50s to 90s Food

The First Chinese Restaurant in Kuwait?

Whenever I flip through old newspaper there are random things that always catch my attention. Recently while flipping through a 1976 issue of Kuwait Times I came across this ad for what supposedly is (according to the ad), the first Chinese restaurant in Kuwait. Never heard of it and can’t find anything online about it either. I can’t even find the building it was located in.

If anyone has any information about “Golden Nest”, let me know!

Update: I found another ad (above) and this one has a map. So I tried to figure out where the restaurant used to be located and if Al Shuhada Street used to be called Al Hilal Street back in 1976, then I think Golden Nest was located in the same block as where Al Assima Tower and Solo Pizza are located today. I overlapped the map onto Google Maps and if you line up the streets and roundabouts they match. Whoever drew the map though placed Shaab gate on the wrong corner of the intersection though.

50s to 90s Music

When James Brown Came to Kuwait in 1978

Back in 1978, James Brown came to Kuwait and performed over 7 days at Al-Andalus Cinema in Hawalli. The event was organized by a person called Hussein Abul who over the years had brought other performers to Kuwait including Boney M, Demis Roussos, and Santa Esmeralda.

I also heard an unconfirmed story that Hussein had also signed a contract with Michael Jackson to come to Kuwait, but due to cultural changes in Kuwait taking place at that time, concerts started to get banned and Hussein ended up moving to Brazil permanently.

The James Brown event on the other hand was a huge success to the point the organizers had to add more performance slots. Saif Abu Baker from the local band The Scorpions used to be managed by Hussein and ended up getting the job of driving James Brown around since Saif spoke both English and Arabic. That opportunity later got Saif to play bass on the track Super Bad with James Brown on stage.

I’ve previously found newspaper clippings of the concert but only in Arabic. But, thanks to @kuwaittimes giving me access to their archive, I managed to find a few ads for the event as well as two articles.

“Had not the Andalus authorities exercised diplomacy on the audience, the cinema hall would have turned into a dance hall when the celebrated musician James Brown made his debut in Kuwait yesterday. – Kuwait Times, Dec 1978”

The ticket prices for the concert ranged from KD2 to KD10 which in todays money would be around 10KD to 50KD which is actually a pretty good deal.

50s to 90s

The First Flood – Kuwait, 1934

Rawan Alsaffar, a Landscape Architect published a paper recently that had an interesting story which I hadn’t come across before, the first flood from back in 1934. The flood caused a lot of physical and political damage which was felt for years to come and although tt’s a bit of a long read, the paper does cover more than just the flood. Here is the link.

50s to 90s

The Commercial Bank of Kuwait – 1972

A scan of a postcard from 1972 showing the beautiful Commercial Bank of Kuwait building from back then. For more old postcards, click here.

50s to 90s

When the Discotheque was Introduced in Kuwait

Last week while flipping through some old Kuwait Times newspapers from 1971 I spotted the article above titled “No. This Is Not In Soho, This is in Kuwait”. The article was about the introduction of the discotheque in Kuwait at a popular hotel back then called Phoenicia. Here is the article typed out if you can’t read it in the image above:

The discotheque, at Phoenicia Hotel, was the scene of a lovely and ac-tion-full night Saturday, when most of the young and several other not-so-young celebrities showed up to enjoy this new form of entertainment to emerge on the Kuwaiti scene, thanks to the efforts made by the organisers of the British Trade Week.

The star attraction of the evening was, of course, the “Miss British Trade Week” Brenda Wheeler. British Ambassador, Mr. Whilton, was also present to lend the evening an official importance.

The Discotheque, in short, is a success in Kuwait, and many people hope it will continue – and also not just in one place.

An interesting side note, the original plans for the Kuwait Towers included a discotheque.

50s to 90s Food

Captain D’s Kuwait – 1980s

This is one of these posts that will mean absolutely nothing to everyone except me. When I was a kid back in the 80s I remember there was a fish and chips place in Salmiya on Baghdad Street that had a wooden interior. That’s all I remember of the place and the fact the name had the word “Captain” in it. I’ve been searching for YEARS trying to figure out what the place was and never could. Until today.

Randomly, while flipping through some old Kuwait Times newspapers from 1984 I came across the ad above for Captain D’s. I was like WTF, right away I noticed the address of the Salmiya (spelled Salmiah) location was Baghdad Street. This was it, I finally found out what the place was called.

Back in the 80s there was a company called “Al-Kazemi Food Company” which had the franchise in Kuwait. I don’t think the company exists anymore today since I couldn’t find any trace of them online but back then they had three franchises: Captain D’s, Popeyes and Pizza Inn.

