It’s Unfair

A couple of days ago a new announcement was made that only vaccinated citizens can travel. Expats on the other hand (and they made this part very clear) are still banned from entering Kuwait. Keep in mind most citizens would most likely travel for leisure purposes while most expats would travel for family reasons. A lot haven’t seen their loved ones since the start of the pandemic, I haven’t seen my dad for two years but I know of people who haven’t seen their wives or kids for as much.

I’m fully vaccinated now with my two shots which is great. I have the immune app and I’m all green and on the Mosafar website, my vaccination circle is also fully green. Yet if I fly out of Kuwait I can’t come back in because I’m an expat?

I was annoyed but I had decided a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t going to post about this stuff anymore. Citizens are equally upset by these bizarre decisions and they’re all being very vocal about it on all the social media channels. So I left it at that.

Then last night, my sister calls me from Lebanon and tells me my dad has fallen ill. He’s fully vaccinated so I don’t think it’s covid, but he’s old and frail so I don’t know. This morning I wake up to a message saying things have taken a turn for the worse and they had to admit him to the ER.

So now I have to make a choice.

  • Fly out to Lebanon as soon as possible and get stuck outside Kuwait for months. I’d have to decide to leave my friends, my job, my blog, my life, (everything basically) and be uprooted for an indefinite amount of time.

  • Or, stay in Kuwait and possibly never see my dad again.

This rule isn’t just unfair, it’s illogical and unrealistic and because of it, I’m unable to do the right thing which is to be with my dad and family, especially when I know I’m needed.

Note: I just want to add that I wasn’t planning on publishing this post. I originally wrote it as a way to vent and self-therapy. I don’t like sharing personal parts of my life so it feels very awkward putting this out there but I just felt that if this post somehow helps change the rule, even if it’s a very small chance, then it’s worth putting it out there. Thank you for your messages.

Update: My dad is doing a lot better now, thank you everyone again.

News Personal

I Live in Salmiya, Voted the Worst City in the World for Expats

This is pretty random but according to the latest InterNations Expat City Ranking 2020, Salmiya was voted the worst out of 66 cities analyzed and described as “a city of unhappy, overworked, and homesick expats”. I mean we do have major issues in Salmiya but no way is it the worst city in the world for expats. I’ve been to Khaitan before, and I’m in Hawalli regularly, and as bad as both those places are I wouldn’t even consider them the worst in the world either.

Welcome to Salmiya, the Kuwait city so unloved by its expat population

Expats in Salmiya say they are unhappy with the local transportation (61st), with their health and the environment (66th), as well as with climate and leisure (66th).

Nearly three in five said they dislike the local leisure options (vs 15 percent worldwide). In the Getting Settled Index (66th), expats do not feel at home and they describe the local population as unfriendly (48 percent vs 17 percent globally), and they are also unhappy with their social life (56 percent vs 24 percent globally). Source

But Salmiya does have issues, a lot of them, which is why over the past 15 years I’ve been half-jokingly asking to be made the mayor of the city. I’d be to Salmiya what Leslie Knope is to Pawnee! It’s hard to imagine anyone is more passionate about the place than I am.

Make me the mayor and I’ll initiate a mass project making Salmiya more pedestrian and bicycle/scooters-friendly by taking back the sidewalk from all the illegal construction, I’d create bike paths that run across the city and turn sandlots into proper parking lots to reduce the cars on the streets. I’d replace all the bins with ones that have lids and I’ll personally lead on a massive beautification project. I’ll also protect old and landmark buildings from demolition and crackdown on all the buildings that have illegally converted their basement to warehouses depriving the building residents of parking. So go out and vote for me in the next election if you want a better Salmiya!

Mags & Books Personal

Visiting the National Library During the Pandemic

When I posted about the National Library last year, most of the comments were regarding their operating hours which is 9AM to 1PM because it was as if they didn’t want anyone to visit the library. Well now with the pandemic, things just got a bit more complicated.

Last week I dropped by the National Library because I needed to flip through their newspaper archive. Usually you just give the security guard at the entrance your civil ID and then go in. But, because of the pandemic, they now have an appointment system like all other government offices. So while at the security desk I created an account at and booked an appointment before being let in. Once inside I had to have my photo taken at another security desk for some reason, that wasn’t there last year and they took my photo with my mask on so not sure what the purpose is.

