Ozone Movie Theaters

Post by Mark

Last night I found out we have a 5th cinema operator in Kuwait called Ozone Cinemas. The surprising thing is that they’ve been open since last summer. Ozone is currently open in a mall called Trio in Khaitan and they’ll be opening up another theater in Jahra soon. Their locations is obviously the reason why I hadn’t heard about them until now. Check out their website [Here]

Thanks Ninar


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Kuwaiti Project on Display at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Post by Mark

Around a year ago I posted about the Dual Bowls project by Kuwaiti artist Kawther Al Saffar. The bowls were one of a kind, handcrafted pieces made in Kuwait by pouring two different metals together in a mold to form a rough bowl. I fell in love with the bowls right away and the first thing I did was grab one for myself before posting about it on the blog.

Kawther had launched the project on Kickstarter and when Kickstarter saw what she was doing, they also fell in love with her project. Kickstarter decided to partner up with Kawther giving her a big push resulting in over 600 people buying into the project and pledging over £100,000.

Randomly a few days ago, while checking a friend’s story, I noticed the Dual Bowls were being exhibited in London. Turns out the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, had invited Kickstarter to share with the museum four of their favorite projects from last year. V&A were putting together an exhibition called “The Future Starts Here” and wanted to display Kickstarter projects since it fit with the theme of the exhibit. Out of the four projects Kickstarter decided to share with the museum, the Dual Bowls project was one of them. How insanely cool is that?

The exhibition will be running until November, so if you’re in London make sure you pass by and check it out. Also if you’re in San Fransisco for Maker Faire this weekend, Kickstarter will also be displaying the bowls there.

If you’re interested in getting a bowl for yourself you can get in touch with Kawther via instagram @kalsaff

Pictures by Aisha


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F1 TV Access in Kuwait

Post by Mark

There are a lot of companies or brands I don’t like, and only a very few I really really dislike or hate. To get me to really hate you would take a lot of effort (suing me is one way *cough* Benihana *cough*), and somehow beIN have managed to really piss me off. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on this but to summarize, I only use them to stream Formula 1 races, and when I’ve run into problems, they had extremely horrible customer service. But, I finally found another way to legally (kinda) watch the F1 races… F1 TV.

Before I continue, yes I am aware there are multiple ways to stream the F1 races illegally. Personally, I always try to go the as legal way possible route, unless I hit a wall and then I resort to piracy.

If you’re a Formula 1 fan and you follow the news, you might be aware that Formula 1 just launched F1 TV. Depending on where you reside, you’ll be able to subscribe to F1 TV and have access to their full archive of races as well as being able to stream their current races live via their website.

F1 TV in Kuwait
Kuwait sadly isn’t one of the countries where F1 TV will work. I think that has to do with the agreement F1 have with beIN but since beIN is so buggy, I had to find a way to get F1 TV working in Kuwait and I managed to do just that. To get F1 TV working in Kuwait you need two things:

– VPN with an American server
– Credit card issued by an American bank

The first is easy to get, there are hundreds of options available online and my guess is that pretty soon you’ll also be able to use smartDNS to access F1 TV like we do to get access to US Netflix and Hulu. The credit card on the other hand is much harder to get. I got mine while vacationing in the States but I think there are ways of getting one online although I haven’t tried them. Once you’ve got these two things you can just subscribe to F1 TV and get access.

What’s F1 TV Like?
There are two F1 TV packages, F1 TV Access, and F1 TV Pro. Access doesn’t allow you to stream the races live but with the Pro package you can. If you pay month by month, Access is $3 a month while Pro is $12. If you sign up for a year then the prices drop down considerably with Pro coming to $8 a month, the same price beIN charge for one day access.

This past race was the first time F1 TV went live and it was super buggy. It was so bad that F1 TV sent out an apology and a refund because they weren’t able to cope with the load this past weekend. But, thats fine, it was their first weekend live and nobody was expecting them to be perfect.

When it did work though the service was spectacular, more than anything beIN could offer or any other channel for the matter.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to the cameras inside every single car. So if you’re a Verstappen fan, you can choose to view the camera in his car, and then watch him race until he crashes into something.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to different audio channels. When watching the main stream you can choose to listen to commentary in different languages, or you can choose not to have any commentary at all and just have car sounds. While watching the race from inside the car of your favorite driver, you get an additional option of being able to listen to the team radio.

