Starbucks onboard SBB!

Mon, Dec 2 2013 07:57 AM

If you live your life thinking that you are a Swiss citizen just like I do, then this might be great news for you; but not if you prefer premium coffee. The partnership of Starbucks and the Swiss national rail station SBB fruits the world’s first Starbucks Coffee House on rails. Now if you have travelled before on SBB trains (long-distance trips) you would know that the bar on board was below par in terms of food and beverage offerings. However, I hope SBB did not grant Starbucks an exclusive deal to provide coffee on ALL trains seeing that Swiss coffee houses and patisseries are far more superior in quality compared to Starbucks. I’m sure Roger Federer agrees!

Alvaro

To Travel or Not

Thu, Oct 3 2013 08:50 AM

I tend to enjoy my time in Kuwait more when it’s holiday season, primarily because almost half of the population is either out of the country or at the Avenues Mall. This way, you tend to enjoy your time around the vacant city or even chill by the beach. However, this year the Eid holiday is very tempting to most people as it longer than in recent years.

Whether you decide to leave the country or sit back and relax in a more chilled Kuwait you will be in a win situation. So enjoy your holiday be it around town or abroad, and share with us your thoughts!

Alvaro

Wataniya Comes back to life. Suddenly

Mon, May 20 2013 11:32 AM

Rumors have been circulating lately on the comeback of Wataniya Airways since it ceased operations back in 2011. Al Qabas Newspaper published an article highlighting the steps Wataniya’s management have to accomplish in order to see the name flying again. In a nutshell, the company is dire need of capital and that is most likely only coming from foreign investors. Now the company has to extinguish the accumulated losses it has incurred since 2009, reduce their capital, and call for capital increase presumably from foreign investors.

Al Qabas explains that before diving into capital restructuring, the company has to seek resolutions for thier financial liabilities, such as arriving at a mutual agreements with lenders and third parties to reconcile all their dues. Now the most important move is that of the current owners/shareholders; unless they make a bold move to support the company, no one will illustrate any signs of mercy towards Wataniya.  

I am not that of a conspiracy theorist, but isn’t it harder for Wataniya to survive now especially with the revival plans of Kuwait Airways? Presumabley Kuwait Airways will be a tougher competitor for Wataniya in 2-3 years time; is there are merger/aqcuisistion in the horizon?

Tell me.

Alvaro.

Gallivant

Tue, Feb 12 2013 09:15 AM

Uncrate’s younger sibling Gallivant is a blog that specializes in Travel. I assume travel is the most interesting topic that attracts everyone unlike, sports, gadgets, and fashion.

Check it out.

Alvaro

Basra stadium

Wed, Feb 6 2013 09:23 AM

In two years time, Basra City – Iraq will be ready to host the Gulf Cup. Now it remains to be confirmed whether Iraq will host (will be awarded) the next Gulf Cup. The sport complex development in Basra is already underway and the progress made so far is impressive.

The project is developed by 360 Architecture and the renderings already look gorgeous. Check them out!

If it were to happen, would you cross the borders (for the first time most of you) to support the national team? I’m eager to see Iraq, specifically Basra. I wouldn’t mind going.

Alvaro

desert camping

Sun, Jan 27 2013 11:03 AM

Over the weekend around 20 people including me headed west towards the Saudi desert for camping. The weather was perfect since it was warmer compared to a couple of weeks back. So we started our trip from Fintas, Kuwait around 4:30 am on Thursday heading to the northern Saudi desert, precisely 40 KM away from Samouda village.

The Route

Almost towards the end of the 6th ring road, right after Jahra, we turned on road 70 which ends at Al Salmy borders after around 100KM. By that time, the sun just came out. Refuel, and off we go towards Hafer Al Baten City. Civilization still had its marks on that road, a concrete building or strucuture every few kilometers. Passing through Hafer Al Baten, we now have only 70 KM to the end of civilization. We refuel one last time and enter rural territories. Now we’re around 130 KM away from our final destination. As we turn on road 6262, there is no clean fuel supply, and water supply is very scarce – one baqala in more than 100KM of asphalt. At a certain point we stop, take a right into the desert and drive around the sand dunes looking for a decent place to camp. We found it. Route from Fintas (including stops) was somewhere around 7 hours.

Camping

The camp set-up did not take forever, we were 20 guys and 4 out 5 tents were Coleman tents so that wasn’t hard. After the camp was erected some fell asleep others sat on hill tops while food was prepared. We ate, we sat. Night came along, and the party started. Bonfire, coffee, tea, and snacks all night long and the topics discussed were everything you’d ever imagine. There was no other human beings around us for at least 10 KM in every direction; no limits. Next morning after breakfast, I went with a friend to find some water. On the way back we had the ultimate off-roading experience: sand dunes like you’ve never seen. I didn’t even tell him how much I was in fear, instead acted normal!

