Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Please help this Child

A 2-year old baby lost her hearing aid implant and without it she cannot hear as this piece is connected to a plate surgically embedded in her head. It has no monetary value to anyone as it is specifically made for this little girl. It was lost yesterday in Farwaniya, I hope someone can help, it's a very expensive device for the expat family to replace.

Cars of Kuwait

I was cruising through Salmiya when I saw this oldie but goodie parked in front of an apartment building. The interior was in great shape, the paint was original but needed some touch up, can you imagine the days when it was a luxury to drive this beast around?

I would definitely drive this down Gulf Street!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Steak n Shake - Another burger joint coming Soon?

Steak n Shake, the US burger restaurant company, has signed an exclusive deal with AB Holdings to open 50 of its restaurants in Saudi Arabia.

The burger chain, which is owned by Biglari Holdings Inc, said that the deal is part of its plan to further its global expansion.

Steak n Shake, which was founded in 1934, expects to open its first restaurant in Riyadh during the first half of 2014.

Last year, Steak 'n Shake, the US burger restaurant company, announced its first international development agreement in the UAE.
Steak n Shake signed an exclusive area development agreement with the Saleh Bin Lahej Group to open 40 restaurants in the country.

Sardar Biglari, chairman of Biglari Holdings, which owns Steak n Shake, said: “We now have forged a forceful beginning in the Middle East with total commitments for 90 restaurants.”

The premium burger chain, which currently operates over 520 restaurants, is planning further global expansion, mainly in the Middle East and Europe.

The CEO of Biglari Holdings is an Iranian-born guy named Sardar Biglari and his company has 20% stake in the chain Cracker Barrel.More info

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Locusts - Treats for Kuwaiti Kids

 Locusts, Yum!

Bumper to Bumper Garage

The Shaab ALFA gas station has a little bumper-to-bumper garage which is pretty cool, you won't have to go to Shuwaikh to get a trusted oil change.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Discontinued Cars

This discontinue of much loved cars in Kuwait is going to make many cry. Gone are the FJ Cruisers, Corvette Z06 and Lamborghini Gallardo come 2014. Awww, what are the guys who own Gallardos (because they can't afford Murcielago) going to do to impress the chicks?

These are everyday driving cars here, I bet the price of these cars is about to increase.link

They are bringing in a replacement for the Gallardo called the Huracan as seen below.
Will this be the "must-have" car in Kuwait 2014?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Operation Hope - Kuwait Times Article

Sheryll Mairza
Sheryll Mairza
Operation Hope, an NGO established by Sheryll Mairza, is touching people’s lives throughout the world. A grassroots humanitarian outreach that is motivated by compassion to alleviate suffering in Kuwait, Operation Hope serves those in the greatest of need through the support of the local and international community. Since 2005, more than 50,000 bags of winter clothing have been distributed to impoverished workers in Kuwait. Operation Hope is now slowly reaching out to people around the world through organizations and individuals. After the recent typhoon in the Philippines, Operation Hope contributed relief goods for the affected areas.
“For the Philippines, we contributed some of our collected goods when we were approached by organizations and individuals to help them in their relief efforts. We have a lot of gently used clothes ready to be sold, but we gave it to third party organizations that shipped it to typhoon victims in Philippines,” Mairza said. Another instance where Operation Hope reached out to people of other countries was through a proxy. Mairza said a Gambian woman who wanted to stock her library with books had her wish fulfilled. “We were approached by a woman from Gambia who had started a drive to fill her local library with books so she could help boost the literacy rate of adults there. We have an abundance of books here, so we helped her and shipped the books to Gambia,” she said.
According to Mairza, Operation Hope has a very limited budget and people to do international relief efforts, but through third party organizations, they can reach people on the other sides of the world. “We cooperate with people in areas where need arises. If people there want to start volunteering work similar to Operation Hope, they can do so. I allow the use of Operation Hope’s plans,” she mentioned. “I don’t personally want to go to different places to set up Operation Hope. If volunteers like to spread it in other countries and set up their own NGOs, they can take my blueprint and apply it there. They can be founders of Operation Hope for example in Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines. I will be happy to share the formula I used to set up this NGO,” she said.
Creative Ways
Mairza admitted Operation Hope was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, which saw a great decline of support from donors. “When it became evident that support was dwindling, we came up with more creative ways to keep the funds flowing. We started Christmas bazaars and sold used clothes and kitchenware to raised funds. With the support of locals and expats, we opened a boutique inside a compound of my in-laws’ house to sell gently used household items. The need is great and extended beyond winter, so we organized more frequent bazaars. A vast place in my in-laws’ property in Rumaithiya was utilized to display the products. We received so many donations – from toys to clothes to household things – that we didn’t know where to put them; even the embassy shelters had no place to store all of it, so I thought of selling these items,” Mairza said. “With the help of the British Society of Kuwait, we renovated the facility and opened it on January 12, 2012.
We are generating income from it and we distribute it in the form of tickets for the repatriation of runaway maids. We also regularly send toiletries and sanitary products for women in the shelters of the Ethiopia, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka embassies,” she explained. A few months ago, according to Mairza, an Ethiopian woman fell from the third floor of her employer’s house, and her leg was amputated. “Operation Hope provided her with a prosthetic leg, and we helped her rehabilitation,” she noted. Asked on how he she was able to monitor and control the flow of donations to Operation Hope, she said, “We don’t keep a substantial amount of money in the bank. Whatever we get we give it right away to the needy.
We need donations to flow regularly to carry out the work at Operation Hope. We are also lucky to have the support of a woman from the Behbehani family, who has a heart of gold. She is always ready to contribute; always ready to support us financially and emotionally and with words of encouragement. She is a shining star, and one of the Kuwaitis who have been contributing to our cause. This woman calls us and asks what else she can contribute. She is very passionate about helping and serving others
Charity Work
The need for a charity work is great according to Mairza. Apart from individuals and organizations, she is also thankful for the support given to her by educational institutions in Kuwait. “I get phenomenal support from schools. They are very helpful and volunteer time and effort to collect things,” she added. Mairza dreams a time will come when Operation Hope is no longer needed. “I know this dream is very idealistic, that the gap between the haves and have-nots will narrow,” she said.
Realistically, her vision is to continue moving forward to raise the younger generation to be aware of realities and look beyond their personal goals and ambitions. “I want them to see the persons to their left and right, because at the end of the day, we are brothers and sisters. We come from different places, but we are all brothers and sisters. We need to continue to strive to support and help one another,” she mentioned. In May 2013, she was presented with $10,000, an award she received for inspiring women of the GCC, sponsored by Philadelphia cheese. “It was a very amazing award which I used to add to our winter program. It was a huge blessing for us,” she concluded.
Yay Sheryll! You can find out more about OH on their FB page.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Vanilla Ice

