Friday, June 29, 2012

Coke and Pepsi contain tiny traces of alcohol

Time to ban Coke and Pepsi products......

Coke and Pepsi contain tiny traces of alcohol, reveals French research | Mail Online:

These include the brand leaders Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola, while it is mainly only cheap supermarket versions of the drink which are alcohol-free.‘60 Million Consumers’, the French magazine, publishes the results of the tests in its latest issue.They suggest that the alcohol levels are as low as 10mg in every litre, and this works out at around 0.001 per cent alcohol.
Are we going to see people arrested for smuggling in these products?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NBK - signature Nazis

Am I the only person who thinks NBK is way to anal about people's signatures? In the past I've gone to NBK to make some transactions and when it comes time to sign the paperwork they always over do the comparison. They will compare the two signatures in great detail and majority of the time I have to sign again and again. One time I had to sign my name 4 times until she decided to have me make a new signature for their file. Last week I went to pick up my card at the Arifjan branch and once again the guy took 5 minutes looking back and forth at the two signatures. After signing twice he had the manager look over it. Finally I was allowed to pick up my card after 30 minutes of waiting.

Yesterday I took my daughter the the Fintas branch to pick up her card and of course the lady asked her to sign again. I can understand it if a signature was way off and they were concerned but I applied for my card in front of the same guy who asked me to sign twice. I admit my signature changes depending on my mood and it gets real bad at NBK after they harass me. Has anyone else experienced this?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

ESF increases Fees

Yesterday I went to the English School Fahaheel to register my daughter, I was just about to hand over the 400 KD for her and my son when I heard the lady talking on the phone to someone regarding school fees. Once I heard her mention the fees for lower grades I thought something was wrong. I saw the new school fees which were an increase of 10%. I wish they would have told me earlier about the increase, if I would have paid the 400 KD and changed my mind they would have kept the money. The fees went from 2690 KD per year for grades 7-11 to 2960 KD which doesn't include 120 KD for school supplies, 235 KD for the bus and 95 KD for the uniform. For 12 and 13 grades the cost is 3240 KD. ESF had been the cheapest school in the area besides Cambridge and I really liked the way ESF was run but now I can't afford the increase so I'm looking at trying Cambridge again.

ESF's payment plan limits my ability as well as the school wants over 4500 KD by August and the remaining 1650 KD by Dec which is hard considering most schools accept payments over 3 terms. I can't believe they don't warn parents of increases. The accountant told me the proposal is still waiting to be approved by the Ministry. If children were getting a Harvard type education then an increase would be acceptable but no private schools offer that. The school had a different price for KOC which makes me feel as if they are catering more toward parents whose companies pay for their kids schooling not the average person working their butt off to pay for it. My older children are not Kuwaiti so they don't qualify for any kind of help even though their siblings and step-father are Kuwaiti which makes it difficult for me as a mother not having any support group back in the states for them to go to school there.  Government schools are impossible as my kids don't speak Arabic and no, my husband is not rich as most people think of Kuwaitis, we are just an average family.

It's getting harder and harder to survive in this country.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Saudi says no to Emo

Saudi Gazette - Disturbing trend appearing among teens in Kingdom:

Teenagers in the Kingdom are also not immune to adolescent woes due to advances in modern technologies, excessive access to the World Wide Web from smart phones, children have doors opened to the entire world.

School counselors from several cities throughout the Kingdom have recognized and reported to the Ministry of Education the appearance of a new trend among Saudi and expat students, and that is the emo culture adopted primarily from teenagers living in the west.

Keeping up-to-date with fashion is not a crime but over indulging in them becomes a serious problem in addition to overriding behaviors teenagers show off when imitating the culture from the West.

Usually these kids are overly emotional, sensitive, shy, withdrawn, prone to depression, and move towards the rebellious non-conforming side.

Students tend to avoid extracurricular activities and social events at school and distance themselves from parents and siblings. They also have a deep passion for rock music and lyrics that are sad and evoke feelings of despair and self-pity; although many are talented among them.

