You Do Not Want to Renew Your Drivers License

Post by Mark

Previously, whenever you renewed your driving license it would get renewed for 10 years. I’m not really sure when that law changed, but now you have to renew it every year. Last year it took me 2 hours to get my license renewed, and that’s after I got super lucky when an officer ended up signing my papers for me without me having to wait in a line that was easily 100 people long.

I usually get all my car related paperwork done at the Jabriya Traffic Department. They’re really organized and every year when I go to renew my car registration, they would have changed something to make the experience smoother and faster. I was expecting the license renewal process to be easier this year because of that but boy was I wrong.

The line when I passed by yesterday to renew my license was crazy crazy long! The picture above was taken as I was walking to the back of the line, around half way to the back (check map above for exact location). The line stretched down a super long corridor and then turned around the corner because it was so long and it wasn’t even people standing in a single file, it looked like a complete mess.

Clearly the traffic department isn’t capable of handling this many renewals, so why don’t they just revert to the older system and have people do this once every 10 years? I ended up leaving but now I’m trying to figure out if I should get there early and line up or what exactly. The renewal for expats only starts at 4PM and they only take so many requests before telling everyone to come back the following day and line up again. So stressful!

Update: A reader just told me about a company that can handle your license renewal process as well as other things. They charge KD10 to renew your license which I think is so worth it. Here is a link to the [Flyer]

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Billboards on the Gulf Road

Post by Mark

Why do we now have billboards every 20m on the Gulf Road? It used to be one of the most scenic roads in Kuwait and now it’s plastered with billboards all down the middle. If it was one billboard every now and then I can understand, if they were on the side of the Gulf Road, I could understand that as well, but they’re just back to back all along the middle. I think there are more billboards down the middle of the Gulf Road than there are palm trees, and I’m not exaggerating.

Speaking of billboards, do people still not know what it means when a word has a red squiggly line under it?

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Why are Supplements so Expensive in Kuwait?

Post by Mark

Supplements are pretty expensive in Kuwait but I had forgotten how expensive until last night. I dropped by Health Planet to pick up ZMA and they only had the supplement in the MET-Rx brand. I decided to check Amazon for reviews and noticed that the price on Amazon was just $9.99 which is basically 3KD. The price at Health Planet? 14.5KD. That’s nearly 5 times more expensive than the Amazon price.

Why are supplements still so expensive in Kuwait? A few years ago there weren’t that many places that sold supplements but now there are a whole bunch of them and the prices have yet to fall.

I used to order my supplements from UAE based Sporter, but they’ve now started charging for shipping so it’s no longer feasible to order from them anymore. I should have gotten supplements back with me from LA, no idea why I didn’t think about that but even if I did, that would have just been a short-term fix.

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Post by Mark

I spotted the kiosk above yesterday while visiting the ASCC museums. The place hasn’t been open for a month yet and already they’re starting to make it look tacky. There are so many visually nicer ways to have a kiosk rather than just shoving a few tables between a wall and a pillar. No idea why they would do this…

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Friendship Ended with Salmiya, Now Netflix is My Best Friend

Post by Mark

A few days ago I posted about how Salem Al Mubarak Street is finally turning into a pedestrian only street. One of the negatives I highlighted was the fact they had chopped down some of the old trees that have been there for nearly 50 years. I was upset about it, but when I asked the engineer behind the project if they were removing the old trees, he responded saying “only some”. So I assumed they had chopped down the trees that they didn’t need and all the ones left were the ones they were keeping. Well last night I noticed they had removed nearly all the remaining trees. Using Google Maps I counted 28 trees that were originally planted on that street and there are now only 3 left. That means 25 trees in total were removed! One of the remaining trees currently has a chainsaw parked under it so it might not even be there anymore by the time this post gets published. I’ve marked all the removed trees with x’s in the above picture and the ones remaining with circles.

How is 3 trees out of 28 considered “only some”? Why are they removing the trees anyway? If they were building an airport runway I could understand but they’re not so why? Some of the trees were fairly large and it would have been pretty cute to have small cafes underneath with seating areas around them. The trees were large enough to provide shade, they didn’t need any watering because they were well rooted and the trees were also homes to a lot of birds.

But you know what? I don’t care anymore.

Last night I got so upset about the whole situation I emotionally booked two trips for the next two weekends. Why am I getting so worked up about all of this? It’s not my country, I don’t own the street nor were the trees mine. Why am I even surprised about all of this? Based on the renderings the engineer shared I should have known no good was going to come out of this. When you demolish historical buildings in your renderings and replace them with fancy shiny malls, it says a lot about the thinking process. Chopping historical trees isn’t only a Kuwait thing either, it happens everywhere. In Lebanon for example a politician cut down part of an ancient cedar forrest so he could setup an outdoor venue for his son’s wedding. I mean like wtf? If shit is gonna happen its gonna happen and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

So starting today I’m hopefully emotionally disconnecting myself from Salmiya. I no longer want to be mayor. If anyone wants to take over the responsibility of giving a fuck, they’ve only started construction work on half of old Salmiya. They haven’t started on the other half yet (pictured above) and based on Google Maps there are approximately 38 trees there. Good luck trying to save them.

