Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Enjyng the nice weather,Q8

The weather is just perfect to plan any outdoor outing. Personally I feel mid Oct-Nov and again mid Feb-March-mid April  are the best months to enjoy Kuwait.....otherwise it's toooo hot or cold and windy.

Now-a-days it's difficult to find a place to park your car near any beach. Its full with people enjoying. 

Traditional Turns Trendy

Just like the old Dev Anand song, "Har fi kr ko dhuwe mein urata chala gaya ",who wouldn’t want to blow away their worries? But no, we aren’t endorsing cigarettes here. We are simply trying to let you know about a much cooler alternative. Hookahs! Yes, hookahs are back, and in a big way.

Haven’t you always been fascinated by this royal habit of blowing smoke? Haven’t you been mesmerised by its sound and by the way it’s consumed? If yes, then you’re in for a treat because hookahs are now considered an integral part of Indian-style dining. Restaurants which serve typical Indian fare have invariably added a Shisha menu as well with various flavours to choose from.This culture which was associated with aristocracy has now become a raving trend among the Gen-Y. Perhaps, it is its exotic nature that has won over the fans. Or probably the claim that the health risks involved are far lesser than normal tobacco consumption. It’s not been proven though. The hookah culture has its origin in India dating back to some 500 years ago. But it was also used in several other countries all over the world. Only the names were different. Narghile is the name most commonly used in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Albania, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Bulgaria and Romania. In Egypt, the Arabian countries of the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia and in Morocco, Somalia and Yemen, the term used is Shisha. In Iran, hookah is called Ghalyun while in India and Pakistan, the name is most similar to the English hookah, Huqqa. In India, hookah was only smoked in rural areas but in the last few years, many hookah bars have come up in urban areas. In South Africa, Hubbly Bubbly, as it is colloquially known, is a popular social pastime. In countries like Malaysia and Philippines, it’s very popular among the youth. It’s in fact becoming increasingly popular in Spain, Moscow and other Russian and Ukrainian cities as well. In United Kingdom, Shisha bars exist in most of the major cities and so is the case in USA and Canada.

For Guwahatians, Addicted at Zoo Road will answer all your hookah cravings. And if you’re still not too keen on smoking in public, you can very well install a hookah at home. It’s not a big deal. You just have to procure one and simply follow the steps given here.

@ Put ice in the glass base of your hookah and get the water ice cold before smoking. This makes a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience.

@ Try mixing lemon juice, orange juice, or some other fl avour with the water in your glass base.This will enhance the taste of your smoking experience.

@ You can store your Shisha tobacco at room temperature but it must be kept in an air tight container. This will keep your tobacco from drying up and losing its flavour.

@ When you first start smoking, try placing the charcoal outside of the bowl and working it around the edges of the bowl. The centre of the bowl should be the last place your charcoal is placed.

@ For a sweeter and perhaps, more flavoured smoke, you can add some wine to the top two inches of the water in the base of your hookah. It’s a happier smoke, and you can really taste the wine.

@ Because of its consistency, hookah tends to clump up. Before you pack the bowl, crumble it up in your fingers to spread it out throughout the bowl.

@ Try putting milk instead of water to make the smoke thicker.

@ Mixing and matching flavours is a fun thing to do when trying to create the ultimate fl avour.

@ Mixing mint with other flavours provide a cool refreshing taste.

@ It’s always good to blow out the smoke once in a while which gets accumulated in the glass base so that the smoke does not become stale. This helps in getting rid of some of the harsh flavours from the stale smoke.

@ It is suggested not to run water through the hose. Simply blow air through the hose after / before each use, to blow out the particles inside the hose. Occasionally, use a small amount of water/lemon juice and swish it around your hose.

@ Never light your cigarette with the coals on your hookah.

@ Never pass the hookah directly to another person. Always put it down first and let the next person pick it up.

@ Clean your hookah regularly. This will ensure you with the best quality smoke and an
superior smoking experience.
(The article got published in The Eclectic Vibes Sep2010 issue)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kuwait Towers N Miami Beach,Q8

This weekend we decided to spend some time in and around Kuwait Towers and the nearby Miami Beach. Yes, Miami Beach in Kuwait!