– With F1 TV you get access to 68 seasons of races! SIXTY EIGHT seasons of Formula 1 racing, that’s just insane. Last night I was rewatching the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix when half the cars crashed at turn one of the race. I then watched a documentary on one of my favorite drivers of all time, Mika Häkkinen. Even if F1 TV didn’t include the archive, I would have easily forked out $8 a month just to stream the races live. The fact that they’ve included so much content with this $8 is an incredible bonus.

As you can tell, I’m very excited about F1 TV. If you’re an F1 fan and have any questions about the service let me know. There are some negatives right now with F1 TV including the lack of an Apple TV app being one. Currently I’m using the browser on my iPad to watch F1 TV which is annoying, but they only properly launched a few days ago so they’re still super busy working out all the kinks and I’m expecting them to launch an app soon. Things will only keep getting better from this point onwards.


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List of All the New Airport Terminals

Post by Mark

It’s kinda crazy how overnight we basically doubled the number of airport terminals in Kuwait. Since its starting to get a bit complicated with the different namings, I figured I’d share the list below to help clear things up along with pictures.

Terminal 1
This is our current main terminal. It was opened in 1979 and was designed by one of the most significant architects of the 20th century, Kenzō Tange. The British architect and critic Stephen Gardiner wrote in 1985 that it was “the most beautiful airport in the world” because of its “breathtaking simplicity of color and shape.” It is “white sculptured space as cool as an ice-cube, as enormous as a vat intake of pure air, as light as a tent, as canvas hung from cables and sails.” The airport today no longer resembles the original one due to the amount of refurbishment it went through. There are no plans to demolish this airport, but once Terminal 2 opens up I hope someone decides to take it back to its original state. For more pictures of the airport, click [Here]

Terminal 2
This is the new and huge terminal that was designed by the British architecture studio Foster + Partners. It’s currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2021. This is going to be a world-class terminal that will be able to compete with the likes of Hamad International Airport in Qatar and the Emirates Airline Terminal 3 in Dubai. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 3
The Sheikh Saad terminal originally started off as a private planes terminal but later became the Wataniya Airways terminal. After Wataniya Airways shutdown, FlyDubai took it over. Until recently, flying with FlyDubai was the only way to avoid our horrible main terminal. But, now that the Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways terminals are opening up, Sheikh Saad terminal will no longer have an edge.

Terminal 4
This is the new Kuwait Airways terminal and is expected to be operational in June. The new terminal is located near the cargo terminal. Here is the location on [Google Maps]. This terminal will help ease congestion at the main terminal until Terminal 2 opens up in 2021. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 5
Finally, Terminal 5 is the Jazeera Airways terminal I posted about last week. This terminal is now basically complete and will be open at the end of this month. Right now the terminal will cater only to Jazeera Airways flights but there are talks about possibly hosting another airline as well, possibly Emirates. For a complete walkthrough and pictures of this terminal, click [Here]

Future Terminal Expansion
In case needed, there are plans in place that can expand Terminal 2 to double the size. My guess if that happens, either the terminal will still be called Terminal 2, or they might be renamed to Terminal 2a and Terminal 2b. After expansion the terminal will be able to handle 50 million passengers a year. In comparisson, our current main terminal handles 6.8 million a year.


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One Membership – Multiple Gyms

Post by Mark

A friend of mine who lives in Dubai is signed up to this gym membership where she pays a set fee every month, and then has access to a number of gyms. She loves it because she gets to go to one gym for spinning, another for boxing, another for crossfit etc.. all with just one membership. Turns out we now have something similar in Kuwait called AllympiaPass.

AllympiaPass is a gym pass that gives you access to over 40 gyms in Kuwait. The way it works is simple (kinda), you sign up to one of their packages, then you launch the app and see what options you have available today or on a specific date. So you might be interested in pool access, or you might be interested in crossfit, you select what you want and you book it. That’s it. The app even allows you to filter between mixed classes or same sex classes and also by the area the gym is located in or by the kind of classes you’re interested in.

The only thing that makes the process a bit complicated is understanding how the membership plans work. Here are the packages available:

3 Passes / 14 Days
Visit any gym once
KD6

8 Passes / 30 Days
Visit any gym up to 3 times
KD28

12 Passes / 30 Days
Visit any gym up to 4 times
KD35

Unlimited Passes / 1 Month
Visit any gym up to 6 times
KD52

Unlimited Passes / 3 Months
Visit any gym up to 6 times
KD140

So, the complicated part here is with the wording of unlimited pass. Even though it’s called unlimited, it’s not really unlimited. The unlimited pass allows you to visit every one of the gyms they’ve partnered up with, but you can visit each gym up to 6 times only. For example, say you enjoy the crossfit classes at Flare Fitness, you can only visit them 6 times per month with their unlimited plan. This way you are forced to explore and visit multiple gyms which is the whole aim of the pass. At KD52 a month it’s actually not that bad of a deal.

