The KOC Archive: Ahmadi Drive-In Theater

Post by Mark

drive-in

These are the last photos I have from the KOC archive and they’re of the Ahmadi Drive-In Theater before it opened. In the photos the drive-in construction had been completed and looks like they were installing the AC system and setting up the projectors.

If you want to see how the theater looks like today, I passed by back in 2012 and took some photos. You can check that post [Here]. Not sure what the state of the theater is today, there were rumblings that it was going to get demolished to build a new mall. I know it sounds like I’m joking but I’m not, thats actually what I had heard.

To check out all the photos I’ve shared so far from the KOC archive, click [Here]


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Ordering Video Games Online in Kuwait

Post by Mark

videogames

Last Thursday I felt like playing a new video game but didn’t feel like heading to Hawalli to pick up a new game. So I decided to order a game online but wanted a place that would deliver in an hour. I mean if you can order food, have it prepared and delivered in under hour, I figured it shouldn’t be difficult to find a place that would have a game delivered that fast as well. Turns out nobody delivers video games in an hour and with some places like Blink who offer express delivery, they charge you a premium for it and you need to order before a certain time. Plus by express delivery they mean under 4 hours which is just too long. I was losing hope until I remembered a reader telling me about an instagram account called @alfuhod. They sell games for prices cheaper than the rest of the market and they offer free delivery. So I called them up and ordered Uncharted 4, they told me they’d deliver it within 2 hours. It was 7:50 when I placed the order so I was expecting to get it by 10PM.

A friend ended up coming over to watch a movie and time flew by and I completely forgot I had ordered a video game until I get a phone call at 11:44PM from a driver asking directions for my house. Nearly 4 hours since I placed the order so obviously I was upset and told the driver I didn’t want the game anymore since it was too late. Next day I got a message from them asking me if I received my game, I told them no I canceled it because the driver was 2 hours late. They didn’t apologize or even respond to me so I’m not ordering from them again.

Which brings me to my question, where do you guys order your games from and who has the quickest delivery time? I’m gonna create a list of all the online places you can order video games from and this is what I have so far:

3Rood Q8
Blink
Digumz
Digumz Store (not related to Digumz)
Game Center
GamesQ8
Mr Babu
ProGaming
Q8 Complex
Taw9eel
Tawsel AlFuhod
VG Gurus
X4 Games
Xcite


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The Lotus Evora 400

Post by Mark

evora1

Like the Lotus Exige S which I recently wrote about on the blog, theres a lot to love and hate in the Evora 400. I actually ended up having the car over two weekends so I got to spend a pretty good amount of time with the car. I’ll get all the good stuff out of the way first, then talk about a few negatives points before telling you what I think.

When I first got into the Evora 400 and drove off I was really surprised at how civil the car was. Unlike the Exige S, getting into the car didn’t require any acrobatics since it’s like a normal car, you just open the door and get in. The interior was also a lot more fancier looking with leather all around, beautiful center console with controls for the AC and gear box, and with seats there were super comfy. The Evora has a Supercharged 3.5L V6 producing 400hp but you wouldn’t be able to tell when the car is in regular touring mode. I thought the Evora was too quiet, like nearly electric car quiet since all you couldn’t hear the engine or exhaust, just the whine of the supercharger. The car felt too civil which was starting to feel disappointing since the reason I’m in a Lotus is because it’s a sports car and so I wanted it to sound like one. Luckily, the Evora has a cool trick up its sleeve. On regular touring mode, the car doesn’t sound any louder than a Toyota Camry, but as soon as you hit the exhaust button on the dashboard, everything changes. The Evora suddenly comes to life and the sound becomes brutal and so violent. If you’re in an indoor parking lot and roll down your windows, oh wow you won’t believe how beautiful the Evora can sound.

evora2

I think that was my favorite aspect of the Evora, it can be super silent and an unassuming daily driver (just don’t go with bright orange), or it can be the loud in your face track car. Daily driver is how I kept describing the car to my friends whenever they asked me what I thought of it. Then you have the looks, god damn it’s a super hot looking car. Like the Exige S, everywhere I went people wouldn’t stop staring, it’s such an eye catcher.

