30 04, 2019

Jebel Jais Drive in a Ferrari Portofino

2019-05-01T17:31:22+03:00Apr 30, 2019|12 Comments

I’m currently in Dubai courtesy of Ferrari. They’ve put me up in the gorgeous and very lavish Bvlgari Resort, and they’ve given me access to two cars to drive, their new Ferrari Portofino and the Ferrari 812 SuperFast. I actually have a lot of work back in Kuwait and shouldn’t really be here, but how could I say no to this right? When they first got in touch with me about this trip I was excited obviously but in my head I was also thinking, ok so I’ve already test driven these two cars, and I’ve already posted them on the blog, so how can I post about them again? Then it hit me, I could do Jebel Jais!

Jebel Jais is a mountain in the UAE with an elevation of nearly 2,000m. I found out about it from the popular car show Top Gear, (or maybe it was The Grand Tour?) and ever since I’ve wanted to drive it. The mountain has an incredible 3-lane winding road that takes you to the very top and is usually featured in “Top Roads You Need to Drive on Before You Die” style of lists. There isn’t anything on top, the bottom or along the way to the top, it’s just an empty beautiful road to nowhere.

I’ve contemplated shipping my Lotus to Dubai before so I could do the Jebel Jais drive but it was just too costly. I even considered maybe including it as part of a Oman drive where I’d ship my car to Dubai, do the Jebel Jais drive and then drive to Oman and do a drive there before sending my car back to Kuwait. It never materialized so when Ferrari told me I’d have access to the Portofino for a day I thought to myself, that would be a great car to drive up the mountain. So I accepted their invitation and here I am in Dubai.

Ferrari dropped off the Portofino yesterday morning to my hotel at around 10AM. I had two conditions, the first is I needed to have the car back by 5:30PM, the second is I could only do a maximum mileage of 350KM. Both weren’t going to be an issue. Before coming to Dubai I had already figured everything out, the drive from my hotel to the top of Jebel Jais was 160KM and it would take just over 2 hours. So, 160+160 is 320KM and say a 5 hour total journey time, that would still leave me with time to spare. The calculations worked, I was able to take the car to Jebel Jais, come back to the city, grab and lunch and have the car back at my hotel before 5:30 with around 15KM mileage to spare. It was close, but good enough.

The drive to Jebel Jais was pretty uneventful and boring, but I had a bunch of podcast episodes of Business Wars lined up and that made the time pass by quickly. There were also a ton of cameras along the way so I just put the cruise-control on the highway limit of 120KM and just cruised to Jebel Jais. Once I got to the bottom of Jebel Jais, I dropped the top down, put my favorite Spotify music playlist on and just blasted my way up the mountain.

There was no one, just me, the mountain and the incredible 3-lane winding road with no speed cameras all the way to the top. I loved the drive and the Portofino was just insane on that road. It’s such a fast car and it sounded amazing and aggressive all the way to the top. The temperature was around 28 degrees so it was perfect to drive with the roof down and I think I got a bit of tan as well. The drive up the mountain is around 16KM long and it took me around 20 minutes give or take. I stopped a bit on the way up just to check out the view, but I stopped a lot more on the way down to take some photos of the car.

Once I was back down the mountain I really wanted to just U-turn and make my way up again, but I knew if I did that I would end up exceeding the allotted mileage given to me by Ferrari, and I didn’t want to do that. So I put the roof back up and headed back to the city.

I finally got this drive off my bucket list and I couldn’t have asked for a better car to do it in. It was a difficult choice choosing between the Portofino and 812 SuperFast for the Jebel Jais drive, but I made the right choice because it doesn’t get better than flying up the mountain in a fast loud red Ferrari convertible. Ferrari are now dropping off the 812 SuperFast in a few minutes so if there are any spelling or grammar mistakes, sorry but I’m in a rush!

19 02, 2019

something something Blog Anniversary something something

2019-02-19T09:29:08+03:00Feb 19, 2019|49 Comments

Today is my blogs 14th anniversary (maybe 15?) and around a week back it was my 16th anniversary (or was it 17th?) since I first started blogging. 2018 might have been the most stress-free year for me blogging-wise. I decided to kinda take a very chill approach to the blog, and not pressure myself as much where I have to post 2 or 3 times every day. If I have something to post I’ll post, if not I won’t. I know it sucks for you but I really am getting too old for this 😅.

I’ve mentioned this before but it is a lot of pressure having to constantly try and find stuff to write about every day, it’s also really difficult to do when I have a job, a social life and a lot of days where I just want to sit on my couch, watch a TV show and not leave the house.

