Peak Design Camera Gear in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Earlier this year I sold all my camera gear, and by all I mean everything from my DSLR and lenses, down to accessories like tripods and carrying bags. I wasn’t using my camera gear much cuz everything was so bulky and so got rid of them. Then last month I realized that I actually did need a camera, I just didn’t want something big so I ended up getting the new Sony A7 III mirrorless camera which I have been loving. I’ve also been slowly rebuilding my camera gear again from scratch and one of the first things I needed to do was get a camera strap and bag.

After doing a lot of research, I ended up with Peak Design for both the strap and bag. Peak Design is a pretty popular brand in the photography world, but I only recently found out about them because of their camera strap. Nearly all the Sony A7 review videos I watched had the circular red anchors (pictured above) and I didn’t understand what they were until I saw one of the reviewers snap his camera strap to it. That’s when I knew I needed that camera strap in my life. With my previous cameras, it was pretty unpractical to keep removing and putting the strap on so I always left it off, but with the Peak Design strap, it’s super easy. I shot the video below to show you how quick it is to snap the strap on and off.

I was going to order the strap online but decided to check and see if it was available locally and turned out AAB World had them. I ended up getting the Peak Design Leash Strap which is one of their thinner ones and while picking it up I also checked out the Peak Design bags.

When I was researching bags one of the things I was looking for was a bag that was at least half decent looking and the Peak Design looked pretty good online but I wasn’t convinced until I saw them in person and tried them out at AAB. I decided to go with their Everyday Sling model since I liked the way the bag looked and the way it’s worn. The Everyday Sling comes in two sizes, the 5L which I thought would be perfect for using when I travel, and the 10L size which I thought would be perfect to use locally when I needed to carry all my camera gear.

Full disclosure, AAB ended up giving me the 10L bag for free so I could review it. I had the choice to choose any of their bags but figured I’d have them give me the 10L so I could then buy the cheaper 5L version myself.

I picked up the bag a few weeks ago but waited to get my camera lenses before I could do a proper write-up, and now that I have most of my lenses, I’m kinda concerned the bag isn’t big enough and maybe I should be looking at their backpacks instead. The biggest issue is with my large 100-400mm lens which is a pretty tight fit heightwise. If you watch the video below you’ll see that I do manage to squeeze in all my lenses including the 100-400mm into the bag. But once I put my MacBook into the bag, then it becomes pretty difficult to zip up. I guess the easy fix is just not to carry my MacBook, but I really wanted a bag I could shove everything into and not worry about space.

One thing I was surprised with was how light the bag felt even though I had all my gear in it. I think that has to do with the way the bag is worn. Unlike a regular messenger bag which presses down on a small point on your shoulder with the weight of the bag being on your side, with the Sling, the weight of the bag is spread over a larger portion of your shoulder with most of the weight carried with the help of your back like a backpack. It’s a hybrid of a backpack and messenger bag and I found it easier to carry the gear without my shoulders starting to hurt. I also think the bag looks great and is really practical. You really should watch the video on the Peak Design website to find out about all the cool features of it since they do a great job of showing them. For example, I can carry my tripod with the Everyday Sling by strapping it to the bottom of the back or I can stack lenses inside the bag by using their “FlexFold” dividers. Peak Design really do think of everything which is why they’re loved by so many photographers.

If you’re interested in Peak Design gear, AAB are the local dealers and their prices are similar to if you order it yourself from the Peak Design website. The Leash strap cost me around KD14 while the Everyday Sling 10L bag sells for KD45. They’re both available on the AAB website [Here]

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Review: Sony WH-1000 XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Post by Mark

I’ve had my eyes on the Sony noise canceling headphones ever since their first generation was launched a few years ago, then last year I was tempted to get their second generation (the XM2’s), but never ended up pulling the trigger. Then, a few months ago, Sony surprised everyone by launching their third generation XM3 headphones and they instantly became a huge hit. Many were calling it the best wireless noise canceling headphones you can buy and most of the reviewers agreed that they were miles ahead of the popular BOSE QC35 II. I decided I wanted one.

