Disabled Friendly

Post by Mark


Last Wednesday exactly 4 weeks after my ankle surgery, I left the house without crutches for the very first time and it felt amazing. The simple act of walking is something I’ve learned to appreciate so much more because I couldn’t do it while I was recovering. Going around in crutches was such a pain in the ass experience but it could have been a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for the fact the majority of the places in Kuwait are disabled friendly.

The most disabled friendly places in Kuwait are probably the malls especially the new ones like Avenues and 360 Mall. In Avenues I found out that some stores even had elevators in the back that you could use if you wanted to (like Williams Sonoma) and that’s not including all the other elevators located all around the mall. Actually the only place in Avenues I couldn’t access was the men’s section at COS. The mens section at COS is on the top floor and can only be accessed by stairs. So if you’re a disabled guy in a wheelchair or crutches, tough luck you can’t shop at COS.

Once you step outside of malls things generally take a step down but not too badly. I think there is a law that stipulates all buildings are required to have ramps for people in wheelchairs and I think most places do. It’s probably one of the few laws that is actually enforced. Only issue is some of these ramps are so steep that I can’t imagine anyone in a wheelchair being able to go up them without any help. If there was a place I wanted to go to and wasn’t sure if they had handicap access I would call ahead and check. Its how I found out Almakan has an elevator. One place that susrprised me and I’ve already mentioned this before is Sultan Center Shaab. Even thought they aren’t required to do so, they have a regular wheel chair and an electric scooter available at their main entrance for anyone to use. Avenues also have these scooters available.

I obviously can’t speak for everyone and I only had to use crutches for a month but from my short experience, I’m actually impressed at how accessible Kuwait can be to the disabled. Parking though is definitely another issue all together. It’s not the lack of disabled parking spots but the lack of respect for these spots by the general public. The best example of this I could think of is a short video made by Hasan Bomejdad, a player in the Kuwaiti national table tennis team. I posted that video back in 2010 but the issue is still relevant today, people continue to park in disabled spots when they shouldn’t be. You can check out that video [Here] If you have anything to add on this subject based on personal experience, let me know in the comments below.

Top photo by Sara

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Recommend a Health Insurance Company

Post by Mark

I canceled my medical insurance around three years back because I wasn’t really using it. Dumb move obviously since I got raped with the hospital bill last month for my broken ankle. I paid KD450 just for the two screws alone and thats not including the surgery, hospital stay or anything else! So now I’m back looking for an insurance company to sign up to. If you guys can recommend an insurance company based on your personal experience that would be super helpful to me and to anybody else who might be interested in getting medical insurance.

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We’re all on the same side here

Post by Mark


A couple of days back I posted a letter from a British teacher who was deported for driving without a Kuwaiti license. The post ended up gaining a lot of attention (nearly doubling my blogs traffic) as well as creating a heated discussion in the comments section of the post.

I managed to stay out of the conversation but I just wanted to clarify a few points. Firstly the teacher never said he was an English teacher, people assumed he was an English teacher or that he even taught in English just because he mentioned he was British. Originally when the teacher first contacted me, he shared a photo of a letter he wrote when in the prison cell. The letter was in Arabic which I couldn’t read so I told him to resend it in English which is what I ended up posting on the blog.

If you’d like to read his original letter in Arabic click [Here]


Based on the amount of attention the letter garnered it’s clear that deportation is a sensitive issue. Having your life taken away from you for a minor wrongdoing is just too extreme and it puts everyone on the edge. I’ve personally highlighted these overkill punishments a number of times on the blog and I’ll say it again, I find them ridiculous. How does barbecuing get your deported? Unless you’re barbecuing a wild boar outside the gates of Bayan Palace while cracking open a 6-pack of beer with some friends, barbecuing shouldn’t get you deported. It certainly doesn’t deserve a stiffer and harsher punishment than a person caught running a red light.

One final thing I’d also like to say, just because expats complain doesn’t mean they hate Kuwait. “If you don’t like it leave” is a bullshit statement. If people accepted everything that was given to them then there wouldn’t be any progress or improvement. If you’re out dining and you find a bug in your dish do you not complain? It doesn’t mean you hate the restaurant if you do, and the manager definitely wouldn’t tell you to leave and never come back if you don’t like it (insert Benihana joke here). Expats are as much part of Kuwait as Kuwaitis are and we all want to see it get better. We’re all on team Kuwait.