School counselors believe that parents should start paying more attention to such disturbing and distressing behavior because if gets out of hand, teenagers may inflict upon themselves self-harm, and fall into suicidal thoughts. Defenders of emo culture say that such behavior is very rare, however counsellors suggest that it is better to avoid the pitfall since it contradicts with traditional, cultural and Islamic beliefs.

I wonder if there are emo teens wearing traditional clothing?

Kuwaiti uprising Next?

Security beefed up:

KUWAIT CITY, June 21: The security authorities have been placed on the state of alert following a decision issued by the Constitution Court declaring the current National Assembly null and void and reinstating the previously dissolved Parliament, reports Al-Rai daily.
The daily added security has been beefed up around the Erada Square and also around vital installations to prevent what the authorities called ‘undesirable’ scenarios.

This doesn't sound too good...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gazelle Club Kuwait, a distant Memory

The Gazelle Club of Kuwait was once a happening place, with National Geographic publishing a piece about it. I'm lucky enough to have a copy of that magazine which is in pristine condition. I recently visited the remains of the club as I'm trying to document what's left of Kuwait's past. A few years ago it was in better condition than it is now. Today it is all but forgotten along with what I think are military barraks from the old days across from the club. Inside the gate stands one lone building, everything else is gone and only sand remains.

The article from National Geographic 1969.
 The club a few years ago
 The remains of today

"Post Office"
 Old military barraks?

What was once a happening place to visit is now an eery ghost town. The buildings could have been turned into some apartments instead of turning into ruins.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last of the Old Kuwaiti Houses

These are a couple of old Kuwaiti houses in Salmiya, they are accross from each other. One has a metal fence around it as if it will be torn down, I doubt there will be any saving of that property because it's located on prime property in the heart of Salmiya, couldn't they refurnish the old house and build around it? Set it up as a museum or offices or something? Just save it!!!!

 This property is also in Salmiya and is up for sale. There are several old houses on the property, unfortunately there are signs posted advertising it for sale which means these houses and their memories will be torn down. Such a shame!

This is what happens when a country "develops" and wants to forget about it's past.

How does Kuwait compare to other GCC in regards to preserving their past, click on the following links to find out how other GCC countries are preserving their past:

UAE has many heritage sites (link)

Qatar also has many heritage sites: (link)

Oman has turned old houses into hotels: (link)

Bahrain: (link)

Kuwait does have a few restored houses and a National museum that has not been cleaned and updated in many years but nothing that really invites tourists to learn more about Kuwait. There is some heritage thing being built on Gulf street but it has been under construction for how many years??

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Old Al Shaya Kuwaiti House

I believe what's left of the old Kuwaiti houses should be preserved before it's too late. This is an old Al Shaya Kuwaiti house next to the Amir's palace. I can only imagine how beautiful it once was during a much more simple time where everyone lived together, both rich and poor lived side by side.

As told by author Saleh Abdulghani Al-Mutawa:
House design and location specified unity existing in the Kuwaiti society. In old times, the poor lived near the rich, where no differences between them. The only difference was that the houses of the rich were vast. Ordinary Kuwaiti house, occupied by the majority of Kuwaitis, consisted of a vast courtyard, surrounded by many rooms, and a hallway secured privacy to the family by separating the house from the street. In that architectural design, the courtyard ventilated the house to find it cool at night and after sunset. This was due to the exchange of radiation between the floor of the courtyard and the outer space. At night the house became cool and sleep was comfortable. During summer, the majority of Kuwaitis prefer to sleep in the courtyard or on the roof. Usually, there is a room on the roof used to store mattresses in or sometimes for napping. A small bath is usually located beside that room. . .
Walls were built of rock and mud, and decorated internally with white gypsum. Ceilings consisted of rows of jandal (trunks), basajeel (bamboo) and manqour (straw mats), covered with a 30cm or a 40cm layer of mud. In winter, when rain was heavy, that layer should be attended to and maintained by adding more mud. Houses of the rich used gypsum for protection. When wood was used in fixing the ceilings, thejandal was only 4 m long, and for the wide rooms they used square pieces of wood of 6m. The floor was covered with mud, then with tiles which was imported from neighboring countries. To let the water flow from the roofs, they used the wooded marazims (gutters) which extended from the roofs to the outside. In the houses there were wells for supplying the underground water, and there were pools to store water in.
As regards the houses of the rich, they were divided into a number of courtyards, each serving a certain purpose. There was a courtyard used to include a Diwaniya for male guests, consisting of a large room annexed with other buildings needed to accomodate the servants or for other purposes.
The other courtyard was located for family female members, including a number of rooms and bathrooms. A third courtyard was used as a kitchen, including the kitchen, storage room for fuel and a store room for the different kinds of food. There were more courtyards for the animals: goats, cows, horses. Kuwaiti houses also had a “baqadeer” (wind tower) which was a natural air-conditioner, not one Kuwaiti house was without it.