lotusinside

But, not all is great. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had the Evora 400 over two weekends. The reason for that is the first weekend I ran into issues with the gearbox. Something was wrong with the programming and so when I would give the car a hard kick down, the car would sometimes shift from 1st gear to 2nd to 3rd and then just get stuck there instead of continuing to shift up. On one occasion it even got stuck on 2nd gear. Then one night on my way back home, the gearbox, engine and traction control lights all came on and the car wouldn’t shift anymore and just stayed stuck on 3rd gear. I dropped the car off back to Lotus the next morning and got it back again this past weekend. I guess they reset the software or something but all the issues I had with the gearbox the previous weekend disappeared. Putting that bit of bad luck aside though I did have more issues with the car, ones that a software update couldn’t fix. One of my issues with the Exige S was the lack of storage space, not sure how it’s possible but the Evora has even less space. There is a small pocket on the door that might or might not hold your wallet depending on how big it is, and there is also a small glove compartment that can hold your sunglasses, but other than that there is nothing. I had to keep my phone in between my legs or on the passenger seat because there was no room to put my phone. I should mention there is a back seat in this car that supposedly can hold two passengers, but unless those passengers don’t have any legs I’m not sure how they’ll fit there. The back of my seat literally touches the rear seat so there’s no way anyone can sit behind me thats for sure. Finally the last issue with the car is one that I find mind boggling. I took the car to get it washed and it leaked in water from both doors in the exact same location. If it was one side you could say it might have been a defect or whatever, but both sides? Thats just poor design which is why I don’t understand how Lotus didn’t catch this.

The Evora 400 starts at KD34,000 which puts it right in the Porsche 911 turf. But the question then becomes, do you want a car that everyone has? Or do you want a car that is less common and unique? If I’m paying that much money, I don’t want to blend in so then it becomes about how much issues can I put up with. Personally, with all the issues I had with the more affordable Exige S, I’m in love with that car. Maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me take the Exige S back out for another weekend.

If you’re interested in test driving a Lotus then pass by them, they have both the Exige S and Evora 400 available. Here is a link to their instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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New Queue System at Airport Passport Control

Post by Mark

airportline2

Last night when I got back to Kuwait from a quick trip to Doha I noticed they changed the queue system at passport control.

When I came down the escalators I noticed majority of the immigration counters were practically empty which was a relief since I really didn’t want to spend an hour in line. But then as I got closer I noticed something odd. On the far left was a large crowd of expats, when I looked carefully I noticed all the empty counters were for GCC nationals and that expats needed to enter a queue on the far left.

airportline1

So I got into the queue which truthfully was moving fast. It was one long queue that served all the expat counters which is something I prefer over having individual queues for each counter. It’s actually been proven to be more efficient which is why it’s used in other countries. There was an officer at the end of the end of the queue who was directing the expats to available counters as they free up. It’s like finally, a proper system.

But, I had a major issue was with the visual appearance of the passport control area (put aside the floor tiles that wouldn’t look out of place in a bathroom). My big issue was how they had the large wide open space for GCC nationals and then had all the expats squeezed into the far left corner like cattle (check below illustration for an overhead look).

queue

I don’t mind there be more counters for GCC nationals over expats, but at least have the expats queue wider and take up more space. Right now the expats are squeezed into 25% of the space while the other 75% is left open for GCC nationals. It really looked degrading the way we were all squeezed off to the side and it’s definitely not a great first impression for visitors on arrival.


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Trampo Extreme in Murouj

Post by Mark

trampo5

Last week I was going through my instagram explore page and found a video of a new indoor skate park, turns out it was part of “Trampo Extreme”, the new Trampo location in Murouj. So I got in touch with them and headed over to check the place out.

The new Trampo location is HUGE with a lot of different activities to try out. First you have the trampolines area which takes up around 1/3 of the whole space. There are different kinds of trampolines to choose from including a dodge ball trampoline court for competitive action against friends. Right next to the trampoline section you have a leap of faith tower and a vertical slide, both of which are meant to test your courage.

trampo1

Now the other areas of the new Trampo location is where I think things get interesting. First you have a large area on your right once you walk in filled with really tall climbing walls. This is my favorite area in the whole arena since it’s one I’ll probably go back to try.

trampo6

Right in the middle of the arena but raised above ground is a cable climbing area. It’s a obstacle course in the air which you traverse and once you get to the end of it there is a zip line that takes you to the other side.

trampo2

The last activity at the new Trampo location is one I think a lot of teenagers are going to love, a skate park. The skate park is divided into three main areas with the first one aimed towards intermediate skaters. This area is composed of a large shallow pool on one side and low rails and ledges on the other with small quarter pipes.

trampo3

The second area behind the intermediate one is the main skating area and consists of two large quarter pipes connected to each other with volcanos in the middle. This area is a lot more difficult but to help make things a bit easier, there is a third area where you could go to and practice your tricks.

trampo4

The training area consists of a slope down to a quarter pipe which has a foam pit behind it. This way skaters and riders can practice their tricks without having to worry about getting hurt. And yes, BMX riders can use these facilities alongside skaters and if you don’t have a skateboard or bike, they have them available for you to use.

