Categories
Music Shopping Technology

Review: LAICOMEIN 2-in-1 Bluetooth Adapter

This is just a quick review of this really great tiny and cheap Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. I’m posting about it for anyone googling a solution for their Bang & Olufsen A9 like I did.

Back in 2013 (so over 10 years ago which is crazy), I bought a Bang & Olufsen A9. Not sure what had gotten into me, probably related to some trauma from my divorce back then, but I somehow thought it was ok then to pay 890KD for it. The speaker actually ended up costing me more than that because after setting it up at home and realizing it didn’t look as good in my apartment as it did in the shop, I ended up redecorating my whole apartment around it (true story)!

Fast forward to today, I got married again and so redid my apartment and the A9 is back in the spotlight again. It looks even better now with my new aesthetic, but because technology has come a long way since I bought the A9, I was having issues streaming music to it. The AirPlay would work on and off, sometimes I needed to reboot the speaker to get it working right and it was just annoying to use, and so it was there for looks only. I was then googling to see if the unit had Bluetooth and confirmed it didn’t, but then I came across some people asking if there was a way to get bluetooth installed and someone mentioned getting a Bluetooth receiver. So I started researching and realized that, if I found a bluetooth unit tiny enough and ran off USB power, I could potentially strap it onto the back of the A9 with velcro or something, and just like that I’d have Bluetooth on my A9.

After doing some research on Amazon, I eventually decided on the LAICOMEIN 2-in-1 Bluetooth Adapter. It was both a Bluetooth receiver and transmitter, it was tiny, could be powered with USB, and it cost just $30. Now that I have it I can’t believe how perfect this little thing is.

My B&O A9 has a small compartment on the back with a cover. Inside the compartment is where you connect the power cable, ethernet, and RCA inputs. But, there is also a USB port which was used to connect to the iPhone during the first time setup. The LAICOMEIN came with everything I needed to connect to the A9 and the set up was SUPER easy. I just had to put the switch on the bluetooth unit to receiver mode, I then connected the USB cable and line-in cable to it, and then plugged the other end of the USB cable to the back of my A9 and the line out into the RCA inputs. As soon as I plugged it into the USB port a red light came on to let me know it had power, I then pressed and held the power button down to turn it on and switch to pairing mode. That was it! The A9 automatically detected there was a device connected to the RCA input so switched to that, and then my bluetooth turntable saw the A9 and connected to it. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes to set up.

The LAICOMEIN is also so small that I didn’t need to figure out a way to strap it to the back, it just fit inside the tiny compartment at the back of the A9, and then I just closed the cover and you can’t even tell there is anything there. It’s perfect!

Speaking of my bluetooth turntable. I recently found a great deal on a Pro-ject T1 BT turntable on eBay. It was a brand new open box unit and I managed to snatch it up for $284 with tax and shipping (add another 30KD to ship to Kuwait). In comparison it costs $499 on Amazon without tax so I basically got it for half the price. But, the T1 BT has the WORST implementation of bluetooth I’ve seen on any device ever. The bluetooth module is a separate unit at the bottom of the player with a separate on and off switch. The plan originally was to pair it with my KEF LSX speakers, but I couldn’t get the pairing to work. There are no lights on the T1 letting me know if bluetooth is on, if it’s connected to anything, or if it’s pairing and I just couldn’t figure it out. Eventually I gave up on it, but as soon as I installed the bluetooth receiver into the A9, I turned on the bluetooth switch on the side of the T1 just out of curiosity to see if anything happens, and right away it connected! So now my record player is connected to my A9 and I think I like this setup now.

So yeah, at just $30, LAICOMEIN 2-in-1 Bluetooth Adapter is a great purchase and I’m now thinking of getting one for my B&O Beolit 12 which I also purchased 11 years ago and also only has AirPlay. If you want to get Bluetooth on an old device, I totally recommend this, here is the link to it on Amazon.

Categories
50s to 90s Information Music Shopping

Where to find vinyl records in Kuwait (2024 Edition)

Since a lot of record stores pop up and close down often, I tend to update this list every few years.

All the small online stores that sold new records have closed down, including @vinyldestinationkw, and so if you want a new release, your best bet is ordering from Amazon.

But, if you’re looking for old used records, you actually have multiple options in Kuwait.

