Pop-ups and Art at Al Hamra Tower

Post by Mark

Over the past couple of years Al Hamra has been trying to reinvent itself by not focusing on just being a luxury mall, and it’s been working. A lot of new places have opened up and the mall as a whole has become a more interesting place, at least to the thousands of employees who work in the business tower. As part of their transformation, Al Hamra created two pop-up shops in the basement and also set up an art gallery on the ground floor. If you’re a small business or an artist then you might find this post useful.

Pop-up Spaces
Al Hamra have two spaces in the basement available to rent for short term use. One of the spaces is larger than the other and they’re both aimed at small businesses or individuals who require a temporary physical location. Depending on the availability, you could rent the space for just a few days, a few weeks or even longer. You could the space to host an event, setup a shop or even a food related business as long as no cooking is involved.

The Gallery
A couple of months back Al Hamra opened up an art gallery on the ground floor. The space is fairly large and the content is all curated by them. The cool thing about the gallery is that as an artist you could approach Al Hamra and ask them to display your artwork. If your artwork fits in with their requirements, then they would display your work for free, and only take a cut in case your artwork sells. The gallery also contains two rooms which they also rent out to people who want to hold workshops or lectures.

So if any of the above interests you then you should get in touch with the guys at Al Hamra by calling them on 182900 Ext: 6008 or 6009, or emailing them at info@alhamra.com.kw.

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New Jarir Bookstore in Boulevard Now Open

Post by Mark

Jarir Bookstore just opened their new location at the Boulevard project in Salmiya. Their new location is pretty big consisting of two floors and surrounded by floor to ceiling windows which bring in a ton of daylight. The top floor is dedicated just for books along with some seating area for reading, while the bottom floor contains the rest of their items ranging from electronics to arts and craft supplies.

I wasn’t really a fan of their Hawalli location, parking was always problematic and I personally don’t like heading into Hawalli unless I really have to. Boulevard is a much more chill location and the Jarir store is in a standalone building outside the main mall. So you don’t even have to enter the mall if you don’t want to and parking is plentiful.

Their opening hours are from 9AM to 11PM daily except for Fridays when they open from 4PM to 11PM. If you don’t know where Boulevard is, here is Jarir’s location on [Google Maps]. Their phone number is 22610111.

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Salem Al Mubarak Street is Turning Pedestrian Only

Post by Mark

I can’t believe this is actually happening, they’re finally turning Salem Al Mubarak Street into a pedestrian only street. When I posted about this proposal back in February, I was very adamant that it would never happen and looks like I was wrong, kinda (more on that in a bit). So far they’ve closed down and dug up half of the old Salmiya street. For those of you who aren’t very familiar with this area and the street, Salem Al Mubarak Street starts off at the end of the 4th Ring Road and goes all the way down past Al Fanar Complex and down past AUK and Symphony Mall. “Old Salmiya” which is turning into pedestrian only starts at the end of the 4th Ring Road and ends at Al Salam Mall where LuLu Supermarket is. I’m very passionate about this street because I’ve lived on it (literally) all my life. So I’ve experienced it during its heydays in the 80s, I experienced it during the invasion and after in the 90s, and I’m still experiencing it now on a daily basis since I live on top of one of the shopping complexes on that street. I care about this area a lot so lets start with the good things about all this, and then I’ll mention some negative stuff which are as important.

The Good
– Back in February when I mentioned this project I called it a joke. Mostly because if they were to follow the renderings that were shared with the public (like the one above), it would have meant demolishing the whole street with all the buildings and starting from scratch. So when I spoke to the engineer behind the project yesterday, I asked him about all these modern buildings in the renderings and turns out they were just placed there as inspiration to the current building owners. Phew! That means neither my building nor all the classic two-story buildings (pictured below) on the street will be demolished. For now at least…

– Work is going to be completed pretty soon, they’re aiming to have the street ready by Q1 of next year

– My building is going to be located on a pedestrian only commercial street, how cool is that? I mean its not Carnaby Street or Liverpool ONE, but it’s still cool. Might finally have a reason to buy a Boosted Board.