I'm not ashamed to say I know all of the lyrics and just the other day 99.7 played it, I turned it up and sang along.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

No poor in Kuwait - What rich people Think

There are no poor in Kuwait!
When some senior official appears on TV stating that there are no poor people in Kuwait, he is right, but this is only because he does not know the real misery of 90 percent of citizens. His Excellency talks out of his own experiences and the acquaintances he mingles with in lofty diwaniyas where people usually talk about purchasing a house for a million dinars or spending a quarter million on restoring another. They talk about spending millions as if they were talking about buying a KFC meal! This is why I don’t blame him for thinking that there are no poor in Kuwait.
The luxurious marble-clad diwaniyas he visits give him such an impression and he does not realize that round 500,000 citizens live in rented houses and that over 106,000 people have applied for a government-provided house and are still waiting. Yes, indeed. Salaries are high but, on the other hand, there is hardly a citizen who still has a single dinar by the 15th of each month.
This is not because he is an extravagant spender, it is rather because of the high cost of rents, installments and soaring prices right under the government’s nose and with its consensus. Our currency is only high in local markets and accordingly, all prices of foodstuff, medicine, private hospital bills and clothes have gone mad because in Kuwait, a trader can double or triple the price of his goods without accountability! On the 21st of the month in an oil-rich country, one can see citizens at gas stations to buy petrol for only two or three dinars, yet some people still say that there are no poor in Kuwait while others justify crowds at gas stations on the low price of petrol.
Some people argue that Kuwaitis travel four times annually, forgetting that those are only the better off ones whereas the underprivileged strives and makes lots of calculations before deciding to take his kids to the cinema, dine out or take such a recreational adventure! Your Highness the PM, if you and your Cabinet wish to know the truth about how the real 90 percent of your citizens live, ask each minster to live for five days with a Kuwaiti family and you will know where the problem lies and you will know the names of those robbing us in the name of free trade!
Yes, our country is very rich and we have a declared surplus of KD 13 billion, but 90 percent of us are not that rich. In fact we are experiencing intentional poverty on the last fifteen days of each month! The bottom line is, if you own a million dinars or more, please stop talking about poverty in Kuwait! – Al- Anbaa By Thaar Al-Rasheedi  link

It's about time someone spoke the truth! In reality a high percentage of these people put themselves in debt for stupid reasons, like trying to impress other people by buying expensive cars or using all of their money for crap they can't  afford, I know a few of those types. Unfortunately in Kuwait there is a disease called "affluenza" and just about everyone has it. Their goal in life is to "keep up with the Joneses" instead of living on what they make.