I got the price list from Tampo and it’s as follows:

Jump: KD6.5/hour
Climb: KD6/hour
Skate’n’Ride Junior: KD7/hour
Skate’n’Ride Pro: KD5.5/hour
Leap: KD1
Slide: KD1
Zipline: KD4

Trampo Extreme just opened this past weekend and their hours are Monday to Thursday 2PM to 10PM, Friday 10AM to 10PM, Saturday 10AM to 8PM and Sundays they are closed. The skate area doesn’t require any bookings but the climbing and trampoline areas do. To book your spot you can do so online from their website [Here]


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New Airport Long Term Parking Extension

Post by Mark

parkingextension

Ok ok so it’s not really an extension but, just to give you an idea of how bad the situation in the long term parking has gotten, they’re now having cars park in the pedestrian walkway in the long term parking lot.

They’re going to have to construct a new multistory parking lot but that would mean they’d have to close the parking lot during that process which will be annoying so I have another idea. How about turning an empty lot of land near the airport into a parking lot and then have a shuttle bus service to and from the airport?


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Shuwaikh to Salmiya on Foot

Post by Mark

map

Yesterday afternoon I dropped my Datsun to Omid’s Garage in Shuwaikh to have a few things worked on, mostly installing an AC system as well as replacing all the car’s bushings among other things. After dropping the car off I walked to the main road to find a cab and then not sure what got into my head but I tweeted that maybe I should just walk home since I was already in gym gear. I wasn’t planning to go to the gym, but since my car didn’t have AC and I was expecting the weather to be warm, I figured I would wear my gym gear since I wouldn’t mind sweating in it. I opened up google maps just to get an idea if it was actually doable and it gave an estimated time of around 2 hours and 44 minutes. It was around 6PM then and I was invited to an Audemars Piguet event at 7PM, but other than that didn’t really have any plans for the evening. So I was like fuck it, I’ll ditch the event and walk home. A friend on twitter replied to me saying it would take me three hours, I replied back that I would make it in 2 and a half and so the challenge was on.

path

I left the garage at 6:06PM with just a small bottle of water, my wallet, my keys and my phone. The garage is located in the Shuwaikh Industrial area which is the area across from Al Rai and on the other side of highway 60. I started walking towards Canada Dry street cuz I decided I’d take the 3rd Ring Road down towards the Gulf Road and then take the 35 towards Salmiya. Although Canada Dry Street takes just a few seconds to get from the start to the end by car, it took me 20 minutes to walk. I thought that was just too slow of a pace so when I was done from Canada Dry and crossed into Khaldia where I spotted a walking/running track, I decided I would try to run back home. Although I was in my gym gear I didn’t have running shoes on, I had my crossfit ones (Nike Metcon 1) which barely have any padding and are terrible for running. But I’d figure I’d give it a shot since walking was just going to be too slow for me.

40

I hadn’t really gone running in over two years and I’ve barely been doing any cardio but I just wanted to get home in under 2 and a half hours. I had already run out of water but luckily kept finding public water fountains to keep refilling my bottle (I didn’t get sick!). By the time I got to road 35 in Hawally, I realized there was a big chance I could make it home in under 2 hours so I pressed on. Mentally I was strong but physically I was just starting to break down. Half way down the stretch of the 35 my right foot and right knee were in pain. I wasn’t out of breath even though I was tired but my legs were just not prepared for this. By the time I got to the end of the 35 and crossed into Maidan Hawalli I could barely run and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get home in under 2 hours. It was demoralizing but then I just went back to my original plan of trying to get there in under 2 and a half hours. I tried to run but by the time I got to Salmiya I was limping, my right leg was in so much pain. But once I saw my building I somehow managed to sprint the last 20 meters or so. I ended up making it home in 2 hours and 14 minutes. A total distance of 14KM. Kinda disappointing since I ran a 10K once in 57 minutes, but I did train for that. On the other hand I did get a better time compared to when I walked home from my work in Kuwait City.

