State of Excitement. Impressions of Kuwait by Ian Fleming

Post by Mark

This is a long shot but does anyone have a copy of the book “State of Excitement” by James Bond creator Ian Fleming?

The Kuwait Oil Company commissioned Fleming to write this short book about Kuwait. However, the Kuwaiti Goverment disapproved of the final manuscript, which they found condescending, and the book was never published, despite repeated overtures to the Kuwaiti Goverment over the years.

The frontispiece to Fleming`s copy of the book reads: This is the only bound copy of a short book I wrote on Kuwait in December 1960. It was a condition of my obtaining facilities to visit Kuwait and write the book that the text should have the approval of the Kuwait Oil Company, whose guest I was.

The Oil Company expressed approval of the book but felt it their duty to submit the typescript to members of the Kuwait Government for their approval. The Sheiks concerned found unpalatable certain mild comments and criticism and particularly the passages referring to the adventurous past of the country which now wishes to be “civilised” in every respect and forget its romantic origins.

Accordingly, the book was stillborn. [source]

Here is a review of the book as well where they highlight some reasons the book might have been banned including this one:

A second rather humorous story the author relates revolve around an invitation he received to dine at one of the Sheikh’s numerous palaces. It seems that this palace located somewhere along the Persian Gulf coast had a very long dock which extended out far from land and at its end was a beautiful building where the Sheihk invited Fleming and other guests. In grand fashion the guests were carried from the shore in a stretch limousine out along the dock to the mini-palace. He noticed that after the guests had been dropped off, the driver had to back up the entire length of the dock, turn around and then back up the entire length of the dock once again. Fleming surmised that the driver was instructed to do this so that when the dinner was finished, the Sheikh and his guests could get back into the car on the ‘correct’ side and drive “forward” back to the shore. Fleming, almost snidely relates that even with all that money at his disposal the Sheikh couldn’t design and build a dock with a wide enough turn around. In other words, in this little vignette Fleming is mocking his host’s design and thereby his intelligence.

If you have a copy can you please accidentally leak it to me from an anonymous email address? Thank you!

2019-06-18T09:04:15+03:00Jun 18, 2019|6 Comments

Mirrored Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia

Post by Mark

This huge mirrored concert hall was built in the middle of the Saudi desert for the “Winter at Tantoura” festival which ran from December 2018 to February of this year. It hosted a range of activities, including a celebration of the winter planting season, weekly cultural events, and musical performances from some of the world’s greatest musicians.

I’m kinda worried that Kuwait isn’t moving forward at a very fast pace.

Whenever I travel to smaller neighboring countries like Bahrain and Qatar I’m always impressed with what I see from everything like their infrastructure and skyscrapers to the cleanliness and organization. I was in Qatar last weekend and walking outside in a street wondering how the weather is so much cooler than Kuwait, turns out they had AC blasting from the floor. Crazy but it worked. And then, of course, you have UAE which is miles ahead of all of us.

But, no matter what, we always had comfort in knowing that at least we were better than Saudi. Now I feel we’re losing that as well. Not because of just one concert hall, but because of similar small and large scale projects. The country is also starting to loosen up. The WHITE “halal” nightclub in Jeddah turned out to be too much for them, but at least they tried. We’re all here looking forward to the new airport but I don’t think that’s going to be enough.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a rant so don’t start with the GTFO comments, I’m just thinking out loud here.

2019-06-18T09:07:26+03:00Jun 18, 2019|25 Comments

Joystixx Barcade Now Open

Post by Mark

The Joystixx Barcade located in the basement of Symphony Mall in Salmiya is now finally open. They have a bunch of old school arcade machines as well as a pinball machine and a section with video game consoles.

They have arcade games like Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, Mortal Kombat 4 (so disappointed they didn’t get MK1 or MK2), Metal Slug, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, The King of Fighters ’97 and more. The arcade machines take regular 100fils coins while the consoles you rent out for 1.5KD an hour.

If you want to check the place out they’re open daily except for Sundays from 1PM to 11PM. They’re also on instagram @joystixxbar

Thanks Wahab!

2019-06-17T09:46:58+03:00Jun 17, 2019|19 Comments

Kuwait Launches Digital Library

Post by Mark

When I visited the Kuwait National Library back in March I noticed they had a room where they were scanning books on Kuwait in. I was told they would be launching a digital library soon called “Memory of Kuwait” and last week they did just that.

This platform was launched by an initiative of the National Library of Kuwait with a goal to connect the past with the present. It includes books, periodicals, manuscripts and other collections that document the stages of Kuwait through history.

This interactive digital platform utilizes advanced technologies in line with Kuwait National Library vision. Embracing new technologies in order to serve public visitors and to give them access to the library’s most important historical collections.

The library has so far scanned or digitized over 1,000 items like books, videos, newspapers and more and they’re all available to view right now on their website. But, I found the website really clunky and slow to use.

The videos I tried to watch were in the incorrect size format so they were squished while with the books or magazines I could only view a limited amount of pages. I keep getting a popup saying that I have limited access but there isn’t any information on how I can get more access! I can see a sign in button, but I can’t find the signup page so the whole thing feels like a bit of a mess.