Standing majestically and elegantly on the water front in the Arabian Gulf Road, the Kuwait Towers are regarded as the symbol of Kuwait. As we approached the Towers we were struck by its elegance. Its grandeur and brilliant architecture would astonish anyone. The panoramic view of the sea and the city near the Towers are beyond words. One can spend hours in such spectacular atmosphere. The area remains bursting with activities. One can notice people swimming, catching fish, sailing around in the sea, leisurely moving around, taking pictures or having good time with family or friends. There is ample space for car parking so that visitors don’t face any problem. The date trees around and near the towers campus make the place more enticing.

Designed by Sune Lindstrom and Malene Bjorn from Sweden and built by Energoproject, a company from Belgrade, Serbia, it was opened to public in March 1979.The towers consist of two towers and a third pole feeding them with electricity. The tallest tower, 187 meters high, holds two spheres. The upper sphere at the height of 120 meters has a viewing point, a café and a gift shop. This sphere has a revolving observation area, with one full turn every half hour. The breathtaking view of the city from the viewing point is awesome. As I tried to find a place to capture the beauty of the city I realized that it is a laborious job to find the perfect place in that area in such a congregation. The photos of destruction of the tower by the Iraqi troops during the Iraqi invasion in 1990 are displayed on the walls. The intention of the Iraqi troops was to destroy the very symbol of Kuwait. The towers were badly destroyed as they attacked it with missiles. But it was rebuilt and today’s towers symbolize the affection, devotion, and tenacity of the Kuwaiti people for their country. At the height of 82 meters there are four food joints, which include Al-Ufuq restaurant, Le Café, Waha and Al Joon cafeteria. Then there is the Dasman Hall where special parties and business events are held and on the ground floor is the Horizon Restaurant. The middle tower is a water reservoir containing two million gallons of water in two tanks. The third tower, which is 11.60 meters high, is a lighthouse, which illuminates the architectural wonder with 96 concealed spotlights. The tops of these towers are finished in a needle shape and are made of flaring, plasticized aluminum plates, which shine day and night, adding to their magic. With an entry fee of 2KD (for kids less then 4years its free), the towers remains open to the public from 8am to12pm.
Adjacent to the towers, to the left is the Aqua Park, the first and biggest water park of the Arab Gulf Region. To its right, at a walking distance of 12-15 minutes starts the Miami Beach. The long impressive beach, well maintained parks for kids, restaurants, BBQ area, long stretch of green grassy area just to sit and repose, makes it a perfect place to spend your weekend now when the weather is ideal for outdoor outing. You can unwind yourself from your hectic work schedule by just relaxing on the beach or by swimming. If you go in a group, you can play volleyball in the sandy beach.

The Kuwaiti’s love and passion for food is apparent from the many restaurants and café that can be found in any nook and corner of the country. Just bordering the Aqua Park is restaurant “Ruby Tuesday”. And at 10 minutes walking distance from the towers, to the left is the famous Arabic Restaurant “Mais Alghanim”. Furthermore at a difference of 5 minutes walking distance are three open restaurants and café’s near the sea namely Puerto Bonus, City Café and Café La Playa, where one can spot people including women smoking the traditional sheesha pipes.

And near the Miami Beach too you will find restaurants like Chili’s, Apple Pie, KFC and many more. The young generation plays beach volleyball in the government made game courts near the beach that is well illuminated. With a government doing so much for its people I wondered how much is needed to be done by our government back home as we drove back.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Red Palace,Jahra,Q8