The Bad
– The street has currently been dug up but no consideration has been made for pedestrians and shop owners. Yesterday I walked down the street to LuLu and in a number of spots I was forced to walk in deep sand which is very difficult to walk in. There are a whole line of shops who just have sand right outside their door because the sidewalks were dug up and no temporary path were put in its place. From what I was told by my buildings landlord, foot traffic has decreased considerably and shop owners in my building have started to feel the effect. Temporary paths should be created to keep the area and shops alive. I’m meeting with the engineer behind the project next week and I’m going to bring this important point up.

– The parking situation in old Salmiya is a mess as it is and now by shutting down the main street which included a lot of parking spots, parking is even a bigger mess. The municipality has already placed signs pointing people to parking locations in the area, but as a resident of the area myself, I found these signs hard to understand, hard to see and they don’t seem to point anywhere. I’m curious to see what parking solutions they’ve come up with to go along with this project.

– Finally, they’ve killed a lot of trees. This is probably the saddest thing about the project. They’ve so far uprooted and killed I would say around 10 large trees, maybe more. These are trees that have been there from the very start of the street (pictured above) and have survived and endured so much. The first question I asked the engineer when he contacted me on Twitter yesterday was if they were removing the trees. He responded saying “Only some .. coz i try hard to keep it but it’s need a lot of work but I kept some coz in my idea that is the land mark of this street”. In my opinion ALL the trees should have stayed and it’s sad to see them being chopped up and bulldozed away. No idea if I can convince him to stop chopping down trees but will see when I pass by their offices next week.

Overall I’m excited my area is finally getting the attention it deserves. But now I’m just hoping the project is done right. Once I pass by the project’s office next and get more details, I’ll post and update.

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Kuwait is Still One of the Worst Countries for Expats

Post by Mark

No surprise here but Kuwait is still one of the worst countries for expats according to the latest Expat Insider survey by Internations. Kuwait came in 64th place out of a total of 65 countries surveyed. On the bright side, at least we’re not in last place like we were last year.

Kuwait has improved by one place, coming 64th out of 65 countries in 2017. In fact, it’s improved by at least one place in all indices, with particular progress in the Working Abroad Index: job security has improved by 15 places, putting Kuwait in the middle of the ranking (32nd). Quality of life still remains a struggle, however, and Kuwait comes last for leisure options and personal happiness.

Surprisingly, Bahrain was voted as the best place in the world for expats. Check out the full result of the survey and rankings [Here]

Thanks Bashar

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Staged in Kuwait Lunch

Post by Mark

Staged in Kuwait are getting ready to start their 6th season, continuing the long legacy of community theatre in Kuwait that started in 1948 out in Ahmadi at The Kuwait Little Theatre. To welcome the start of season six, Staged in Kuwait are having a lunch to get you excited about all the activities they have planned for the year ahead.


So if you’re interested in learning what shows they have scheduled, when the auditions are, want to know how to get involved behind the scenes or if you just want to meet other theatre inclined friends, then join them for lunch next Friday September 15th. To RSVP and more details, visit their website [Here]

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Four Seasons Now Open

Post by Mark

I just got back from having dinner at Dai Forni, the new Italian restaurant at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel. The hotel just opened up a couple of days ago along with the restaurants Dai Forni, Elements, Al Bandar and Al Soor lobby lounge.

Dai Forni is currently fully booked for the next 5 days because of Eid, but you could call and reserve spots for after Eid. Sintoho the Pan-Asian restaurant is still not open for now but will be opening in the next 2-3 weeks.

Four Seasons is located in Kuwait City opposite Discovery Mall [Google Maps] and their instagram account is @fskuwait. Their phone number is 22006000.