I love the idea of a digital library especially when the main library is only open from 9AM to 1PM on weekdays. But I really really don’t like the software they’re using to navigate all these books, its too slow to be of any practical use. But, if you want to try it out yourself, here is the link.

2019-06-17T08:50:38+03:00Jun 17, 2019|2 Comments

My Second Datsun 240z

Post by Mark

Back in 2016 I bought a 1973 Datsun 240z. I used to really love that car and fixed it up so I could daily drive it and I was doing so until I decided to buy my first Lotus. I ended up selling the 240Z to a friend of mine so I wouldn’t feel too guilty about spending so much money on the Lotus, and I always regretted it. What’s worse is that he offered to sell it back to me at the end of last year, but I said no because I was in between jobs and that wouldn’t have been the responsible thing to do. By the time I realized my mistake, the car was sold off to another friend of ours who sent it to Bahrain where it’s getting a full restoration job.

I really needed a classic car in my life and I tried to find something interesting locally but couldn’t, so I started looking outside of Kuwait. I eventually ended up finding a beautiful red 1970 Alfa Romeo GTV in Holland and bought it back in April. But that car is still in the process of getting registered for export in and then needs around a month to get to Kuwait. So while waiting for it I kept my eye open for a 240z and a couple of weeks ago I finally found a good one that was located in Sulaibiya. It was blue like my dad’s Datsun in the 70s, and the guy was asking a reasonable price for so I went and checked it out.

At first glance, the car didn’t look like much, and I think that’s what might have scared other buyers off. The seats were ripped, the interior had been fully carpeted by the owner covering up all the original diamond stitched vinyl that covers the interior, and the original engine was swapped out with a 280z engine. But, the dashboard with all the dials and knobs was super clean! It was in much better condition than the one in my older Datsun and it’s actually the most expensive thing to restore in the car. Everything else like the seat covers, interior vinyl trimming, carpets, plastic panels etc.. are readily available and not for much. But a new dashboard without any of the dials and different buttons on it? That would easily cost you a third of the price of the car. The whole dashboard and center console area looked like it was refurbished or swapped out with a new one by one of the previous owners, so I quickly realized this was the car to get. Even the fact that the engine was off a 280z was a good thing for me because it meant I could install air conditioning and more engine parts were available for it.

So now I’m a proud owner of a 1972 blue Datsun 240z. I spent the weekend ordering a whole bunch of parts for it and I already scheduled an appointment with my mechanic to start work on it. By the time I’m done it should hopefully look similar to the 240z pictured above which was featured on Petrolicious. I’m super excited!

2019-06-16T09:11:33+03:00Jun 16, 2019|33 Comments

5G Prices Are Out

Post by Mark

5G was officially announced late last month but this past weekend the packages finally went live. A friend who signed up for the service is getting anywhere between 150Mbps to 300Mbps depending on where he is which is pretty fast. From the three telecoms, Viva has the most affordable packages from the bunch and you can check them all out below:

Ooredoo
KD45 – 500GB (Free Access Point)
KD65 – 1TB (Free Access Point)
Minimum 1-year contract

Viva
KD45 – 1TB (Free Access Point and iPad or PS4 Pro)
KD85 – Unlimited (Free Access Point and iPad or PS4 Pro)
Minimum 2-year contract

Zain
KD45 – 500GB
KD65 – 1TB (Free Access Point)
KD100 – 4TB (Free Access Point and iPad or Xbox One X or PS4 Pro)
Minimum 2-year contract

Although the prices do seem high when compared to LTE, I’m paying KD25 a month for a 20Mbps Zain Beam connection. So KD45 for 1TB isn’t so bad when compared to that if I’ll end up getting speeds over 150Mbps.

2019-06-16T00:20:38+03:00Jun 15, 2019|22 Comments

Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark


Screenshot from Brightburn

The movies below are now showing at Cinescape, Grand Cinemas and VOX:

New This Weekend:
Brightburn (6.5)
Ma (6.0)
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (6.9)
The Poison Rose (4.4)

Other Movies Showing Now:
Aladdin (6.5)
Avengers: Endgame (9.2)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (7.4)
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (8.1)
Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom (3.4)
Polaroid (5.2)
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (6.5)
X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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

Amazon Adventure 3D (6.6)
Fly Me to the Moon (4.5)
Galapagos 3D (8.6)
Oceans: Our Blue Planet (7.4)
Volcanoes 3D (6.6)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.

2019-06-13T08:31:17+03:00Jun 13, 2019|1 Comment

You Can Now Withdraw Money from PayPal

Post by Mark

This took long to implement but PayPal users in Kuwait can now finally withdraw money from their PayPal account. I haven’t tried this yet since my PayPal account is US based, but from what I gather, there is a KD1 charge for withdrawing the money which isn’t too bad. But, I also think they charge a 3.5% currency conversion fee but not really sure if I understood that part correctly.

In any case, if you have funds in your Kuwait based PayPal account and want to withdraw it then log in to your account, click on balance and then withdraw funds. You can then select the card you want PayPal to deposit the money into. Simple as that.

If you’re wondering why this is an important change its because there are a lot of people in Kuwait who sell things online and receive money with PayPal. They can now withdraw the money instead of having it accumulate in their PayPal account indefinitely.

via waw.cc

2019-06-11T09:43:07+03:00Jun 11, 2019|4 Comments