This part of the house has been refurbished.

 An example of sea rocks used in building the walls
 Old built in shelves used to store items

 Courtyard between the rooms
 My favorite picture of the roof made of palm leaves
Such a simple time to live, no sports cars or internet just playing outside and being close with family.

I wish Al Shaya family would return this house as it once was so that future generations can see where they came from. Please turn it into a museum so that everyone can enjoy it's beauty.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Construction in Kuwait

When you watch the construction of buildings in Kuwait you wonder how they continue standing. This project seems to be taking forever with it's 3 man crew. As you can see safety doesn't exist in Kuwait, no hats, safety shoes or equipment, just guys wearing slippers and praying they make it through the day.

A lot of money but still a third world country.

Friday, June 15, 2012

No "Green" campaign for Kuwaiti Deserts?

I've read about Kuwait trying to clean up the environment yet I see the deserts being ignored. These are pictures of the camps beside Arifjan. Even though some of the land is fenced off the campers cut the fences in various places to gain access, this is the mess left behind. I don't think volunteers would be able to clean up this garbage as it requires dump trucks to haul off tires, furniture and hundreds of toilets.

The government is cracking down on people using barbeques and leaving trash behind yet they turn a blind eye to the waste left behind by their own citizens. If the citizens don't care about their own country why would expats? Scavengers have already went through the waste to get items to recycle and this is what is left. Who will clean it up? Why aren't people held accountable for their actions? Where is the pride for their country? Western expats pass by this scene everyday, what do they think about this? 

 This is a picture of the other side of the road which is off limits to anyone. That's what the desert looked like before the campers took over.
What are people thinking when they leave this waste behind? It will miraculously disappear one day on it's own?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fresh Irani Bread- Yum!

I really love the fresh Irani bread, we usually start eating it right away even though it's steaming hot. These little ovens are located everywhere, but usually in a little corner tucked away. This one is in Abu Halaifa and I know of 2 other locations in Fintas, one close to the Fintas co-op behind the police station. I bought five pieces which cost me 100 fils.

Everyone must try this bread, you will get addicted!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kuwait traffic, accidents and douchebag Drivers

Once upon a time there was little traffic in Kuwait. The only time to avoid the streets and highways was around 1 pm. I could make it from Marina Crescent to Fintas in 12 minutes on the weekends, not anymore. You would be lucky to get out of the parking lot in 12 minutes not to mention the bumper to bumper traffic on the way home. These days there is no escaping traffic. From 6 am when I go to work until late night there are constant traffic jams everywhere. I think a major contributor is the huge numbers of unregulated taxis. When I came to Kuwait taxis were few and far between and most were run by citizens or local Arabs. Now the taxi drivers practically chase down people walking or standing on the sidewalk.

It bugs me when they blow their horns and pull up next to you almost insisting you need a ride, that's when I show them my keys and tell them to buzz off, not to mention the accidents they cause when they suddenly stop without warning while harassing people. They are supposed to be using the meters in their cars but seldom do it. The police have been pulling over drivers to check and see if they are using the meters.