Last month I started a new job and it’s taking up so much of my time so I don’t know how 2019 is going to turn out. I’m trying to wake up at 7AM every day to get the posting out of the way, and so far it seems like its working. Surprisingly (to me), this is probably the first time in a while where I’m not considering stopping the blog. I realized that the blog helps me stay current and active, so even with my busy work schedule, I’ll keep finding time for it especially now that I’m putting less pressure on myself.

Anyway, that’s all.

18 09, 2018

My Favorite Restaurants in Kuwait Right Now

2018-09-18T14:07:40+03:00Sep 18, 2018|21 Comments

I love eating outside and I rarely eat home cooked meals, in fact, I don’t even remember the last time I ate a home-cooked meal. So, I’ve been wanting to put together a list of my favorite places and I finally got it done. I’ve divided my favorite places into categories, it wasn’t easy in some cases just choosing three, but I forced myself to do so to keep things consistent. Check out my favorites below and let me know what your favorite places are:

Restaurants
1- White Robata
2- Mana
3- Lavan

If I had to choose just one restaurant to eat at forever, it would probably be White Robata. I’m there usually once a week and would go more often if it wasn’t so freaking expensive. So much good food combined with incredible staff make this easily my favorite restaurant in Kuwait at the moment. Mana, on the other hand, is a lot more accessible and great for going to in groups. They’ve got the best guacamole in Kuwait and generally, everything I’ve tried there has been really good although the rosemary chicken is my goto dish. Finally, Lavan is my favorite Indian restaurant. I go there mostly for their tandoori grills since I’m always trying to eat healthy, but I always manage to convince myself to have one of their delicious biryanis as well.

Healthy
1- Super Foods
2- Leila
3- Little Rubys

There are a lot of healthy places nowadays but these three are my goto ones. Super Foods doesn’t need much of an introduction since I think they’re the most popular healthy food place. They’ve got great snacks, cold bowls, delicious sandwiches, and even healthy desserts. They also have a lot of drinks to choose from including my favorite, their Blue Majik. The next place would be the Lebanese restaurant Leila, like most Lebanese restaurants, it’s a great place for healthy options since they have salads and grills. But, what sets Leila apart is their light menu which contains food options with even lighter dressings and more healthier sides. I know Little Rubys might seem out of place on this list since they’ve got delicious burgers and crazy good fries, but they also have my favorite salad in Kuwait, their pumpkin salad. It’s a baby spinach salad which I usually have them add grilled chicken too, so delicious.

Breakfast
1- Cocoa Room
2- Lunch Room
3- Baker & Spice

I had difficulty deciding on the number one spot here, it should be Lunch Room but since it’s more convenient getting a table at Cocoa Room I chose them as number one. Lunch Room is my favorite breakfast spot at the moment but the place is small and so there is always a waiting list. And unlike Cocoa Room, you can’t call ahead and put your name on the list so you have to go there, put your name and then just sit in your car since there isn’t anything else around them to do. Cocoa Room is also always super busy but I tend to call them an hour before I plan to be there to put my name on the list. Then, usually by the time I get there, my table would be ready or I just have to wait for one or two tables before it’s my turn. Baker & Spice is my healthier choice here, but during the summer months, I tend not to go to Baker & Spice since I enjoy the place more sitting outdoors especially at their Souk Sharq location.

Delivery
1- Joa
2- SimSim
3- Clean Eats

Before Carriage came to be, I think I used to only ever order food from Hardees. Now I’ve got a whole list of places I order from but these are my favorite ones. JOA I love ordering from when binge watching a show with a friend or when I’m having movie nights. Their poke bowls are the best and they’ve also got affordable sushi rolls if I want. SimSim is a place I find delicious but I try not to order them a lot because they’re all carbs. SimSim easily have the best flatbreads in Kuwait (get the pumpkin or musakhan) as well as a delicious rose water flavored knafa for dessert. Finally, Clean Eats I heard about at first because of their delicious yoga bowl which is what I used to order all the time but then I started making my own bowls. Now I tend to mostly order their banana and chocolate chip overnight oats since its a great source of energy before I hit the gym.

Cheat Meals
1- CHKN
2- Arby’s
3- Eighty Six

This was another category I had trouble trying to pick a favorite place. Both CHKN and Arby’s have perfect cheat meals but I decided CHKN was slightly better because of their sides. I tend to order their Slaw CHKN sandwich with the original CHKN bites on the side. So soooo good, it’s like the best fried chicken burger ever. Arby’s on the other hand, I just order their Double Roast Beef N’ Cheddar sandwich but that’s all I really want from life sometimes. Full disclosure on the third spot which is Eighty Six, they’re one of the brands I work for at the moment so I literally go to sleep thinking about them. So although I might be a bit biased here, I’m really a huge fan of their Billie Jean burger as well as their Saku Saku chicken burger.