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2 Weeks, 2 Crutches

Post by Mark


So it’s been two weeks since my surgery and since I started using crutches. The first week of crutches was fun because it was something I hadn’t experienced before, and so there was lots of puzzle solving involved. But that novelty quickly wore off and I’m now finding crutches to be such a nuisance. One thing I haven’t really solved is how I can carry stuff while on crutches. I went to Sultan and bought some bananas thinking I could carry the bag in one hand while still managing to hold my crutches. That worked but what I didn’t take into consideration was the weight of the bananas plus the swinging motion would completely destabilize my balance with every swing. The stupid bananas were going to cause my crutches to fly out of my hand and I’d fall embarrassingly in front of everyone. Stupid bananas. I ended up taking the most gentlest and shortest hops back to my car and finally got there like 15 minutes later. A messenger bag would do the trick but imagine if I walked around with a messenger bag at Sultan filling it up with stuff. It would look like I’m stealing groceries so that’s not gonna happen.

On the other hand I have gotten very close to my crutches. They’re my mobility so they’re always right next to me. When I was at a restaurant last week the waiter was being nice and took and put my crutches near a wall away from my table as so not to bother me, I had him bring them back because I didn’t feel comfortable being so far away from them. People are so nice to you when you’re on crutches but it’s the pity kind of nice which I dislike. I have complete strangers passing by me and telling me “salamat” (get well soon) or “mat shoof shar” (don’t see evil). I’ve broken both of my hands multiple of times but no one ever treated me differently. It’s these damn crutches, not sure how I can make them look any less medical, I already have some cool stickers on them. When I see someone in crutches or in a wheel chair I don’t treat them any differently than I would anybody else because I know they don’t want my pity. I guess I understand, people are just trying to be nice but still, it makes me feel weak.


Yesterday I had my stitches removed and had some new x-rays taken. The doctor said I still have two more weeks in my cast before I completely remove it. It’s not really a cast, I removed the cast around 10 days back and got this medical boot called the Arcus Air Walker instead. It looks super cool, a lot less medical looking than a cast and best of all I can remove it and put it on myself. Made cleaning my wound (and leg) so much easier plus it’s the only way I can put on my skinny shorts. By the way if you ever need anything like this, crutches, braces, or things to make life for someone with a disability easier, there is a pharmacy in Kuwait Building Tower in Kuwait City (same building as Spaloon and Burger King) that has the whole basement floor dedicated to this stuff. I got my boots, crutches and a shower bag for leg from there, they’re called AlHuwail Pharmacy.

So anyway my doctor told me I don’t have to wear the cast anymore as long as I don’t put much weight on it yet. Since I’m super clumsy we agreed I wear the boot when I am moving around on my crutches but I can remove it when I’m sitting down. That was energizing news since I kinda had gotten demoralized a few days earlier. One of my clients is an ex Chinese Olympic gymnast and he told me that back in the day when any athlete broke a bone they had to be in a cast for three months. That obviously brought me down since I had hoped I would have to stay in the cast for a maximum of 6 weeks.


The best news the doctor gave me is that I should start doing home rehab on my ankle, moving it around and such which is exactly what I wanted to hear. I have a little experiment I am planning to run you see, I noticed that in just two weeks my left calf muscle had completely weakend. That means even after I remove the cast I wouldn’t be able to walk normally or do normal things not unless my left leg got its strength back. So I had a theory, what if I did Electro Muscular Training starting from now? I tried it last month with the fitness studio 20Seven and it gave me a proper workout and my theory is it would keep my calf active and alive until I remove my cast. So I went online, did some research and ended up ordering the Compex SP 4.0. It’s one of the best and most popular brands for home EMT devices and use by crossfitters, cyclists and other athletes. I’m planning to work out my left leg, specifically my calves and ankles during this period in hopes that by the time I remove the cast my left leg would be stronger than if I hadn’t done EMT. I’m curious to see if it works. I’ll do a full review of the device in a month or so.

So two more weeks and if everything goes to plan no more crutches.

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Hawalli Traffic Department

Post by Mark


Every year I have to go through the dreaded process of renewing my car registration and I hate it. The traffic department in Maidan Hawalli is just a chaotic, over crowded unorganized mess. It involves a lot of pushing and shoving and lots of waiting. But this year, something changed.

I had already finished my car check in the morning without any incidents so I headed to the traffic department to get my car registration printed. Right as I walked in I noticed they had setup a desk at the main entrance and an officer was standing in the doorway leading to the main hall. The officer was not letting anyone through unless they had stood in line and gotten their paperwork checked and stamped at the desks. I naturally stood in line which wasn’t long at all, just two people ahead of me and when it was my turn the guy behind the desk checked my papers and then told me I needed to get a stamp from the machine. I went got a stamp while he patiently waited, I then passed him the stamp, he stuck it on my papers, signed it and gave it back to me and told me to go inside. I walked into what usually is a large, noisy and overcrowded hall and walked up to a window and handed the guy my papers. A minute later he called my name and I went and he gave me my new car registration. I walked out dumbfounded.