Some call it Red Palace, while others call it Red Fort. The locals call it Qasr Al Ahmar. But the very name reminds us of our very own Red Fort at Delhi. So one weekend we decided to check it out ourselves. We read it that it’s at the outskirts of the city, somewhere in Jahra. It was our first visit to the area. A long drive from our place, but we enjoyed it. First time we started it was late afternoon…we were new to the place and it took us some time finding out the Red Fort/Palace. It was dark by the time we reached. Also it was Ramadan time and we found the doors closed, so we left after taking some pictures from outside. We drove again another day in the morning and enjoyed our drive and the visit. Qasr Al Ahmar is an old mud fortress which today stands as a source of Kuwaiti pride and patriotism.
From the name it is obvious that this is a red structure. Located near the highway, the Qasr al Ahmar or Red Palace lies about 32 kilometres west of Kuwait City. It was built around 1895, under orders from Amir Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, better known today as Mubarak Al-Kabir. Folklore has it that it's red color comes from the bloodshed by those who fought and died in the Battle for Jahra in 1920. The building, which was used primarily as a strategically located fort to protect the agricultural village of Jahra from invasion, occupies 60,000 plus square kilometers of land.
The Red Palace boasts four towers - one on each corner of the rectangular structure. It encompasses 33 rooms and six courtyards including a large main courtyard which contains a  water well which was dug during the siege of Jahra (Battle of Jahra, 1920). There are three large wooden gates, the longest of which is located to the east, while a smaller gate on the north side connects to a courtyard which was said to have been 'the women's courtyard'. Master builders known as Estad worked on the palaces construction and many are remembered today by name. Estad Suleiman Al-Salem and Muhamed Al-Ali Al-Said are two such master builders who led the many men who worked to construct the fortress. Estad Ibrahim Al-Maana used mud mixed with local desert shrubs to form the bricks which were used to build the fort's four towers. On October 10, 1920, Jahra was attacked by an Ikhwan army which was led by Faisal Al-Daweesh of Saudi Arabia. The Ikhwan army of around 400 men took over Jahra, besieging the fort. The Kuwaiti fighters numbering around 2,000, were led by the Amir Sheikh Salem Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, son of fort builder Mubarak the Great. While the Amir Sheikh Salem was in Jahra, he left Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber (who later became Amir himself and is the father of the current Amir, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah) in charge of Kuwait proper. On October 11, Sheikh Ahmad sent 600 armed fighters on boats to help those besieged at the Red Palace. Not long after the battle, Al-Daweesh and his men left Jahra. Legends have it that its red color came from the blood of those martyred in the battle. Today the Qasr has been restored and is a museum displaying various artifacts from Kuwait's history.
Al Jahra is one the six governorates of Kuwait. It is located to the northwest of the other governorates and houses the city of Jahra among others. It includes the island of Bubiyan and is by far the largest governorate in Kuwait. It also contains most of Kuwait’s arable land.The Red Palace is the most imporant historical landmarkhere and a center for exhibitions and festivals.
Entry is FREE
Address: Marzouk al-Mat'aab Street, Jahra, Kuwait
Phone No: 24772559
Sunday to Thursday from 08:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Sunday to Thursday from 04:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Friday n Saturday from 08:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Friday n Saturday from 04.30 PM to 07.30 PM

View Larger Map

Another link which might be of help if you plan your visit to Red Palace

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Direction for Q8 Zoo

To find out Kuwait Zoo is not  a difficult job.The Kuwait Zoo is a very entertaining place which is often visited by families. Located in Omariya, off the fifth Ring road, this animal kingdom is a major attraction for both, the locals and the expatriate. There was extensive damage done to the premises and to the animals during the Iraqi invasion. However, most of the repairs the zoo needed have been completed and the zoo was again opened after some reconstruction was done and after bringing in some more new animals in February 1993. Though exactly not one of the best zoo, but nevertheless you will find it clean and spacious. It is quite a fun place for the kids especially if the weather is good and a perfect place for a family day out. Not only our 2year daughter enjoyed but it was a nice outing for us.

