Kuwait 1985-88

Post by Mark


Kuwait City 1987. Vintage store front.

Mark Lowey (AbuJack), a construction project management professional and an amateur photographer lived in Kuwait between 1985 and 1988. The past few months he’s been scanning and posting some of the pictures he took during his time in Kuwait (and KSA) on his twitter account. I’ve taken a few of his photos along with the captions and shared them here but you can check out more photos on his twitter account @molowey


High technology in 1987?


A man and his dog, Mangaf Beach, Kuwait in 1988.


Shopping in Fahaheel, 1988.


Jack bin Mark and neighbor friends in Mangaf, Kuwait, 1988. (One cool kid has a sling-shot.)


Toshiba power plant at Mina Al-Zoor in southern Kuwait. Under construction in 1985; nearly completed in 1987.


Kids-R-Us, Kuwait City in 1985.


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Most Wanted Briton was in Kuwait

Post by Mark

sexoffender

Interpol released a list of the 24 most wanted Britons in the world and a reader recognized one of them as the child sex offender who previously taught in Kuwait. Paul Meekin whom I posted about back in 2014 was teaching Social Studies at one of the local American schools before he quit and left Kuwait. He was later suspected of using forged documents to teach here and it looks like he still hasn’t been caught.

You can check out all 24 wanted criminals by clicking [Here]

Thanks UCF


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A Peek Inside the Four Seasons Hotel – Kuwait

Post by Mark

Yesterday I dropped by the soon to open Four Seasons Hotel in Kuwait City for a quick tour. I hadn’t been there since back in September when the place was still mostly under construction so I was pretty excited to see how things turned out. My first impressions of the place is that its simply stunning and very tastefully done. It’s has a very contemporary look yet with some Arabic elements injected into the design. It’s going to be by far the best looking hotel in Kuwait.

Four Seasons will be soft launching in around 2 weeks time with the official opening at the beginning of September. From the five restaurants they have, the following three will open up during the soft launch:

Dai Forni – An Italian restaurant
Elements – A buffet restaurant
Al Sour – The lobby lounge

Sintoho the Pan-Asian restaurant and Al Bandar, the poolside lounge/restaurant will both open in September. The outdoor pool will also open in September while the indoor one will be open during the soft launch. Finally, the Aveda salon (for men and women) will also be opening up as part of the soft launch.

I took a few quick photos during my tour which you can check out below. Since I was also taking photos with my phone for my instagram story, I realized later that there were some shots I forgot to take with my regular camera. So check out the photos below and once you’re done head over to my instagram account @mark248am and check out my story there (from your phone). It should be up till around 3PM.

Four Seasons Kuwait is located in Kuwait City [Google Maps]

Update: As of August 14th the hotel has still not opened


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Watch KTV Live Online

Post by Mark

I doubt anyone still watches KTV, but if for some very odd reason you feel like watching it, the Ministry of Information has live streams available on their website. All in all there are 8 KTV channels available to stream and you can check them all out [Here]


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The Early Bird is Expanding

Post by Mark

The popular breakfast spot The Early Bird is expanding with two new locations. The first (pictured above) is going to be located in Central Plaza Salmiya, the same mall that houses International Optics and Costa Coffee.

The second new location and the one I’m interested in is going to be in Crystal Tower in Kuwait City. It’s the same tower as my gym and right across the street from Arabica Coffee.

No idea when they’re opening up.


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Movie Theaters Should Start Declaring if a Movie is Censored

Post by Mark

Movies get censored in Kuwait, thats a fact and no matter how much we complain about it there isn’t anything that can be done. Knowing and accepting movies get censored, how can movie theaters improve the experience for movie goers? One reader proposed an idea recently in the comments and it got me thinking, why haven’t local movie theaters implemented his idea yet?

The reader (Ally) suggested that local movie theaters should start declaring if a movie has been censored or not, and if it has been, then they should declare the duration that was cut and what was cut. So for example:

00:02:45 Censored

Censored content includes:
Reglious themes and/or imagery
Nudity
Sexuality

Right now with my weekly movies list, I check the films content advisory on IMDB, and if I read that there is nudity or scenes of sexuality, I mark the movie on the list that it might contain censorship. But this isn’t accurate and a lot of times movies I marked as not containing censorship ended up being censored. The most accurate way right now to tell if a movie is censored or not is to ask someone who has already watched it, but that isn’t practical obviously.

So Cinescape and Grand Cinemas, if you’re reading this, start being transparent with us, let us know if a movie is censored or not.


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First Impression: The DJI Spark Mini Drone

Post by Mark

I wasn’t planning on posting about the DJI Spark until I got to use it on my upcoming trip, but because of the amount of interest I got on it from my instagram story and twitter over the weekend, I decided I’d at least post my first impression. First full disclosure, DJI released the Spark last month and when I saw Xcite had a preorder page for it, I got in touch with them and asked them if they could send me one over to review. They couldn’t get me a Spark from their first shipment since it quickly sold out, but Thursday they got in touch with me to let me know they secured me a drone from their second shipment and I passed by and picked it up.

The DJI Spark is tiny, like super tiny. Its around the same size as my iPhone 6 and it weighs just 300 grams. But don’t let the size fool you, this isn’t an indoor drone and it’s packed with advanced features of its older brothers. I’m not going to go into too many details since there are a ton of YouTube videos that do that, but I will highlight some things in this post which I think are cool.

