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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Barefoot in Bombay

It is the crazy things we do in life that give us direction in life.

No words can describe the exhilarating feeling of being in touch with the earth, the ground, feeling it inbetween your toes, I took a victory lap around my hotel on Saturday, straight after I finished my last run.

Enjoy the photography!

dedicated to @Zainab_Mirza

The Lion’s Mane – Understanding Metro Sexuals attachment to Hair

Ladies, take note, Gentlemen, pay attention, fellow Metro’s, hear me!

The issue of “hair” has long been a largely debatable issue, for countless generations, and shall continue to do so between the sexes.

Please note, I am not being hypocritical, referring to my post regarding the Peacocks of Kuwait with their Anime Hairstyles (here).

The Lion's Mane! Hear the King of the Jungle Roar in Dominance!

The issue of hair is a tricky one. So this post is aimed at enlightening the masses to the machinations of the inner sanctum sanctorum of the mind of a metro sexual (my mind in particular).

I am always reminded of the Motor Ed Character from Kim Possible, “Do not touch THE LIONS MANE!”

As a metro sexual, my hair is my crown, it is my bond title to the sole monarchy of my mind. I am guaranteed to go through “bad hair days”, but I have never, nor will I ever, follow other peoples opinion when I have made up my mind on an issue. If I believe I look good (and in my minds eye, my mane is comparable to that of the original metro sexual, David Beckham) then other peoples opinion is valued, but in essence, it is a whisper in the wind. That list includes such people as random strangers, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, parents and yes, even spouse.

During university I had the pleasure to experiment with my hair, and grew it to never before reached lengths. I kid you not, I heard every SINGLE expletive you could possibly imagine, and probably didn’t hear much more as I was always plugged into the musical realm.

To me, it was a wonderful way to gauge out my professors, who may seek to believe I am an “airhead” for having long hair, and yet once they ask me any questions, the visible look of awe on their faces as I answered them was PRICELESS.

I actually heard this from a relative of mine, who told me, face-up, that when she first saw me, long hair et all, she believed me to be bland and stupid. The minute we started talking about economics, politics, social aspects etc. you name it, I know it, she was quick to change her tune.

I was even approached by a stranger at university who asked if I was a metal head (it didn’t help that I was rocking a t-shirt bedecked with skulls at the time).

I believe you should not judge a book by its cover, and the cover of us all is our hair. I am attached to my hair, it makes me feel good, I enjoy having long hair that you can care for, and not just a few mm’s of hair that hurt when combed.

Men are plagued with the dreaded genome that will eventually lead to the “Walking McDonald’s Advertisement”, or as my brothers like to call it, the Curse of the Dreaded M.

Highly social and metro sexual men such as Matthew McConaughey proudly display their Male M’s.

 What most people do not know, is that on a psychological level, I have valid reasons for my love of long hair:

1) As a child, I had beautiful hair. Until the day my dad decided to take me to a butcher barber in Kuwait, who chopped off my silky locks, and turned me into the curly haired wonder I am today.

2) I have an enlarged cranium. Yes, it does mean I am an intellectual and have plenty of “brain space”, but it lead to severe teasing in school which, drove me to tears sometimes. I will never forget how our deputy headmistress, and geography teacher, told me that the word people were using to insult me actually meant I was smart. It didn’t help much.

3) As recently as 5 years ago for my brothers wedding, my dad “forced me” to get a haircut. I literally blew a fuse, and wanted to run away from home.

Each story is built on the foundation of the one preceding it, and now, I believe I look better with long hair. It is my choice, my looks, and I am not hurting anyone by keeping my hair “reasonably” long, and of course, well groomed.

Those are the secrets I have kept inside for so long.

Metro sexuals are a rare breed of man, well groomed and fashionable. Do not attack us for it. Some guys look good with short hair, some guys look good with no hair, and others look good with long-er hair.

I believe I fall in the last category; if we differ on this issue, your opinion is much respected, but I will do it my way nonetheless.

Caught Necking in Kuwait City

For those that are not aware, public display of affection (or PDA as it is shortened too) is illegal in the State of Kuwait.

Despite this, these two were going at it like there was no tomorrow, unabashed and in plain view of everyone, they went about their dirty deed, unhindered.