An article of mine about it, got published in IndiansInKuwait http://www.indiansinkuwait.com/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=7844&SECTION=25

and I have already written about it in one of my earlier post

View Larger Map

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

360 Mall,Q8

One place all three of us love is the 360 Mall which is situated in Al-Zahara Area right besides the 6th ring road towards Kuwait Airport. A hypermarket, two department stores and fabulous leisure and entertainment arenas are just some of its major attractions.360 Mall is truly an exciting and unique destination whose shopping, entertainment and leisure components are synonymous with sophistication's, elegance and unsurpassed style and luxury. The Mall showcases the best of international, regional and local retailers to create a delightful and special experience for visitors of all ages.While Jeet love to do the weekly marketing at Geant, I love to shop as there are over 137 stores and Mehr loves the ambiance.

The Gardens in the 360 Mall is the only place where you can find a vertical garden in Kuwait. The garden centre also boasts Japanese Koi, reflecting pools, cafes and seats on warm wood decks.Since introducing the new vertical garden, the 360 MALL has been attracting many visitors across the country and from around the world. The zone is surrounded by glass walls which allows the sun’s rays to penetrate the mall’s surroundings providing a naturally beautiful scenic view.The vertical garden grows plants without any soil (hydroponically), and can be implemented indoors or out. The organic architecture is created by sprinkling plant seeds on a fabric layer which allows plants to grow naturally across the available space. The process of watering and fertilization is automated on a timed irrigation system.The 620 square meter vertical garden includes 20,500 plants from over 101 different species. It’s a perfect combination between nature and art. The wall has a built-in water filtration system which helps the plants thrive without worry of a build up of excess salts. The vertical garden purifies the air by removing some VOC’s and adding oxygen to the room through photosynthesis.360 MALL’s Vertical Garden demonstrates creativity and innovation and is the perfect addition to a retail center known for its fine dining and high-end shops.
(I must thank "Living Walls and Vertical Gardens" for the information)

The following are some of the facts about this Mall:

@  82,000 m2 luxury shopping in 7 different zones
@ 137 (TBC) fashion, leisure, entertainment and dining outlets
@ Kuwait's largest collection of international designer brands
@ International Department Store, Marks & Spencer
@ 1200 seat Food Lounge that appeals to all tastes and desires
@ 36 restaurants and coffee shops
@ 15 state of the art screens at Cine scape Cinema Complex that also includes 2 VIP cinemas and an IMAX theatre
@ 5,000 sq.m Indoor Family Entertainment Centre; Infunity, featuring attractions never seen before in Kuwait
@ 1,500 sq.m Indoor Teenage Entertainment Centre; Freeze Club, featuring many attractions never before seen in Kuwait
@ A high-tech 20 lane Bowling facility, that includes separate VIP bowling lanes
@ 3 Concierge Desks that will provide a high level of customer service to customers
@ 1,800 plus multi-level and surface car parking lots

You can check their website for more details : http://www.360mall.com/

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Arabic Sweets(2)

Arabic Sweets is made with semolina, butter ghee, milk, sugar syrup, pistachios, dates, choclates or dry fruits. I just love them.

Weekend @ Salmiya sea-side,Q8

The weather is perfect to plan any outdoor activity.This weekend we did not have much to do, so decided to spend some time at the Salmiya sea-side. We parked our car near Hard Rock cafe and walked towards Marina Waves. Marina Waves is a perfect place for adventure lovers. You will find lot of adventure sports and restaurants here.We sat for sometime on the rocks enjoying the view of sea and its waves.We enjoyed the cool breeze  and started our walk again. On our way we came across a small park.Mehr stopped and enjoyed some games. We walked further. After few minutes I stopped but Jeet walked to Marina Mall. While Jeet was away , I took few pictures of Marina Waves and Hard Rock Cafe and played with Mehr. Mehr was enjoying the breeze and the walk. We did not realize that we have reached Marina Mall. This walking track by the sea side is a long one, starting from Hard Rock Cafe to Kuwait Towers. It is quite spacious and you will find small juice bars and people selling ice-creams and mineral water bottles. There will be lot of people and specially when the weather is pleasant it is over crowded. We enjoyed our time so much that next day i.e on Friday we went there again. We could not spend much time on Friday as we had some marketing to do at City Center. Visited City Center after a long time, maybe after 11-12months.Enjoyed our visit.

Hard Rock Cafe

@ the park

Marina Waves