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Information Promoted

Promoted: PIQR – The New Kuwait Events Management App

Two common complaints people tend to have are that there isn’t anything to do in Kuwait or they’re frustrated they found out about an event after it was already over. It’s mostly why my “Things to do this Weekend” list gained so much popularity. Then you also have complaints from people who are trying to organize workshops or events and find it difficult and frustrating to do so. This is where PIQR comes in.

PIQR is a newly launched social media app that allows people to find and attend various events like concerts, workshops, seminars, and more. From the other end of things, it also allows people and brands to organize and host their own events.

Hosting your own public or private event through the app is very simple to set up. If you’re a business planning an opening for a new store, you can easily create and promote the event using the app and extend the invitation to the public. Alternatively, if you’re organizing a birthday celebration for just you and your friends, you can set up a private event within the app and invite only the people you know.

As an event host, you’ll discover a variety of useful features such as the capability to effortlessly check people in and out of your events, as well as the option to send invitations to your followers. As a user, you’ll appreciate the ability to share tickets and invitations with friends, and you’ll love the convenience of having your unique QR code serve as your entry pass to all the events you’ve booked for.

The app just launched so it’s slowly starting to fill up with events but the more people use it the more useful it will become. If you want to download the free app, head over to @getpiqr for the link.

Categories
Activities Information

Blajat have Reduced their Prices

The Blajat project has been open for a couple of days only and they’ve already gone and reduced their prices. There was a lot of backlash on social media over their pricing structure so my guess is that might have played a roll in this. Whatever the reason is, here are the old and new prices for comparison:

Sunbeds
Old Price: 8KD
New Price: 5KD

Beach Cabanas
Old Price: 45KD (up to 4 people)
New Price: 25KD

White Floating Cabanas
Old Price: 45KD (up to 6 people)
New Price: 25KD

White Floating Pool
Old Price: 10KD
New Price: 6KD

Kuwait TAG Obstacle Course
Old Price: 7.5KD
New Price: 6KD

Kids Water Park
Old Price: 5KD
New Price: 5KD (didn’t change)

They also added two more activities:

Beach Volleyball – 5KD an hour
Bossaball – 24KD an hour (up to 10 people)

I passed by earlier this morning just as they were opening to check the project out and it’s pretty nice. There was chill background music playing, the sand looked super clean (no idea about the water), there’s now a proper walkway and the whole project looked well put together.

But there were two things I didn’t like. The first is that you’re not allowed to walk your dogs on the walkway and the second is no bicycles. The first I kinda can understand but the no bicycle thing is a bit weird since there was plenty of space to build a bike path.

If you haven’t passed by to check it out, you should, even if you aren’t planning to swim. @blajatkw

Categories
Information

Salmiya Blajat Project Launching Tomorrow

TEC have been really active with new projects lately and they just announced on Instagram that tomorrow they’ll be opening their Blajat project to the public.

The Blajat project is located in Salmiya and runs the distance from the Bida’a roundabout all the way down to Showbiz. It’s being launched in phases and the first phase has now just been completed.

The Blajat project includes a revamp and refurbishment of that whole strip of coastline with new facilities and ameneties added that include:

– A free public beach
– Rentable sunbeds
– Private cabanas on the beach
– Private cabanas out in the water
– An inflatable water park
– Restaurants and cafes
– A brand new walkway

The regular sandy beach is free to use and there is no entry fee. For the activities and facilities you’ll have to buy tickets through their website or soon to launch TEC app. You’ll also be able to purchase tickets at their ticket booth on location.

Since it’s a public beach it will be mixed-gender and open to everyone.

As for the restaurants and cafes, there will be a bunch of cool brands including Bakehaus, McDonalds, KDD, Subway, Roto and Dhahia Juice.

I’ll post more photos and more accurate information as I get access to them, but for now you can follow the Blajat instagram account @blajatkw and keep reloading their website blajat.kw till it goes live.

Update: So I got the prices and they are the following:

Sunbeds – 8KD per person
Beach Cabanas – 45KD (up to 4 people)
White Floating Cabanas – 45KD (up to 6 people)
White Floating Pool – 10KD per person
Kuwait TAG Obstacle Course – 7.5KD per person
Kids Water Park – 5KD per person

Update2: The website is now live and contains all the details! blajat.kw

Categories
Information

Winter Wonderland Season 2

The second season of Winter Wonderland is going to start soon and there will be a bunch of changes this year. Last year, the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) was taken by surprise at the park’s unexpected popularity, but they are well-prepared for it this season.

