16 04, 2019

Volunteer Rescue Teams

2019-04-17T09:45:11+03:00Apr 16, 2019|10 Comments

A couple of weeks back a friend of mine had a dead car battery so I went to help her out. When I got to her car I spotted what I thought was an undercover cop talking to her. The guy had an old Mercedes with flashing lights, and he was wearing a yellow reflective vest. After talking to him I found out he was part of a volunteer rescue team called Dar Subhan who are always on the lookout for people needing help.

I was meaning to post about them but completely forgot until yesterday while riding my bicycle on the Gulf Road I spotted a rescue team helping a car out. There was a Nissan Patrol that had gotten stuck on the beach trying to pull in his boat and the rescue team were helping him. I thought it was the same rescue team that I had run into a couple weeks ago but this one was called Kuwait Support and Rescue Team (KSRT).

KSRT have been active for around a year now while Dar Subhan have only been around since March. I’m not sure how many other volunteer teams there are but if you ever have any car trouble or are stuck out in the desert, it could be worth giving these guys a call instead of the emergency services. Here are their contacts including links to their instagram account:

Dar Subhan Rescue Team
97732441 / 91111584

Kuwait Support and Rescue Team
97865006 / 94147001 / 67651169

Update: Here is another

Kuwait Rescue Team
66665488 / 98809058

16 04, 2019

Kuwaiti Race Car Driver Wins at Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup

2019-04-16T09:29:45+03:00Apr 16, 2019|2 Comments

Kuwaiti racecar driver Zaid Ashkanani was on the winning team at the season opener for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup a few days ago. This was not only Zaid’s first debut with the Dinamic Motorsport team, but the team themselves were also making their first debut at the Blancpain GT.

Dinamic drivers Klaus Bachler, Zaid Ashkanani and Andrea Rizzoli (all pictured below) started 23rd on the grid but managed to end up winning by a 14-second margin in a second-generation Porsche 911 GT3-R. They gave the Porsche brand their first Endurance Cup victory since 2012.

This was the first race of the season so there is still a long way to go but nevertheless, it was an incredible debut. You can stay up to date on Zaid’s activities by following him on Instagram @zaidashkanani

3 04, 2019

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

2019-04-03T18:48:19+03:00Apr 3, 2019|22 Comments

The new 2019 G-Class might look like every G-Class built since the 70s, but the 2019 model is a completely new car with some obvious and not so obvious differences. I borrowed this car from a friend of mine who was traveling and got to spend a few days with it. Just like the previous generation G-Class, the new 2019 model has its quirks, but they’re minor stuff and this is a car I’d really love to own.

The changes on the exterior of the car are not dramatic, they’re minor and most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the previous and current generation models. The new model is slightly curvier which some diehards hate, but I think it works. Where the biggest changes are visible though is on the inside.

The new G-Class has one of the nicest interiors of any car and that mostly has to do with the new digital dash and large infotainment screen. Mercedes have found a way to seamlessly integrate both screens into the interior by laying them down side by side on the dashboard under one sheet of glass. This gives the impression that it’s one long screen stretching from the driver’s door all the way to the end of the center console. I really love it and I think it gives the interior a very futuristic look. The infotainment system software is also nicely designed, I’m not sure how Lexus is fine with their 90s looking infotainment system when their biggest competitor has something so good looking in their cars. Other than the car’s default infotainment system you also have the option to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The only issue I have with the infotainment system is that it doesn’t have a touch screen. I’m used to using CarPlay with a touch screen and being forced to use a dial or touchpad to move around CarPlay felt like a bit of a mess. That’s really my biggest quibble with the car.

The interior was also very comfortable, while with the previous generation I struggled to fight a comfortable seating position this time around it was really easy. The interior also felt more spacious and it was generally a great place to be. The ride is comfortable, the soundproofing is extremely good and the car felt very solid and could take abuse.

I like the combination of an old school exterior with a very modern interior and I wish more cars did this. The G-Class comes loaded with modern features like brake assist, active distance assist, surround view cameras and parking assist just to name a few. Active distance assist is probably my favorite feature, it works great in traffic since it accelerates, slows down and stops the car for you without you having to do anything. So you could be on your phone watching a youtube video and the car will keep you moving in traffic without requiring your attention.