Morality in Kuwait has taken a sickening turn, as this was happening out in public, and people just passed by, ignoring them.

Look at this:

Cat Emotions

If this does not elicit a deep "awww" from you, there is no hope for you emotion-wise

Cat Emotions

And the mother looks on, protective of her little ones

I do believe I just took a page out of the slap-stick titles employed by the Arab Times. However, seriously, is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Love, in all of its forms, is a beautiful, rare emotion. Treasure it when you can, capture it if you must, but love is not confined to a picture on a film or a video on a phone. It is felt, not seen, as the indescribable, non-verbal communication that passes between people and other people, people and objects, people and their pets, and even, animals.

Love is the destination, romance is the journey.

Live and let love.

Q8 Foot Soldiers – The Missing Run Reports

Dedicated to Diva Undecided!

The Q8 Foot Soldiers initiative is slowly, but surely, gaining momentum. Many thanks to the wonderful column prepared by Lisa Conrad in the Friday Times, as well as EEK! Magazine, and of course Grapevine Kuwait!

Lets start with this run, as it was the most eventful in a myriad of ways (here), the day of the fire on the 30.

First of all, we had 2 participants on this run, best turn out ever so far, like I said, slowly but surely, the initiative will grow in numbers, there are plenty of “potentials”, both via email and via the Facebook page.

Now, the first even was that whilst warming up, I saw a girl that looked strangely like one of the participants, her doppelganger, I had to run up to her to “make myself known”, as it is difficult to call out someones name when they have music in their ears. Never the less, running up to her, I was assured, before I attempted to say “hi” that she was not who I thought she was.

Unfortunately, when that friend actually showed up, her doppelganger had mysteriously vanished into thin air.

We then made an unfortunate discovery, the first participant had placed her car keys in her handbag, which she placed in the trunk of her car. Now, before anyone says anything, it gets weirder; as we were walking up and down the path, a strange, friendly woman asked to use one of our phones to call her husband, as she too had locked herself outside her car. What are the odds of that?!

Luckily it was a rental, so a call to the rental company had them show up (at a humane hour ofcourse, as 8am was too early for anyone), which meant we all got to enjoy more walking/ jogging (mostly walking). We ended up doing 9K.

The second run report was with the doppelganger’s look-a-like, near Hard Rock Cafe, and that was a nice jog/walk.

Today we had another meeting at the Hard Rock cafe, only one person showed up, and the stats on the run got twisted for some reason. It was same as above.

So Foot Soldiers and Foot Hopefuls, question is, when will YOU make it out there?

For the duration of the week I will be jogging on a day-on-day-off basis at the pedestrian path in Hawally, near the Sultan Center, behind Qadsiya Sports club on Beirut St. its a 2.24Km road (up and down), very nice area. These will be evening runs, 8pm start. If interested, the Foot Soldiers have my number, or my email (lordaymz@mybloogle.com)

NBK Are Missing the Point

This post is dedicated to everyone who works a full time job, has not the time during the day to visit a branch and wait in line for services (when, if you remember, when it came time for you to open an account, you were welcomed with open arms and sent immediately to a bank rep).

These fine, hard working men and women do not have the time to visit THEIR branch, so they rely on E-Banking, which is a god send, correct?

Wrong.

Dear NBK, if for every transaction I need to visit my branch, or call Hala Watani, then what is the purpose of online banking?

I employ Warren Buffett’s methodology of savings; I save then spend. How do I do that you ask? Simple. I have a savings account with another bank that I have added as a beneficiary to my salary account (which is, you guessed it, with NBK due to their ever growing presence in all of Kuwait) and once my salary is deposited, I simply log onto Hala Watani, key in the data, click a button and poof! The money is transferred to the other bank. I do not carry the card with me, nor do I remember the PIN, so the money goes in, doesn’t come out (for now, until the Mrs. arrives).

Now, you ask, where is the problem?

Recently, today rather, I wanted to add a beneficiary. After keying in their details and account number, address etc. it came time for NBKs security question. 3 RANDOM digits from your Civil ID, you must enter, correctly, in 3 tries.

I have memorised my Civil ID number, but for safety’s sake, I wrote it down, counted the numbers as they asked, and entered them.

Error.

Locked out of account.

Please Call Hala Watani at 1801801.

