Interesting Kuwait

Tasteful Garbage

I spotted the above garbage bin outside Salhiya Complex earlier today. What grabbed my attention was the fact they’re the the exact same kind of garbage bins as the ones currently used all over Salmiya, except they didn’t look as bad. That’s because instead of the bins being painted bright yellow causing them not to blend with their environment, the Salhiya bins are tastefully painted and placed so they fit in with their surroundings.

Complaints Kuwait Personal

I repeat, put me in charge of Salmiya

Back in January I posted about how they dug up the middle sidewalk in the old Salmiya. They decreased the walking space and created new dirt space around the already planted trees to add more greenery. I was against the idea since first of all they shrunk the sidewalk and second of all I knew it wasn’t going to work. The new Salmiya near Sultan Center and Al Fanar has never had a green middle sidewalk and somehow my old Salmiya was going to? A lot of you were against me and said I was being pessimistic, well the picture above is how it looks like 6 months later… very green indeed. It’s always going to be just sand exactly like how it’s always been sand in the newer Salmiya so I hope everyone now understands why I preferred to have a full proper sidewalk instead of “greenery”.

Check out the picture above. Do you know what that is? I think it was back in the late 80s or very early 90s someone decided to build a public bathroom right in the middle of Salmiya. I think it was functional for a month and then got destroyed by vandals and became so dirty that no one was using it and it just got abandoned. That was like 20 years ago, today it’s nothing. It’s not a bathroom, there are no doors, no toilets, no sinks or anything. Just a place to store red cones or whatever garbage is lying around. Recently as you can see in the picture they dug up the area around it to replace the floor tiles with newer ones but they left this abandoned ugly block of cement right in the middle. Couldn’t they have just demolished it?

Another strange thing happened recently, someone realized how much garbage was filling up the streets of Salmiya and so came up with a brilliant solution. They decided to put bright yellow garbage bins all over Salmiya and at around 10 meters apart. Check the video above I shot today. I drove maybe 200 meters and I counted around 66 bright yellow garbage bins! And that only includes the middle sidewalk and some of the sidewalk on the left but completely ignoring the right sidewalk since it was in the video. It’s the most horrifying scene since all you can see on the street now are the garbage bins. Do we really need that many bins in the middle sidewalk? [YouTube]

I’ll say it again, I love Salmiya and I want to be put in charge of it or at the very least Salem Mubarek Street. I’ll seriously make it the most beautiful place in Kuwait. I’ve been requesting this since back in 2006, so what do I need to do to make this happen? I’ve watched enough episodes of Parks and Recreation to know what it takes. Salmiya is my Pawnee.

Complaints Kuwait Personal

A greener Salmiya? Please no!

The past two weeks they’ve been digging up the street in front of my house in Salmiya (the old shopping street in Salem al Mubarek street). At first I thought they were actually reducing the size of the middle sidewalk to add more parking spots which pissed me off since I walk my dog there every morning. Then yesterday I spoke to one of the workers and he told me that wasn’t the plan, it turns out they’re going to be planting the middle sidewalk like how it is on the Gulf Road.

Usually this would be a good thing. Who wouldn’t want to live on a green street? I usually would be all pro for going green but not in this case. The street is currently just one big garbage bin. It’s completely ignored, no one is taking care of it. The streets are crumbling, most of the buildings are getting ready to be demolished, there is trash everywhere, not enough garbage bins and there is a street fight practically on a daily basis because of this billiard place next to my house. A month or two ago while walking my dog at 8AM I heard a lot of shouting and screaming. When I got closer I noticed two gangs throwing rocks at each other. One group of guys looked like Emo’s, they were standing across the street yelling and throwing rocks at another group of tubby guys standing on the other side of the street screaming back. There was a shop with a broken window because it got hit by a flying brick. This was at 8 in the morning!

I’ve lived in the exact same spot now for over 30 years and I’ve seen it turn from a trendy high end street to the dump it is now. If you check the archives you’ll find a number of posts (Here is one) where I’ve asked to be put in charge of the area so I could bring it back to life (Here is another). Currently I spend my mornings picking up broken bottles and pieces of glass so that my dog doesn’t end up getting cut. No one ever cleans up the garbage and everyone seems more than happen to just throw everything onto the floor. I’m lucky that the care taker of the building next to mine cleans up the alleyway between our two buildings or else it would just be a garbage dump.

So the idea that they’re planting grass in the middle of the sidewalk in what currently is a half deserted shopping street full of garbage just doesn’t make any sense. Whats going to happen is you’ll have all this greenery with white tissue papers and chips bags dangling off them like decorations. Instead of going green, can we go clean instead? Can someone please put me in charge of Salem Mubarek Street?

Complaints Kuwait Personal

Hole full of garbage

I am 100% sure this can’t be legal or healthy. I live in Salmiya in the old souk on Salem Mubarek Street. Right behind my building there is an empty sand lot which is used as a parking by people coming to shop in the street. The sand lot is also used as garbage dump. It has around 7 regular sized garbage cans… and one big hole in the ground.