There are currently two versions of the new G-Class available, the G500 which has 422hp and the G63 which has 585hp. You do NOT need the G63, nobody needs it! I found the G500 more than capable power-wise for an SUV that’s shaped like a brick, plus the G63 is a lot more expensive. Earlier I mentioned my biggest issue with the car was the lack of touch screen, well I lied. The biggest issue I have with the G-Class is the price. The new 2019 G-Class starts at KD38,000 while the G63, on the other hand, starts at a whopping KD55,000.

38,000 is about what I feel this car is worth when fully optioned out but, the G500 actually peeks out at around 50,000 when all the options are clicked. If I’m paying 50,000 I want to feel special and I don’t think the G-Class feels that special anymore. They’re too common on the roads and that takes away from the special feel. In reality though, what luxury SUV isn’t a common sight in Kuwait? They’re all plentiful.

Do I want a G-Class? Yes, I do. I love the size, I love the interior and I love that it can take my abuse. But with all the options I’d want to fit into this car, I’m going to be wayyy past the 38,000 starting price.

If you’re interested in checking out the new G-Class, here is the instagram account of the dealer @mercedesbenzkuwait

2 04, 2019

Road Repairs Start Today!

2019-04-03T08:58:07+03:00Apr 2, 2019|14 Comments

Our roads are finally going to get fixed starting from today. The project of repairing all of Kuwait’s roads (including residential) is expected to take three years but, for the first phase they’re starting off with the main ones.

The first road that will be repaired is the 1st Ring Road, starting from the Gulf Road and extending all the way to the Jahra roundabout. The second to be fixed is Highway 40 starting from the 1st Ring Road down to the Bayan area. Third road to be fixed is the 4th Ring Road from Amman Street all the way to the UN roundabout, then they’re going to fix the 6th Ring Road from near 360 Mall (Zahra) towards the Subiya intersection, and finally the Doha Road starting from near the Entertainment City down to the 6th Ring Road.

Repairs will take place from 6pm to 6am on weekdays, and 12am to 12pm on weekends.

I’m surprised the 5th Ring Road isn’t part of the first phase and I’m disappointed the Gulf Road isn’t also part of the first phase since that’s the road I use 80% of the time. But, I’m just glad they’re finally starting!

Update: 💃 [Link]

1 04, 2019

Watching Formula 1 in Kuwait (2019)

2019-04-01T12:44:13+03:00Apr 1, 2019|7 Comments

Yesterday the second Formula 1 race of the season took place and I’ve been getting questions by people asking me how I’m watching it. The answer is simple, I’m watching the races on F1 TV, the question of how is a bit more complicated.

Early last month BeIN decided not to renew their F1 broadcast rights and instead MBC picked up the rights. You can now watch Formula 1 live for free on MBC Action but there are two main issues, the broadcast is in Arabic and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stream the races for people like me who don’t have satellite TV. That also means you can’t watch the races on your phone.

Last year Formula 1 launched their own channel called F1 TV where for $9.99 a month you can stream the race weekends live as well as watch older races from their archive. Technically F1 TV doesn’t work in Kuwait but since I have a US-based credit card, I was able to subscribe and then watch the races over a VPN. It worked for a short while last year, and then F1 TV got strict and started blocking VPN’s, but my internet connection was also an issue since it wasn’t fast enough to stream properly through VPN. So last year I ended up giving up on F1 TV and had to go back to the BeIN digital service which I didn’t like. Since BeIN was out of the picture this year, I decided to try F1 TV again, and my experience this time around has been much better.

This time around my internet is a lot faster since I signed up to Zain Beam last month (for those wondering, I’m still getting a stable 30Mbps download speed with Beam). I also changed my VPN service from StrongVPN to SmartDNSProxy and so far, F1 TV hasn’t blocked a single stream. The F1 TV service has also been polished up since they first launched and there doesn’t seem to be any weird streaming issues (like their stream crashing at the start of the race). I also discovered a cool trick the other day where if I use my TV as a second monitor, I could use one browser tab to stream the race on my TV and then use the laptop screen with another browser tab open to a live race data stream or a driver cockpit view. And on top of all this, I’ve also been able to stream the race on my mobile phone using the F1 app.

So if you want to watch Formula 1 in Kuwait, your only options (at the time of this post) is MBC Action or F1 TV if you have a foreign credit card.