I was told that nobody was allowed to go upstairs where all the books were. Instead, I needed to wait in a small room for someone to come to me so I could tell them what I wanted so they would go get it for me. This works if you know what you want exactly, but part of the experience of going to the library is finding books on a subject that you also didn’t know about.

I must have been the first person to ask to check their newspaper archive because they didn’t know how to go about it with the new rules. I spoke to two girls first who then had to call their boss who then told them to go get another guy, who then came and left again to go get someone else who finally could help. But he needed to know exactly what year and month of the archive to get (they’re large books archived by year and month). Luckily I knew which month and year so he was able to go fetch it for me but if I didn’t, not sure what the process would have been like.

So if you were planning to visit the library during the ongoing pandemic it’s no longer a good experience. I used to love dropping in randomly every now and then to go through their books and newspapers so it sucks that I can’t do that anymore. If you want to check out my previous post on the library, click here.


Live Love Beirut

With everything going on in the world, nothing has really given me anxiety as much as the shit that’s been going on in Lebanon over the past year. I tend to tune in and tune out of Lebanon related news because I can only take so much. But what happened yesterday has honestly left me speechless. I don’t even want to be writing this post right now so I won’t. It’s all really sad and I can’t help but feel useless right now.


And I’m Back!

I just got back from my Tbilisi trip yesterday. I wasn’t expecting to disappear like this, I figured I’d lazy post while I was on vacation but I really needed to disconnect from work and my blog for at least a week and it felt great to do so. I continued to post on my instagram story since it gave me a reason to try and take some nice photos on my trip but other than that I really wanted to disappear.

I’m so glad to be back in Kuwait though. The whole Corona thing blew up while I was out and after the whole Iran outbreak thing I got freaked out. Not because I was afraid of getting the virus but afraid of being locked out of Kuwait. I read an article that said that they were stopping all flights from Iran and that Kuwaitis would be evacuated and quarantined on arrival while expats would be refused entry. So the whole trip I was worried Georgia would suddenly develop a mass Corona outbreak and I wouldn’t be allowed back into Kuwait and then where would I go?

For those of you out of Kuwait or for those of you wondering what the entry process at the airport is like right now, it’s pretty much similar to how it was a few weeks ago. As in there is a doctor with a thermal camera that scans every arriving visitor. Children and babies would have their temperature measured individually, I’m guessing because the thermal camera doesn’t work well on them? Whats really changed though is the mood of everyone. You can clearly tell everyone is now afraid of getting the virus from passengers to the passport control employees. A lot of people were wearing masks and my passport control lady even wore disposable gloves (which is probably more useful than masks).

When I got up to the passport control desk I was asked to place my finger on the fingerprint scanner and that’s probably the only time on my whole trip I got freaked out about getting the virus. I looked at the officer and was like do I really need to put my finger there? She said yeah so I put my finger on it and got it scanned. Thankfully once I was done she got her bottle of hand sanitizer and squirted it in my hands so I could disinfect it.

Anyway, I’m back now and catching up on stuff so I could start posting normally again starting Sunday. I noticed a lot of events have gotten postponed which is a smart thing to do for now. Some of the events that have gotten postponed include COMFEST, Redbull Car Park Drift and all the Kuwait Motor Town activities. I’m assuming things are gonna be pretty slow for the next two weeks or so…

Blog Info Personal

17 Years Blogging Anniversary

The picture above is my original computer setup when I started blogging back in 2003. I’m trying to remember why I had both a Mac and a PC setup but I can’t seem to figure it out.

I’ve got a pretty organized digital photo archive that dates back to the 90s when I first started scanning pictures, and so it’s fairly easy for me to pull up an old photo from a specific time period. I love digging up old photos since it’s always fascinating to see what kind of tech I had back then since I was fairly geeky. The photo above was my portable set up back then, my 12inch Apple iBook, a Sony Ericsson T68i phone and a Palm Tungsten T personal digital assistant (PDA).