A hole in the ground! For some reason it seems the local baladiya or whoever is responsible for garbage collection can’t afford new garbage bins or something and have decided instead to dig a big hole in the ground and fill it up with garbage. Every morning a bulldozer comes and digs up the garbage.

Why can’t they place a large garbage bin or two or three more regular sized ones instead of digging a hole?

First of all the lot is heavily surrounded by residential buildings. Second of all there is a mosque just 20 meters away from the hole. Finally people use the lot as a parking lot. Salmiya is over crowded and lacks ample parking and people are forced to park in the sandy lot filled with garbage. At night the lot is pitch black since there isn’t any kind of lighting and people end up parking right next to all the garbage bins and holes. That can’t be healthy.

Hopefully by me posting about this maybe something can be done about this. It’s just too disgusting, I mean it’s a frickin hole in the ground that’s being filled with garbage!

Complaints Kuwait Personal

Elect me as mayor of Salmiya


I live in Salmiya, Salam Mubarek Street. The “old” Salmiya. I live right on the main shopping street and have been living on this street for most of my life.

Pre 1990 I was living in the building that had A&W, after 1990 I moved to the building across the street from it and thats where I have been living ever since. As you can imagine, I know the street very well. How well?

I remember The New Super Market before it closed down, I remember when Dairy Queen was open here and then shut down and Jashanmal opened instead. I remember buying my Thermos metal lunch box with the Dukes of Hazzard picture on it from there. I remember the night A&W opened with Mister Donuts right next to it. I remember when Majda el Roumi the famous singer came to open a perfume store right across the street from my building. I remember Hungry Bunny, I remember how after they renovated a cookie store opened inside it which had the best chocolate chunk cookies ever. I also remember the sad day when that cookie area inside got closed down.

I remember the high end stores like Channel, Versace and Cartier. It was a high end street and Rolex and Mercedes are still open here today serving as a reminder to what was once a beautiful street. I remember when Kids R Us opened and I remember what was there before it opened and after it closed. I remember the most popular music stores of their time, Soul II Soul, Bells and Swan Lake. I remember buying my original copy of Windows 95 from Computer World, I remember the small video game store on the ground floor of the same building, he had a NeoGeo in the display and I used to watch the Samurai Showdown demo play while I gazed through the glass hoping to own the system one day. I got my first Swatch from Fay stationary, I remember getting my Peter and Jane books from Family Bookshop. Fay shutdown, Family Bookshop is surprisingly still open.

Well my Salmiya isn’t what it used to be. All the upper scale stores shut down and everyones attention moved up to the Sultan Center area. All thats left here are low end stores all selling the same shit. The whole street has turned into a garbage dump. The sidewalk tiles are damaged, the trees look unhealthy, and the worst thing of all, Salmiya is slowly slowly losing its soul.

I was taking a late night walk just a while ago and I noticed the building that housed Swan Lake was going to get demolished. Thats when I realized I need to do something.

Why do old buildings get demolished and not refurbished? Salmiya (and Kuwait even) would look so much nicer if the old buildings were just redone up. Look at what was done with Beirut. They could have demolished everything and sprung up modern glass buildings but instead they decided to keep Beirut’s soul intact. Why can’t that be done here? My Salmiya really has a lot of history, how many other shopping streets in Kuwait can even begin to compare. No other has sidewalks wider then here nor is any other street located in such a good location. No other street has as much history! The Swan Lake building has a style, it can be cleaned up, updated and reopened but instead its going to get demolished and replaced by a cheap ass low end tiny crappy wannabe mall.

I want to be elected as the mayor of Salmiya. I would clean it up, repaint it, re-tile it and revive it. I don’t know who the mayor is now (if there is even such a position here in Kuwait) but I do know that he can’t be a true Salmiya dweller or else he wouldn’t let it die and rot like this. Vote for me, I won’t let everyone down.


Total Disregard to Pedestrians

Why are sidewalks so disliked in Kuwait? As a person that likes to walk to places, especially since I live in a commercial area, I find it so frustrating that I can’t walk one street down my apartment building unless I’m willing to walk through garbage bins, a sandy lot, and on the street with cars racing by. But this isn’t new, it’s always been like this and nobody cares obviously or else sidewalks would have been an important part of the urban planning. What is new is the fact there was an important and heavily used sidewalk a couple of blocks down from where I live which recently got removed. The issue is that they didn’t provide the pedestrians with an alternative sidewalk and this has now created a pretty dangerous situation.

Right outside the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre (Map), there was a sidewalk that runs from the inside road, around the museums, and then connects to the Gulf Road. It was a heavily used sidewalk because it’s the only road that connects the densely populated neighborhood with the Gulf Road while also connecting Salmiya to Shaab. But, due to construction work taking place there, they temporarily (I hope it’s temporary) removed the sidewalk to make more room for the cars. And that’s fine, except for the fact they didn’t temporarily provide an alternative route for pedestrians. So pedestrians are continuing to take that route (to get home or get to the Gulf Road), but now instead of walking on the sidewalk, they’re forced to walk on the road with cars speeding by dangerously. At night the strip is also poorly lit making it even more dangerous.

