Staying Informed on Road Closures

Post by Mark

If for some reason you need to leave your house during this storm, you can find out about road closures via Google’s Live Traffic feature. Just go to Google Maps and make sure the traffic overlay option is turned on and any closed roads should be highlighted. [Link]


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Saveco Opening in Avenues Phase 4

Post by Mark

Earlier today I got an email from Saveco about their new store that’s opening in Avenues Phase 4, entrance 28. Funny thing is I was actually in Avenues Phase 4 going down the escalator of entrance 28 when I got and read the email. Since I was already there I decided to check out the location and snap some photos.

Not sure why they’re planning to open in Avenues when their main store is located down the street unless they’re planning to close that location down. Since I always park at entrance 28, this location will be a convenient place for me to pop into on my way out of the Avenues, so I’m not going to complain.

Saveco in Avenues is opening this Thursday at noon.


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Antera Gaming Truck

Post by Mark

The other day I was on the 4th Ring Road when I got stuck in traffic behind a huge trailer with Antera written on the back and PlayStation logos on the side. So I decided to check them out on Instagram and turns out they’re a gaming truck.

Inside the trailer are reclining chairs and large 65″ flatscreen TVs. They have PS4’s with the most recent games as well as online play capability. They also offer non-gaming activities like watching movies or live sporting events with beIN.

According to Antera the truck can hold 10 adults or 12 children and they provide snacks and beverages. The cost of the service is KD60 on weekdays and KD75 on weekends (2 hours minimum). I think it’s a cool idea and could be a lot of fun to park outside a kids birthday party. If you want to find out more you can check them out on instagram @antera.tech


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The Eddie Griffin Event has Been Cancelled

Post by Mark

Last month I posted that the Ministry of Interior had decided not to allow the comedian Eddie Griffin entry into Kuwait and then retracted my post since the incident was denied by the event organizers. Today though, the event organizers shared the bad news that the event has in fact been banned. Below is the statement from the organizers:

For the last 8 years we have been working hard to bring world class entertainment and educational gurus to Kuwait.

Our last entertainment project was the Eddie Griffin stand up comedy show which unfortunately was banned today the 21st of October 2018 by the Ministry of Interior in Kuwait.

We respect all the rules and regulations of the state of Kuwait and hope that we can progress in our already existing rights and freedoms.

We would like to thank everyone who’s supporting us and believes in what we are doing and we promise that we will keep working hard to bring world class entertainment to Kuwait while still protecting our values as a society.

Also, for everyone who bought tickets to attend the Eddie Griffin show, you will be reimbursed through your bank accounts by our ticketing partner Eventat.com [Source]

No reason was given for the ban but most likely it has to do with Eddie Griffin’s religious beliefs (he’s an atheist) and previous religion-related sets which he’s performed. The strange thing is, Eddie Griffin had previously performed in Saudi Arabia which many believe to be more conservative than Kuwait, and Eddie Griffin is currently set to perform in three different Saudi cities over the next few days. So bizarre!


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Deliveroo is Coming to Kuwait!

Post by Mark

I just found out that the popular British online food delivery company Deliveroo is coming to Kuwait. Deliveroo is the British equivalent to Carriage and they operate in over two hundred cities including Dubai. Kuwait is going to be a pretty tough market for them since Carriage and Talabat have the market cornered here, but competition is always great for us.


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Everything You Need to Know About the New Kuwait Airport Terminal 4

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I flew to Dubai with Kuwait Airways, and so got to fly in and out of the new Kuwait Airways terminal, terminal 4. The terminal still has a lot of work to be done to it and so a lot of changes are still happening, but as of October 15th, the below information is accurate.

Right now, only GCC and Middle East Kuwait Airway flights use the new terminal.

Departure

– The exit from highway 50 to terminal 4 is still closed and the terminal 4 sign has been covered. The only way to get to the new terminal is through the cargo terminal exit (there are signs).

– There is plenty of parking, all shaded and right now for free. They haven’t installed entry or exit gates so you could park your car there short term or long term and not pay anything. This is a huge plus.

– None of the self-check-in machines work. I tried the ones on the parking side, I tried the ones inside the main terminal, none of them worked.

– You only have one security checkpoint which is right after passport control. The security guys didn’t seem very confident but were wayyyy better than the Jazeera Airways terminal guys. They have the full-body scanners but they weren’t being used. I wonder if they will ever be used here? When the scanners were launched in the States, people had privacy concerns because you could see the shapes of private parts with these scanners, I think people in Kuwait will have an even bigger problem with this.

– There is no duty-free yet, there are no shops whatsoever at T4 right now.

– There are currently no restaurants at T4. Your only options for food and drinks at the moment are 2 Costa kiosks and 1 Kuwait Airport kiosk. Both kiosks sold coffee, water, sandwiches etc..

– There is a lounge (pictured above) but only for Kuwait Airways business class and first class passengers. So if you have a platinum Visa card, American Express or any other card that usually gives you entry to lounges at airports, you’re out of luck.

– One SUPER strange thing about the airport was the PA announcement chime. In airports before they make an announcement, you’d here like a ding dong like chime before the announcement. For some reason at T4 the chime they’re using is the same one used for The Undertaker’s walkout music. I’m not exaggerating, watch the video above and then watch the video below. Every time they made an announcement I was expecting the lights to go off and the Undertaker to make an appearance. Such a weird chime to use at an airport.

