Kuwait No Longer Needed to Host the 2022 World Cup

Post by Mark

Last month I posted that FIFA was considering Kuwait to co-host the World Cup with Qatar, that offer is now off the table. FIFA originally wanted to increase the teams participating in the World Cup to 48, but Qatar didn’t have enough stadiums and facilities to host the extra games. So Kuwait and Oman were both considered to co-host since nobody else in the Gulf is in talking terms with Qatar at the moment. Oman didn’t have the stadiums to host the games and Kuwait wasn’t interested in co-hosting either so FIFA scrapped the plans to expand the World Cup.

As someone who wanted Kuwait to host the World Cup, this is obviously disappointing news.

2019-05-26T08:40:10+03:00May 26, 2019|8 Comments

Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

Screenshot from Aladdin

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

New This Weekend:
Aladdin (6.5)
Discarnate (4.1)
Goodland (5.3)

Other Movies Showing Now:
A Dog’s Journey (7.0)
Avengers: Endgame (9.2)
Captain Marvel (6.0)
Dumbo (7.1)
Godzilla: Resurgence (6.7)
Long Shot (7.2)
Shazam! (8.1)
The Convent (4.3)
The Curse of La Llorona (6.4)
The Intruder (5.4)
UglyDolls (4.5)

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

Amazon Adventure 3D (6.6)
Fly Me to the Moon (4.5)
Galapagos 3D (8.6)
Oceans: Our Blue Planet (7.4)
Penguins (6.7)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.

2019-05-23T09:32:27+03:00May 23, 2019|0 Comments

Order Your International Driving License Online

Post by Mark

Generally, when you travel you can rent and drive cars with just your regular Kuwaiti license. But, back when the driving license was just in Arabic, you needed to get an international driving license. Not really sure which country nowadays won’t accept your Kuwaiti license, but in case you need to get an international one you can now do so online.

Price is KD10 for the license and you then have the option to pick it up yourself or have it delivered to you for an additional KD3.

Thanks Fahed

2019-05-22T08:43:16+03:00May 22, 2019|27 Comments

Must Watch TV: Chernobyl

Post by Mark

I’ve been pushing everyone I know to watch this new mini-series on HBO called Chernobyl. Three out of the five total episodes are out so far and frankly, I think it’s the best thing on TV right now and I was saying that even before Game of Thrones ended. If you do watch it make sure you also listen to the Chernobyl podcast by the show’s creator since its a perfect companion for the show.

If you don’t know anything about the Chernobyl disaster that’s great, you won’t believe this is all based on a true story and really happened. If you do know about the Chernobyl disaster that’s also great since you also won’t believe this all really happened.

2019-05-22T08:29:02+03:00May 22, 2019|13 Comments

Showroomz Car App

Post by Mark

Showroomz is a new app I found about that I actually installed and didn’t delete. The app is like a digital car showroom for local car dealers and is a really convenient way to find out how much different cars cost.

But there are two minor issues I have with the app. Firstly, not all the dealers are listed, for example, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota are not on the app although I’m assuming they will be added eventually. Secondly, the brands aren’t listed aren’t in alphabetical order, so if you’re looking for a specific brand you have to scroll down the list and hope to find it. Other than these two quibbles, its a nice looking app that’s fairly straightforward to use without too many bells and whistles.

If you love cars or maybe if you’re looking to buy a new one then it’s worth downloading the app. Here is the link to the Apple Store.

2019-05-21T09:26:40+03:00May 21, 2019|6 Comments

Kuwait Art Scene in the 70s

Post by Mark

I stumbled upon the instagram post below the other day by the textile designer Christopher Hyland and thought it was worth sharing:

The 1970’s art scene in Kuwait was exhilarating.

Assuming my memory serves me correctly as to date, in 1977 or so the Kuwaiti Ministry of Communication invited me to judge the Kuwait National Art Competition, exactly why and how I cannot remember.

While in Kuwait I attended a Warhol exhibition in a large tent (although Google reports that it took place in the confines of the Sultan Gallery), had breakfast with I M Pei and at the arts awards ceremony I was presented a medal cum Kuwaiti memento of appreciation for my judging efforts (see the accompanying images of the medal and of me seated at dinner with the artists). The arts scene was flourishing.

I met Members of the Al Ghanim family and the owners of the pioneering Sultan Gallery.

Artists organized a weekend, tented desert encampment for me. I recall that the Minister or was it Director of the Ministry of Communications had the-unusual for Kuwait-nickname Bucky Beaver.

One hopes that a vibrant Kuwait arts scene continues to flourish, war and other pressures having so much in the event lessened but not by any means removed the prospects those golden years held. -CH

Sultan Gallery also responded to the post with this extra tidbit of information:

Thank you for posting this, it brings back nice memories of Kuwait back then. Just to correct one of the points in the post, the Andy Warhol exhibition wasn’t shown in a tent it was at Dhaiat Abdulla Al-Salem Gallery (now know as Ahmed Al-Adwani Gallery) and organized by the National Council of Arts, Culture & Letters by the recommendation of Najat Sultan

2019-05-21T08:58:19+03:00May 21, 2019|6 Comments

Ice Skating Rink to be Demolished

Post by Mark

As a kid growing up in Kuwait in the 80s there weren’t that many things to do, so my mum enrolled me in skating classes at the ice skating rink (that’s me with the instructor in the picture above). I took classes until one day I fell and cut my hand on skates and didn’t really go back to the rink until the early 90s. The ice skating rink in the early 90s was the place to be, with the latest hits blasting on the ice skating rink speakers while we either ice skated or hung out in the ice skating rink’s arcade. Now the ice skating rink is the next national landmark in line to be demolished.

