Postal Service Can Be Good!

Post by Mark

This post is a jab at how slow Aramex is, but also shows how our postal service can be pretty good sometimes. I know we all like to hate on the postal service but my latest experience has completely changed my view on them, at least when it comes to shipping between GCC countries.

Last month I found a pair of Nike Metcon 4’s on the Sun & Sand Sports website based in Dubai, they had free shipping plus a 15% discount for new customers so the pair ended up costing me substantially less than if I had purchased it locally. Not only that, but they didn’t even have the color I wanted locally so it was a win win.

Sun & Sand Sports shipped my package via Aramex on August 29th and only just today, September 10th it’s being delivered to me (I still haven’t gotten it as of this post FYI). That’s 13 days from Dubai to Kuwait.

On the other hand, last week I ordered a package from Qatar which got shipped by regular post on September 3rd. I thought I was screwed and that the package might take forever to get to Kuwait but then on September 6th I got a call from the Hateen Post Office telling me I could pass by and pick up my package which I did. I thought the post office probably closed around 1PM but surprisingly they closed at 7PM. They were pretty friendly at the post office and an old guy behind the desk offered me some Quality Street sweets. The only awkward part was when the customs agent asked me what was in the package and I had to try and explain to him it was a musical ballerina figurine in an abaya, but other than that the whole thing went pretty smoothly.

So…

Qatar to Kuwait via regular post = 4 Days
UAE to Kuwait via Aramex = 13 Days

13 days from Dubai to Kuwait, that’s crazy. To put it in perspective, I had a pair of sneakers ship from New York on August 31st by PostaPlus, and I got them today!

New York to Kuwait via PostaPlus = 11 Days

When your express mail service is over 3x slower than regular Kuwait mail, you know you’ve got a problem.


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Where to get a dashcam from

Post by Mark

I’ve been using a dashcam now for four years and even though I haven’t caught anything interesting yet, I still would recommend people have one installed in their cars. Dashcams are small video recorders you mount on your front windshield and they record everything that happens in front of your car. They’re great for capturing accidents that aren’t your fault and are used in a lot of countries for insurance purposes.

The other day while visiting A-Store in Shuwaikh I noticed they were selling a bunch of different dashcams including the brand Aukey. Their prices were more expensive than Amazon but if you don’t want to go through the hassle of ordering from Amazon then they might be a good choice.

Their store is in Shuwaikh across from Tilal [Google Maps] but they have the cameras listed on their online store which you can check out [Here]

If you know of any other places in Kuwait that sell dashcams, let me know.


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Mogahwi Stationery – Kuwait City

Post by Mark

Since Mogahwi closed down next to my place in Salmiya, I’ve resorted to going to Jarir in Boulevard Mall since that’s currently the closest decent stationary shop to me. But, I might stop doing that after dropping by Mogahwi’s Kuwait City location yesterday.

I used to pass by the Kuwait City branch whenever I needed anything urgently for work since it’s right down the street from me. But the store was old and outdated and I generally didn’t like shopping there.

But recently they gave the Kuwait City store a much-needed facelift. Other than the fact they’ve improved the lighting and given the space a paint job, they’ve also expanded the store and brought in a lot more brands and new items. They’ve now got a much larger variety of arts and crafts supplies as well as a large variety of spray paint brands including popular brands like Montana. They even have their own resident artist.

So if you’re a fan of Mogahwi but hated the Kuwait City store like me, then you should pass by now and check it out. They’re open daily from 9AM to 9PM except for Fridays when they open from 4:30PM. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

PS: If you’re a Copic Markers fan they now carry a very large assortment of their pens. (they still cost an arm and a leg though)


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In Focus: Barakat Store

Post by Mark

Barakat is an old school store located in Salmiya that has been open since the early 80s. They sell supplies for knitting, crochet, embroidery, needlework, sewing, weaving, as well as hobby and crafting materials, and magazines relating to all these.

I thought they had closed down their old Salmiya location since they had opened a small shop in Al Bustan Mall, but turns out the original store is still alive and kicking.

I passed by with a friend the other night and it reminded me of when I was a kid and I would accompany my mum. When I was a kid I hated trips to Barakat since I used to get super bored, but now as an adult, I appreciate the place a lot more.

I was tempted to get something, so ended up leaving with a “My First Embroidery” kit of a cute cat. Since I’m always curious to try new things, I figured I could try embroidery for fun and this kit contained everything I needed to learn embroidery.

If you’ve never been to Barakat, you should pass by to check the place out especially if you’re looking for a new hobby to get into. They’re located on the first floor of a building near Beit Dickson Restaurant in Salmiya. Here is the building on [Google Maps]. They’re also on instagram @barakat_kuwait. If you do pass by, make sure you pick up some kunafa from Al Tibawi down the street before you leave the area.


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In Focus: Arts & Crafts Store

Post by Mark

I had heard of the store Arts & Craft awhile back but never passed by it until just last week. A friend of mine was looking for a linen canvas roll and after searching all the art shops in Dasman Complex to no avail, we decided to pass by Arts & Craft to see if they had it. They did… along with a ton of other stuff.

Arts & Craft is a huge two story shop carrying everything you could think of related to arts and crafts. There are of course a lot of places that sell arts and craft supplies in Kuwait for example, Dasman Complex has a bunch of stores, Jarir has a pretty decent section and then stationary shops like Mogahwi also sell arts and crafts supplies. But, what makes the store Arts & Craft so unique is the sheer amount of variety all in one place.

