Massive fire and smoke cloud

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There is a massive fire burning somewhere down south of Kuwait. I could see the smoke column as far as from Bayan palace, till i teached Avenues the smoke cloud got thicker with wind blowing towards Airport /Farwniya side. Hope its not the Kabd tire fire again. Please let me know if you know about it.

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Thick Fog cover over Kuwait

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What an incredibly foggy day!! Could barely see 20 meters at 5 pm, had to cancel an important meeting at Mangaf, couldnt risk driving all the way and back with such low visibility. Nonetheless traffic was even more dangerous with reckless drivers zigzagging through the slwo traffic. Hope not many accidents happened today as most people opted to stay indoors.

Hoodlums dancing at 2am in Salmiya block 10

I haven’t been sleeping well since my termination, last night I woke up to a noise coming from across the street. Some men were dancing and honking incessantly at 2 am. And worst part is they were playing Tunak Tunak by Daler Mehndi. Was able to grab a shot before they left. The video is grainy, but what worries me is security in Salmiya Block 10 is slowly deteriorating with thugs robbing people during day light, how safe are we? There has a to be one police station for each block or at least police patrol at night. 

Harvest Festival 2012 – The Lighthouse Church Kuwait

TLC Kuwait (The Lighthouse Church) is celebrating the ‘Harvest Festival 2012’ today,  just in case you are wondering where TLC is, it is situated right next to the Kuwait Parliament building. It will be like a carnival like experience where Christians  from all over the world (who work in Kuwait) will come together to raise money for the poor. I will be there too (I had to cancel my trip to India for this event) will post the pictures later tonight. If you are a member of TLC even an outstanding Christian (the ones who stand out side the church during service 😆 )

Please come, donate and be blessed. (read my Harvest Festival post from 2007)

UPDATE: Here are the Pictures from Harvest Festival 2012

 

Massive taffic jam on 5th ring road

Been stuck on the That5th ring road for almost 20 minutes now, traffic has come to an absolute standstill. Guess it must be an accident, couple of police cars and a “tow” truck passed by. Also people are driving on emergency lane.
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UPDATE: Traffic has eased now, It was a volkswagon polo that caught fire (couldn’t take the picture) in the middle of the road, assuming no one got hurt because I didn’t see an ambulance.

Review: 3rd Red Bull Flugtag 2012 – Kuwait

Having experienced the first edition of Red bull Flugtag back in 2007 ‘the missus’ duly backed out saying ‘she had better things to do than watching people jump off the cliff’, So I left at around 1.30 pm, got ‘traffucked’ near Marina Mall, but wisely parked my car behind Corniche and walked in the humid weather to the Marina Crescent where the 3rd Edition of Redbull Flugtag was taking place. As expected, it was a carnival experience (yeah that’s a rarity in Kuwait right?) People from all walks of life were there; in short it was a mini United Nations gathering. The crowd was pretty enthusiastic even though it was bright noon and weather gods were unrelentingly blowing a dust-storm with humidity as added bonus.

Kids atop the dumpster watching Flugtag

I watched the event for an hour under the shade of a palm tree and felt totally left out because once again the organizers seemed to forget the non-Arabic crowd, which made me wonder ‘how hard it is to hire a fluent bilingual MC’ for an event as big as this. Anyways, keeping that aside, it was one massive show, well-organized and beautifully executed. Korean one hit wonder Psy seemed to be the order of the day, If only I had a Dinar for every participant dancing for Gangnam style prior to their jump I’d be pretty rich today. Though I wish the organizers should have involved the crowd to keep the proceedings interested, there were no activities for the spectators, after all who cares for ordinary people who could be turned into potential ‘red bull’ customer’s right? 

I left early after an hour, didn’t want to get caught with my car being blocked and all, it was a wise decision as the ground behind Corniche was already getting packed with cars. So that was it, ‘the missus’ was right when she said ‘yet another Red bull Flugtag, yet another pointless afternoon in the hot sun watching men jump off the cliff’. 