So there you have it, my favorite spots around Kuwait right now. I might more add categories to this if I think of anything but this should be good for now. Don’t forget to let me know your spots!

5 09, 2018

I Shared Fake News (I think)

2018-09-05T11:10:19+03:00Sep 5, 2018|15 Comments

Yesterday I posted about Eddie Griffin being barred from entry into Kuwait and this morning I found out it wasn’t true, it was fake news. I never fall for fake news, I’m usually the one telling friends if the news is fake or not but this time I messed up.

How did it happen?

Originally when I was writing up my post about Eddie Griffin, the working title was “Calls for Eddie Griffin to be Barred from Entering Kuwait”. My source originally for this “news” was @tafteeesh. So as I was writing up my post I decided to look for news on twitter. Eventually I found the hashtag #لا_لدخول_الملحد_جريفين_الكويت with a ton of people posting about this including MP’s, users with over a million followers, and various news sources. So I concluded this was a fact and not just a rumor or a call for a ban. I then edited my title and removed “Calls for” because it was no longer a call for action but an action that had already been taken and I published my post.

Throughout the day yesterday, I was reading the comments when one reader posted stating that the organizer Algas Events were doing damage control saying it was just a rumor and that the event would still take place. So I quickly checked their instagram account so I could post an update but didn’t find anything concrete to dispute the original story. The organizers were replying to their followers with vague comments like “we got this” and then when a follower called them out on their vagueness they responded with the following:

That to me didn’t read as a denial to the rumor. In fact, it read to me like a decision was made to ban Eddie Griffin, but that they were in talks with the authorities to reverse the ban and they would keep us updated. Then, this morning I got a phone call.

A friend who is working with the organizers called to let me know that no decision was made to ban Eddie Griffin yet, and that all the sources for this news including reputable sources were not basing it off any official announcement by the MOI.

So, I basically posted fake news… I think. The only reason I’m not really sure is because they haven’t issued an official statement yet denying the ban. So there might be a bit of truth to all of this, we will have to wait and see. For now the event is still on and they’re still selling tickets.

I’m sorry I posted news that wasn’t verified yet (basically fake news) and I’ve updated my previous post to reflect this. I always try to post facts unless they’re clearly stated as rumors but this time I messed up.

Check out the events page for more info on this show [Here]

18 03, 2018

My Visit to the Museums

2018-03-18T15:21:12+03:00Mar 18, 2018|7 Comments

On Friday I passed by the museums with a bunch of friends and I figured I’d share my experience which was overall pretty good, especially considering the number of people who were at the museum on Friday. First though, let me get the negative out of the way.

We got to the museum around 3PM and the traffic to get in was a block long because of the fact you needed to buy tickets before entering the parking lot. Although they have 9 drive-thru ticketing booths, they’re arranged 3 in a row, so only 3 lanes with each lane having 3 booths. If you’re the third car in a lane, you have to wait for the two cars ahead of you to finish buying tickets before you could enter the parking lot which is what slows things down. What was also annoying was that the main gate had two lanes to enter, the people who drove through the gate in the left lane ended up at the first ticketing lane, but the cars who drove in from the right lane had access to the second and third lane of ticket booths. So the cars that drove in through the right lane moved twice as fast as those who entered the gate from left lane. So here is a tip, enter through the right lane!

The ticketing system is the only negative thing I have to say about the museums and I imagine its a short-term issue since the museums just opened. It took us exactly 30 minutes waiting in line to enter the museums’ main gate, buy the tickets and then park the car.

Once inside finding parking was easy since there was plenty. Not only that but when we were leaving around 5:30PM, the museum had closed its main gate because the museum was full, even though there was still plenty of parking. I guess based on the number of tickets they sold, the museums had reached their maximum capacity. And here is the great thing, the museums didn’t feel like they were overcrowded on what probably is going to be recorded as their busiest day ever, the first Friday right after opening. Sure there were some busy areas with tons of kids running around, but there were also plenty of areas that were practically empty as well.

They had live music playing outdoors which felt surreal when combined with the orange sky that date and the beautiful and futuristic lights of the museum. Kinda felt like I was on the set of the film Blade Runner. You can check a couple of vertical videos I shot (sorry they were meant for insta stories) [Here] and [Here].

One thing that caught me off guard was their bookshop located in one of the buildings. They actually had a ton of great books for kids and adults and most of them were from Phaidon which is my favorite publisher. I need to go back again this week and buy some books.

