New Music: Black Rabbit by Ray & The Fool

Post by Mark

Imad Alhamad is a Kuwaiti living in Dubai and he recently released his debut EP ‘Black Rabbit’ under the pseudonym ‘Ray & The Fool’. His style is alternative rock and the EP is available to listen to on Soundcloud (below), Spotify and iTunes.

If you’d like to stay up to date with Imad’s music, you can sign up for music alterts on his website [Here]


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Everything You Need to Know About the New Kuwait Airport Terminal 4

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I flew to Dubai with Kuwait Airways, and so got to fly in and out of the new Kuwait Airways terminal, terminal 4. The terminal still has a lot of work to be done to it and so a lot of changes are still happening, but as of October 15th, the below information is accurate.

Right now, only GCC and Middle East Kuwait Airway flights use the new terminal.

Departure

– The exit from highway 50 to terminal 4 is still closed and the terminal 4 sign has been covered. The only way to get to the new terminal is through the cargo terminal exit (there are signs).

– There is plenty of parking, all shaded and right now for free. They haven’t installed entry or exit gates so you could park your car there short term or long term and not pay anything. This is a huge plus.

– None of the self-check-in machines work. I tried the ones on the parking side, I tried the ones inside the main terminal, none of them worked.

– You only have one security checkpoint which is right after passport control. The security guys didn’t seem very confident but were wayyyy better than the Jazeera Airways terminal guys. They have the full-body scanners but they weren’t being used. I wonder if they will ever be used here? When the scanners were launched in the States, people had privacy concerns because you could see the shapes of private parts with these scanners, I think people in Kuwait will have an even bigger problem with this.

– There is no duty-free yet, there are no shops whatsoever at T4 right now.

– There are currently no restaurants at T4. Your only options for food and drinks at the moment are 2 Costa kiosks and 1 Kuwait Airport kiosk. Both kiosks sold coffee, water, sandwiches etc..

– There is a lounge (pictured above) but only for Kuwait Airways business class and first class passengers. So if you have a platinum Visa card, American Express or any other card that usually gives you entry to lounges at airports, you’re out of luck.

– One SUPER strange thing about the airport was the PA announcement chime. In airports before they make an announcement, you’d here like a ding dong like chime before the announcement. For some reason at T4 the chime they’re using is the same one used for The Undertaker’s walkout music. I’m not exaggerating, watch the video above and then watch the video below. Every time they made an announcement I was expecting the lights to go off and the Undertaker to make an appearance. Such a weird chime to use at an airport.

– There was plenty of seating around the airport spread out over two floors. All the seats have power sockets and USB ports although I had to try a few before I found working ones. I’m not sure if the seating will be enough when all Kuwait Airways flights start using the terminal, but for now, there is plenty.

Arriving at the airport, parking, checking in, going through passport control and then security was all a smooth and pleasant experience. There were some minor issues, but understandable for a newly opened airport.

Arrival

– This was super smooth. The plane was fairly empty so passport control was a breeze.

– Right after passport control is a carry-on baggage security check, this is the only time you scan your bags. The luggage that comes out on the conveyor belts already passed through a scanner before coming out so you just pick them up and walk out of the airport.

Overall a pretty positive experience. When I travel to Dubai I usually take FlyDubai but this time the Kuwait Airways ticket price was cheaper so figured I’d try them out. I’ll most likely fly out with Kuwait Airways again next time because of the new terminal and my positive experience. I could nitpick a lot of course but honestly, ANYTHING is better than our old airport, so I’m just glad we have this new terminal to keep us going until the new airport opens up in a few years.

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

Update: As of October 22, 2018 the new Terminal T4 is now open for services for all Kuwait Airways Flights To/From GCC, Middle East and Europe except for London.


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How Powerful is Your Passport? (2018)

Post by Mark

Henley & Partners released their Visa Restrictions Index for 2018 and Kuwait ranked 55th with visa-free access to 93 destinations. UAE ranked the highest in the Gulf ranking 21st with visa-free access to 161 destinations. Here are how some other countries ranked:

1 – Japan (190)
5 – USA, UK (186)
6 – Canada (185)
21 – UAE (161)
55 – Kuwait (93)
60 – Qatar (85)
64 – Bahrain (81)
67 – Oman (78)
70 – Saudi Arabia (75)
75 – Philippines (66)
81 – India (60)
100 – Lebanon (41)
106 – Afghanistan (30)

How did your country rank? Check out the full list [Here]


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

The weekend is here and there are quite a few things to do including a vinyl pop-up on Saturday. Check out the full list of this weekends events below:

Thursday
Exhibition: 50 Years of Architecture in Kuwait
The Michael Jackson Sing-Along Concert
DAI Movie Night: The Ballad of Narayama
Exhibition: The Human Experience

Friday
Exhibition: 50 Years of Architecture in Kuwait
The Michael Jackson Sing-Along Concert
Shinsawi: Dodgeball Battle

Saturday
Exhibition: 50 Years of Architecture in Kuwait
Guided Tour: Grand Mosque
Vinyl Destination Pop-up

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so always double check with the organizers.


