Winter in Alaska

These are a few of the things you can do in Alaska in winter:

  • See the spectacular Northern Lights.
  • Go snowmobiling and skiing.
  • Go on a sledge dog ride.
  • See amazing ice sculptures.
  • Go to the North Pole and the Arctic Circle.
  • Go to Santa’s village in the North Pole.

Click on the pics to make them bigger and view them as a slideshow.

Pic credit [Ronn Murray] and [Fairbanks winter guide].

KDD Chocolate Milk not allowed into the US

KDD Chocolate milk

I brought 3 cartons of KDD chocolate milk with me to the USA a few days ago, but customs confiscated them all. This isn’t the first time we bring it, but it was the first time it got taken. They said it had to do with the sugar in the milk. And this being the US, there’s no point in arguing. Plus, it’s not that big of a deal with me. I had empty bags, so I asked if anyone wanted me to get anything from Kuwait, and so the chocolate milk wasn’t for me.

Word of advice, it’s not worth taking KDD with you. It weighs 7kg a carton, and takes up a whole lot of room in the luggage.

Heathrow now offers free wifi

Free wifi at Heathrow

If you’ve ever been to Heathrow, especially Terminal 5, you would know that there’s no free wifi. Other terminals have stores that offer free wifi, but not T5. There’s paid wifi, but the Co. they use is terrible and you never can get connected even after you’ve paid.

But now Heathrow has free wifi in all terminals. Just turn on wifi and look for _Heathrow Wi-Fi and follow the instruction. The service is free for the 1st 45 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to check twitter and whatsapp. You can also get an additional 45 minute if you signup for Heathrow Rewards.

  • 45 free.
  • Next 45 minutes free with Heathrow Rewards.
  • Up to 1 hour more – £3
  • Up to 3 hours more – £5
  • A full day (midnight to midnight) – £9

Fly Dubai moves to Sh. Sa’ad Terminal فلاي دبي تطير من مطار الشيخ سعد

Fly Dubai flies from Sh. Sa'ad Terminal

Sh. Sa’ad private terminal used to be Wataniya Airway’s hub. It’s been out of use for the past couple of years, ever since the airline declared bankruptcy. Now starting from Sep. 15, Fly Dubai will use it for her flights to\from Dubai.

No more Schengen Visa for Emiratis in all the EU

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Emiratis can now visit all EU countries without a Schengen visa [Aljareeda]. The decision will be approved by the EU Parliament and go into effect mid next year.

Kuwait still has the strongest Arabic passport, which allows you to enter the most number of countries without a  visa. But to be able to visit the EU without a visa, now that trumps our tough passport any day of the week. And twice on Sunday!

Some countries like the UK and Spain do exempt Kuwaitis, but only for special and diplomatic passport holders. Regular Kuwaitis still have to wait in line, apply in person, get bio-metriced, pay huge fees, get approved (or denied), and be questioned for hours at entry points.

Foreign embassies and countries are taking this visa thing too far. One Kuwaiti has been waiting for his student visa from the US for more than a year now, tried the UK but got declined, and is now considering studying in Australia. If you think this is normal and expected for young males, then how about an NBK board member who had his US visa application declined and had to miss his son’s graduation. There are many sorry stories like this, belonging to legitimate Kuwaitis who don’t deserve this low kind of treatment. We’re not immigrants, and we’re not unknowns. The M.O. of Foreign Affairs has to work better and harder, and start standing up for us.

I had a fascinating incident a couple of years ago, and would not wish to have a repeat. And I also remember the days when we used to get visas upon entry, to the UK and  other European countries. They truly were Kuwait’s golden days.

A member of the EU parliament told KUNA that this decision can open doors for other countries, like Kuwait, to request the same treatment. So at least that’s something to look forward to. But do you think Kuwait will make a request? I honestly don’t think so. The MOFA doesn’t care about regular people, only about special and diplomat passports.

Yay to the UAE on this wonderful development, but damn shame for Kuwait. We are falling behind everyone in everything. Oh how painful the mighty have fallen. I will end this post with “God Bless Kuwait”.

The British Embassy extends its working hours for Visa applications

British Embassy Kuwait visa

اعلنت السفارة البريطانية لدى دولة الكويت ان مركز التأشيرات التابع للسفارة سيمدد ساعات العمل لاستقبال طلبات الحصول على التأشيرة وذلك اعتبارا من غدا الاثنين

وقال بيان صحافي صادر عن السفارة ان مواعيد العمل الجديدة ستصبح من الساعة الثامنة صباحا حتى الساعة الثالثة عصرا اضافة الى اوقات العمل المقررة بعد الافطار من الساعة الثامنة حتى العاشرة مساء

New Visa office times are 8 am to 3 pm & 8 pm to 10 pm.

I myself will be renewing my British visa this week, and was dreading the awful lines and long waiting times (especially in Ramadan’s heat). People say it’s been horrible this month, which is exactly why the British embassy decided to increase its working hours and to add an evening shift too [via Al-Jareeda].

Live tweeting

Live tweet from Samsung Executive VP San Francisco plane crash

I don’t think anyone would’ve believed this tweet if you saw it on your timeline, it’s just so unexpected and farfetched.

David Eun is Samsung’s Executive VP, and he was on the plane that crash landed in San Francisco yesterday. He tweeted this just as he was evacuated from the burning plane. Absolutely unbelievable tweet.

How to get a mobile internet data line in the USA for your phone

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I’ve been in the US for a week now, and the first thing I needed here was Internet on my phone. We went to all three major mobile phone companies, and most don’t have prepaid Internet lines. Our only and beat option was AT&T’s GoPhone plans. I got a one month unlimited local calls and texts (including Mexico and Canada) for $50, and then added unlimited one month data (which I also use as a wireless hub for my both my Kuwaiti line iPhone and laptops) for just $25 extra. The process is easy simple, and takes 15 minutes at any of their branches.

There are cheaper options too, like just add $10 for a 1GB 1 month plan. The connection is way faster than ours for phone Internet, and almost snappy for laptop use. So if you’re ever in the US and need Internet on your phone, then just get this from AT&T.

Kuwait Airport’s 4 new gates

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I wrote back in August about Kuwait Airport expanding, through the addition of 4 new gates. I’m at the airport today, and got to see them. They’re almost complete. What’s unique about them is that they’ll be underground. You get to them through stairs, elevators, or escalators. And they’re also the farthest gates from passport control, so expect to walk a while to get to them. Anyways, from the looks of it, they could be functional very soon.

New restaurants at the Duty Free Zone in Kuwait Airport

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I haven’t traveled anywhere this year, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a few new restaurants open up at Kuwait Airport. They’re all located inside the duty free zone, after you finish with passport checking. Starbucks, PotBelly, PinkBerry (duh), and Tick-It are among the newly opened places.