I am a pro at renewing car registrations since I do it a few times a year for my cars and my parents cars and I’ve been doing it for a fairly long time now. Not once have I ever managed to get anything done there in under 30 minutes. It usually takes longer but lets use 30 minutes as a number for now. This year the process took less than 10. Not only that but I didn’t get shoved, I didn’t have people try and push in front of me and I didn’t have to sit in an over crowded room watching people getting yelled at by an overzealous police officer.

Whomever they’ve put in charge at the traffic department in Hawalli needs a medal. It was literally the quickest and simplest governmental service I think I’ve ever experienced anywhere yet alone in Kuwait. Why can’t all of Kuwait’s government processes be so organized like this?

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My First Surgery

Post by Mark

Last week was a pretty eventful one for me and it all started Monday morning when I headed to Khiran for my wakeboard session. I spent the first half of the session doing jumps and the second half learning to ride switch. Just before the session was over I figured I would perform some more jumps and thats when I messed up. I got a bit over confident and rushed into a jump and ended up taking off wrong and then landing nose first into the water. The board immediately sank into the water and then snapped back out again aggressively which is when I felt an instant pain in my ankle area. Right away I knew I was hurt and so I took off the board and swam back to the boat before heading back to shore. When I got to shore I picked up my board and gear and started walking towards my car. I could barely put any weight on my left leg without feeling pain but I kept heading towards the car since I just wanted to get home. While leaving Khiran I found a bakala van so I pulled up and bought a bag of ice which I then used to ice my ankle while driving back home. It was around an hour drive to get home and a painful one. By the time I got home my ankle has swollen up to the size of a large mango I googled sprained ankles online and how to treat them and started following instructions. I didn’t think it was too bad, figured I might need 2 weeks or so to get all better.


A few hours later I decided to head to a doctor. While reading about ankle sprains online I realized there were three levels of sprains and my symptoms didn’t really fit under any one of them. So I visited a doctor so I could find out exactly how badly sprained my ankle was. I headed to International Clinic and saw and orthopedic doctor there. He made me move my ankle a few directions and it didn’t seem like I had any muscle problems. So he told me just to be safe we should do an x-ray. I had an x-ray done and when I got back to his room he was like I have some bad news, you’ve got a fracture. I was like whaaaaaattttt?? He was like not only do you have a fracture but you need surgery, we need to insert two screws to connect the dislodged bone back to your ankle. I was in complete shock and became sad and depressed. Right away in my head I was thinking that means no more wakeboarding, it means no more gym and it means I wouldn’t be able to go snowboarding in Sweden the following week. I just imagined myself sitting on the couch for a month pigging out on junk food and gaining like a zillion kilos. I told him I needed to get a second opinion and he completely understood that. We wrapped my leg in a half cast and I headed home.


I was sad and upset for like an hour before my mood and feelings about the whole thing completely changed. I basically had a little chat with myself in my head. I asked myself what do I prefer? No extreme sports but also no injuries, or would I rather have fun and enjoy life but every now and then get injured? I obviously prefer the later and right away my mind started working trying to solve various issues. How will I go grocery shopping? Simple I’ll order my groceries from Saveco since they deliver. How will I shower? How will I do my laundry? How can I make breakfast? One by one I found answers and solutions to all my questions. I didn’t want my fractured ankle to change anything in my life. I figured I can even continue to go to the gym but I would just weight-lift while seated or lying on my back. I accepted my injury and started feeling so much better about the whole thing, I started looking at the injury like a cool scar and I was kinda proud of it.

The next day I headed to Seef Hospital for a second opinion. I saw the doctor there and he told me the exact same thing, I needed surgery and two screws. I tried to schedule the surgery for the same day but we ended up scheduling it for the next day 8AM. I didn’t want to wait, I just wanted to get it done with and start the recovery process. I asked about the brand of screws I was going to get inserted. I figured if they’re going to be in me I wanted the best screws available. He told me I was going to get two titanium Stryker screws which were some of the best, I tried googling reviews funnily but obviously didn’t find any. I noticed the color of the screw online was purple and was going to ask him if I could choose the color I wanted but decided that might be a bit too anal of me.


Wednesday morning at 6AM I checked into my room at Seef Hospital. I had such a beautiful view but really wasn’t in the mood to appreciate it at that moment. I never had a surgery before, this was going to be my first one and I was going to get two screws drilled into me. I was quiet and emotionless. Whenever I am in a situation where I should be scared I instead feel nothing, no fear or anything, I just become quiet and didn’t care that I was having a surgery in an hour. Anyway to cut it short, I ended up having the surgery and it went well. I spent the morning falling in and out of consciousness because I was so sleepy. I wasn’t in pain and I ended up checking out later in the evening around 8PM. I hadn’t told my friends or anyone about the surgery, I just wanted to go through it alone and I found the whole process very therapeutic.