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Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark


Screenshot from Bad Times at the El Royale

The movies below are now showing at Cinescape, Grand Cinemas, Sky Cinemas and VOX:

New This Weekend:
A Star Is Born (8.5)
Bad Times at the El Royale (7.7)
Dead Trigger (7.4)
Ghost Stories (6.4)
My Giraffe (7.1)
The Last Witness (5.5)
The Princess and the Dragon (4.2)

Other Movies Showing Now:
211 (4.3)
Johnny English Strikes Again (6.7)
Luis & the Aliens (6.0)
Searching (7.9)
Smallfoot (6.8)
The House with a Clock in Its Walls (6.0)
The Nun (7.0)
Venom (7.1)

The movies below are also now showing at the Scientific Center IMAX theater:

Movies Showing Now:
Amazon Adventure 3D (6.6)
Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters 3D (7.4)
Hurricane 3D (7.0)
Oceans: Our Blue Planet (7.4)
Tiny Giants 3D (7.9)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in.


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Sponsored: Buffalo’s Salmiya has Relocated!

Post by Sponsor

Buffalo’s recently relocated from their Salmiya location opposite Olympia Mall to inside the Best Western Hotel opposite Al Salam Mall also in Salmiya.

The interior of the restaurant was given a facelift and is now much more modern and trendier looking with a beautiful brick wall, concrete flooring, and an industrial looking ceiling.

The menu has also been updated but still incorporates all the Buffalos favorite dishes like our famous Buffalo wings, quesadillas, chili fries, steaks, pastas, burgers and sandwiches. We also added new dishes like commando fries, chicken Asian salad, kale Caesar salad, bowls, penne pasta with steak and Portobello mushrooms to name a few.

Buffalo’s delivers to most of Kuwait daily from 11am to 2:45am. You can order thru our call center # 1880012 or online thru apps like Talabat, Carriage, Zitaat, Jeebley and Craves.

The Salmiya branch has a special promotion running right now where Kids can eat for free every Friday and Saturday. Every Monday it’s also Wings Night in which we offer a buy one get one free on wings. Finally, we also have our daily lunch stampede menu which costs just KD2.950.

Other Buffalo’s stores are located in Kaifan Co-op, Jabriya, West Mishref, Mahboula and soon we’ll be opening our new branch inside Jahra mall.

Check out all our locations [Here]
Also make sure you check out our instagram @buffalos_kuwait


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Best Apple Pie in Kuwait Update

Post by Mark

After my last post on who has the best apple pie in Kuwait, a number of people recommended The Pie Shop so I ended up trying it out this past weekend. Was it any good? Yes it was!

Johnny Rockets or The Pie Shop? That’s a harder question to answer because it’s like asking me which is better, Five Guys or Johnny Rockets? Both burgers are good and they’re both very different, same with these pies.

The apple pie from The Pie Shop definitely tasted healthier, after having a big slice I didn’t feel guilty even though my slice was huge. You can clearly see all the sliced apples inside their pie while with Johnny Rockets, their pie has more of a chunky apple jam kind of filling. I prefer the Johnny Rockets mushier style filling but The Pie Shop crust was definitely better. The Pie Shop apple pie also looks perfect.

Price
Johnny Rockets: KD6.150
The Pie Shop: KD9

So my recommendation? If you’re picking up a pie last minute or craving a slice and want one right now? Definitely Johnny Rockets. On the other hand, if you’re invited to a lunch or dinner and want to take a pie with you, then go with The Pie Shop for sure. Keep in mind though, with The Pie Shop you need to order a day in advance. Here is a link to their instagram @thepieshopkw


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Why Taxis in Kuwait are so Filthy

Post by Mark

I was going through Kuwestions when I spotted a question by a reader who asked why taxis were so filthy? One person left a pretty interesting response which I’ve shared below (with minor editing):

Taxi drivers don’t have salaries (although on paper it says they do). The system works as follows:

a- The taxi company (most of the time it is just a small office with one owner) rents the taxi for the driver by day. According to the car, the condition of the driver (new in Kuwait or not) and how greedy the owner is, the rent can go from KD5 to KD7.5 per day.

b- The driver is responsible for everything in the car. The company doesn’t pay anything. If the car is hit, stolen, damaged or whatever, the driver pays for it and they have to keep paying the rent even if the car is in the garage being repaired.

c- The driver pays all the car registration fees, insurance fees, residency fees, etc.. usually the company should pay for these, at least the residency fees, but not in the case of the taxi drivers, they have to pay.

d- The drivers have to deal with greedy employees inside the taxi company as well. You want the mandoob to get your driving license so you can work today? Pay him KD5-KD10, otherwise just wait, maybe he will go there next week to get it for you while you are paying your daily taxi rental fees but not driving and making money.

As a result of all the above, the drivers get greedy as well and try to survive by any means. Another reason drivers don’t care about the cars is that most people here treat them extremely bad. So what is the point of cleaning the car, and wasting an hour or two when they can instead just rest, or try to find another customer who will eventually also leave their trash behind.