The Return

Friday afternoon was a bit dusty and sand covered the camp, so I thought I might as well return and spend a day at home (in bed) before work. Therefore, I decided to drive back by Friday evening with two friends, meanwhile the others stayed back until Saturday. The drive back home wasn’t bad. Thankfully no traffic, fog, or dust caught us on the way back. We stopped again at Hafer Al Baten for a meal, this time it was Mandy, and headed back straight away to Fintas again. Return trip was again around 6 hours with stops.

Next time around we’ll hopfully be better equipped and stay even longer. Although you’re in no-man’s land, but there are many things you can do there you’ll be occupied all day long. I have to admit that I slept in the car that night it was a really comfortable sleep!

Alvaro

Top 10 Best Cities

Thu, Aug 16 2012 11:03 AM

The place to be is Australia or Canada, because seven out of the top ten most livable cities in the world are either in Canada or Australia.

This is not list made by Google or Wiki; rather it was a study conducted by The Economist’s EIU by measuring stability, health care, culture & environment, education, and infrastructure.

Only did the top 10 and bottom 10 list are out as this report is usually sold by the EIU. Melbourne tops the list, meanwhile Bangladesh’s Dhaka ranks 140th. Top 10 lists here.

Political Tours

Mon, Aug 6 2012 01:05 PM

I’m not sure if anyone would want to spend his vacation in a place where political tension has erupted. Unless you are my friend Bu Qasim, you might find this as a joke – but it is for real.

My other friend Bom7 was kind enough to share this with me. Political Tours is nothing of a fake tour to educate people; it’s more of a “in-action” tour for enthusiasts who care about nothing in life but politics and current affairs, or Bu Qasim our friend again.

Check it out yourself and if you’re interested you can join a team of correspondents and diplomats in North Korea – DPRK, Bosnia & Serbia, Turkey: Erdogan & The Anatolian Tigers, Greece & The Euro, Libya – After the Revolution, US Elections 2012, Kosovo Tour, Georgia Tour, Northern Ireland, Turkey & The Kurds.

Enjoy and don’t forget to bring your helmet!

Alvaro

Gum Wall

Wed, Jul 18 2012 09:08 AM

Next time I visit the states I’ll make sure I go to Seattle. Gum Wall is simply what it’s called. A landmark in Seattle since 1993. Though of it is disgusting (most germ infected attraction) but it actually looks cool.

Alvaro

Urth Cafe on its way!

Tue, Jul 17 2012 08:28 AM

LA’s organic coffee company, Urth Cafe,  will be coming to K-town very soon. Last month I was at one of Urth’s branches with a friend of mine who happens to know one of the owners (precisely the owner’s wife). So I stood there while he greeted her, she told him that her husband (co-owner) is currently in Kuwait discussing terms with a potential franchisee.

Now a couple of weeks later, I also overheard in a dewaniya here that ’so and so’will be opening up Urth Cafe in Kuwait. Don’t worry I’m sure it wasn’t Al Shaya’s name I heard (you won’t be having one in your basement). And you have to try their PBJ – world’s best!

Alvaro

NYC’s Hidden Subway

Mon, Jul 16 2012 09:41 AM

The City Hall Subway station in New York is supposedly shutdown for a long time now, unless you stayed on the 6 train for long enough. The station which I just knew was 100+ years old was under-construction to be restored as a pass-through museum still didn’t see light.

It took me a couple of days to understand how the NYC Subway system works. I do recall once getting on the 6 train by mistake and got to the Brooklyn Bridge which is presumably the last station on the 6 line. Well not quite the last one. If you stay on that train, what happens is that it goes for a U-turn around City Hall station and back at Brooklyn Bridge as the first station on the journey.

Try it next time you’re there! Link

Alvaro

Travel Apps

Wed, Jun 27 2012 12:14 PM

More Apps for you for travel season. Those are the ones I use most. Simply wherever you go, make sure you download a metro/subway app that calculates and plans routes for trains and subway lines. SBB is the one you need in Switzerland, Tube Deluxe for the London underground, and NYC Subway for exactly what it’s called. If you are looking  for a hotel, booking a ticket and everything beyond that then you should have Kayak. If you want better hotel picks then you should be on Jetsetter or Quintessentially City Guides.

We’ve all been to places for a dozens of times, but every time we go again we discover something new. Cut it short, and download a city guide to be on the safe side. Blackbook offer a couple of city guides around the world, the same goes with Wallpaper magazine. If you find yourself in NYC, then no one knows the city better than NYT (and my friend Bomh)  via their New York based app – the scoop. I’ve already recommended the British Airways app if you’re flying on BA, Lufthansa the same, and Ettihad.

Bon Voyage!

Alvaro

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