Peeved at this inconvenience, as the best thing about e-banking is the SPEED, I nonetheless grabbed the phone, dialed the number, entered my details and waited as the same monotonous toned voice told me “all agents are busy, please hold on”, and then proceeded to toot how they are now available on iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch and Blackberry.

Then a customer service rep answers, she was kind, but I was at the end of my patience having had to wait so long for the answer. When I told her my problem, her response was:

“Sir you do not have ePin”.

(ePin is the service which allows you to transfer and make payments online)

Flabbergasted, I asked her to check again, as just earlier this month I had been transferring money to my other account in hopes of winning 1,000KD, not to mention paying my mobile bill, telephone bill etc.

Same answer.

At this point, I lost it and told her in a serious tone that I do have an ePin, I do have 2 beneficiaries in my account, I have been transferring money previously etc.

Then I rolled into a tirade of how the only reason I use ePin is that so I do not have to visit their branch whenever I want a transaction made.

At first she kept insisting I visit my branch, then she told me there was another way, and she would ask me 5 questions that I MUST answer correctly.

They were (not in order):

1) Birthday

2) Civil ID

3) Where did you open your account

4) What was the last transaction in your account, what is your mobile number

5) How many accounts do you have with NBK?

And apparently now that I quantify them, a bonus question of Do you have a credit card?

And after getting all these questions correct, I have to wait for them to call me.

In the end, it appears that NBK has changed its security (or so she says) and hence all ePin numbers were “reset”. Which is as lukewarm a response as when you call tech-support and they ask you to reinstall Windows.

Just blame it on the system.

So, NBK, if this IS true, then it is YOUR responsibility to reinstate my ePin as is, or, if you need further proof from me, to allow me to ask at ANY branch in my vicinity, not the branch where I opened my account, seeing as how it is your burden that I have to bear.

In closing, I am thoroughly disappointed at the behavior of NBK, the first blow this year was how they will start charging 10KD a year for mobile banking, which is not an amount in itself but the principle of charging for a service that was free for the past 4 years is infuriating.

NBK needs to revamp their services and put the customer first.

For it is the customer that keeps them working. For those of you who are not financially savvy, allow me to explain how a bank works. A bank is nothing more than a broker in between people that have money and wish to save it/ invest it, and people that need money and wish to borrow it. So what the bank does is facilitates the meeting between these two parties (Lender A and Borrower B), they pay A interest income and charge B interest expense, but, to make money, they always charge B more than they pay A, and hence, banks profit.

AMIDEast Do not understand Technology

Ladies and gentlemen, the writer returns, bearing good news and heart-felt apologies (also, apologies for the length of this post, but I must make up for a LOT).

For the past few weeks I have regretfully neglected my duties as the captain at the helm of this ship, dedicated to taking readers on a relaxing journey of intrigue and mirth.

I am not without blame, however it is imperative that I justify my antics to those whose opinions I greatly value; and that is everyone who happens across this website, either by chance or by design, out of boredom or out of curiosity, who enjoy my writings or berate me behind closed doors, it matters not, what matters is that you are here, and that you hopefully return again.

As I was saying, the reason for my abrupt departure, as some may have already guessed, situated around two consecutive events; a business trip to India (as is evident by the latest Bombay/ Mumbai related posts bombarding my blog) and on a more serious note, an examination at AMIDEast that came to fruition yesterday.

You will remember AMIDEast from this previous post (here).

Allow me to describe the nature of yesterdays events.

I had awoken at 7:30am, my exam scheduled at 1:30pm, to get a few last minute revisions done and to go through my daily rigorous morning schedule (green tea, breakfast, an episode of The Simpsons to get my mood merry).

I left the house by 11am, and got to the test site (located near Al-Awadi Complex, the KFH Building), and went up. The elevator system in that building is very shoddy.

The lady at the front desk told me I was early, so I went back to my car, nicely parked in the shade, and sat and did some other last minute light reading, squeezed in one more episode of The Simpsons, and by 1:oopm I headed back to the dreaded center.

What was a barren wasteland in the morning had turned into a social gathering; people left, right and center. I bumped into several former colleagues from my previous job, all there for the same exam! After completing the sign in process, whereby they require you to copy a silly paragraph (word for word) that states you will not attempt to reproduce the question material (yadda yadda), you are instructed to wait for the exam.