The taxis that are just plain white are “Call taxis”. These taxis are not permitted by law to stop and pick a customer off the street, they have to be ordered by phone. But, taxi companies just give these cars to drivers and let them go and pick customers off the street because the government stopped issuing “Gawwala” licenses (the licenses for the beige/white cars). These taxis get fined a lot because of that and they also have to pay these fines.

One more thing. Before the new taxi fares, taxis would not let you pay by the meter because the price of the meter was too low. And now after the new higher meter fares that were introduced, people are not willing to pay by the meter because its more expensive. So cab drivers are still stuck in the same place.

So basically unless major restructuring of the whole taxi system happens, things aren’t going to get any better.

The reader had gotten all this information from one of his best friends who is currently working as a taxi driver in Kuwait. You can check out the original thread on Kuwestions [Here]

Thanks Tarek!


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The Jaguar E-Pace

Post by Mark

Last week I was offered the opportunity to test drive the large Jaguar F-Pace SUV. But, I was actually curious to test drive their smaller SUV, the E-Pace. One of the things that attracted me to the E-Pace was the starting price of KD11,990. The car looked like it cost a lot more and so when I found out how much they were selling for, I became very intrigued by the car.

The E-Pace is a fairly new model by Jaguar that was launched last year. The car I picked up was what Jaguar calls “First Edition” and had a beautiful Caldera Red exterior with a full ebony black leather interior. The car looked really sporty and because it was the “First Edition”, it came standard with 20″ wheels, LED headlights, advanced drivers aids, a panoramic sunroof and a bunch of other cool features. I was really glad the car came with a black interior considering the exterior was a vibrant red. The black interior along with the “black pack” exterior which consists of blacked out parts and comes standard with the First Edition really helped tone things down.

I picked up the car Wednesday morning which was perfect timing since I had a Little Ruby’s event that night and I was picking up three friends on my way. Although the E-Pace is a crossover SUV, its still pretty spacious and my two friends who sat in the back had plenty of legroom. The interior looked very slick in black, with a large infotainment screen in the middle and contrasting red stitching all around. The car I drove had the upgraded Meridian sound system which I loved although not sure I’m a fan of the actual infotainment system as a whole. I was using the iPhone streaming music over USB and on multiple occasions, the infotainment system would just stop working with my phone. Annoying but not the end of the world since I solved it by just connecting by Bluetooth instead.

Personally, I love the way the car looks like and I’ve actually liked the design ever since the car was revealed. A lot of cars look good in photos but then when you see it in person its like bleh. Not in this case, although the striking red color with black interior might have played a role in this. Because the E-Pace is a crossover SUV it’s size is very manageable and not intimidating at all. I tend to love smaller cars since they’re easier and more fun to drive and although the E-Pace handled rough roads and smooth highways equally good, there was one thing I found super annoying, the sensitivity of the gas and brake pedals. I’m actually convinced the car I drove had some kind of issue since both pedals were extremely sensitive. Every car has different pedal sensitivity and usually, it takes maybe an hour of driving to get used to it. I had the car for three days and I still wasn’t used to the pedals to the point I was giving myself motion sickness. I solved the abrupt acceleration by putting the car in the snow/wet weather mode which skips the first gear on acceleration and so smoothened things out, but, I couldn’t solve the braking issue. Stepping on the brake pedal lightly didn’t really do much but then if I stepped on the pedal just slightly harder it would apply too much braking power causing the car to jerk. I couldn’t get comfortable with the ultra-sensitive pedals over the three days which was so bizarre.

Overall though its hard not to recommend the E-Pace with a starting price of just KD12,000. But, once you add options the car cost can balloon up past KD17,000, so if you’re looking for value, you’re going to have to sacrifice on options. I think the size is great for those looking for an SUV but don’t want something too big. The boot was also fairly large so you’re not really sacrificing much in terms of SUV practicality. Really the only major issue I had with the car was the pedal sensitivity, but since I couldn’t find anyone else online complaining about it, it must have been an issue with the specific car I drove. If you’re interested in test driving the E-Pace yourself, just pass by the showroom or get in touch with Jaguar, they’re on instagram @zayanijaguarkuwait


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Where to find S’well Bottles in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Recently I decided to get a S’well bottle to keep in my car since I have a habit of collecting water bottles which clutter up the interior. By having a S’well bottle permanently in the car, I could just keep refilling it from the water bottles I collect throughout the day and then just throw away the empty bottles.

I decided to go with S’well because of the multiple color and design options they have, but the only place in Kuwait that seems to sell them is Paper & Nest in KIPCO Tower.

They’ve got a pretty good selection of bottles to choose from and their prices are pretty similar to US prices. For example, my bottle cost me KD12 while the same one on Amazon sells for around KD11. They also have most of the bottles available on their website so if you don’t feel like going to KIPCO, you can just order it online. If you’re looking to get a S’well bottle, here is a link to Paper & Nest’s [Website]


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