31 03, 2019

Bridge to Free Trade Zone Now Open

2019-03-31T13:58:12+03:00Mar 31, 2019|8 Comments

Highway 60 which is the long bit of highway that flies over Shuwaikh is now open again. The bridge which previously use to drop you at the start of the free trade zone now flies over it landing you at the very far end of it. This bridge will also soon connect to the world’s longest bridge, the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Causeway which is set to open next month.

I drove on the new bridge extension this past weekend and it reminded me of the old video game Tokyo Highway Challenge. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bridge turns out to be popular with street racers especially considering there is only one speed camera.

24 03, 2019

KMT’s Second Open Track Event

2019-03-24T13:57:09+03:00Mar 24, 2019|12 Comments

Yesterday, Kuwait Motor Town held their second open track event and once again, it was so much fun. Things were already great at their first event, but the KMT team worked out some minor kinks which made this second open track even more enjoyable. For example, there used to be an extremely annoying siren that would blast loudly every time a car would drive into the pit lane (which is all the time), they stopped that now. Fuel was also an issue at the first event since there wasn’t any available at the track, this time around they set up a fuel station at the end of the pit lane for refueling.

There are two more open track events taking place next month and they’re open to the public. There’s music and food trucks at the track as well as a play area for kids. So it’s a good event to come by and chill at since you can hang out in the grandstands and watch the cars race around the track or even sign up to be a passenger. I’ll keep you guys posted about the next event but I really have to say, KMT has turned out to be a lot better than I expected. I have to admit I did have low expectations, but still I’m really impressed with what they’ve managed to accomplish in such a short period of time. They are constantly having something going on so keep checking their instagram for updates @kmtkw

Thank you KMT!

18 03, 2019

Draewil Car Booking App

2019-03-19T11:54:28+03:00Mar 18, 2019|23 Comments

Draewil is a car booking app similar to Uber and Careem, but is meant to compete more with the likes of Grand Limo. They got in touch with me a couple of weeks back and asked me to try them out, and it was perfect timing since I had to drop my Lotus off at the garage to get new brake pads.

One of the biggest advantages Draewil has over Grand Limo is the app itself. It looked better, worked a lot faster and payment is automated since you can add your knet card to the app. I got KD20 credit loaded up into my account by Draewil, and so decided to splurge by ordering their Luxury category vehicle. Draewil has three categories to choose from, executive, luxury and SUV with the availability of each being different as well as the cost. I had dropped my car off at the garage in Al Rai and needed a car to drop me off to my office in the city. Their luxury vehicle needed around 17 minutes to get to me which was long, but ok in my case since I still had some paperwork I needed to sign.

I ended up being picked up by a brand new Lexus LS which is cool, but I was actually hoping to be picked up by one of their new Audi A8’s since I hadn’t been in one of those yet. The car had plenty of legroom and was immaculate, but that makes sense since Draewil is fairly new so their cars are all brand new as well. The ride from Al Rai to Kuwait City ended up taking 18 mins and cost me KD7.250.

The second time I tried them out was the same day when I wanted to head back to the garage to pick up my Lotus. I ended up ordering their executive car and had it pick me up from Crystal Tower in the city. There was a vehicle in the area so it took just 2 minutes to pick me up. This time I was picked up by a Genesis, another car I hadn’t been in before. Surprisingly, the car was as comfortable as the Lexus and even felt a bit more spacious since the Genesis didn’t have a large TV console between me and the driver. The journey again took 18 minutes, but because I chose an executive vehicle, the price came out slightly cheaper at KD6.

So would I use them again? Yeah, probably. I don’t generally use cabs a lot only when I need to drop my car off somewhere like when I want to get detailing done or if I’m servicing it, so I can afford to splurge on a cab on the rare occasion that I need one. The biggest advantage to me for using Draewil over similar luxury car booking services is the app, I like it a lot. It’s really easy to use, I’ve already added my most used destinations to it like my office, my home, the garage etc and I’ve also added my knet card to it. The service is also new so their cars are brand new and they’re still adding more vehicles to their fleet on a monthly basis. At the moment Draewil is only out for iOS devices, but I was told an Android app is being released before the end of the month. If you have an iPhone, you can download the app right now from the Apple Store by clicking [Here]