Traffic at 6 pm
 Traffic at 10 am
 Traffic at 6 am

 Accidents in Kuwait happen every minute of the day, this one was last weekend. As I went to take a right turn there was this Prado on it's side half way in the turn lane. The police moved it out of the way.

 And of course the douchebag drivers of Kuwait. This is the sixth ring exit which is a total nightmare. People try to push their way into the left turn lane from the right turn lane. My poor mom got hit twice by people forcing their way into the lane. This guy couldn't wait for his turn or the light to turn green and proceeded to turn left at a red light.
Make sure you buckle up and put children into car seats, it only takes a couple extra minutes and it could save their precious lives.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Claims of national children born abroad studied- FINALLY!

Claims of national children born abroad studied (link)

The committee assigned to identify UAE nationals born abroad has left the country starting an Asian tour to meet 48 cases and meet nationals' children in India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Indonesia.

The new tour is being made upon directives by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the State and is being followed up by Lt.General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The committee which is chaired by Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalization, Residency and Ports Affairs Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali and is made up of members from the Interior Ministry, seeks to locate children with Emirati fathers and foreign mothers who wish to reunite with their families.

They should consider the USA a good place to start as well considering the amount of Gulf students there in the 80's and 90's. Finally after so many decades the children that were left behind will be found. I wonder if the other GCC countries will follow this taboo subject. Sheikh Khalifa, you are a great man!

Friday, June 8, 2012

AWARE Center- SAS Marine Museum

AWARE Center:


11 Jun 2012, 5:30 pm

The SAS Marine Museum displays twelve large model Arabic Dhows—wooden boats powered only by the wind. Adjacent to the museum is the world's largest Dhow, 'Al Hashemi-II’ and on the wall of the museum, is the authentic certificate earned in 2002; A Guinness World Record for the 'largest wooden Arabic Dhow’ The museum showcases traditional Dhow shipbuilding tools and pictures of maritime activities including seafaring expeditions, shipbuilding and pearl diving. Join AWARE for a fascinating look into the history of the Dhow and the small seaport of Kuwait. After the tour of the museum and Hashemi II Dhow, AWARE guests will visit one of the traditional coffee shops near Marina Mall. Tea / Coffee will be provided. Advance reservations required. Fee: KD 3

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cabinet to issue decision on reducing number of expats

Cabinet to issue decision on reducing number of expats:

Stay in the country for employment only’

KUWAIT CITY, June 2: The Council of Ministers will soon issue a decision to reduce the number of expatriates in Kuwait so that they do not exceed 45 percent of the total population in Kuwait, reports Al-Rai daily quoting informed sources.

They said the decision will be issued to establish a balance between the number of expatriates and the number of Kuwaitis in the country. Expatriates can stay in the country for employment only within the period specified in their residential permit depending on the category they belong.

They pointed out that by limiting the duration of the residential permit, the problem of citizenship claims and accumulation of redundant expatriate workforce can be prevented.

They revealed that the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the Council of Ministers, have already started working on eliminating the problem of redundant expatriate workforce in Kuwait through security campaigns during which approximately 3,000 illegal residents were arrested.

The ministry is also carrying out other required procedures to deport the arrested expatriates in order to reduce their numbers in the country.

They also said the ministry, in coordination with security agencies, is taking other serious measures to eliminate this problem such as establishing labor accommodations, which will facilitate security operations when required.

They also added that the companies or individuals who are responsible for the spread of illegal residents in the country will be severely punished with imprisonment for one to three months and fine of KD 10,000 to KD 100,000.

As of April 20, 2012 there are 2.167 million expats in Kuwait, " labor forces of 23 nationalities living in Kuwait"; 94,040 in public sector, 1,109,000- 51% in the private sectors, 606,482 domestic workers and 448,394 on visa 22. Indians rank number one with 653,223, Egyptians in second with 456,543 and Bangladeshi expats in third with 189,461. Damn that's a lot of expats.