Now, I had my hopes set on entering at 1:30pm, to wrap things up by 5:00 (4hr exam, 30 mins of tutorials), and have the rest of the evening to myself. No such luck. Due to overbooking, you had to wait for a “turn”, meaning wait for someone taking an exam inside to finish and vacate their PC, then you would be called according to the number on the back of your clipboard with the sheet you signed and paragraph copied.

One of the applicants in the room was drinking a lot of water, a former colleague of mine warned him that the 4hour exam had NO BATHROOM BREAKS, you took them on your own time, and the bathroom was far away from the test area, plus you had to sign out and sign back in, so in total, you would lose precious time. And trust me, the exam is 100 MCQs in 3 hours (you need three hours) and, if you get at least 50%, it opens up the second part of the exam, 2 essay Qs in 1hour.

Myyyyy Precccccioussssss!

Needless to say, the guy did in fact end up taking a bathroom break!

Now, my turn came up at 2:30pm. As I was ushered into the exam hall, I had to empty out my pockets, switch off my phone, and even pull them inside out (the pockets, not the phone).

I found myself being directed to PC#4.

My heart skipped a beat. 4 was my lucky number! It must be a divine sign!

However, I was quick to read the tarrot cards, as in fact, the minute I sat on the PC and began the tutorial, it shut down. I called the lady who signed me in, and as if I were at some high-tech NASA institute, she hid the keyboard as she keyed in the username and password. Puh-Leeeez.

The PC shut down twice after that. My nerves were wracked. I was moved to PC#12 and the exam began, MUCH later than anticipated.

The one guide I can give you when answering MCQs is, if you feel a question “flew over the cuckoos nest (i.e. your head) the first time around, leave it blank and carry on, come back to it later. I ended up leaving 6 such Qs, and went back to answer them in the last 10 minutes. The counter on the PC showed a countdown of the last 30 seconds, as I was considering closing my session early, I saw that I had missed two questions!! Frantically, with the clock ticking down the last precious few seconds, I made a snap decision to just go with B and D for them, consecutively. As the PC went blank to compute your score (see whether you scored above 50%) I thought it would shut down, but luckily, I was again entered into the realm of the essay Q, and this time, it was tailor made for me.

As the exam drew to a close, they had a second questionnaire for you, to inquire as to what mode of study you implied, what material you used, then it asked about the test center, I spared no expense and held nothing back, and informed them of the faulty PC.

Now, as I was leaving, it was roughly 6:50, actually, exactly, and I will tell you why.

Outside, apparently I had left an alarm on my phone, and it switched on, inside the locker, and was singing aloud. The guy at the door was peeved, and asked me, didn’t I tell you to switch off your phone? I am going to have to report this, and we’ll see what “they” do. Then he said something about radio waves that just flew over my head.

FYI dude @ AMIDEast, all phones now, regardless of their power status, will switch ON when an alarm time is set.

Was this fool actually accusing me of cheating?!

Needless to say,  I got home and shot a very strong worded complaint to Prometric over the issue. I have yet to hear from them.

Cheating, indeed..

Wish me luck on this one guys & gals!

Facebook.com/Q8FootSoldiers Vanity URL on Facebook

Foot Soldiers! The weekly run is BACK ON!

If you read the previous posts here, you will understand the reason behind my hiatus, for that I truly apologise (again, as I already did in that previous post).

This is a run I took on Monday, right after my exam, a pure adrenaline rush.

As you can see, my speed has taken a thorough “shalacking” as the wrestling commentators would say. close to 3 weeks of doing no exercise and living as a book worm have taken their toll on my speed and activeness, but not my willingness and desire to get better!

So, you can now find Q8FootSoldiers easily (or easier) on the World Wide Web by heading on over to:

www.facebook.com/Q8FootSoldiers

So now, it is time to get SERIOUS.

I found a nice pedestrian path that is 2.24Km (both ways), it is behind the Qadsiya Sports Club in Hawally, parallel to the 30 (Fahaheel Express). We will be holding runs there for the time being, as the path near NES for some reason heightens my allergies! (maybe I am allergic to nostalgia, that being the path I refused to run during PE in school).