Will upload a Video in a while (if Zain’s 7.2 mbps speed can beat the snails, like seriously)

Multi car accident near Salmiya Garden

Salmiya accident – Click to enlarge

Yesterday I read an interesting blog post titled  Driving Safety.. A Kuwaiti Oxymoron by  a newcomer to Kuwait. This unknown American Blogger writes about the chaotic Kuwait traffic, the lawless driving and most importantly why it is not OK to hit a camel especially a white one. It was a very good read, I mean, If you are a European or North American you may find Kuwait traffic very stressful, disorderly and at times crazy, but (as a person who has never been to Europe or US) I find Kuwait traffic 1000% better from the utterly chaotic Mumbai or any other Indian city. If you have ever been to Mumbai you will absolutely respect Kuwait traffic.

   But lately Kuwait traffic “ethics” (if ever we had one) are going down the sink, I find people are driving with ‘murderous’ intent. There is no respect for fellow driver or pedestrians, people with big SUV’s try to smother small cars, in fact people are buying big vehicles just to avoid getting cornered. Be it highway or residential areas there are accidents happening every hour of the day. Already the number of  death toll from accidents has reached 227  in just 6 months, THAT’S A LOT for a small country like Kuwait. But then, I don’t blame the traffic cops for not implementing strict traffic rules because they can not contain the ‘wasta’ epidemic right?

Today morning at 7.30am as I was returning from Shuwaikh witnessed a 5 car accident near Salmiya garden; there were no ‘visible’ casualties. People were waiting for the traffic police to arrive, while some ‘good Samaritans’ were managing the traffic till the cops arrived.

Then a thought came into my mind  “a cancer patient has more chances of survival in Kuwait than a reckless driver”. Seriously !

How Safe is Salmiya Block-10 for Expats?

Few days’ ago Blogger Mathai wrote about how Salmiya Block 10 has turned in to a dangerous place, an Indian citizen was dragged to his death by thieves pretending to be CID. Since then stories have been emerging about these thugs who have been routinely targeting expatriates from ordinary walk of life in broad day light. I have lived in Salmiya for the last two decades, if not for the occasional fights between Indian and Pakistani boys over cricket match Salmiya is really calm place, it has always given me a feeling that ‘I am home’, but not anymore, after that fateful incident everyone is shaken, the word is ‘if someone asks for your civil ID, do not fight just give it because it is not worth losing your life for couple of bucks’

  The fear has set in so deep; I have stopped taking my kid to the garden in the evening as I feel it is not safe anymore to go out after dark. Also, despite of Salmiya block 10 having massive population of expatriates because of number of schools in the area, there are no police stations or even police cars patrolling the streets (In fact the entire 12 blocks of Salmiya has just ‘two’ police stations) With reputation of Kuwait police ever preceding them no one wants to take a risk of confronting these crooks. 

 Today I was at the barber shop, as the discussion turned into ‘current affairs’ the barber shared his story. Couple of day’s back he was talking to his wife on the phone while sitting on a chair outside the shop, a speeding car stopped inches away from the barber by narrowly missing him, already startled he quickly put the phone in his pocket. A huge guy (in dishdasha) got off the car and showed an ID card saying that he was “mobaais” (CID) and asked for barbers ID. Having found that he is a legal resident ‘the mobaais’ asked for the telephone which he had put in his pocket. The “CID” straight away accessed the pictures folder and found a ‘questionable’ picture of a woman and threatened to take the barber to the police station. Now, I am not sure what conversation that must have ensued since the barber dude barely speaks Arabic, ‘somehow’ the crook walked away with his phone. Surprisingly the CID also raided the adjacent restaurant immediately, used the same tactics and got away with couple more phones of restaurant staff. 

Since this incident happened right below my building it has made me really nervous. Our maid usually waits downstairs to pick our son from the school bus in the afternoon, I am worried that these CID’s may attack her or my son or even ‘raid’ our house. Few years back we used to read horror stories of ‘Abbasiya’ where Indians lived (still live) under constant threat of being robbed, but now that Salmiya Block 10 is also facing the similar threat, I feel terribly sad, it feels like no place is safe for expatriates in Kuwait.

 

Back to the chaos

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It’s back to school, and back to the chaos. Today being the first day of re-opening for many Arabic language schools after the long summer vacation, witnessed insanely chatoic traffic at 7 am. People still half awake and testing their driving skills while asleep were causing havoc around school areas. To add misery kids were seen crossing the road at their own pace daring the drivers to crush them. Witnessed one too many minor accidents which were amicably resolved in no time as none of them wanted to reach school late on the first day.

So that’s it, school is back, with it Kuwait traffic is back to the chaos, which means life is back to “normal” until the next summer vacation.

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