Since the headphones had just been released a couple of months back and were super popular, they were sold out at every US and UK retailer I checked from Amazon, to BestBuy to Currys. Even on eBay they were being sold at ridiculous prices. After a week of searching, I finally found a retailer in Australia that was selling them at retail price and I ended up ordering my pair from there and shipping them to my Australian Shop&Ship address. Surprisingly, Aramex were pretty quick with the shipping and I managed to get my pair delivered this past Thursday just before I traveled to Dubai. After using them while working out of Arabica and then again on the plane, I’m in shock at how good these are.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for years, you probably know I have an obsession with headphones. I actually just found a list of some of the headphones (and earphones) I’ve owned:

Bang & Olufsen A8
Bang & Olufsen H5
Beats by Dre
BeyerDynamic DT770 600ohm
Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i
Sennheiser IE80
Sennheiser PX100
Sennheiser PX100-II
Sennheiser PXC250
Shure E2
Shure SE210
Shure SE215
Sony MDR-XB500
UE 5 Pro
UE Triple.Fi 10 Pro

So I’ve used a lot of headphones over the years but my current go-to pair when traveling were the fantastic Sennheiser IE80. They sounded terrific and because they were wired, it meant they never ran out of batteries. But they had two issues, the first being they were wired, wireless is more practical of course especially on a plane. The second issue I had was with the comfort, the IE80’s are in-earphones so on long trips my ears would get really warm and sweaty. I wanted a new travel pair and these Sony’s solved all my issues.

Firstly, the Sony’s are wireless, but they also have a 30-hour battery life which means even on my longest flight to LA, I’d be able to use the headphones on the plane, during transit and still get to LA with lots of battery left. Secondly, the Sony’s are super comfortable. I haven’t used them yet for more than 2-3 hours at one go, but so far they’ve been extremely comfy. The Sony’s fit around my ears so they aren’t applying any pressure on them and the padding is super soft. The most important aspect of these Sony’s and what really makes them so great is the noise cancelation abilities. I haven’t used a lot of noise-canceling headphones but people who have say these are the best ones you can buy right now. I’m going to believe them because based on my experience this past weekend, they work like magic. On the plane, they COMPLETELY cancel out the lound rumbling engine sound, my flight to Dubai and back was extremely quiet and peaceful. Every time I took the headphones off I was actually in shock at how loud the plane was without them. I actually feel that way whenever I take the headphones off after using them anywhere. We are surrounded by so much sound everywhere we go and we don’t tend to realize it because we’re so used to it. These headphones really transport you into a quiet space, so you’ll get the library silence wherever you are. They aren’t perfect, while using them at Arabica, if I didn’t have any music playing I could still kinda hear people chattering.

The headphones have a lot of cool features and can even be connected to an app that allows you to control the amount of ambient sound they let in, but, I’m not going to go into too many details since you could watch or read more comprehensive reviews online. What I will say is this, these Sony’s sound great, are super comfortable and kill the sound around you so good that you won’t believe it.

If you’re interested in a pair I couldn’t find any place locally to get them and they’re still hard to get online. BUT, while I was at the Duty Free in Dubai I spotted them being sold there and for around KD110. So if you have a trip to Dubai planned or know someone traveling, let them get you a pair. Here is a link to them on Amazon but they’re out of stock as of this post [Link]

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Best Molokhia in Town?

Post by Mark

I hate molokhia but, @cosmicxcircus somehow convinced me that I’ve been having bad molokhia all my life and that I needed to try it at her favorite place. She sold me on the theory and told me about a small hole in the wall in Hawalli called Layali Zamaan that supposedly made the best molokhia in Kuwait. So I decided to head there with her and a couple of other friends to try it out.

There are mainly two kinds of molokhia, the soupy Egyptian molokhia and the leafy Lebanese version. As this was an Egyptian restaurant they made the soupy kind. The molokhia meal at Layali Zamaan consists of bird tongue soup (chicken broth with orzo pasta), leafy veggies, rice, protein, Egyptian bread, and of course, the molokhia.

You have five different proteins to choose from, duck, chicken, meat, pigeon, and fish. I was curious to try the pigeon since I’ve never had it before but, since I was already out of my comfort zone with the molokhia, I decided to stick with meat.

The bird tongue soup which didn’t really look appetizing turned out to be actually really good, and I love carbs so the bread was great, and that is about it. Turns out I still really dislike molokhia because I hated it at this place as well. The whole time I was there I was thinking about what I would order off Carriage once I was back home. Everyone else I was with LOVED the molokhia but I have no idea why.