Like I mentioned in my previous posts, the museums are huge and you really need a full day to explore them all properly, and even then you’ll probably miss some stuff. I’ve been there twice so far and I have yet to explore the whole museum properly and there are areas I still haven’t even visited. I really love the place and I can’t wait to go back there again. For ticket prices, opening hours and more information, visit the ASCC website [Here]

6 02, 2018

15 Years Blogging Anniversary

2019-02-19T09:11:04+03:00Feb 6, 2018|62 Comments

I posted my first blog post ever exactly 15 years ago to this day. It wasn’t on 248AM, I launched that two years later, it was on another blog called qHate. Back then I was still living with my parents, I was piss-ass broke and didn’t really know anyone in Kuwait. Crazy how that was just 15 years ago since a lot has happened over that time. It’s kinda scary when I think about where I’ll be 15 years from now, probably in L.A. working in the electronics section of a Walmart would be my best bet.


My computer setup back in 2003

There are dates that represent important moments in my life, I was born in 1978, 1988 was my first trip to L.A., the Gulf War in 1990, graduating from high school in 96 and so on.

2003 is when I started blogging.

29 01, 2018

Introducing… My Lotus Exige 380 Cup

2018-01-29T23:15:44+03:00Jan 29, 2018|32 Comments

Last month while visiting the Lotus dealer with a friend of mine, I was given the opportunity to upgrade my car. A friend had ordered a Lotus Exige 380 Cup, but once it arrived at the local dealer he decided he wanted the more powerful 430 Cup instead. So, the dealer gave me first dibs on the car along with a too good to be true buyback offer on my Lotus. So after a lot of deliberation in my head (which mostly sounded like yada yada yada, you only live once, yada yada yada, mid-life crisis, yada yada), I decided to pull the trigger and get the car.

So what are the biggest changes over the Exige I already had? (skip this paragraph if you’re not into cars)

To start with, the 380 Cup is over 100KG lighter than my previous already super light Exige. The Cup weighs in at just 1,057KG! It also produces 375 hp compared to the 345 my previous car made and does 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds. The aerodynamics of the Cup car is also much more aggressive producing over 250KG of downforce compared to my previous Exige. You can really feel the car being pushed down to the ground once you hit high speeds. The wheels are also lighter forged aluminum, and the tires are larger and come with the track and competition Michelin Cup 2 tires. The AP Racing brakes have been upgraded and the gearbox is now a manual instead of paddle-shift and looks incredible with all the metal gearing exposed. The suspension is two-way adjustable so I can make it softer for the road or harder for the track. Finally, the car is covered in carbon fiber, everywhere, from the roof to the interior, even the rear engine window was replaced with a carbon fiber hood to save weight. So yeah, loads of changes compared to my previous Exige and that’s not even including overall usability improvements. I should also add that the 380 Cup is limited to just 60 cars worldwide (and the only one in the region), so its super rare.

I’ve had the car for around 10 days now and I’ve put just a bit over 1,000KM on the car already so I’ve gotten a good feel for it. The Cup is a lot faster than my previous Exige, and because it’s more track-focused, it rides really rough, is pretty noisy and is now even more unpractical than what was already a very unpractical car to begin with.

But I love it.

Its raw, it’s not bullshitting you pretending to be something it isn’t, it’s as honest a car as you can get. And it’s not just me, EVO magazine gave it a 5 out of 5 and Road & Track called it “too much fun to be street legal”. It is too much fun.

I was planning to take the car to Bahrain for their open track day on February 15th, but turns out I need to have at least 3,000KM on the car before tracking it and I don’t think I can get that done in two weeks. So not sure when I’ll have the car on the track but hopefully pretty soon.

If you’re looking for a good place to take car photos by the way, I’d highly recommend the rooftop parking of the complex in front of Mayar in Shuwaikh. I took all the photos here with my iPhone on the roof and loved the spot because of the neutral colors and clean lines. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

13 12, 2017

I’m Selling My Nikon Gear

2017-12-13T23:49:03+03:00Dec 13, 2017|9 Comments

Since I got my Sony RX1 a few years ago, I basically stopped using my large Nikon D800 camera. Over the past few years I’ve only been using the D800 for taking photos of cars when reviewing them for the blog. The rest of the time it’s just been sitting in my closet gathering dust and depreciating in value.

Since I’m trying not to be a hoarder, I’ve decided to get rid of all my Nikon gear. So if you’re interested, I’m selling it for a pretty good price, check it out [Here]

Actually, since I got my iPhone X, I’ve even stopped using my RX1. But don’t think I’ll ever sell it, I just love it too much.