I’m now moving about normally although very slowly because I’m using crutches. Crutches by the way are such a workout, I was worried at first that I was going to end up turning into a couch potato but because the crutches are such a workout, I’m actually feeling fit. I’ve customized my crutches with stickers to try and make them look less medical. I’m still eating healthy, I just cheated with my last meal before surgery by having a burger but since the surgery I haven’t cheated at all. I’m taking a break from my gym this week but will hopefully start going back next Saturday. The doctor told me I can start putting some weight on my ankle starting from next week so thats good news. The most difficult thing I’ve been dealing with is making my bed every morning, it’s such a slow process using crutches but I’m getting it done. I’ve also been doing laundry, ironing and the dishes all while standing on one leg. My right leg is definitely going to bulk up over the next few weeks,


One thing I’ve noticed is I hate the way some strangers look at me with pity because I’m on crutches. It really bothers me because I don’t want anybodies pity, I’m doing just fine and I can take care of myself. I noticed Sultan Center Shaab have a wheel chair and a motorized scooter at the entrance for those who need it. It’s an extremely nice gesture but there is no way I would use them. I don’t want to feel helpless or weak so I would rather exhaust myself hopping around with crutches then take a wheelchair or scooter. I noticed whatever I do, I try not to show any weakness, even when I went to the hospital for my surgery I went and stayed in my gym gear. When I’m hopping around with crutches… I always have a smile on my face. The psychology behind all this has been entertaining.


I’m finding this whole experience with my ankle and crutches to be so educational and interesting. I am so not bothered by my fracture at all anymore, in fact what it’s done is slowed my life down, something which I needed to do anyway. I have been feeling so much more relaxed and less stressed since I hurt my ankle last week. I’m also having fun solving all these puzzles of trying to do stuff with crutches and one leg. The doctor said I can remove my cast after 5 weeks and then I can then start my rehab. I think time is going to fly by pretty quickly.

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Selling my MacBook Air

Post by Mark


I’m selling my 13″ MacBook Air in the Classifieds section. If anybody wants it, check it out and let me know. [Link]

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Ordering Supplements Online

Post by Mark


Has anyone ordered fitness supplements online with Aramex? Did you have any difficulties with customs or was a complicated mess?

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Sonic Editions

Post by Mark


I have a huge wall in my apartment I needed to fill and wasn’t sure how. I figured I might either get some shelves or possibly a painting but I also didn’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for it. Originally I was looking for a specific Andy Warhol Camouflage print but after having a difficult time procuring one I decided to give up on that dream. In the end I went with a super large black and white photo from a website called Sonic Editions.


I originally found out about Sonic Editions because they had a Dave Grohl photo reenacting the old Maxell blown away guy (pictured above). All their photos are limited to just 495 prints and after flipping through hundreds of photos I finally fell in love with one, Al Pacino on the set of the movie ‘Serpico‘ in New York in 1973. The only issue was the largest size they had the photo available on the website was 60x75cm and I needed one much larger. So I emailed them and asked if they could customize a size for me, one that was 80×100 (100x120cm with the frame) and they said yes they could. They also would ship directly to Kuwait at a fairly reasonable price of around KD55.


I placed the order and around 20 days later I received the print framed. Everything about it exceeded my expectations. First the package was huge and barely fit sideways in my FJ Cruiser. Any larger and I would have needed a pickup truck probably. The frame was packaged extremely well and when I finally got all the packaging out of the way I was very impressed with the quality of the photo print as well as the quality of the frame. The workmanship was top notch and there was even a patch on the back of the frame with details of the photo including the photographers name, where it was shot, the date and the limited edition number. I was blown away at how easy it was to order and ship the photography to Kuwait and I’m now looking for another one to order for a different room.

So if you’re looking to purchase an artwork for your wall, check these guys out www.soniceditions.com

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Skateboarding and Badminton

Post by Mark


This is a little bit off topic from my usual posts but I need two things:

So recently I started playing badminton with a friend with IBAK (Indian Badminton Association – Kuwait) and I’m not that great. So I’m looking for a private trainer, if anyone knows of one let me know.

I also recently fell in love with a skateboard (pictured on top) and I bought it. I’ve been wanting to skateboard ever since I was a kid but never got the chance to so if any skateboarder here is willing to give me some private lessons as well, let me know.


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