I also found the photo above from the same time period but featured my Sony CLIÉ PDA, my original Apple iPod with a Firewire port, my iOGEAR Bluetooth to USB adapter and my T68i phone again. The Bluetooth adapter allowed me to connect my laptop to my phone to get online, something unheard of back then but ordinary today. The photo below is when I first sucessfuly got online from my laptop using my phone’s internet. I remember I took this shot parked near the Kuwait Towers, the date of the photo is February 18th, 2003 which is 12 days after my first blog post ever.

Good times!

Personal Travel

My First Trip to Saudi

Last week I went to Saudi for the first time ever and I spent a couple of days in Riyadh. I’ve got mixed feelings about the city, well not really mixed feelings but more like I don’t understand it. On one hand, you had MDL Beast, the largest electronic music festival in the region take place there, but on the other hand, from what I saw it still looks and feels like such a conservative city. It’s like both extremes are living side by side together and it’s very hard to process.

Getting a visa for Saudi is super simple right now. I actually totally forgot to apply for a visa and only remembered the evening before my flight but they now have an evisa website and even though I applied at 8PM, I got an approval less than an hour later for a 1-year multi-entry visa. I was relieved but also shocked since last year when I wanted to get a visa I had to get an invitation from someone in Saudi, and then was told I had to visit the embassy in Kuwait to apply for it and even then there was no guarantee I’d get a visa due to some political drama that was happening between Saudi and Canada.

The process of entering Saudi was also super easy. Once I landed in Riyadh and got out of the plane I followed a floor sticker towards a visa on arrival desk right outside the gate. There I handed my passport over to a lady behind the desk who finished up my visa process and stamped my passport. I then headed to passport control and I guess this whole process is super new because they were trying to re-enter me into the system again not knowing I was already in the system. They kept getting an error and then they noticed my passport was already stamped and were surprised since they didn’t know that they were stamping passports at the visa desks next to the gates. After multiple apologies for the delay (they were super friendly and apologizing the whole time throughout the process) I was let through.

Visually Riyadh isn’t a very beautiful city, well, most of it at least. The city is very beige and looks pretty old from what I saw. I can’t remember seeing any greenery in the city unless it was in the park and the only area the looked modern with beautiful skyscrapers was the King Abdullah Financial District that’s still under construction (pictured above). But, you still had some really beautiful buildings or projects in between all this which created a stark contrast. The way I was describing Riyadh to my friends was it either looked like Mahboula, or it looked like Dubai. Their roads are also in a worse state than ours but that’s mostly because the whole city is one large construction site right now because of the metro expansion and all the various large projects.

Because it’s Riyadh Season right now, they have some incredible things going on in the city. I went for dinner in Al Murabba (square) which is a huge historical area with old buildings and a large park that is temporarily occupied by some of the world’s finest restaurants like New York’s Dirty French and Carbone, and London’s Dinings SW3. All pop-ups but built to look like permanent structures. Once you pull up to the main gate of Al Murabba you are greeted by an army of Saudi hosts and hostesses standing on both sides of a long walkway into the park. Super fancy, incredible service and everyone is just extremely friendly. It felt like I was attending a fancy one-night affair but this is how it is every night. Actually everywhere I went the service was really great, customer service is something they take very seriously over there.

So yeah, right now Saudi is a very odd place with a mixture of two extreme lifestyles. While there I didn’t hear anybody complain about what’s going on even though I heard mumblings about alcohol being legalized soon. I think the conservatives might be fine with it all of it for now as long as it doesn’t affect them. Or maybe because things are happening so fast they haven’t had time to react. Whatever the case, it’s all gotten me very curious and interested in Saudi and now that I have a multi-entry visa, I’m going to be heading there more often, maybe even do a road trip. A friend who lives in Dubai messaged me last night telling me to meet him in Saudi this coming weekend for the Jamiroquai concert. Saudi in less than a year has become a regional destination.

Automotive Personal Travel

Jebel Jais Drive in a Ferrari Portofino

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!

Blog Info Personal

something something Blog Anniversary something something

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.

Food Personal

My Favorite Restaurants in Kuwait Right Now

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:

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.

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.

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.

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
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!