– There was plenty of seating around the airport spread out over two floors. All the seats have power sockets and USB ports although I had to try a few before I found working ones. I’m not sure if the seating will be enough when all Kuwait Airways flights start using the terminal, but for now, there is plenty.

Arriving at the airport, parking, checking in, going through passport control and then security was all a smooth and pleasant experience. There were some minor issues, but understandable for a newly opened airport.

Arrival

– This was super smooth. The plane was fairly empty so passport control was a breeze.

– Right after passport control is a carry-on baggage security check, this is the only time you scan your bags. The luggage that comes out on the conveyor belts already passed through a scanner before coming out so you just pick them up and walk out of the airport.

Overall a pretty positive experience. When I travel to Dubai I usually take FlyDubai but this time the Kuwait Airways ticket price was cheaper so figured I’d try them out. I’ll most likely fly out with Kuwait Airways again next time because of the new terminal and my positive experience. I could nitpick a lot of course but honestly, ANYTHING is better than our old airport, so I’m just glad we have this new terminal to keep us going until the new airport opens up in a few years.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Update: As of October 22, 2018 the new Terminal T4 is now open for services for all Kuwait Airways Flights To/From GCC, Middle East and Europe except for London.


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How Powerful is Your Passport? (2018)

Post by Mark

Henley & Partners released their Visa Restrictions Index for 2018 and Kuwait ranked 55th with visa-free access to 93 destinations. UAE ranked the highest in the Gulf ranking 21st with visa-free access to 161 destinations. Here are how some other countries ranked:

1 – Japan (190)
5 – USA, UK (186)
6 – Canada (185)
21 – UAE (161)
55 – Kuwait (93)
60 – Qatar (85)
64 – Bahrain (81)
67 – Oman (78)
70 – Saudi Arabia (75)
75 – Philippines (66)
81 – India (60)
100 – Lebanon (41)
106 – Afghanistan (30)

How did your country rank? Check out the full list [Here]


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Why Taxis in Kuwait are so Filthy

Post by Mark

I was going through Kuwestions when I spotted a question by a reader who asked why taxis were so filthy? One person left a pretty interesting response which I’ve shared below (with minor editing):

Taxi drivers don’t have salaries (although on paper it says they do). The system works as follows:

a- The taxi company (most of the time it is just a small office with one owner) rents the taxi for the driver by day. According to the car, the condition of the driver (new in Kuwait or not) and how greedy the owner is, the rent can go from KD5 to KD7.5 per day.

b- The driver is responsible for everything in the car. The company doesn’t pay anything. If the car is hit, stolen, damaged or whatever, the driver pays for it and they have to keep paying the rent even if the car is in the garage being repaired.

c- The driver pays all the car registration fees, insurance fees, residency fees, etc.. usually the company should pay for these, at least the residency fees, but not in the case of the taxi drivers, they have to pay.

d- The drivers have to deal with greedy employees inside the taxi company as well. You want the mandoob to get your driving license so you can work today? Pay him KD5-KD10, otherwise just wait, maybe he will go there next week to get it for you while you are paying your daily taxi rental fees but not driving and making money.

As a result of all the above, the drivers get greedy as well and try to survive by any means. Another reason drivers don’t care about the cars is that most people here treat them extremely bad. So what is the point of cleaning the car, and wasting an hour or two when they can instead just rest, or try to find another customer who will eventually also leave their trash behind.

The taxis that are just plain white are “Call taxis”. These taxis are not permitted by law to stop and pick a customer off the street, they have to be ordered by phone. But, taxi companies just give these cars to drivers and let them go and pick customers off the street because the government stopped issuing “Gawwala” licenses (the licenses for the beige/white cars). These taxis get fined a lot because of that and they also have to pay these fines.

One more thing. Before the new taxi fares, taxis would not let you pay by the meter because the price of the meter was too low. And now after the new higher meter fares that were introduced, people are not willing to pay by the meter because its more expensive. So cab drivers are still stuck in the same place.

So basically unless major restructuring of the whole taxi system happens, things aren’t going to get any better.

The reader had gotten all this information from one of his best friends who is currently working as a taxi driver in Kuwait. You can check out the original thread on Kuwestions [Here]

Thanks Tarek!


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Bayt Lothan is Gone

Post by Mark

Bayt Lothan, the community center that became an important part of the local culture scene was completely demolished over the weekend. Bayt Lothan closed down around 2 years ago and then earlier this year it was partly demolished. Now the whole building has been razed to the ground.

Bayt Lothan was considered by many a historic building and at one point in time used to house Sheikh Sabah Al Salim, the former Amir of Kuwait.


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New NBK Tower Caught Fire

Post by Mark

If you saw the large cloud of black smoke coming out of the city today, it was from the new under construction NBK tower which caught fire earlier today.

I was watching it from my office window before realizing my car was parked in their lot next door so I went to make sure my car was safe. When I got to my car I remembered I had my new Sony A7 III in the car so I ended up snapping some shots and also posted a bunch of videos on my instagram story.

I think all the workers came out safe and there were some who stayed behind to help the firefighters out by using the emergency fire hoses in the parking lot next door.


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