The best thing about Layali Zamaan for me was that it was located around the corner from the popular ice cream shop Bikdash Al Sham. The second best thing about Layali Zamaan was the price. We were four people and the bill came out to KD5.500 which I guess is a steal if you like molokhia. If you’re interested in trying the place out, they’re located in Hawalli, here is their location on [Google Maps]

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Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series

Post by Mark

You’ve probably seen the Land Cruisers 70 series on the road, they look like old cars because they originally came out in the early 80s but Toyota actually still builds them today with just minor changes. They’re probably one of Toyotas best sellers locally and on more than one occasion I’ve passed by the dealership only to be told the whole range was completely sold out. It’s mind-boggling which is why I’ve always been curious to drive one. Why are they so popular?

Personally, I became a big fan of the LC70 after coming upon Andrew White’s youtube channel. I was at one point considering getting a Land Rover Defender when I found one of his videos where he compares the two. Soon I was watching hours and hours of videos of him talking about his LC70 and all the stuff he’s done to it on his YouTube channel. At one point I was even contemplating renting an LC70 camper vehicle similar to his and going overlanding in South Africa.

My FJ is turning 9 years old in a few months and so I’ve been looking for a possible replacement for the past few years. Whatever I replace the FJ with has to be comfortable, durable and spacious. I was considering the 4-door LC70 because I loved the way they looked and their simplicity. The exterior hasn’t changed much since the early 80s so the cars don’t really get old in the same way the Mercedes G class or Land Rover Defender don’t get old. So last weekend I borrowed a friend’s 2-door Land Cruiser to test drive, and after giving it back I’m not sure I want one anymore.

The problem I had with the car was that it was just exhausting to drive. I drove the LC70 an hour out into the desert and then an hour back, and it felt like I had just gone on an 8-hour adventure. I can’t really pinpoint why the car exhausted me so much, it might have been because of the simple seats or the rough suspension, it might have been because the AC wasn’t cooling properly or maybe because the cabin noise was just too loud. Most likely, it was because of all of the above combined. Because the car hasn’t really changed much from the 80s, it lacks a lot of comforts. There’s no sound isolation which meant the interior was pretty noisy, it also meant there was no weather insulation so although the AC was blasting ice cold air, the car interior just wasn’t getting cold enough. The ride was pretty rough even on highways and the car I drove had an upgraded suspension so I can only imagine how much worse the ride is with the stock setup. The car was draining, even on short trips, driving felt like a chore.

On the other hand, I really love the way the car looks and I also love the barebones interior. Do we really need 3D surround view, heads-up displays, lane change and parking assist, massage chairs and digital dashboards? No, we don’t. The interior cabin although not that spacious was very bright and had incredible visibility because of the large windows and very small pillars. Most importantly though, the Land Cruiser felt like it would take a lot of abuse (and it can). But my favorite thing about the car has to be the fact when you’re buying an LC70, you’re actually buying a brand new vintage car.

The Land Cruiser 70 series starts close to KD9,000 and goes up past KD12,000 so they’re not cheap. You also don’t have many options locally, for example, the car comes with either a grey or beige/brown interior but the local dealer only gets the beige/brown one. Exterior colors are also limited to like 4. Do I love the car or do I hate it? I’m not really sure. I want to say I love it, but would I trade my FJ for one? The answer is no.

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The Apple iPhone XS

Post by Mark

Thursday night I passed by Digits in Marina Mall and picked up the new iPhone XS a few hours before the official launch. Digits always hook me up with a phone ahead of launch and even discount the phones for me because they know they’re going to get publicity from me. I like this arrangement because it means I don’t need to wait in line or worry about the phone getting sold out. This year I actually had another company approach me with a better deal on the new iPhone, but my history with Digits goes way way back.

I’m a very nostalgic person and I’ve got a lot of nostalgia with Digits. I’ve been a customer of theirs since before they were called Digits, since before they were called Mac&More, since way before the iPhone or iPod ever existed, back when their store was simply called Apple Computer. Back then they were located across from Salhia and had beautiful beige Power Macs on display which I sadly never got to own. But, since the very beginning, they’ve been hooking me up with stuff like when I got my Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh from them or when they let me take their Think Different banners after their Salhia store closed down. And then I got my 15 seconds of worldwide fame because of them when my pictures of their abandoned store made their way around the web. So yeah, I’m a big fan of Digits and very loyal. I think their service center is great and I just love dealing with them which is why I’m always promoting them.