Interestingly if you notice in the ad above it says that they were opening Captain D’s in Carlton Hotel. Thats the hotel that now has the Korean restaurant KOREA GWAN (previously called Koryokwan).

Anyway, if anyone has any more info or photos please let me know.

50s to 90s Art

Gulf War ANSI Art

Found these vintage ANSI art relating to the 1990 Gulf War and thought they were super interesting. I use to love ANSI and ASCII art back in the day and if I remember correctly, my first digital porn image I had was a black and white ASCII drawing sometime back in the 80s which a friend had given to me on a 5.25 floppy. Source

50s to 90s Automotive

The Old Rolls Royce Taxi was Found in Saudi!

There’s an old story from back in the 70s about a man who wasn’t dressed well walking into the Rolls Royce dealer in Kuwait to check out the cars. The man asked the salesman how much the car cost and the salesman replied that he wouldn’t be able to afford it. The man left the dealership upset but came up with an idea for payback. A few days later he went to the dealership again and purchased the Rolls Royce. He then registered it as a taxi cab and had it painted orange with a white stripe.

The man then put the taxi into service and was regularly picking up passengers and he even used to park it in front of the dealership just to mess with them even more. Eventually the dealership reached out to the man apologizing to him and offered to buy back the car from him and give him a more expensive one in return.

The man accepted and he handed the orange Rolls Royce to the dealership and got a new one in return. The orange Rolls was thought to have been repainted back to its original color and then resold, but, the car was recently found at a scrapyard in Khafji, Saudi Arabia, complete in its original orange paint and still had the original red license plates!

That’s pretty insane! You can check out the video by Bin Zuayd on YouTube embeded above or visit his Instagram account @khalid_eisaa to watch it there.

50s to 90s Information

The History of the Seif Palace Clock

I’ve been driving by Seif Palace all my life and I never thought about the clock itself and I don’t think many other people have either. A couple of months ago a friend of mine shared a short article from a 1962 issue of a newspaper which spoke about the clock install and it caught my interest so much so that I spent the past two months trying to dig out as much information as possible. I wanted to find pictures of the clock under construction, maybe sketches of the design or photos of the installation. But after two months of trying, I think I’ve hit a wall and I’ve decided to give up. Although I managed to find interesting information, I didn’t have any new visuals to accompany the information which deflated me. Instead of throwing out all the information I’ve managed to gather, I figured I’d still share whatever I found, even though I didn’t have any photos to accompany the research.

The Seif Palace clock was installed in January 1962 after taking 5 months to build. It was engineered by the UK based clockmakers Smith of Derby who have been making clocks since 1856. I got in touch with Smith of Derby to try and see if they had any photos or schematics of the clock, but they couldn’t find anything in their archive, and whoever had worked on the clock had long retired. But they were able to share some interesting information with me which I’m sharing in this post.

The clock that was originally installed in 1962 was a weight driven mechanical clock, with 4 cast iron dials each 8-feet in diameter and weighing a total of 4 tons. The clock was decorated with 23 & 1/2 carat gold leafs and had internal lights for nighttime dial illumination. Originally the clock also had three bells. Two of the bells would be used to chime the quarter hours while the third bell would strike every hour. The bells were also fitted with an automatic night-silencer so not to annoy people during the night. According to Smith of Derby, the bells were most likely supplied by John Taylor Bell Foundry. The person I was in communication with told me he even had a vague memory of a colleague of his telling him that the bells were hung but never rung. I’ve never heard them rung nor did I know the clock was meant to ring so I imagine that story is true. I tried to verify the story and gather more information on the bells but Taylor Bells have yet to respond to my emails.

During the 1990 invasion, the mechanical clock was damaged beyond repair when a missile was put through the dial. Smith of Derby were contracted to rebuild the clock, and in 1995 it was replaced, this time with an electric movement instead of a mechanical one (T400 synchronous movement, accurate to +/- 1 second a month and controlled by an inverter charger to keep the voltage at 230v 50hz). I’m not sure if the bells are still in the clock tower, my assumption is they aren’t. I tried to get access to the Seif Palace clock tower to find out but I wasn’t able to.

The Seif Palace clock isn’t the only clock in Kuwait made by Smith of Derby. I found three other clocks in Kuwait made by them, the clock in Riggae Park, the Al Mulla Group clock outside the airport, and the beautiful clock located inside the Waldorf Astoria.

And thats everything I could dig up on the Seif Palace clock. If you can by any chance get me inside the clock tower, let me know!

50s to 90s Photography

Phone box on the side of a dirt road

I’m in love with this photo taken by Ian Caldwell of a random phone box on the side of a dirt road somewhere in the north of Kuwait. He took this photo sometime in the last 60s early 70s and if you look carefully you can see a couple of bedouin tents in the background.