If you’re interested in downloading the app and exploring it, here is the [Link]


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VOX Cinemas Now Open

Post by Mark

Over the weekend, VOX Cinemas officially opened its screens to the public. They’re now the fourth cinema chain operating in Kuwait and their first location is in the fourth phase of The Avenues. You can book tickets and get more information by clicking [Here]

Their THEATRE by Rhodes section with the reclining cinema chairs and waiters service is still coming soon. For a tour of the VOX cinema, check out my previous post [Here]


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

Below is this weekends list of events. As usual, if I’ve forgotten to add anything, let me know in the comments.

Thursday
Nothing to Write Home About
Music Festival 2018

Friday
Nothing to Write Home About
Kuwait Yoga Meet 2018
Friday Run
Practice Of Silence

Saturday
Nothing to Write Home About
Guided Tour: Grand Mosque
Kuwait Music Academy Annual Concert
Sunset Yoga with Honey

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 Isle of Dogs

The movies below are now showing at either Cinescape, Grand Cinemas or Sky Cinemas:

New This Weekend:
Bad Samaritan (6.2) ♦
Bent (5.0) ♦
Breaking In (N/A) ♦
Isle of Dogs (8.2) ★
Kings (4.9) ♦
Life of the Party (4.6) ♦

Other Movies Showing:
A Quiet Place (8.4)
Avengers: Infinity War (9.2) ♦
I Feel Pretty (4.1) ♦
Masha and the Bear (7.9)
Peter Rabbit (6.5)
Overboard (3.1) ♦
Rampage (6.5)
Tomb Raider (7.3)

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

Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters 3D (7.4)
America Wild: National Parks Adventure (5.9)
Dream Big 3D (7.9)
Hurricane 3D (7.0)
Tiny Giants 3D (8.0)
Watermelon Magic 3D (7.4)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.


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Tour of the New Jazeera Airways Terminal

Post by Mark

Yesterday I got a tour of the new Jazeera Airways terminal and I left impressed. Not only because the terminal is something we desperately need right now, but also because of the thought process behind a lot of the decisions as well as the initiatives Jazeera have taken to try and make the experience as smooth and quick for their passengers. There is a lot of information to cover so what I’m going to do is start off by walking you through the check-in and departures process first, and then take you through the arrivals process.

Terminal Location
If you’re standing facing our current airport, the Jazeera Airways terminal would be located to the left of it. There are two ways of getting to the new terminal, the first way is through our current airport, this is the longer and slower way since you’ll have to deal with our airport traffic. The second and much faster way is to take the exit before arriving to the airport. It’s the same road you take to get to the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly area as well as the same route you take to get to the VIP terminal. This route allows you to bypass all the traffic and mess at the main airport. Check the map above, red is how you get to the current airport, yellow is how you get to the new terminal. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Parking & Check-in
So this is where things get interesting. Jazeera Airways have their own parking lot right across from their new terminal. The parking lot has a bridge that connects to the main terminal but you can also access the terminal by crossing the street below. The multistory lot can hold 350 cars, but the cost of the parking will be similar to the short-term parking at the current airport which I think is KD6 a day. That’s pricy but, they have two other more affordable options:

– Curbside Check-in: With this option, you pull up into the multistory parking lot and head to the curbside check-in area. There you not only hand your car over to valet, but they’ll also take your luggage if any and check you in all while you’re still in the parking lot. You then get your boarding pass and head straight to passport control in the new terminal allowing you to skip the check-in process inside the terminal. The valet will take your car and park it in the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly lot down the street and you will be charged 2.5KD a day.

– Park & Fly: Another option in case you don’t want to give your car to valet is to park your car yourself in the Park & Fly lot near the new terminal. You can hand over your luggage there and check-in before taking the shuttle bus down to the terminal. Since you would have already checked in this way, you just head straight to passport control. This will also cost you 2.5KD a day.

If you are dropped off at the new terminal or you decide to park your car in the lot across the street and walk into the terminal, then you have different check-in options available for you. The first is self check-in, but when I was there yesterday the machines were still not installed. The other option to check-in is with the regular check-in desks which there will be ten of.