I will post a map highlighting the spot, soon.

Although, I am guessing it would be better to meet up this week near the beach @ Marina, and get in some sand running, you can even do it barefoot!

So, are you ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Reverse Buffet in India

A Gujarati reverse buffet, a first experience for me in the deliciously, Desi cuisine of India.

On the second day of our excursion to Kandla, we were set for an all inclusive roadtrip that would take us all the way to Mundra Port and then through the countryside to Bhuj where we would board our afternoon plane destined for Mumbai once more.

The day was started off with a traditional Gujarati breakfast of, yellow cake? The name eludes me, but it had green leaves around it for taste, and some red sauce that I believe was referred to as “chutney”.

After our port visit was complete, our hosts decided to treat us to one last experience of Gujarati cuisine, and we headed toward a hotel in Bhuj where I experienced my first ever reverse buffet.

Now, with normal buffets, the likes of which the working man appreciate, you end up getting up yourself to go get food, correct? Not in Bhuj baby!

Here, you merely have a seat before a giant plate with several baby plates inside, and upon your seating, various waiters will pounce upon you and inquire as to what you wish to eat, and with every choice, one of them would put a little bit of the food they carry in one of the baby plates before you, and quite quickly your baby plates will be full, and then some!

It was here that I discovered that the “chappatti” we have in Kuwait is a FARCE! It is not chappatti, not in the slightest! It is actually something else, I believe it was referred to as Rotti, and it is NOT breakfast material! The real Chappatti is actually a very much smaller, and much lighter, version of wheat bread.

Once you finish the contents of the baby plate, the waiter will again ask if you wish for seconds, and thirds, and fourths.

The beautiful thing about this is that you do not pay by quantity, you can eat as much as you want, and the payment is fixed.

So if you are ever in Bhuj, do make it a necessary excursion on your list to drop by Prince Hotel and sample this wonderful, wonderful food.

To quote the Colonel, it was finger lickin’ good!

I Know What you’re Thinking

Yes, I do. You may think I am oblivious, but I am not.

You believe that my past two failures in clearing you will have made me weak. You would be thoroughly and strongly mistaken, if anything, my failures have strengthened my resolve to complete the task at hand and finish you off, once and for all.

There are many things that I do not know, but there are cold hard facts that I am 100% sure about. I may not be smart, but I know that I am not stupid either.

In my previous tries, I fell a hair short of passing, a mere matter of a couple of questions here and there, and I would have been above the bar. No matter.

Monday the 24th of October, 2011

The day draws closer, and my determination is not deterred.

God willing, the third time will definitely be the charm.

Bye Bye Beautiful Bombay

On my last day in Magnificent Mumbai , I decided it was time to give Q8 Foot Soldiers an international presence, so I donned my running gear (compromised of swimming trunks as I had assumed there was a pool in the hotel for some reason due to guest reviews), turned on GPS with my newly downloaded map of  Maharashtra, plugged in the ol’ iPod and set out for a footsie adventure in the streets I had called home for the past 12 days.

On the way to work in the morning rickshaw ride I always spied with my little eye a park of fellow exercisers, so naturally, I headed over there. GPS did not pick up however, probably due to the abundance of trees in the area.

At the park, I was flabbergasted by the composition of morning exercisers. Mind you I was out at 8am on a Saturday morning, their respective weekend as well, and there were people from all ages, young, adult, middle and senior, all enjoying the morning breeze and walking, running, skipping (on imaginary ropes as is evident in a picture I took), practicing Yoga,, you name it, they were doing it.

Not only that, but the park was geared for exercise in that it had monkey bars for usage by anyone. I wish we had monkey bars in Kuwait, the only monkey bars I remember were in my old, old school of TES in Surra (sideways monkey bars, not the ones found on children’s playgrounds).

Not one to be contained on any running track, I decided to venture out into the streets of Mumbai once my GPS picked up, and ran to my office, and around it, then passed by the RK Film Studios where the security guard refused to take my picture outside, becoming the only person whom I was upset at during my stay in India.

Back to the hotel I went, and the distance was roughly 8KM (here). The beauty of the place, even given the humidly hot climate, made the sweat worthwhile.

Later on, I did indeed do the bizarre act I had planned to do, and talked about here.

More pictures to follow!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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