map2

I still don’t know why I decided to do that yesterday, this morning I can barely walk up and down stairs due to how sore my legs are. The weather was great yesterday which might have been what pushed me but in any case I did it and I’ve got a few observations I want to highlight.

deadend

Kuwait isn’t really a pedestrian friendly place but I was pretty surprised at how the route I took was fairly pedestrian friendly. From the start of the 3rd Ring Road till highway 40 there are proper walking/running paths all along the main road. The only issue is the fact these paths aren’t connected to other paths in adjacent areas. Meaning to cross from Khaldiya to Adailiya wasn’t easy. Not only aren’t the walking/running paths connected, but the normal sidewalks aren’t even connected. In some areas I had to walk over greenery or climb over barriers, and then when there were paths like the one pictured above, they led to the middle of the road instead of the other sidewalk. Each area is isolated from the adjacent ones which is pretty annoying. Then once you pass the 40th into Hawalli, the paths start disappearing. By the time I got to Salmiya I was basically running in the streets trying to avoid cars. Such a contrast to how my run started, even the public water fountains disappeared after the 40.

Still, I was expecting it to be a lot more difficult to make it back to Salmiya on foot so I was actually impressed by the experience. I just wish Kuwait was more pedestrian or bike friendly, I’m sure there are a lot of people who wouldn’t mind walking to places if the weather was good.


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

This weekend is surprisingly busy and there are a few interesting events taking place. I’ll personally be trying to connect to my roots by attending the Armenian Dance Show on Friday night. Been wanting to go to one of their shows for some time now but they used to be held in Mangaf which was too out of my way. This Friday though they’re going to be at the Salmiya Theater which is close to where I live. The comedy show Urban City Tour was supposed to take place this weekend as well featuring Marlon Wayans, but it sadly got canceled. Anyway, check out the full list of events take place this weekend below:

Thursday
Exhibition: It’s a Mad World
Exhibition: What’s Your Location?
Japanese Modern Art Exhibition
Exhibition: F160 – Only Byrds Move The Skies
Exhibition: Tensile Modulus By Omar Khouri
Mindfulness for a Healthy Mind Workshop (Meditation and Yoga)
The Divan Movie Night: Sherlock Holmes
Spinal Dance
Rooftop Movie: The Elephant Man

Friday
Japanese Modern Art Exhibition
Urban City Tour – Kuwait
Taichi in the Park
Yoga at the Park (Hatha Yoga)
Catomania (Cat Quiz Night)
Armenian Dance Show

Saturday
Japanese Modern Art Exhibition
Yoga with the 3
Guided Tour: Grand Mosque
Reclaim Your Voice; Reclaim Your Life
Mental Health Movie Night
Walks at the Park
Rooftop Movie: What We Do in the Shadows

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 double check info with organizers.


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More Details on Al Shaheed Park Phase II

Post by Mark

phaseii

Ricardo Camacho, one of the leading architects behind Al Shaheed Park posted some more information on Phase II which I posted on yesterday. Ricardo mostly discusses the thinking process behind Phase II and the numerous obstacles they had to be aware of.

Following the research survey of numerous youth-related facility units within Kuwait City’s urban perimeter, the Al Shaheed Park extension (phaseII) assumes a mixed program along the following facilities: a. Educational; b. Social/Culture; c. Health; d. Food+Beverage; e. Retail; f.Sports. The majority of the program typologies assumed for this site, encompass a range of facilities (outdoor and indoor) that in Kuwait are usually in centralized locations within a residential neighborhood and directly connected to institutional facilities such as schools, mosques and Coops.

His full post is on Linkedin and you can check it out [Here]


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Nasty Accident Caught on Dashcam

Post by Mark

This accident took place yesterday in Hawalli. Super nasty, no idea why that guy took the turn so fast. On the other hand with dashcams becoming prevalent, we’re bound to see more WTF videos like this.

Back in March while driving on the 40th I nearly ran over a body lying in the middle of the road. It was a scary moment which I was able to capture on my dashcam. You can watch that video above, it’s not graphic, but there is a dead body involved so you might want to skip it if you’re squeamish.

via Frankom

dashcam


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