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Our Horrible Sidewalks

Post by Mark

This is going to be one of my venting posts on Salmiya. The sidewalks situation on Salem Mubarek Street in Salmiya is a horrible mess. It’s a very pedestrian heavy strip, and probably gets the most amount of foot traffic compared to any other strip in Kuwait, yet the sidewalks are miserable.

There are a number of issues with the sidewalks in Salmiya including:
– lack of wheelchair or stroller friendly sidewalks
– building construction occupying the whole sidewalk
– large bushes taking up the whole sidewalk (pictured above)
– sidewalks that have deteriorated
– sidewalks that were opened up for work but never put back together right

Yesterday I spotted the woman in the photo above with her two kids having to get off the sidewalk and walk in the street because of a large bush. Recently I’ve also been noticing a man in an electric wheelchair roaming around Salmiya occupying the same road as the cars. It’s a total mess but of course nobody cares.

/end rant

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Invisible Speed Bumps

Post by Mark

I think speed bumps serve a great purpose considering how people speed on inside streets, but I hate how in Kuwait majority of the speed bumps have no visible markings and just blend in with the streets at night.

With my FJ I don’t really care much because if I miss one it’s no big deal, I can just fly over the bump and its a bit of discomfort for a second. But with my Lotus its a completely different story. I can’t just fly over the speed bumps accidentally, I actually missed a speed bump last week and it was the scariest thing ever with my front spoiler lip digging into the tarmac and throwing up little pebbles in the air. I thought for sure I broke something but luckily nothing happened.

Can we get clear white stripes on the speed bumps? I know majority of speed bumps start life off with white stripes, but once they start fading they should be remarked again. It’s not that complicated a problem to solve…

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Dear Kuwait, Spell Check the e-Visa Site Please

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I had to use the Kuwait e-Visa website to apply for a visit visa for my mum. While filling in her details I noticed some major spelling mistakes, ones I’m surprised haven’t been fixed already since the website has been active since last summer. Here are the mistakes just from the partial screenshot above of the e-Visa form:

biulding should be building
forth should be fourth
governate should be governorate
flour should be floor

Since this website is being used by visitors hoping to get entry into Kuwait, it’s not really a great first impression, and we haven’t even discussed the 90s look of the website either.

When I applied for my mums visa on Friday, it got denied the first time and even the denied page had a major grammatical error. “Your eVisa application was been denied” should be either “has been denied” or “was denied”.

If I’m correcting spelling and grammatical errors, then you can imagine how bad things are.

I applied for my mums visa again yesterday and it got approved the second time around. Completely random. On the plus side, even though it was the weekend, the approval/rejection process took a few hours and was pretty fast.

So whoever is in charge of the website, please fix these mistakes. I haven’t checked the other pages but I’d imagine there are probably mistakes on those as well.

Update: Spelling has been fixed!

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People Who Litter Will Always Litter

Post by Mark

A reader sent me the picture above of someone leaving their litter right next to a trash bin on the walkway between Marina Waves and Scientific Center. People who litter are littering not because they’re too lazy to walk to a garbage bin, but because they just don’t care.

Thanks Hamed

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Post by Mark

Back in 2015 I decided to ditch OSN and live TV and instead use Netflix, Hulu and HBO for all my TV needs. I’ve had no regrets with that decision and I haven’t missed live TV at all since. But, the only thing I wish I did have was access to UFC events. Recently I found out UFC is back with OSN so I decided to check the OSN website and see how much the monthly membership was. To my surprise they had their sports pack for KD6 a month and that included all the UFC events. KD6 is basically how much I’m paying right now for both Netflix and Hulu combined but since I’m a huge UFC fan, I decided it was worth plunking down KD6 just to watch the one or two UFC event every month.

So a few moments ago I tried to sign up for the package and I got reminded to why I ditched OSN in the first place.

Turns out even though they’re selling the sports package that includes UFC events for KD6 a month, you CAN’T sign up to it, not unless you sign up to their starter package which costs another KD6 and includes channels I don’t care for and don’t want. So I’ll have to pay KD12 a month just to watch UFC fights. Why can’t services like OSN just sell you what you want to watch? It’s the same issue people have with cable providers in the US, where they try to sell you 100 channels when you just want 2.

BeIN on the other hand are pretty cool. The only other sport I watch is Formula 1 and BeIN sell day passes for $8. So anytime there is a F1 race I just pay $8 and get to watch it online. I don’t need to sign up to any of their packages, I just watch what I want whenever I want to. Even their monthly pass to all their channels is just $18 which is still pretty reasonable. So OSN if you’re reading this, you guys need to become much more flexible. Netflix is already in the region and more and more people are gonna start dropping cable in favor of digital. At least have separate satellite and digital subscriptions and let people subscribe to whatever they want. I want to give you my money, just not all of it..

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