The real cases of "poor" Kuwaitis are those who can barely make it in life. They live day to day and try to make sure there's food on the table. The "cradle to grave" ideology has ruined what people think about them. If you told an expat he's making a better living than a Kuwaiti he would argue that point, but it's true, most landlords refuse to rent to Kuwaiti citizens and only want expats. Does the Ministry know that? Do they care?

The rich who run the place know nothing about struggle, most of them care about the next open air market location so they can get thos 5 KD cupcakes while some wish they had 5 KD for gas. They live in the rich people world and know nothing about government hospitals, not having money to pay the bills or hoping no emergency comes up that they can't cover. I guess the rich didn't read the article about the homeless Kuwaiti man who lived under a tree. That's my two cents.

Dubai police cars gets even Better

Yes, they have done it again.

Just when you thought the Dubai Police battalion of supercars couldn’t get any grander, the boys in green go out and snap up a McLaren 12C coupe.link

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Drunk Kuwaiti driver takes out 7 red lights before Crashing

A Kuwaiti driver gulped a few liquor bottles, got into his car and drove on a busy street in the oil-rich Gulf emirate without noticing the signals were red. The intoxicated man was driving without licence on the opposite direction.

A police patrol which happened to be in the area and saw the mad act chased the car and waved many times to the driver to stop.

Instead of slowing down and stopping, the driver sped up, ignoring the police car sirens and the light flashes by the scores of cars coming his way.

“He jumped seven red signals but could not jump the 8th one as he banged into it,” the Kuwaiti Arabic language daily Al Anba said.

It said police arrested the driver, who was not hurt in the accident, and filed five count of charges again him—driving in the opposite direction, driving without a licence, ignoring a police signal to stop, jumping red lights and dangerously fleeing police patrols.link
Deported? Nope, he's Kuwaiti. Jailed? Doubt it, he's Kuwaiti. I think he did a little more than "banging" into it, sometimes I wonder who hires these reporters.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Boulevard Kuwait - Updated Pictures

It looks like it won't be too much longer before the "Boulevard" opens up in Salmiya which is quite impressive considering all of the stalled projects like Heritage Village. Here is a link to an old post I did which contains a video showing what it's supposed to look like.

I hope they have enough parking spaces!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

GCC Single Visa

GCC countries are planning to launch a European-style Schengen visa by mid-2014 to allow Gulf-based expats and foreign businessmen to move easily across the borders of the six-member bloc.
The GCC interior ministers are working on the details of the project, which many believe will boost tourism and trade in the region, and cut out lengthy bureaucratic delays, said Abdul Rahim Hassan Al-Naqi, secretary-general of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“The Gulf countries are currently working on the technical details of the project, especially an automated system that will link the member countries.”

Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, president of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called it a positive development. “The move is significant keeping in mind the growing number of foreigners visiting the Gulf states for business and tourism.”

He urged GCC officials to speed up the project, and said the single visa would facilitate the movement of about 15 million foreign workers working in the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Expatriates living and working in the GCC represent 31 percent of the Gulf population. Saudi Arabia, which has the most foreign workers despite stringent visa regulations, is home to about 9 million foreigners.
Asked about the benefits of the single visa, Al-Zamil said: “The introduction of the visa will have impressive benefits for the Gulf economy and will boost the income of citizens, mainly in the tourism sector.”
Shahir A. Hamid, a local travel agent, welcomed the move. “In fact, anyone who has traveled regularly within the GCC will have their own horror stories about the length of time they were forced to wait at passport control.”
The Gulf states do need to have an electronic link between the member countries to exchange data and therefore ease the implementation of the common Gulf tourism visa, he said. “I have heard that the GCC visa could be issued soon. It will not replace the member states’ individual visas.”

The GCC single visa will be modeled on the Schengen visa. It should be noted that citizens of the 26 EU Schengen countries and the US, UK, Japan, S. Korea and Malaysia do not require visas to enter the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. However, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still require most nationalities to apply for visas. Those barred from a GCC country for legal reasons or those who have already been deported would not be considered for the unified visa.link

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Zoo animals for sale in Kuwait

