13 03, 2019

The Scientific Center Expansion has Begun

2019-03-13T12:42:42+03:00Mar 13, 2019|9 Comments

A few years ago I posted about the Scientific Center expansion plans and one of the most controversial aspects of it was the fact the plans included a new dolphinarium. As you know, holding dolphins in captivity is pretty cruel and a friend of mine even posted an appeal in hopes of stopping it.

Recently construction started next to Scientific Center and I was curious to know if the dolphinarium was still being built. So I got in touch with my contact at the Scientific Center who not only reassured me that they are not going ahead with the dolphinarium, but he also shared with me some new information on the expansion as well as the visuals I’ve shared in this post.

The Scientific Center have now started construction work on the new expansion, with the first phase focused on marine works and land reclamation. This includes renovation of the Dhow Harbor area and the relocation of the seawater intake pipe which provides clean seawater to the tanks within the aquarium. The construction you see now on the side of the Scientific Center (pictured above) is for the marine works which is estimated to take around 9 months. This will be followed by the groundbreaking, structural foundation of the expansion, the construction of the superstructure, MEP, the finishing and new exhibits installations, and then finally the renovation of the existing building attractions and exhibits.

The design and programming of the expansion building was developed as a priority, in partnership with the center’s Board and consultation from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). The expansion commits the center to playing a leading role on a national level to transform the country and help develop a knowledge-driven economy. Because of this commitment, the programming and exhibits within the expansion aim to increase the quality of STEM teaching from the center, as well as the importance of environmental protection, through engaging learning experiences.

The expansion will introduce new concepts to the region, as well as inspiring exhibits, through both new additions and the renovation of current ones. The public can expect to see reinvigorated ecosystems in the Mijbil Almutawa Aquarium, modern commodities and services, a brand new children’s science museum, as well as numerous new halls and labs enabling visitors, schools, universities and more to engage with the center in developing their own innovations to better Kuwait.

Here are some other facts you might find interesting:

– The renovation of the aquarium is being done in partnership with the creative
design and consultancy firm ROTO, who you can learn about [Here]

– The overall expansion is estimated to come at an approximate value of KD 36 million, with a timeline of projected completion by 2022

– Many people aren’t aware that the Scientific Center is a non-profit

– The center is aiming to introduce class-specific programs, labs, and workshops for educators to use for their own curriculum

– The footprint of the center is doubling

So to summarize, there will be no dolphinarium and the Scientific Center will be increasing their exhibits and attractions and refurbishing the current building. All of that is expected to be completed in around 3-4 years.

10 02, 2019

The ASCC Museums – 1 Year Later

2019-02-10T16:11:10+03:00Feb 10, 2019|11 Comments

The Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre (ASCC) opened nearly a year ago and since then I’ve visited it nearly a dozen times. It’s right down the street from my place and so it’s really convenient for me to drop by whenever I want. One of the things I was concerned about when the museums first opened up was how it would hold up to the abuse.

Well I’ve got good news, all six museums are still pretty much intact. I passed by on Thursday and went through all the exhibits and I could count the number of exhibits that were out-of-order on my hand. Not only that but since my last visit a few months ago, new cafes have opened up and a couple of new exhibits were added.

Best part about the museum is that there rarely is anyone ever there. For example I passed by Thursday evening and there were barely any people which is great if you don’t like crowds.

If you haven’t been to the museums yet then I’d highly recommend you do so, it’s just a cool place to walk around and chill with loads of outdoor spaces to explore as well as the actual museums themselves. For more information click [Here]

21 01, 2019

You Can Rent the Kuwait Towers

2019-01-21T08:26:03+03:00Jan 21, 2019|7 Comments

Here’s some random information I recently found out, turns out you can actually rent the Kuwait Towers for private events. They’ll close the whole thing off for you and nobody but you and your guests can come in. So say you want to have your wedding there, a birthday party or a private dinner, you can do that. The cost? KD10,000 a day.

9 01, 2019

World’s Longest Bridge Set to Open in Kuwait Soon

2019-01-09T09:47:56+03:00Jan 9, 2019|52 Comments

The Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Causway project is nearly complete and is set to open this coming April. Once it opens the bridge will be the world’s longest with a total span of 48.53km [Source].

Going by the drone footage in the two videos here, the drive will be very scenic over the Kuwaiti bay and take around 35 minutes from one end to the other. There isn’t anything on the other side to see yet but at least the road isn’t broken and full of potholes and little rocks flying around like every other road in Kuwait at the moment.

7 01, 2019

Revisting Bait Al-Othman Museum

2019-01-07T12:53:58+03:00Jan 7, 2019|7 Comments

The Bait Al-Othman Museum originally opened back in 2013 and I passed by it a few months after opening to check it out and post about it on the blog. But last week I went back to the museum again and to my surprise, it turned out they had expanded the museum considerably since my last visit 5 years ago.