Duty Free & Passport Control
Once you’re done with the check-in process you’ll have to head upstairs for passport control which is pictured below.

You’ll have a duty free section before and after passport control although when I was there yesterday those areas were still empty. There will be food options but not sure if they will be ready by the time the new terminal opens.

Security & Old Airport Access
Although the Jazeera Airways terminal is a new structure, it actually is connected to our current airport and they will continue to use their current gates which are B1, B2 and B3. But, they’re completely refurbishing the gates to match their new terminal and when I was there yesterday they were starting work on it which should be completed by the time the terminal opens. One of the things Jazeera wants to do is NOT have you go through two different security checks before boarding the flight like you do in the current airport. So they’re reworking the design of their gates so that the arrival passengers and departure passengers don’t use the same space (which is what requires the extra security check at our current airport). B1 and B2 use air bridges to board passengers onto the plane while their B3 gate uses buses.

Past their boarding gates you’ll find access to the current main airport. You’ll be able to enter the airport normally but to re-enter the Jazeera Terminal you need to go through a security check again.

Arriving at the New Terminal
When you exit the plane you’ll head to passport control first. Jazeera Airways want your arrival process to be quick so the next step is slightly different from the main airport as well as Sheikh Saad terminal. Once you’re done with passport control you’ll go through a quick security check where you put your carry-on bags in an xray machine before going to pick up your luggage from the conveyor belts. Once you pick up your luggage you do NOT have to go through security. All luggage will be security checked BEFORE coming out on the conveyor belts.

I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but I was given a behind the scenes tour and basically, once the bags arrive into the Jazeera Airways terminal they will be placed on a conveyor belt and go through a security screening before the bags head out to the passengers. So when you pick up your bag it has already been checked and you just walk out of the airport.

The Jazeera Airways VIP Experience
So this is something new Jazeera will be offering, it’s a VIP addon to your ticket which you can purchase separately. This is an add-on for both economy and business class passengers. What the VIP add-on will give you is access to a separate VIP parking located on the side of the airport, a separate VIP check-in area, and access to the VIP lounge. I got a tour of the lounge but didn’t take any pictures because it was still being worked on but it will have different seating areas including a meeting room. Now here is the cool part, you don’t need to be a passenger to access the VIP lounge, you just need to buy a pass. So say you’re in town for a business meeting and the meeting is running long but you have a flight to catch. You and whomever you’re meeting with could continue the meeting at the airport. You could check-in to your flight and then continue the meeting in one of the rooms and when its time to board your flight you could end the meeting and head to the plane. This could also work if your wife and kids are traveling and you want to stay with them until they board their flight, you could get a VIP pass for you and your family and then hang out with them in the lounge until they have to board the plane. No idea how much this addon will cost since they haven’t finalized the price yet.

So thats basically a full walk-through of the new terminal. I don’t think I left anything out but if you have any questions just let me know. The terminal is expected to open and be operational by the end of this month which is in 20 days!

For more pictures or higher resolution ones, click [Here]

Update: The Jazeera Airways terminal is going to be called Terminal 5.


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You Do Not Want to Renew Your Drivers License

Post by Mark

Previously, whenever you renewed your driving license it would get renewed for 10 years. I’m not really sure when that law changed, but now you have to renew it every year. Last year it took me 2 hours to get my license renewed, and that’s after I got super lucky when an officer ended up signing my papers for me without me having to wait in a line that was easily 100 people long.

I usually get all my car related paperwork done at the Jabriya Traffic Department. They’re really organized and every year when I go to renew my car registration, they would have changed something to make the experience smoother and faster. I was expecting the license renewal process to be easier this year because of that but boy was I wrong.

The line when I passed by yesterday to renew my license was crazy crazy long! The picture above was taken as I was walking to the back of the line, around half way to the back (check map above for exact location). The line stretched down a super long corridor and then turned around the corner because it was so long and it wasn’t even people standing in a single file, it looked like a complete mess.

Clearly the traffic department isn’t capable of handling this many renewals, so why don’t they just revert to the older system and have people do this once every 10 years? I ended up leaving but now I’m trying to figure out if I should get there early and line up or what exactly. The renewal for expats only starts at 4PM and they only take so many requests before telling everyone to come back the following day and line up again. So stressful!

Update: A reader just told me about a company that can handle your license renewal process as well as other things. They charge KD10 to renew your license which I think is so worth it. Here is a link to the [Flyer]


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