Everything is bigger and better about the park for this season. Firstly, the physical footprint of the park increased by 40% which in return allowed the number of games to increase from 22 to 35 while also increasing the number of cafes and restaurants available.

The park will also be open for 7 months this year while longer operating hours that start earlier in the day.

The biggest challenge last year was the limited ticket availability. However, this year they’re making 15,000 tickets available for sale every day which should resolve the issue. The ticket price will also remain unchanged at 5KD but this year they will be sold through their soon to be released app.

They’re aiming to open the park by the end of September but depending on the weather it could be delayed to early October. The official Winter Wonderland account is @wwlkuwait, but for unofficial progress updates check out @mohamedalwazzan. Mohammad lives across from the park and is constantly posting video updates on the construction with short entertaining videos.

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Information

Is Kuwait’s tap water safe to drink?

Yesterday the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a decision where all restaurants and cafes in Kuwait will now be obliged to have tap water as an offering. Now that this was announced I realized how odd it was that this wasn’t a thing considering the tap water in Kuwait is actually really clean and safe to drink straight out of the tap.

Years ago I was invited to the Water Resources Development Center located in Shuwaikh where they explained to me how the water sent to homes is clean and safe to drink. The Water Resources Development Center also has two laboratories, a chemistry lab and a bacteriology lab and every single day water samples are collected from various institutions around Kuwait (schools, hospitals, mosques etc..) and delivered to their laboratories for testing. If the water is contaminated, the source of that water is closed down right away and only reopened once the problem has been fixed.

The government is responsible in providing you clean and safe water up until the building meter, after that point it becomes the building owners responsibility. If the water you’re getting at home isn’t clean, thats most likely because of a problem with your building pipes, boilers, or storage tanks. In that case, you’re recommended to use a filter which is what most restaurants will also be using.

But the answer is yes, Kuwait’s tap water is safe to drink but only if your building or home is maintained correctly, if not, you’ll have to use a filter.

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Information

Haeng Bok – New Korean Supermarket

A new Korean supermarket opened up last week next to my place in Salmiya call Haeng Bok. It’s a pretty tiny place and it opened in the same place where the clothing store Rima used to be located for nearly 50 years.

Because of the size of the supermarket they only sell Asian products, so you’re not going to find Pepsi for example or any item you can find at your local Coop. That makes it easier to shop but I’m not sure if they have anything you haven’t already seen in Singarea. Because the store is smaller, it just feels more curated than Singarea.

For me this place is convenient because it’s a 2 minute walk from my place so I can drop in pick up noodles or chips easily. Not sure I’d recommend you drive all the way to old Salmiya and spend an hour looking for parking just to shop there, I think it opened just to cater to the neighborhood. If you want to pass by, here is the location on Google Maps. At the moment they’re open from 4PM to 12AM.

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Information

Red Bull Mobile is here and I just signed up

I wasn’t planning to sign up for a new phone line, I was playing around with the Red Bull Mobile app checking out their prices for my post when I decided to just get a new number. Mainly because I wanted to separate my blog number from my personal one, but also because it would give me the opportunity to experience the process for my post.

Red Bull Mobile is Zain and it’s not a secret since it’s plastered in all their communication. It’s also why their prices are pretty similar with Red Bull having a slight edge. Below are the cheapest and most expensive Red Bull Mobile ready plans:

Cheapest:
– 100GB (4G)
– 100 Local Minutes
Price is 6KD a month or 4.2KD a month if you sign up for 6 months

Most Expensive:
– Unlimited GB (5G)
– Unlimited Minutes
– Free Gold Number
Price is 18KD a month or 12.6KD a month if you sign up for 6 months

I went with the unlimited package just so I could pick a gold number that had the digits 248 in it. I don’t really need an unlimited package since I have one with my personal Zain line, so I will be downgrading to the cheapest plan I can get next month.

The process of getting a number was super easy and quick. You just pick a plan in the app and then when you’re ready to check out, the app uses your Mobile ID to authenticate and connect the new number to your Civil ID. You then just pay and choose if you want to install the number as an eSIM, or if you want to have a physical SIM card delivered to you. I chose eSim and a few moments later I got an email with the QR code so I could install the number.

So what are some benefits? If you renew your plan on-time you get double the benefits in the second month, and triple in the third. Your remaining GBs and minutes also rollover to the following month. You get access to special zones at local Red Bull events and access to Red Bull TV. Finally, you also get access to some interesting Red Bull rewards. For example, there is a draw coming up for a trip to Qatar to watch the Formula1 race. So F1 fans like me and sports fans in general will most likely benefit from these rewards.