 A new business, this time not on Instagram, is opening up in Kuwait. The Kuwait Zoo will begin selling animals from its collections including peacocks, European and red deer, pygmy goats, parrots, ponies, wildebeest and others. Need a peacock for your garden or a pony for your children’s birthday parties? Head to the zoo starting from December 30 to pick out the perfect less-thanexotic pet.
The zoo, which has faced criticism in recent years due to overcrowding and less than ideal conditions for the animals, said that it has too many animals and too little space and therefore will sell some of the most populous breeds off. For the high demand items – like ponies – the zoo will hold a draw. Those interested to buy can register and on the appointed day, zoo officials will draw names. “Each person is only allowed to buy one animal, and must show their civil ID. Also the buyer won’t be able to specify a particular animal – [he cannot choose the black pony, for instance.] The buyer will get a pony but they will be chosen and distributed at random to avoid any conflicts,” Abdulmuhsin Mustafa, Head of Administrative Department at the Zoo told the Kuwait Times.
Previously the zoo has auctioned off animals but now prices for all the animals have been fixed and the dates as well. Other animals may be placed up for sale in the future. The zoo also has some basic requirements: “For instance the buyer should provide suitable transportation for the animals. We won’t allow him to transfer a deer or pony in an open pickup vehicle,” said Mustafa. “He should have a suitable cage vehicle. Also these are not rare animals so people in general know what to feed them,” he added.
The animals for sell do not include wild animals as the law forbids selling or even processing them. Plans for a new, larger zoo are still in the earliest stages and are not expected to be realized any time soon. Kuwait zoo does not use any contraceptive methods or sterilization that control unwanted breeding.
Separating the animals in different cages is the method Kuwait zoo has chosen to use as a method to reduce mating. Located in Omariya, off the Fifth Ring Road and Highway 55, the Kuwait Zoo welcomes visitors daily from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. Entrance is 500 fils.link
I  wonder if they really have any plans for a new zoo? The interest these days is buying up property in London to build up their portfolio and trying to keep up with the other GCC countries, not to improve anything in Kuwait. I've never heard of a zoo selling off their animals like old furniture. Maybe they should have handled the breeding in a better way but of course that would require employees with actual degrees in veterinarian medicine not low wage laborers. What are the plans for the money they make?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Eagles

Any time you tell someone in Kuwait you're from California this is the first song that comes to mind and every drunk guy in Kuwait who can play the guitar knows how to play this song.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kuwaiti girl stabs guy harassing Her

A Kuwaiti girl broke the tradition of angry but soft female reactions to male harassment by stabbing her molester three times before sitting on his car to wait for police.

The girl was driving back home in the capital Kuwait City when she was chased by a local man, the Arabic language daily Alwatan said.

“Finally she stopped her car and stepped out…the man stopped his car behind hers and headed for the girl, thinking she liked his advances,” the paper said.

“As the smiling man came close to her, she pulled a knife and stabbed him in the chest, belly and shoulder…he fell on the ground while she phoned the police and sat on his car waiting for the police to come.”link

That's one way of getting a guy to stop following you, good for her.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The comedy Hangout 2

I've known Aqua for many years, it's good to see he is still entertaining the people of Kuwait.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Manshar Mall torn down at Last

After sitting empty for more than a year Manshar mall has been torn down. I haven't been in the area since I moved, I  went to Mowasat clinic and I saw an empty spot where the mall and apartments once stood. 



Here's an old post showing the inside and another post about how the place will look in the future.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

French horn playing Hours


Neighborhood sign, NO playing French horns between the hours of  9pm -6am.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas in Kuwait

Do not show leniency during Christmas: MP

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 12: MP Hamdan Al-Azmi has warned Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khaled, and the Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Al-Saleh not to show leniency during ‘Christmas’ celebrations in the country citing the increasing phenomenon in many commercial complexes, reports Al- Seyassah daily. MP Al-Azmi described the permission to promote foreign occasions in Muslim land amounts to ‘mockery’.

He added Christmas celebrations in our community offend religious teachings. He called upon the two ministers to stop this phenomenon and to take tough action against those who drag our country into what he called cultural alienation, especially since there are people who are trying to benefit financially at the expense of Islam and our values.

In other news, a number of employers, owners of companies and laborers expressed their frustration when their transactions at the Labor Department of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor were suspended due to centralism adopted by the department’s director in the decision-making process, reports Al-Jaridah daily.

They explained that the director removed the authorities of his deputy, which resulted in the suspension of the completion of a number of transactions. They wondered for how much longer some officials of one of the most important departments of the ministry will play with them inconsiderately.

Meanwhile, members of the Municipal Council Abdullah Al- Kandari and Osama Al-Otaibi have submitted a proposal to the Municipal Council Chairman Muhalhel Al-Khalid regarding the need to specify the calories of the meals that are served in the fast-food restaurants and companies.

They explained that international reports on global obesity rate have placed Kuwait in the top position among the Arab countries and second internationally, adding that there are approximately 100,000 obese people in the country.(link)

It all sounds good but expats don't care.

Most of the people who can make a difference look the other way.

Mishref Park

I've seen Mishref park from the highway since it was built but never visited until today. It is really a great place for families. There are basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, soccer areas, exercise areas and playgrounds. 

It seems to be sponsored/built by Wataniya which is a nice idea for a company to be involved with the public and support a place for healthy activities. The only negative was the pools of stagnant water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the occasional wiff of sewer.