The Antique Basement
This basement in Salmiya has various stores selling vintage and antique items, three of them also have a small collection of old records. They’re not organized but instead are either just pilled up on top of one another, or randomly stacked in boxes. Finding stuff is a bit of an adventure, but on the bright side, they’re mostly English records. Here are the instagram accounts of those stores:

@tathkron
@fahad___bokhaled
@alnasser_antiques_kuwait

Nawader
This guy has the most insane collection of old music since he acquired all the remaining stock of the old record label “Bou Zaid Phone“, one of the most important Kuwaiti record labels. Nawader has a huge collection of new-old-stock records, cassettes and even 8-track tapes. Nearly all of the records he has are in Arabic, and he also has many very hard to come by ones. I got my 4-volume vinyl set of the “Kuwaiti Television Artistic Group” from him, and although he wouldn’t sell me his copy of the Iftah Ya Simsim record, he did hook me up with someone else who sold me theirs. He has a location thats by appointment only, but you can also purchase or request items through any one of his three instagram accounts:

@nawaderq8
@q8nawader
@istuwanat

Moqtanayaty
If you’re looking for a vintage record player, boombox, 8-track or even reel-to-reel players to buy, the best store in Kuwait is Moqtanayaty, or “My Belongings” when translated to English. I bought my vintage record player from there and they can even repair vintage music players, VCRs, or really old TVs. You can check them out on instagram @vintage_radio_

If you know of another place that sells records, let me know in the comments.

Categories
50s to 90s Design Shopping

Northern Salmiya Building Refurbishment

The Northern Salmiya Building is located in the old Salmiya souk on Salem Mubarak Street. It’s over 50 years old, and since I grew up down the street from it, I’ve seen so many shops come and go there.

It’s the same complex that used to house Kids’r’us (Alghanim Automotive before that) and it’s the same building that had the old National/Panasonic store that used to have the NeoGeo in the window display. The corner shop was Boushahri where everyone used to go to get their passport photos taken. Mogahwi was also located there, the first Alshaya stores also all opened there including The Bodyshop, BHS, Mothercare and Next.

The building was also designed by SSH over 50 years ago, the same firm that’s behind JACC, ASCC and the waterfront project.

Recently, the corner of the building was demolished, and a tower was built in its place. It sucks that they demolished part of the building, but now that the tower is up it’s actually not that bad and I’m glad at least that they didn’t demolish the whole thing. What’s great is that they’ve also gone ahead and refurbished the rest of the building with a fresh coat of paint, new lights and even had some oversized signages for some of the stores removed.

The building is looking pretty good now, and I wish more old buildings got refurbished as well. And I don’t mean Dasman Complex style refurbishing where they’re just horribly covering the whole building facade with Alucobond.

If you haven’t been to old salmiya recently you should, it’s really popping. Google Maps

Update: Just found a photo in my archive of the Northern Salmiya Building under construction

Categories
Shopping

Ordering from TEMU

I recently placed my first order from TEMU, the online Chinese marketplace which you probably heard about through your Tiktok feed. Surprisingly, my experience was great.

I was looking for a cover for my bicycle since I have my bike wall mounted and I recently repainted and didn’t want to get the wall dirty again. I ended up finding it for really cheap on TEMU and decided to order it. Here’s everything you need to know about ordering from TEMU:

  • The bicycle cover cost 2.970KD but when I tried to check out it wouldn’t let me. TEMU offers free shipping to Kuwait, but you need to have an order of at least 13KD to qualify

  • If you have an order less than 14KD, you can’t place an order, even if you want to pay for shipping, it’s not an option

  • If the item you’re ordering is discounted and the new price is under 14KD, if the original price is over 14KD you get free shipping

  • Finding at least 14KD worth of items you didn’t know you wanted is easy on TEMU

  • I placed the order on January 25th and was given a delivery date between January 31st and February 8th

  • On February 8th, I got a WhatsApp from a delivery company in Kuwait asking for my Google Maps location, the next day my package was delivered to my doorstep

  • I ordered 15 items from different vendors, TEMU packaged them together and sent them to me in one bag

  • I didn’t pay any customs fee, all taxes are included in the items prices

  • Because the items were delivered one day later than promised, I got a credit of 1.250KD

So that’s basically it. The biggest surprise was the home delivery since I wasn’t expecting that, I thought I’d have to pick it up from the post office which I’m never looking forward to doing.

My order arrived with none of the items missing, and no disappointments. My bicycle cover was perfect, but so were all the other random things I ordered. I’m overall very impressed and would definitely recommend ordering from them.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Categories
Information Shopping Sports

Camping & Outdoor Gear Shops in Kuwait

I wanted to put a list together of local online shops that sell camping or outdoor gear. We actually have some pretty good brands available locally, if you know where to look. I’ve listed the stores I’m aware of below along with some of the brands they have in case anyone is ever googling. If I missed a place, let me know in the comments.