This year I had two options of phones to choose from, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. I was pretty tempted to get the Max but I already thought the regular XS was too big and so I knew I’d struggle with the Max. Since I sold my water damaged iPhone X around 3 months back I’ve been using an iPhone 8. I loved how small it felt and how I could easily reach all four corners of the screen with my thumb, but I did miss the full screen and I majorly missed the ability to switch between apps by just swiping left or right at the bottom of the screen. Although I was tempted to get the Max because it was a new phone and would give me more to write about on the blog, I knew the regular XS was the one I really should get. Judging by the poll I held on my instagram story though, it looks like the majority of you would prefer the Max.

The XS and X are virtually the same phone. Even though Apple could spend an hour talking about the differences, in reality, there isn’t that much of a difference. The only thing you might notice being different is the camera, the new camera is an improvement over the previous one but unless you’re taking two photos with the two different phones in the same spot and then compare them side by side… you won’t really notice a difference. Battery life still isn’t that great, when I went from the X to the 8 I was kinda surprised at how much better the battery life on the 8 was, I could spend all day on the phone and the battery wouldn’t drop down past 50%. With the X and now the XS, I could be down to 50% by lunchtime.

But truthfully, I’d rather be on the X or XS over the 8 any day. The iPhone 8 and any non-fullscreen iPhone really do feel and look outdated compared to the new iPhones with the fullscreen. Although I loved the battery life on the 8, I don’t mind the sacrifice for a larger and better screen. So moving from an iPhone 8 (or 7, 6, 5 etc..) to an XS is a no-brainer, the question really is if you have an iPhone X now, is it worth moving to an XS? The answer is no, not at all.

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The New Porsche Cayenne

Post by Mark

I was never a fan of the old Cayennes, not because I was Porsche purist and was upset that they had built an SUV, but because I thought they looked ugly. This new third generation Cayenne, on the other hand, is so hot looking which is why I got in touch with Porsche and asked them to borrow the car for the weekend.

Even before driving this third generation Cayenne I was pushing it off on friends. Anybody with a budget of around 30K I would quickly recommend the new Cayenne because it had two very important things going for it, a great looking exterior as well as a very modern looking interior. And, because the car just came out, you know this current look is going to be around for at least the next 7 years.

The model I picked up for the review was the “entry-level” Porsche Cayenne. After spending a weekend with this standard Cayenne I can tell you, you don’t need the faster Cayenne S or Turbo versions. The standard Cayenne with 340HP is no slouch which is what I was expecting it to be. The S version adds another 100HP on top of the standard Cayenne power and the Turbo version adds 200HP, but if you’re on a limited budget, get the standard Cayenne and use the money saved to fill it up with options. The car handled like you’d expect a Porsche to handle, it was very comfortable on bumpy roads but also stiff enough on fast hard turns. When I posted my Lexus LC500 review last week, a reader suggested I should test the cars by running them up and down the Crystal Tower parking lot so I decided to do just that for this review, as an agility test. If you don’t know the Crystal Tower parking lot, its known for being incredibly tight and people tend to scrape both sides of their cars going up and down the ramps. So I decided to have a bit of fun and mounted three GoPro’s to the Cayenne and decided to go up and down the lot to see how it handled tight turns. It passed! I think next time I should run the test when the parking is full since if the floors are empty it’s actually not that hard to maneuver through the floors.

The interior of the new Cayenne is another place it really shines. I personally think the Range Rover Velar raised the bar pretty high for slick and futuristic looking interiors but the new Cayenne manages to do that as well. The new Cayenne has a pretty huge screen with a really great looking infotainment system that also includes Apple’s CarPlay, but that’s just part of what makes the interior look so modern. The physical buttons in the center console area have now been replaced with backlit buttons and digital screens that are now touch sensitive. The whole center console looks like a giant screen and this helps give the interior such a modern look. Moving to the back the rear passengers have excellent legroom as well as having modern amenities like USB ports. The trunk is also pretty big and the rear seats fold down to make it even bigger but oddly enough, there are no controls in the trunk to automatically fold down the rear seats. I couldn’t find the option to add them either on the Porsche site which is bizarre because this is a pretty expensive car so you’d expect this pretty basic option.

Which brings us to the price. The starting price of the Cayenne is KD24,600 and I know this is going to sound weird, but that’s actually a pretty good deal. I would have expected the car to start much higher so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out how much they cost. 30,000 would get you a Cayenne S but as I mentioned earlier, I’d use the money saved going with the standard Cayenne to add all the options you want and there are A LOT of options to choose from. One of my favorite things about Porsche is how you can configure and build your own car on their website. Their online configurator allows you to spec the car the way you want it while showing you the exact cost, and then you can take your build to the dealership and just order it. I tend to build a Porsche maybe once every couple of weeks just for fun (don’t ask) and the Cayenne I built with all the options I wanted came out to around 31,000 which isn’t that bad.