And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions about the sign up process or want me to test anything out, let me know in the comments. Here is a link to their website.

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Information Interesting

Restoring the Kuwait Towers Windows

If you’ve ever been to the Kuwait Towers you probably noticed the dirty windows and wondered why they weren’t being cleaned. Well turns out they were being cleaned but the glass itself had discolored and oxidized over the years making them look dirtier than they actually were.

The Kuwait Towers are located right by the sea so they’re exposed to the salty sea air that has corrosive effects on a variety of the materials used in the towers including concrete, metal and glass. Back in June I posted about how the blue discs covering the towers were getting restored, well last week I found out that the glass is now also getting restored.

A company called RITEC was contracted for the restoration which involves a 5 stage process. The first stages relate to the actual restoration of the glass where various chemicals and abrasives are used to remove the oxidation from the glass. Once the oxidation is removed, the glass is polished and revived to its original state making it look brand new. The final stages involve protecting the glass with a nonstick clear shield that not only will prevent the salt from adhering to the glass again, but also dust. In fact, the windows will require 70% less cleaning and will no longer need any soap or chemicals to get cleaned, just water.

This restoration process is currently ongoing as of this post and they’ve already nearly completed restoring the glass at the observation deck and are in process of restoring the glass around the restaurants.

The next time you visit the towers you should see a night and day difference. You’ll finally be able to see out of the windows clearly as well as take nicer shots of the city skyline.

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Information Shopping

The Warehouse Mall Opens Tomorrow

Yesterday I got a tour of The Warehouse mall and it was a pretty cool experience since it was very busy with the mall and businesses all getting ready for the opening tomorrow (August 16). The mall looks really great and very different to other malls which is what caught my attention the first time I visited back in May.

The Warehouse has an industrial look with lots of bricks and metal cladding everywhere. The roof is covered with a glass and steel structure that casts interesting shadows onto the floor during the day. It’s really well designed mall with a lot of creative touches, even the bathrooms are worth checking out.

Theres a large variety of stores in the mall with the main anchors being IKEA, ABYAT, LC Waikiki and LuLu Hypermarket. You also have some new restaurants opening there that aren’t available anywhere else in Kuwait yet like Jamie’s Italian and Nando’s. Regulars like Milk Bun, Shake Shack and Raising Cane’s are also opening there as well as one of my favorite coffee shops, Earth Roastery. There is also a Cinescape, Xcite, Starbucks, Zain, and a bunch of other “mall-must-haves”. There’s even an area called Auto Zone which houses a bunch of car dealerships.

If you want to pass by and check the mall out, starting tomorrow The Warehouse is going to open daily from 10AM till 10PM except on weekends where it stays open till 11PM. The mall is located in Ahmadi, right off highway 30 or 40. @thewarehousekuwait

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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!

Categories
Information Travel

Istanbul Guide: Eat, Drink, See & Sleep

I’m currently in Istanbul and I’m assuming a lot of people are coming here for Eid so this is a quick guide of all my favorite spots:

Eat
My favorite breakfast spot is Namlı Gurme (@namligurme) which also recently opened in Kuwait. Yeni Lokanta (@yeni.lokanta) is my favorite restaurant here and is based on Turkish cuisine but deconstructed into more contemporary and exciting versions (book ahead of time). Kase No16 (@kase.no16) is a cozy spot located in a trendy neighborhood and has good music, street side seating and great food. Il Cortile (@ilcortileistanbul) is a great Italian place located in a beautiful courtyard. Finally, Borsam Taşfırın (@borsamtasfirin) is a hole in the wall bakery serving probably the best lahmajoun in Istanbul.

Drink
Petra Roasting Company (@petracoffee) is my favorite brand of coffee shops in Istanbul but the one I visit the most is in the Topagci neighborhood. There is another good one in that area called Cup of Joy (@cupofjoy_istanbul) which I usually prefer if I want to sit outdoors. If you’re more of a tea person, Viyana Kavesi (@viyanakahvesi) have multiple locations around Istanbul but really you’ll be going there for their San Sebastian cheesecake. For just tea, Burası Kahveci (@burasikahveci) is my an unassuming hole in the wall option.

