Kuwait feel it is high time to pay the ultimate respects to the gems of this country we all call home. Here’s to that extra effort people put to be not half-assed. We are a full-assed people. Here’s to the complete package!

– Nima

Update: I’ve made some changes to the awards, for details click [Here]


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Kuwait at the Tate Modern

Posted by Mark

When I was in London back in February I passed by the Tate to check out some of the exhibits. One of the exhibitions that was taking place there was called “Conflict, Time, Photography”. I didn’t end up seeing this exhibition since it turned out I had to get a ticket and to do that I needed to go back down to the ground floor. Problem was the escalators weren’t working that day and I had already walked up like 4 or 5 floors so really didn’t feel like going back down and up again. Anyway I basically missed out on that exhibition and now I found out Kuwait played a role in it.

fait

The French photographer Sophie Ristelhueber exhibited her photos of Kuwait at that exhibit. Sophie traveled to Kuwait in 1991 soon after the end of the first Gulf War and took photographs of the ravaged desert. She later published 71 photos in a book called “Fait” (Fact in English) and those photos were displayed at Tate. I found the video above in which Sophie discusses the photos and in which you can get a glimpse of the photos. The exhibition ended back in March. [YouTube]


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