For more pictures of the hotel, check out my previous post [Here]

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Shows to Watch: 13 Reasons Why, Atypical and Ozark

Post by Mark

Now that Game of Thrones finished for the season last night, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some great new shows I recently watched.

13 Reasons Why
This show first aired back in April but I just got around to watching it a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like it but I got hooked right away. 13 Reasons Why is about a high school girl called Hannah who ends up committing suicide. Before she died, she recorded 13 tapes with each tape discussing one of the 13 reasons why she decided to commit suicide. The show is 13 episodes long with every episode covering one tape and I loved that format. Although a lot of people found the show disturbing when it was first released, but I don’t think it’s that bad. Actually the only thing I found disturbing in the show was her suicide scene which I forwarded through anyway since I don’t like watching emotional scenes like that (or rape scenes for that matter). If you have Netflix, watch this if you haven’t already.

Atypical aired a couple of weeks ago and I binge watched all 8 episodes back to back in one day. I loved it and its right up there in my top 5 or 6 shows of this year but thats probably because the show deals with autism, a subject I’ve been fascinated with for some time now. The show follows an 18-year old high school student called Sam, who is autistic and has decided to try and find a girl friend. The result is a lot of super awkward scenes and some really great development of characters including the dad who’s played by Michael Rapaport. This show is also on Netflix, and is also a must watch.

Starring one of my favorite comedians Jason Bateman, this show is far from being a comedy. Ozark is a super dark drama in which Jason Bateman plays the role of a financial advisor that ends up relocating his family to the Missouri Ozarks after his dealings with a drug cartel go wrong. It’s such an out of character role for Bateman especially when he’s mostly know for his character Michael Bluth on the television sitcom Arrested Development. But Bateman played the role so well that now its going to be awkward for me getting used to him again as Michael Bluth when the 5th season of Arrested Development premiers. This is the last show on my list here but if you had time to just watch just one, this would be the one I’d recommend.

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Report Violations to the Baladia

Post by Mark

The Kuwait Municipality have launched a campaign asking citizens to take photos of violations and send it to their social media accounts so they can fix the issues. They don’t mention the kinds of violations to report, but based on their instagram it looks like garbage related issues, abandoned cars, illegal banners and food related violations. To report an issue you’ll have to photograph the violation and then send it to their instagram or twitter accounts @kuwmun.

It’s a pretty great crowdsourcing initiative, but I just wish the process wasn’t so clumsy. A better solution would be a dedicated app like Deera. The Deera app allows you take photos, share the GPS location, mention what kind of issue you’re reporting and it doesn’t require you to have a social media account allowing you to remain anonymous. It would also make the municipality’s life easier since managing instagram messages isn’t the most practical thing in the world and instagram messaging lacks basic features such as flagging.

What I’d really love is an app like Metrash2 which allows citizens in Qatar to report traffic violations. Now that’s an app I’d have a lot of fun with.

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Whats Opening in Murouj Phase 3

Post by Mark

If you’ve been to Murouj then you’ve probably noticed the construction taking place next to their large parking lot. That’s part of the Murouj expansion project and yesterday I was able to get a list of some of the places that are opening there:

Beit Shoukri
Blaze Pizza
Dean & Deluca
Illy Coffee
Mana by Ubon
Shake Shack
Solia Mediterranean Food

There will also be a space available for pop-ups. I’m still trying to find out when phase 3 is expected to finish, and once I have that information I’ll update this post.

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Local Mail Tracking Temporarily Unavailble

Post by Mark

If you’re expecting a package to arrive to Kuwait through the local post office then this info might be beneficial to you. There is currently an issue with the post office internal tracking system and so at the moment they won’t be able to track your packages. Neither you nor them will know where your package is until they get the issue sorted out.

Previously when a package arrived to Kuwait you would be able to check on the status by visiting tracking.moc.gov.kw but now you’ll just get a “No information, please check your item identifier” error.

No timeline on when this will get fixed, supposedly they’re waiting on the Minister who is currently MIA.

Thanks Abdulaziz

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