There are three ways to control the Spark, either with your phone, with the optional remote, or using hand gestures. The last one is a bit of a gimmick but it works and it can be useful.

Hand Gestures
The Spark has a sensor at the front that will recognize your face and then detect your hand gestures which you can use to control the drone. You wave goodbye at the drone and it will fly up and hover away from you. You want it to snap a photo of you? Just give it the correct gesture and it will take your photo. This is pretty cool because it keeps things simple for those who don’t want more out of the drone other than snapping selfies. You can watch the video above of how this works.

Using Your Phone
The Spark doesn’t come with a remote control, instead you can download an app onto your phone and use it to control the drone using wifi. This means you don’t have to carry a remote around which keeps the Spark portable. The only downside is that the Spark’s flight height is limited to 50 meters and the flight range to just 100m when using the phone due to the wifi’s limited range. The top speed is also limited to 20km/h.

Remote Control
The first thing I did after picking up the Spark was buy the optional remote control. Personally I can’t use virtual control sticks in apps, maybe I’m old fashioned but I like physical buttons and joysticks. The second reason I wanted to get the remote control was because it increases the flight height from 50m to 500m and the flight range from 100m up to 2KM. That’s a HUGE increase. With the remote control you can also put the drone into sport mode which increases the top speed to 50kmh. Really impressive specs for something so freakin tiny. I still can’t believe how high it can fly.

I spent the weekend playing around with the Spark and as a complete drone newbie, I did find the experience overwhelming at first but that’s probably because I didn’t read any instructions and just winged it. Friday morning I woke up early and headed to my favorite open area in the desert to take some photos. There was an overcast so my photos were coming out very flat and dull, but I did manage to take one photo which I added to my instagram story. Saturday morning I decided to take the drone near Scientific Center and fly it there, that was a pretty scary experience because when I told the drone to come home and land, I freaked out because I got worried it would decide to land in the sea. It did’t thankfully and instead came back down to it’s original launching point. That same afternoon I wanted to see if I could fly the drone from my hand and then have it land back in my hand when I was done, all without having to leave my car. It worked! Because the drone is so tiny you could use your palm as a launch and landing pad.

If you’re a beginner like me, the drone has a bunch of automated and smart flying modes that will make your videos look professionally shot including:

Active Track: You highlight the subject you want the Spark to follow and it will follow it
Tripod: Keeps the drone stable and slow allowing you to film cinematic shots
Rocket: Starts filming you from eye level and then flies straight up while still focusing on you
Dronie: Starts filming you from eye level and then angles out and away from you while still keeping you in focus
Circle: The Spark films you while rotating around you
Helix: Rocket + Circle combined

Battery life is my only issue with the Spark so far. The total flight time is just 16 minutes which isn’t a lot especially if you factor in the time it will take you to get to the height you want, position your drone and also the amount of time the drone needs to fly back down to you. You’re definitely gonna need more batteries and I already ordered 2 from Amazon and they’ll be waiting for me in L.A. when I get there end of the week.

Overall I love this little thing. It kinda feels like having an invisible photographer friend with you everywhere you go. When I went out to the desert to take some photos, I tried the active tracking feature and had the Spark follow my car around shooting video of it while I was driving. In the winter when I go snowboarding I could have the Spark follow me shooting video of me face planting all the way down the slope. It’s tiny and light enough to take everywhere with you which is why I’m looking forward to using it on my trip.

If you’re interested in the DJI Spark, Xcite are selling them for KD169. Here is the [Link]


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Blaze Pizza Coming to Kuwait

Post by Mark

I only first heard about Blaze Pizza last week when I read an article on Bleacher Report about how LeBron James was a part owner, and how the brand was off to fastest-ever start for food chain. Then a few days later, Blaze Pizza announced that they’ve partnered up with Alshaya to open locations in Africa and the Middle East.

What makes Blaze different from other pizza places is that it was modeled after the Chipotle concept with a made-to-order approach. Customers create their own pizza which then gets cook in a high-temperature open-flame oven in just 3 minutes.

According to the press release, first location should open up in 2018. [Link]


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

No idea how I managed to scrape together the list below, but here are some events taking place this weekend:

Thursday
The Divan Movie Night: Mon Oncle
Summer Film Series: AMY

Friday
Yoga at the Park (Vinyasa Flow)
The CYFR
Good Game: Magic The Gathering
Drum Circle!

Saturday
Guided Tour: Grand Mosque
54 Surya Namaskars
Yoga with the 3
Q8 Readers Book Club
Tango Class & Practica

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

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so always double check with the organizers.


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Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

The movies below are now showing at either Cinescape, Grand Cinemas or Sky Cinemas:

New This Week:
Be Afraid (4.7)
Cars 3 (7.2)
The Hunter’s Prayer (5.4)
War for the Planet of the Apes (8.5)

Other Movies Showing:
2:22
Despicable Me 3 (6.6)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (7.0)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (8.2)
The Mummy (5.8) ♦

The movies below are also now showing at the Scientific Center IMAX theater:

A Beautiful Planet 3D (7.9)
Dream Big 3D (7.9)
Humpback Whales 3D (7.2)
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D (N/A)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.


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