Kuwaiti citizens make up about 1.16 million. I cannot begin to image there are over 3 million people living in this country, especially when you can drive from one end to the other in a couple of hours. It's sad that they have let the country get this crowded and have made it nearly impossible for citizens and their families to even leave their houses. Who wants to go anywhere when you know you will be sitting in traffic for hours and finding parking is so bad people are stabbing each other over parking spaces.

The other GCC countries have taken steps to regain control over their countries and Kuwait has finally started to take control. I hope they follow thru with their plans, actions speak louder than words.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AWARE Center Activities- Grand Mosque Tour

AWARE Center:

09 Jun 2012, 9:15 am

For a rewarding, spiritual and informative experience. This is a 1 ½ tour of one of Kuwait’s most famous landmarks. Ladies are required to cover - long sleeves and long ankle length skirt, otherwise the mosque will provide a cloak. If you have your own scarf you’re welcome to bring it. Camera’s allowed.

Children welcome. This tour meets directly at the Grand Mosque at 9.15am. Directions to the Grand Mosque. Take Gulf Street towards the Kuwait Towers. Pass the Towers with them on your right. Pass Souq Sharq with it on your right. Pass the Dickson House and Ministry of Planning with them on your left. By Seif Palace there is a large roundabout. Take the 2nd exit off the roundabout.

The Grand Mosque is now on your left. At traffic lights turn left. Grand Mosque is on your left. To park go down to the roundabout and come back so Grand Mosque is on your right. Car Parking - If you are driving you can park at the mosque. The entrance is found by taking the side road between the Al-Babtain library and the Grand Mosque. Then you will see a barrier on your left. Tell the guard you are there for a tour and he will let you in, you follow the road round and can park in front of the mosque.

Monday, June 4, 2012

KSA princess tries to skip US$7.4m hotel bill

KSA princess tries to skip US$7.4m hotel bill - Travel & Hospitality -

A prominent Saudi Arabian princess attempted to leave a luxury hotel in Paris without paying a US$7.4m bill, according to media reports this weekend.

Newswire AFP, citing French daily Le Parisien, reported that Maha Al-Sudairi, former wife of Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdel Aziz, tried to leave the French capital's Shangri-La hotel in the early hours of Thursday without settling the bill for her and her 60-member entourage.

While French police confirmed the report, when contacted by AFP, the hotel’s director, Alain Borgers, said that there are “no problems” with its clients and “no unpaid bills” at the moment.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to France was reportedly contacted following the incident, AFP reported, who responded that the princess enjoys diplomatic immunity.

In 2009, luxury Parisian store Key Largo said it was suing Al-Sudairi over an unpaid bill of €70,000. Her lawyer later said she had settled with the store after bailiffs turned up at her hotel.

Wow! What the hell? There are poor Saudi citizens suffering in KSA and this chick spends that much money at a hotel? How many poor people could have been taken care of with that amount? That money belongs to the people of KSA not her personal account. What a waste!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

TIES- Pictures of their event

TIES (link) is a non political NGO that serves Westerners in Kuwait with language classes, social events, tours, Islamic information, cooking classes and a lot more. My family and I went to one of their gatherings a couple weeks ago. It was a small house with people of different nationalities selling their items. There were two Hispanic ladies selling Mexican food that was really really good. They cater to people as well if anyone is interested.

One lady sold her items for a more reasonable price. The pozole pictured was to die for and it was made with chicken instead of pork. I've waited so long to eat Mexican food without pork. She was charging 3.500 KD for a bowl, I paid 1 KD because there was barely any left otherwise I wouldn't have paid over $10 for the bowl no matter how much I wanted it.She also had tamales but they were expensive which is too bad because I would have loved to buy a couple dozen. I would love to make friends with these ladies! If anyone is interested in homemade Mexican food let me know. I have their contact numbers for orders.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Home Beauty Care & Spa

A new spa has opened up and I hope to visit soon......

Thanks for the pictures ladies.

Home Beauty Care & Spa
Contact: 69949908