AAW – Coleman, Magma, Snow Peak
Ace Hardware – Blackstone, Coghlan’s, Coleman, Mr Heater, Wenzel
Al Azame – Atwood, Leatherman, Nitecore, Thaw, Victorinox
All Degrees – Biotite, Black Diamond, Osprey, UCO
Camouflage – Buck, Ganzo, KadiOutdoor, Leatherman
Alyash – Mostly in house brands
Camp N Sea – Coleman, Dometic, KingCamp, Naturehike
Decathlon – Quechua
DreamTeam – Gerber, Leatherman, Nitecore, Olight, Pelican
Extreme Outdoors – Danchel, Gstove, Goutdoor
Naturehike – Blackdog, Blackdeer, Bluetti, Firemaple, Naturehike, Roxon
Nomadic – 4monster, KingCamp
Off Grid – BioLite, GSI Outdoors
ORP – ARB, NEMO Equipment
Outdoor Kuwait – Blogdog, Black Stone, Camelback, Campingmoon, Claymore, GCI, Unity

Categories
Shopping

NEMO Equipment Now in Kuwait

Just a quick post for anyone looking to pick up an excellent sleeping pad or sleeping bag, ORP now have NEMO equipment available. They don’t have a large selection but what’s important is that we now have NEMO in Kuwait and they’re being sold at NEMO’s MSRP. So for example, the NEMO Forte Endless Promise 35 Long sleeping bag sells for 62KD on Amazon (without tax or shipping) vs 69KD at ORP.

I have a NEMO tent which I purchased back in 2012 (pictured above) and I still use it and love it. Their stuff really lasts a long time.

If you want to check out what they have, here is the link.

Categories
Banned Shopping

No More Christmas 2023 Edition

Last night I passed by Sultan Center in Boulevard to pick up a Christmas tree, but when I got to the top floor where the Christmas decorations would be, the shelves were all empty. I asked one of the staff where the Christmas trees were and he told me that the baladiya had told them to remove them. I didn’t think much of it and decided to walk over to Ace Hardware on the other end of the mall. When I got to Ace it was the same situation, all the Christmas decorations were removed and the shelves were empty. I figured ok, someone must have been in Boulevard and seen the Christmas decorations and complained, which is why the shops Boulevard were asked to remove the Christmas stuff.

Then I decided to head to Daiso in Souq Salmiya. As I’m walking into Daiso I spotted Christmas trees on the opposite end of City Center. I was like great I can pick up a tree from here. Once I got close to the trees I noticed staff were busy packing up all the Christmas decorations as well. They still hadn’t packed the trees so I picked one up and then headed to Daiso. Once in Daiso I noticed they were also packing up their Christmas decorations. So I asked the staff there and they told me the same thing, that they were told to remove the Christmas decorations.

Looks like its going to be one of those years where Christmas is banned in Kuwait. I’m hoping the shops in Avenues haven’t been told to remove their Christmas stuff as well. There were some Christmas tree ornaments I was hoping to pick up this weekend but now have to head there today to try and get them before they get taken off the shelves.

Categories
Shopping

Black Friday Sales Around Kuwait

If you weren’t planning to visit a mall this weekend then you should probably reconsider. There are some crazy sales taking place, check out the list below to see which malls and how many stores in each have sales.

The Avenues – Shopping Marathon
Over 150 stores on sale

360 Mall – Luxury Friday
Over 100 stores on sale

Al Assima Mall – White Friday
Over 70 stores on sale

The Warehouse Mall – The Warehouse Friday
Over 28 stores on sale

Al Khiran Mall – The Outlet Friday
Over 85 stores on sale

The Gate Mall – Gate Winter Festival
Over 100 stores on sale

Al Kout Mall – Kout Friday
Over 100 stores on sale

Categories
Shopping Toys

Tamiya Kuwait Shop Online

I’m a huge Tamiya fan even though I haven’t put together a Tamiya model in years. But, I recently found out that we have an online Tamiya store here in Kuwait which I’m tempted to impulse buy from.

They don’t have a huge collection of cars, but it’s a fairly decent one especially if you aren’t looking for anything specific. Prices are also higher than prices online but similar if you include shipping. They also have a large selection of paints and tools as well to help you with the build.

I don’t think I’m going to order anything even though I want to, this would have been perfect during the covid lockdowns but I don’t think I have the time or patience for it anymore. If you’re interested though their website is q8tamiya.com

Categories
Shopping

Self Checkout at Super Markets

Have you guys noticed that most if not all the self check out machines disappeared from Coops? At least the ones I visit no longer have them. I’m guessing either no one was using them or people were pretending to use them but then shoplift their items.

On the bright side, the self checkout machines at Sultan Center no longer require you to sign up to their rewards program. It’s made a huge difference for me because I can pop in and out very quickly without having to wait in any cashier line.