I’ve seen families walking on the road, young teens, and employees heading to or from work. I wouldn’t be surprised if there haven’t already been multiple incidents where pedestrians were hit by cars on this strip. Hopefully, someone reading this post can help sort this problem or let me know who to even complain about something like this even though I doubt they would care.


Eissa & Jude – Sustainable Wooden Toys Made in Kuwait

Eissa & Jude is a small local husband and wife business dedicated to creating high-quality wooden toys to inspire mindful play. They’re representing the Gulf so the wooden toys are inspired by everything they grew up with in our unexplored desert. I like the aesthetics of wooden toys and I like how it’s made locally and related to our environment although for realism sake, I would add some wooden cutouts of garbage bags in an effort to represent Kuwait’s desert more accurately.

Eissa & Jude don’t have an online store yet but they are currently available at the children’s pop-up store Bonboni’s in Salmiya. Check out their Instagram account for more photos and details @eissa_jude


Sanitization Campaign

Over the weekend Kuwait kicked off a sanitization campaign to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Trucks were going up and down the streets spraying disinfectants on the roads but I’ve got two questions which hopefully a reader might explain to me:

First question, why are roads being disinfected? I tried to find an answer online but can’t seem to find any solid answer to why it’s effective, I’ve found articles explaining why it’s useless but nothing that supports it. It’s not just Kuwait doing it, other countries are also sanitizing the roads like China and the UAE. In Dubai, they’re even using drones to do it although that might just be a PR stunt. So if anyone has a theory or an article on this please share it in the comments. I’m genuinely curious.

My second question is, why are they using ice cream truck music? You can hear it in the video above. It’s kinda funny because whenever I heard the music yesterday I ran to my window. It reminded me when I used to spend my summers in the States as a kid because I’d run to the window whenever I heard the ice cream truck music as well.

Interestingly, the baladiya are on my street today cleaning up the area around the garbage bins. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know I’ve had lots of drama with the baladiya and the garbage on my street. This is the cleanest I’ve seen the bins area and I think it’s part of this sanitization campaign which is great!


Drying Clothes on Balconies Now Illegal

In a bid to maintain Kuwait’s beauty, the Kuwait municipality is now imposing a fine of up to KD300 if you’re found drying your clothes on your balcony. This law doesn’t affect me since I don’t hang my clothes on the balcony anyway, but from all the issues we have, this is the one the municipality wants to fix?

How about the overflowing garbage bins in Salmiya? I would think overflowing garbage bins have a bigger impact on visual pollution as well as hygiene when compared to people hanging laundry on their balcony. Like seriously… [Article 1] [Article 2]

Top photo via Arab Times


13 Hours With No Electricity

Last month the power went out in my neighborhood for around 8 hours, this weekend it went out for 13. The thing is, it shouldn’t have been out for that long.

At exactly 9PM the power was cut in my neighborhood, the fact it was cut at exactly 9PM leads me to believe this was a planed maintenance cut. The problem though the portable generators like the one pictured above only arrived to my neighborhood at 1AM. There were 8 trucks and by the time they were all connected to the various power transformers around the block, buildings only started getting electricity by 3AM. By 4AM all the buildings got electricity except mine. Now if you’re planning on cutting the power off to hundreds of families in the middle of the hottest month of the year, at the very least have the generators ready to be plugged in ASAP so that people don’t have to suffer. Or, how about notifying the neighborhood by placing posters at the entrance of the buildings that will be affected to let them know that power will be cut off at this day at this time so that people can be prepared.

Now as I mentioned, by 4AM power was restored to all the buildings except mine. So me and some neighbors called up 152 which is the hotline for Electricity & Water Emergency. 152 was pretty useless. They transferred us to the electricity office up the street from my building in Salmiya. We explained to them what the problem was and they told us they had nothing to do with it and that we needed to contact the electricity office in Jabriya. We called Jabriya up and they were like this has nothing to do with us and that we need to contact the Salmiya office. So after running around in circles Jabriya finally agreed to send someone to check it out. by 5:30AM nobody had come yet so we called Jabriya up again. They told us there isn’t anything they can do now since the shift is nearly over and we would have to wait for the new shift at 6AM. 6:15AM we call them back up again, they were like they aren’t going to send someone over because there is maintenance work going on and power will be back soon. We asked if they could tell us where in Salmiya the work was being done so we could pass by them and get a time estimate from them. The guy on the other end got super pissed off, started yelling and telling us its none of our business and we had to end the call. Power came back four hours later 10:12AM.

What a clusterfuck. Whomever is in charge in Salmiya obviously doesn’t care about the residents. I’ve posted about the horrible garbage situation a million times before (still hasn’t been fixed btw), the horrible urban planning, the tall residential buildings with zero parking and now the complete lack of empathy towards its residents. There should be town hall meetings where residents can meet with whomever is in charge so we could voice our complaints. Better yet put me in charge of Salmiya already!