If you’re looking for any kind of art supplies related to painting, drawing, printmaking, calligraphy, various crafts and more, then they should be your go-to place. Their store is located in Shuwaikh on Canada Dry Street [Google Maps] but, they also have an online store you can check out at artsandcrafts-kw.com


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Carriage Now Saves Knet Information *UPDATED*

Post by Mark

One thing that has always annoyed me with local online shopping services is that you couldn’t save your payment details like you do on Amazon for example. Looks like Knet are finally allowing your payment details to be saved because with the latest Carriage app update, you now have the option to save your payment information. This means when you place an order, all you need to do is enter your pin code instead of having to enter all your numbers and expiry date every time you place an order.

All I can say is finally! This is going to make online shopping in Kuwait a lot more convenient for everyone.

Update: So I got a phone call from Carriage awhile ago on this subject and they clarified to me one important point. Customer data related to bank details are saved on the user’s device, not on Carriage’s servers. The information is encrypted and then stored in your iOS or Android keychain, and you still need to input your pin on every transaction.


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7-Eleven Now Open in Kuwait

Post by Mark

The popular American convenience store 7-Eleven opened up their first location in Kuwait a couple of days ago. Sadly, it’s not as cool as it sounds. The location basically looks like your average neighborhood mini market with just some stickers on top of the shelves saying 7-Eleven. When I passed by last night, they had the radio tuned into a prayer station and the whole place resembled your average cheap looking mini-mart. Not what I was expecting. They didn’t have their popular slurpee which is why I dropped by, nor any 7-Eleven branded products, so the place felt like a fake 7-Eleven.

But, I’ve been assured this is an official 7-Eleven and the slurpee machine is coming soon. I guess 7-Eleven just don’t have strict brand guidelines which is why the place looks like any random mini market. This first 7-Eleven location is open in Salmiya, and their operating hours are from 6AM to 1AM. For directions you can check out their instagram account @7elevenkw


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Al Kout Mall Opening Next Week

Post by Mark

After a number of delays, the new Al Kout Mall is finally set to open next Monday, April 16th. The new Al Kout Mall is replacing Al Manshar Mall which was torn down back in 2013. The Al Kout Mall website has also been updated with all the shops and restaurants that will be opening there. To check out the list visit alkout.com. Their instagram is @alkoutmall

With Al Kout Mall opening its doors next week and Avenues Phase 4 complete, the next big mall to open up is Assima in Kuwait City which is expected to be ready by Q3 2019.


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Biology, Chemistry and Physics Equipment and Labware

Post by Mark

I was in blockat the other night and came across this pretty strange shop. The shop mostly specializes in scales, everything from small Tanita home scales to heavy-duty commercial ones. But, that occupied just half the store, the other half was filled with random things like crucibles to melt gold in, old-fashioned steering wheel locks, kitchen knives, butter churns and a science section.

The shop sold biology, chemistry and physics equipment and labware, and most of it looked pretty old school like they’ve been sitting on the shelves for decades.

So if you’re ever in need of tubes, flasks, chemicals, skeletons or whatever, then you could check this place out. It’s also fun to just walk around in since the store has so much random stuff.

The place is called Ibrahim & Mohd.Soud Al-Farhan Trad. Co. and they’re located in Kuwait City in the blockat area. They’re also on [Google Maps].


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How to Get Aesop Hand Soap in Kuwait

Post by Mark

You’ve probably come across Aesop hand soaps in restaurant washrooms, they’re dark bottles like in the picture on top, and they tend to smell amazing. If you’ve been to any of the Aesop stores around the world you might have picked up a bottle or two and brought them back with you. Or maybe even had a friend get you some when on vacation. But, it’s not really practical getting them while on vacation since the bottles take up luggage space, are fairly heavy, and what if you run out and need some more? A better solution is ordering them online.

There are a number of places online you can order Aesop from but the website I use is the UK based Cult Beauty. They have two kinds of hand wash available as well as a bunch of other Aesop products, but what I like about them is the cost of shipping to Kuwait. The maximum you are allowed to order is 6 pieces of hand wash the shipping cost with DHL is for 6 is £15. If you order 6 of each of their hand washes (so a total of 12), then they’ll ship it via DHL for free.

I haven’t bought 12 bottles at once but I have bought 6 pieces. If you order 6 then the cost per bottle after shipping and customs comes to KD11, which is the same price as if you purchased a bottle in the UK. How is that possible? When you order Aesop to Kuwait they remove the 20% VAT which brings the price down from around KD11 to around KD9. Adding shipping and customs to Kuwait and the price comes back up to the UK retail price of KD11. If you order 12 bottles then the price per bottle ends up actually being cheaper than the price per bottle in the UK since you don’t pay for shipping, just customs.

So if you’re looking to get Aesop hand wash, this is probably the cheapest way to get it to Kuwait. You can check out the full range of Aesop products on Cult Beauty [Here]

Update: I originally posted saying each bottle would cost you KD13 shipped to Kuwait but I completely forgot one important thing, when you ship to Kuwait they remove the 20% VAT. So the cost of the bottle with shipping and customs to Kuwait is actually the same price as if you bought a bottle while on vacation in the UK.


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