See
Salt Beyoğlu (@salt_beyoglu) is my must go exhibition space when I’m here since they tend to have very interesting things happening. The Istanbul Toy Museum (@istanbuloyuncakmuzesi) is located in a large house, a completely random thing to visit but I love toys so I found it fascinating. The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (@istanbulmodern) just opened last month in their new spot by the sea and is worth checking. For fashion, Shopi Go (@shopi_go) is my favorite place with a great sneaker collection and selection of clothes. Wunder (@wunder) is another good spot near it. If you like Aesop, Homemade Aromaterapi (@homemadearomaterapi) is Turkey’s version.

Sleep
This is easy, Soho House (@sohohouseistanbul), I can’t recommend a better hotel. Other than the fact the hotel is beautiful and their Club House next door is my favorite place to end the day, the hotel service is incredible with the staff always going above and beyond. The rooftop of the Club House is also now open for the summer so you can head there to watch the sunset and enjoy the music.

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Information Kuwait

Guide to Pools in Kuwait with Day Passes

There are plenty of public beaches in Kuwait but not that many swimming pools you can access without being a member or staying at a hotel. But, some hotels do offer day passes to their pools so I called as many hotels as I could until I had enough to put a list together.

The pools guide list below is singles friendly, and arranged from least expensive to most expensive:

Al Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort
Telephone: 24590000
Price: 10KD

Seashell Julaia Hotel & Resort
Telephone: 1844444
Price = 15KD

Crowne Plaza
Telephone: 1848111
Weekday 20KD
Weekend 25KD (Includes meal)

Millennium Hotel
Telephone: 22050505
Weekday: 20KD
Weekend: 25KD

Symphony Style Hotel
Telephone: 25770000
Weekday: 20KD
Weekend: 25KD

Holiday Inn Salmiya
Telephone: 25760000
Weekday: 20KD
Weekend: 29KD

Mövenpick Hotel Resort AlBidaa
Telephone: 22253100
Price: 25KD

Hyatt Regency Al Kout Mall
Telephone: 23931234
Price: 30KD
Ladies only on Monday and Wednesday

Hilton Resort
Telephone: 22256222
Weekday: 30KD
Weekend: 35KD
Weekday/Weekend for Couples: 45KD

Marina Hotel
Telephone: 22230030
Weekday: 35KD
Weekend: 40KD

Waldorf Astoria (pictured at the very top)
Telephone: 24774444
Price 1: 40KD (Inc. 2 Cocktails)
Price 2: 50KD (Inc. Food + Cocktails)

Categories
Information

Help Me Update the Suicide Prevention Hotlines List

Back in 2018, I posted a list of suicide prevention hotlines in Kuwait. I updated the list again in 2020 with more numbers but today I realized those numbers not only no longer work but have rotated back into the public and are now owned by other people. I called the Kuwait Center For Mental Health and asked them if they had a suicide prevention hotline, that call turned out to be a joke.

The guy I spoke to didn’t understand how a hotline would help a suicidal person and told me the person needs to come to them. So after explaining to them the benefits of having a hotline, he said the person should seek help from his family who will then bring them to the center. I thanked him then hung up.

So now I need to update the list of numbers but I’m at a dead end, I think most of the information might be available online but in Arabic. In any case, if you can help me update the list of numbers, get in touch with me.

Categories
Information

Kuwait Post to Start Delivery Soon

Back in December, I posted that starting in February regular mail would start being delivered to your door. February came and went with no sign of that happening. Actually, I personally had to drive to Sabah Al Ahmad last week which is an hour away because someone at the post office read my office building “Wafra Downtown Tower” on my package and thought I lived in Wafra. They sent my package to Sabah Al Ahmad which although the post office there was a much better experience than the Sideeq one, its pretty freakin far…

Anyway, it looks like the post office will start home delivery pretty much right after Eid. They have a new website up, kuwaitpost.moc.gov.kw and according to the website they’ve teamed u[p with a local company called “Sail Shipping & Logistics” to handle local deliveries.

Finally!

Categories
Information

Do you remember this tree?

It’s a do you remember this kind of morning. There used to be a huge tree inside Fashion Way (Mothercare) next to Sultan Center in Salmiya. I never thought much of it until a reader asked me if I had any photos of it since he couldn’t find any. I thought it was weird he wasn’t able to find any photos so I look myself but I also couldn’t find any.

Luckily another reader had a photo of it and sent it to me. I don’t know the story behind the tree but I do remember it was animated, and thinking about it now while looking at the photo, it was actually pretty impressive.

Thanks @janna_xxx