Categories
Shopping

The Largest IKEA in Kuwait Just Opened

When I was given a tour of The Warehouse the other day, I also got a tour of the new IKEA located there. The new IKEA is nearly 25% larger than The Avenues location (26,000m² vs 21,000m²) and is considered to be one of the largest in the region. It’s really huge.

What stood out to me the most while walking around the store is how much space all the display areas had. It makes The Avenues location seem cramped even though thats not a small store by any means. One of the benefits of having a significantly larger store is the ability to showcase the complete range of products. So for example, instead of a couch being displayed in one size and two colors, they now have the space to display all the sizes and all the colors. I was walking around checking out products which I thought were new only to be told they’ve had them for years and I had just never noticed them before, or they never had the models on display. Same when we passed by the home appliances section, I had no idea IKEA had their own ovens or fridges for sale. Thats how much of a difference the new larger store makes on all their products, it allows them to really shine.

The store is split across two levels similar to The Avenues location and with the same general flow. The restaurant like everything else in the store is now much larger and features not only the standard food pickup area, but also includes a new permanent buffet section and a conveniently accessible coffee shop directly from the mall. The bakery and food market are located on the lower floor and like everything else, are also much larger.

If you want to check out the new IKEA they just opened today at The Warehouse. Their operating hours are from 9AM to 11PM daily and here is their location on Google Maps.

Categories
Information Shopping

The Warehouse Mall Opens Tomorrow

Yesterday I got a tour of The Warehouse mall and it was a pretty cool experience since it was very busy with the mall and businesses all getting ready for the opening tomorrow (August 16). The mall looks really great and very different to other malls which is what caught my attention the first time I visited back in May.

The Warehouse has an industrial look with lots of bricks and metal cladding everywhere. The roof is covered with a glass and steel structure that casts interesting shadows onto the floor during the day. It’s really well designed mall with a lot of creative touches, even the bathrooms are worth checking out.

Theres a large variety of stores in the mall with the main anchors being IKEA, ABYAT, LC Waikiki and LuLu Hypermarket. You also have some new restaurants opening there that aren’t available anywhere else in Kuwait yet like Jamie’s Italian and Nando’s. Regulars like Milk Bun, Shake Shack and Raising Cane’s are also opening there as well as one of my favorite coffee shops, Earth Roastery. There is also a Cinescape, Xcite, Starbucks, Zain, and a bunch of other “mall-must-haves”. There’s even an area called Auto Zone which houses a bunch of car dealerships.

If you want to pass by and check the mall out, starting tomorrow The Warehouse is going to open daily from 10AM till 10PM except on weekends where it stays open till 11PM. The mall is located in Ahmadi, right off highway 30 or 40. @thewarehousekuwait

Categories
Shopping

Sneak Peek: The Warehouse Mall

Another day another new mall, I know we have too many already but this one at least looks visually interesting. The developer Tamdeen describes it as having a “rustic-industrial aesthetic” and it’s like a grittier or industrial-looking version of Avenues Phase III. They used lots of bricks everywhere, and the roof is covered in a steel structure that casts interesting shadows onto the floor. Plenty of daylight everywhere so it does feel like you’re walking down a street.

The largest IKEA in Kuwait and one of the biggest in the region will be opening there as well as Abyat’s second store so that’s a plus. The mall is located off Highway 40, where the old Ahmadi drive-in movie theater used to be. It’s catering to that area so the main competition is Kout Mall and Gate Mall.

They’re expecting to soft open the mall in mid-August with an official opening in September. Here is the location on Google Maps.

Categories
Shopping

Jarir Opening at The Avenues

Jarir Bookstore is opening a new location outside The Avenues, near the Ikea and Xcite entrance of phase 1. Nothing ever survived in that corner block of The Avenues including Nandos, Johnny Rockets, and Chilis so I’m really curious to see how Jarir will end up doing. There isn’t really a large bookstore or an art and office supplies shop in Avenues, so this could potentially work.

Categories
Shopping

True Value Now Inside Sultan Center

If you’re a customer of the main Sultan Center in Salmiya you might have noticed how the upstairs area was pretty dead. Xcite and Intersport opened there a few years ago but the homeware section was pretty poor, like they stopped caring about it.

Well yesterday I found out that True Value has now taken over that department so I decided to check it out. Basically the whole top floor of Sultan Center Salmiya is divided between Xcite, Intersports, Dawa Pharmacy and True Value. True Value takes up majority of the space and covers all the homeware items with a very tiny hardware section.

It’s a pretty good idea and great for shoppers, but mostly because they’ve restocked the area and its packed with stuff now instead of it looking abandoned.