Laila Al-Hamad is the founder of Zeri Crafts, a brand that casts light on Kuwait’s crafts heritage. Recently she published the article below in the Arab Times and with her permission, I’m publishing it here along with some great photos she took.

Tearing Down our Memories

A skating rink in the desert is about to celebrate its 40th year of life. Forty years of an architectural masterpiece that has withstood the Iraqi invasion, the harsh summers, the wear and tear of time is truly an event to be celebrated. But just as Sawaber and countless other landmarks that have marked our architectural landscape have been mindlessly demolished without a purpose or a plan, the Kuwait Ice Skating Rink too is on death row.

A tent-like structure with wooden pillars reminiscent of Bait al-Shaar, the Kuwait Ice Skating Rink is a magnificent piece of architecture that was built in close collaboration with France in the late 1970s. And just as its unique architecture stands out in the midst of the many soulless glass towers that adorn the Kuwait City skyline, its place in Kuwait’s memory landscape is even more extraordinary. Beyond any commercial value, the Ice Skating Rink is – par excellence – a pillar of our national heritage; it has shaped the childhood memories of hundreds of thousands of the country’s inhabitants. Ask anyone who grew up in Kuwait in the 1980s what the Ice Skating Rink means to them, and expect a barrage of ecstatic responses.

Against all odds, a skating rink in the desert became the perfect oasis for those seeking a cool sanctuary away from the scorching sun. Upon entering this haven of tranquility, we were welcomed by the smell of cold, a smell so rare in Kuwait that we stored it in our olfactory memory. Take a left and find yourself in the ice-skates rental room, lined with dozens of benches awaiting eager skaters. A few meters beyond that lay the space we were all here for: the big rink. Grand and majestic, the big rink is a marvel, its walls bedecked with striking geometric patterns in warm reddish and ochre hues reminiscent of Sadu weaving patterns. Here would begin our journey on the ice, energizing us with a feeling of freedom and joy that few sports can equal.

Despite a hiatus associated with the Iraqi invasion, the rink has been operational for almost 4 decades, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. In my case, what was part of my childhood became part of my adulthood: I would take my children there to learn to skate as would many of my friends. This generational link gives the ice skating rink a special status; whereas many of the landmarks of our youth – including cinemas and theaters – have been abandoned or demolished, the rink has stood firm in its resilience. One of the few non-consumeristic enterprises in the country, it continues to be a refuge for those seeking family fun in a non-commercial setting. The unique modernist design fills us with a sense of pride linked to Kuwait’s golden age of architecture, where function met aesthetics. The place leaves few of us unmoved.

Inaugurated in 1980, the rink was not only the first such structure in Kuwait, but also the first ice skating complex in the whole of the Middle East. March 2020 marks its 40th anniversary. But instead of celebrating this milestone, we are getting ready for its imminent demolition. It is being sacrificed for the Shaheed Park phase 3 extension, making way for a concert hall and – ironically enough – a new skating rink. The rink is facing demolition not because of a lack of demand from the public (it welcomes 150,000 visitors a year), nor because of any maintenance or structural issues, but because someone has decided to build something new. Why demolish a perfectly functioning architectural masterpiece? Why not renovate and revitalize the existing structure and integrate it into the park? We can only gain from bridging rather than eliminating the various layers of Kuwait’s built landscape.

Two weeks ago, the JACC opened its doors to a Kuwaiti musical called “Memoirs of a Sailor.” By word of mouth, news of the musical spread like wildfire. Almost every person I know, Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis alike, attended, some even twice. What drove thousands of people to the show was a thirst for memories, roots, a past that is now completely out of reach to us. Isn’t it paradoxical that we are looking for identity inside theaters while we destroy it outside? Many Kuwaitis are upset about the neglect and erasure of their culture in its many forms; the architecture, the crafts and even the natural environment through the pollution of the sea.

The senseless destruction of our architectural heritage for the extraction of commercial value for the few is a violation of our national heritage. The Kuwait Ice Skating Rink should not be the next victim on the list of public executions that awaits our many landmarks. In a spirit of sustainability, and historical and architectural preservation, the structure should become a listed architectural landmark integrated into the new extension. May our development be respectful of our memories and our environment. And may wisdom and the public good prevail.

By Laila Al-Hamad

2019-05-20T09:01:04+03:00May 20, 2019|52 Comments

Kuwait International Airport: The 3 Lounges Compared

Post by Mark

One of the contributing writers at the aviation news website SimplyFlying.com recently passed through the Kuwait Airport. While passing through he visited 3 of the 4 lounges in the airport and did a quick review. He missed the Emirates Derwaza Lounge but I’m guessing thats because he wasn’t aware of it since it’s fairly hidden.

If you’ve never been inside the lounges or just curious to read what he thought of them, here is the link to his article.

2019-05-19T09:38:40+03:00May 19, 2019|3 Comments