So yeah I pretty much loved the car. I think like all Porsches the biggest issue with the Cayenne is that it’s going to end up being too popular and so you’ll start seeing a ton of them on the roads. If you want to check the car out and take it for a test drive you can as well, just head to the dealer and book a drive. Also make sure you check out the Porsche car configurator [Here]

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THEATRE by Rhodes

Post by Mark

Last week I got invited by VOX Cinemas to the premiere of Johnny English Strikes Again. The premier was showing at their VIP theater which they call “THEATRE by Rhodes”, after the Michelin-starred chef, Gary Rhodes. I hadn’t experienced the Rhodes theater yet so I was curious to try it out.

THEATRE by Rhodes is located in an area separate from the rest of the VOX theaters in Avenues. So while the VOX regular area was busy, once I stepped into the Rhodes area it was super chill and a completely different look. From a super bright white busy area, you walk into a much dimmer, quieter and moodier space, as if you’ve just walked into a lounge. Actually, it is a lounge with what looks like a bar on one side and lots of seating all around. Food and drinks were included with the invitation so as soon as we were seated the waiters brought me and my friend menus so we could pick out our three-course meal and drinks. There were a number of different options to choose from in every category, you had the usual stuff like nachos and hotdogs but of course, presented much nicer and composed of better quality ingredients, but you then had more interesting options which for the life of me I can’t remember what they were. I should have taken a picture of the menu but I didn’t. My starter though was a crispy shrimps dish and my main was chicken and shrimp satay on sticks.

After placing our order we were taken to our seats inside the theater. The seats are all reclining with an adjustable footrest as well. You also get a complementary blanket and pillow. It was super cozy and comfortable, like watching a movie at home except better since I don’t have a reclining sofa at home. The seating was easily my favorite part of the experience and the main reason I’d go back thats for sure. Once the movie started they began bringing our food out. I thought this was going to be annoying because you’d have waiters walking around and in front of the screen but the waiters were all pretty stealthy. You’ll barely notice them.

Even though the movie wasn’t great I had a good experience. The only issue really is that the seats are all too far apart from each other. So I couldn’t communicate with my friend at all throughout the film. It’s a very solo experience watching a movie in the VIP theater and you might as well just go by yourself, which actually is a great plus. If you’re an introvert and want to go and watch a movie by yourself, you’ll love this place. It just feels like everyone in the theater is sitting by themselves so you won’t feel self-conscious or awkward.

The price for a normal THEATRE by Rhodes ticket is KD10 but if you want the 3-course meal and drinks then the package costs KD20. For more information or if you’re interested in trying out the theater yourself, check out the THEATRE by Rhodes website [Here]

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Tampopo Ramen Shop

Post by Mark

Until just recently, if you wanted good ramen in Kuwait you were basically out of luck. There weren’t many places that had ramen and the places that did usually had a pretty average bowl. But, last week a new ramen place opened up in Kuwait called Tampopo and it’s great!

The chef behind Tampopo is Maryam Alnusif (or Mimi), many of you might have heard of her since she is behind Shakshooka and The Secret Garden project. Tampopo is actually right next to the Secret Garden, it’s a small place with a main seating area composed of a bar running along the kitchen counter, as well as a bar facing the opposite wall and another bar stretching across the main storefront window. The menu is extremely simple with just three ramen dishes to choose from: Chicken, duck and vegan ramen. They also have a few cocktails and surprisingly, really great tasting non-alcholic Japanese Asahi beer.

I was there with some friends and so we ordered one of everything. My favorite ramen bowl was the vegan one followed by the duck and then the chicken. Because we got there early at around 6:30PM, we managed to find seating, but by the time we were done with our bowls, the place was already packed with people waiting to be seated. I loved the food, the atmosphere and all the people behind Tampopo so I’m definitely going back again this week. Plus its walking distance from my home which is pretty convenient.

Because Tampopo is still in a soft launch phase, they’re only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6PM to 10PM. But, starting next week they might start opening on Mondays as well. They also right now only accept cash but should start accepting knet next week. For a map of the location and to stay up to date on their store timings, check out their instagram page @tampopo.ramenshop

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My Experience Flying Out of the New Jazeera Airways Terminal

Post by Mark

This past weekend I got to fly out of the new Jazeera Airways Terminal (T5) and I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s a brand new terminal and our current main terminal is a horrible mess so you would think flying out of this brand new terminal would be a far better experience, but, it really wasn’t that much better.