I’m having a difficult time trying to decide how much information I should share about the place. When I visited the museum last week I went expecting to see the stuff I had seen the last time I was there, basically various rooms covering important aspects of Kuwait and its history. But once I started exploring some of the new sections which I hadn’t seen before, I realized Bait Al-Othman is by far one of the most bizarre and entertaining museums in Kuwait. I had such a good time that I want to go back again with more friends.

Some of the new areas of Bait Al-Othman felt like they had been taken from the now closed old Science Museum in Kuwait City. The museum has such a random combination of content including a small haunted house, loads and loads of stuffed animals and even a hostel. I really want to share more details but I think it would be a lot more fun to just go there without knowing too much about the place.

So if you haven’t been to Bait Al-Othman before or at least not recently, you should definitely pass by the place. The museum is located in Hawalli [Google Maps] with loads of parking space available. Their opening hours are from 9AM to 1PM and 4PM to 9:30PM everyday except on Fridays they don’t open in the mornings.

Pro Tip: You need around 3 hours or more to see everything, and make sure you visit all the rooms. There are some areas which look closed off but they lead to other areas. So explore it all.

24 12, 2018

Save Al Sawaber from Demolition

2018-12-24T10:22:47+03:00Dec 24, 2018|29 Comments

Built in 1981, Al Sawaber Complex was designed by renowned Canadian architect and urban planner Arthur Erickson with the idea of creating a community for Kuwaiti families of modest means. He accomplished that with a layout that provided easy horizontal circulation between the apartment blocks, while also creating intimate spaces sheltered from the rest of the city.

The complex is recognised as a modern heritage building of cultural and historical significance by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature. But, because of a complete lack of maintenance, arson in some of the units, escalating land values in the surrounding area, and gentrification, the project has now been marked for demolition.

The demolition date is unknown but a contractor has been chosen so demolition can begin any day now.

A team comprising of members from Kuwait Municipality Master Plan and Planning Departments, Kuwait University School of Architecture professors, and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature are trying to save the project. They’re hoping to raise public awareness as a last resort to save Al-Sawaber Complex from imminent demolition.

Rather than being demolished the team is proposing that the complex be rehabilitated and regenerated as a mixed-use urban development while maintaining elements of the original character and structure.

If you’d like to support the team in trying to save Al Sawaber then follow them on instagram @save_alsawaber and sign their petition [Here] (blocked on Viva for some reason)

Top photo by Asseel Al-Ragam

23 12, 2018

Rating a Government Employee’s Work

2018-12-24T07:45:47+03:00Dec 23, 2018|13 Comments

I’ve posted previously on how easy and smooth the process of obtaining a power of attorney (tawkeel) is in Kuwait and you can check that post [Here] After experiencing that department three more times since that post I have to say, I think they one of the best-run government departments I’ve experienced anywhere, not just Kuwait.

Every time I ship my car to Bahrain for a track day, I tend to get a new POA done because the car transportation company tend to send a different driver every time. Last week the transportation company actually asked me to do a POA for 16 of their drivers so that way I don’t have to keep getting a POA done every time. 16! So I headed to the Ministries complex in the city and I was honestly a bit worried. I thought when the government employee sees I need a POA done for 16 people he’s gonna either give me a hard time, tell me to f off or at the very least just complain about how much work that was. But surprisingly, the government employee didn’t even flinch.

As I’ve mentioned in my original post, getting a POA done in Kuwait is a very quick and efficient process. The department is well organized and well staffed so I tend not to wait more than 10 minutes for my turn. The government employees are always helpful and their work environment just seems to be very healthy based on what I’ve observed. So when I handed over 16 identification cards to the employee and told them I needed a POA done for them, I braced myself for the worst. But, the employee just took the photocopies and proceeded to type out all the information into the computer without hesitation. When everything was done and I just needed to get my papers stamped from another desk on the way out, the employee gave me a feedback form to fill.

Not only is this department so well managed and run, they actually give you a feedback card to fill up once you’re done! Obviously, I ticked all the “Excellent” boxes and when I handed the feedback form back to the employee they told me I needed to hand it to the person who’s gonna stamp my papers on the way out. I realized that made sense since you wouldn’t want to hand back the form with negative feedback to the employee you just had a negative experience with or they’ll just get rid of the form. I love this department.

Why isn’t the driving license renewal department not run by the same guy that’s in charge of the POA department!?? I’m actually not aware of any government department in Kuwait that even care about how your experience was let alone ask you to critique them. At the airport in Bahrain they have these smiley faces at various points around the airport asking you how your experience was. They have these faces after check-in, after passport control, after security check and even in the duty-free asking you how your shopping was. They’re not unique to Bahrain, they have them at various airports around the world but last night while leaving Bahrain I was thinking, if we had these stations at various government offices and departments, what would people click on the most? The POA department is the only one I could think of that would get the big smiley button press from me every time.