Parking & Check-in
Firstly, I used the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly service to check in. It’s a service they have where you park your car in their parking lot located away from the terminal, you then check in at the parking lot and take their shuttle back to the main airport. The reason I did that is the service costs KD2.5 a day while parking at the Jazeera Airways parking lot costs KD6 a day, so its a considerable amount of savings. I’m glad I checked in from their remote location since when I arrived to the main terminal, I noticed the check-in area was pretty packed, and they didn’t have their self-check-in machines installed yet either.

Passport Control & Security Check
Passport control wasn’t too bad, there weren’t a lot of people and so I didn’t spend too much time in line. The area did look a bit messy though, I don’t understand why the airport, both this one and the old one can’t get belt barriers set up in straight lines. Anyway the issues started right after passport control beginning with the security check. Between passport control and the security check there really isn’t enough space to set up a proper queueing system so we were standing a bit disorganized. The security machines were also pretty small without any prep space before it. By prep space, I mean an area before the machine to put your bag and start unpacking the laptop or removing your belt, watches etc. Also they didn’t have any bins to dispose of liquids in before the machine, you had to put your liquids in the machine and then dispose of them on the other side. Finally, not sure if its the same now in the main terminal, but the last time I flew out from the main terminal they were using the private security firm G4S for security control. At the Jazeera Terminal the Port Authority is in charge and I’m not exaggerating here, it looked like they were on their first day of the job. They were completely disorganized and looked like amateurs with very little confidence or experience to manage the security check. I’m 99% sure this must have been their first day in charge of security because I can’t imagine another reason why they were so all over the place.

The Terminal
Once I was done with the security check I decided to walk around and explore the terminal but there really wasn’t anything to explore. The duty-free section hadn’t been set up yet and there were no restaurants and very little seating. The terminal still looks unfinished, it was basically in the same state I had seen it in before they had opened. Thankfully, the Jazeera terminal is connected to the old main terminal so I just headed to the lounge there to kill some time and then passed by the newly opened Pick to grab a bite. When it was close to boarding time, I decided to head to my gate back in the Jazeera terminal to wait there, except it turns out there isn’t enough seating at the gate so you have to queue outside the gate until they’re ready to put you on the bus. Once you get into the gate you need to pass through another security check and like the first security check, it was a disorganized mess. This security check also lacked bins to dispose of liquids so people were just placing them on the floor around the security machine.

The Plane
Not related to the airport but still worth mentioning. Our plane was the brand new A320neo which they had just received like a week or so ago. It was very comfortable and not that noisy (engine sound). The thing I found odd was that the interior of the plane was a dark maroon color, both the carpets and the seats. It felt like I was on a Qatar Airways flight and not a Jazeera Airways one. Aren’t the interiors meant to be blue? I thought they were because of their press release photo (pictured above) so I found that odd. I kinda feel like this plane was possibly meant for Qatar Airways but was then taken by Jazeera? Can’t imagine why else it would be in this color. No screens, USB ports or any seat amenities of course, but that was ok with me since I carry everything I need with me anyway. I just wish they had screens somewhere with the live map so we knew how far into the trip we were but that’s the only issue I had with the plane.

Coming back into Kuwait was a far better experience. Passport control went pretty smooth and so did the carry-on security check right after. After the security check is the baggage conveyor belts area which felt small. Our baggage did take forever to come out but I’m not sure Jazeera have any control over that. The airport is small so the distance from passport control to baggage pick up to airport exit is very short so if you’re only with your carry on, then you could be out pretty quickly from the terminal. Once I was out there were no signs telling me where to go for the shuttle bus back to their Park & Fly area, I also couldn’t find a Jazeera Airways employee to ask so I asked a security guy who told me to go to the side of the building. The shuttle was just arriving so I didn’t end up waiting long and ended up back at my car fairly quickly.

In Conclusion?
If you fly with Jazeera Airways right now you need to manage your expectations and treat their new terminal like it’s still in beta testing with a lot of bugs that need to be sorted out. Is it better than the main terminal? I mean I guess but marginally. Only the passport control area is an improvement but that’s about it. The conveyor belt area was a bit tight, there are two belts and the space around them is smaller than the number of people per flight so it gets crowded very quickly. If two planes land at the same time I can imagine it looking like a total mess but I think it would still be better off than the main terminal, but just slightly. The worst aspects of the new terminal are the unorganized and inexperienced security personnel along with the horrible gates that can’t hold passengers (at least Gate B3). I imagine things will get better but for now, don’t expect too much.

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The All-New Lincoln Navigator

Post by Mark

When the all-new Lincoln Navigator concept car was previewed two years ago with its butterfly doors and futuristic looking seats, Lincoln brought the Navigator back into the spotlight. The Navigator was a pretty popular car for Lincoln when it had originally been released, but over time, it started looking dull and outdated (along with the rest of the Lincoln line up). The concept car was a way for Lincoln to show the market they were still relevant and it worked. A year later they released the all-new Lincoln Navigator and although it didn’t have the butterfly doors or the cool looking 3 piece fold out steps of the concept car, it pretty much retained everything else including the cool looking seats.

I’m generally not into large sized family SUV’s, but when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing the new Navigator I had two questions, did the test drive car have the cool seats and, did it have the cool car unlock light show? When I was told it did, I decided to borrow the car for the weekend.

First impressions, I was extremely impressed with the interior. The dashboard was pretty sleek with a large digital display that had super minimal but premium looking graphics. The buttons were all nicely laid out in the center console along with another large information screen. Even the gear change buttons were beautifully laid out in the center console. The interior oozed luxury and I wasn’t even in their top of the line “Presidential” model that used a more premium quality leather.

One of the things I was looking forward to were the seats because of how customizable and comfortable they supposedly were and I wasn’t disappointed. The seats had 11 different parts I could individually adjust as well as a built in massage feature and cold air ventilation. It had 30-way seat positioning so finding the most comfortable setup was super easy to achieve. Shorter people are also going to love the fact that the foot pedals are electronically adjustable and so can be brought in closer to the driver. The car I drove had a large panoramic roof which brought in daylight that lit up the incredibly large interior. Large is an understatement actually, the car is huge! The second row passengers have more legroom than most people do in the front seats of their cars, and then you have the third row seats to hold more people and you still had room behind those seats for your luggage. There is loads of storage space all over the car for your stuff as well as a huge storage compartment under the armrest and below the center console. The car also had multiple USB ports everywhere and even a wireless charging area.

The model I drove had a bunch of driver assist technologies including a lane keeping system, parking assist, brake assist, 360-degree cameras and adaptive cruise control. The combination of all these technologies made driving the humongous Navigator a lot easier and made driving, in general, a lot more comfortable. The adaptive cruise control works like cruise control on regular cars where you set a speed and the car would stick to it, with the Lincoln it also applied the brakes and slowed down for you when the car ahead would slow down or stop. Combined with a lane keeping system that can control the cars steering to keep you in your lane, you basically end up with a fairly autonomous vehicle when on the highway. The parking assist also made parking super easy. The car can perpendicular or parallel park for you and based on my short experience with the car, it worked pretty well all although it still scares the crap out of me everytime I let a car park for me. As you can see in the video above which I shot, the car takes full control of the steering and acceleration and all you need to do is apply the brakes to stop.

After spending a long weekend with the car I had to give it back and I was fine with that. The car was just too big for me and is clearly meant for large families. For a single guy like me the car felt overwhelming although I do miss the comfort and the serene interior. I had the car on the first day of Ramadan and even with all the traffic, I wasn’t bothered with the chaos that was taking place outside the car. It felt like I was sitting in my living room which is anice feeling to have while stuck in traffic. I do have some issues with the new Navigator though, none major but still worth mentioning. I really dislike the rear of the car, although I think the front of the car looked good, the back just looked super boxy and not in a cool way boxy, but more like the 90s outdated way. Then the stereo, even though the sound system in the car was pretty good, my issue with it was how the dashboard and doors rattled with the bass, and I’m not talking about rattles when I’m blasting the music really loud, I was hearing rattles at low volume as well. Not something I would expect from a premium car. Finally, I thought the suspension was too soft, it made the ride comfier obviously, but the car also tended to bounce a lot after going over a speed bump or hitting a pothole.

The price of the all-new Navigator starts at KD27,000 but the model I drove was the “Reserve” edition and that retails for KD29,000. For more information you can check out the Lincoln Alghanim webiste [Here] or their instagram account @lincolnalghanim

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