The Royal Air Force Red Arrows – a post that’s 4 years late

So this is one of those posts that took about 4 years to make. Its a long story but to cut it short, I took these photos in 2013 and I shot all of them in RAW. Now thing about me shooting in RAW is that I sometimes get OCD about tweaking and processing and sometimes I overthink certain shots to the extent that I end up deleting all the processed ones and start from scratch. Finally these ended up in my archives I forgot about them till recently.

Since this was an aerial show I used the ‘spray and pray’ technique in the hope that I’d get at least a dozen or so good ones. I ended up with around 300 frames and finally just worked on two dozen and finally 19 made the final cut. So here they are 4 years later and was it worth the wait? Heck no! I’m quite disappointed in them actually since I was using my 55-200mm that had poor contrast and vignetting around the edges. Here you go!

 

Red Arrows in Kuwait

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Caesar’s Air Cargo Service – Shipping from Kuwait

Where do we go now ?

When my wife and I finalized our decision to leave Kuwait, one of the things on our minds was transporting a few personal items by air cargo. We contacted three  air cargo services in Kuwait and based on the quick response, quoted price and  their service network we went with Caesar’s Air Cargo.

If you’re looking to do something similar I’ll breakdown the process we went  through;

Assessment: You’re charged for cargo on net weight or ‘volumetric’ weight, whichever is higher. They’ll send over their people to your place and they’ll  calculate both weight and size so that  they can give you a quote.

Packing: We did 80% of the packing on our own but we required their services for packing our delicate glassware and fragile equipment like my cameras and lenses. You will be charged an amount for the cardboard boxes, styrofoam, bubble wrap  etc. I must admit that their packing was really good as both glassware and my  photography equipment reached here without any damage.

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Storage: Caesar’s have a warehouse in Kuwait where you can have your cargo stored till you are ready to receive them in your destination country. We got a month’s free storage so we asked them to hold it there till I moved into a new apartment  in my new city.

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Customs and clearance: We were informed that we’d have to pay the local customs charges once the cargo arrived at the destination port. A couple of days after it  landed I received notice that I had to come and pick it up from the airport  warehouse. Only one of our boxes was opened for inspection and all the boxes were  cleared. The total charge was around 150 dollars.

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Pickup: Our final destination was the port of Chicago and the local agent didn’t have door to door delivery so a family member and I rented a truck from U-Haul and we picked up our boxes from the airport and drove back to my place which was  just an hour away. It was my first time using U-Haul and its a pretty good  service. You rent a truck that fits your requirement and drive it yourself. They  even provide hand carts or other equipment to help with moving boxes. Once you’re  done with the truck you can drop it off at the closest U-Haul office in your area.

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So in conclusion, our stuff arrived safe in the States and we had a good experience with Caesar’s Air Cargo services. You can contact the person listed on their contact page or visit their office in Farwaniya.

Head Office
Office No: 23, Ground Floor, Waha Mall Complex, Next to Farwaniya Traffic Dept.
Al-Dhajeej, Farwaniya Governorate, Kuwait.
Tel: +965 –24344561 / 24344519 / 24337907 / 24330767 / 24332970
Fax: 24313053

A Visit to Kuwait Dino Park

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A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to the Dino Park Exhibition that had been operating in Mishref since March. The exhibit was in an open area behind Hall 6 in Mishref International Fairgrounds. The main attraction was about a dozen or so animatronic Dinosaur puppets that had some basic movement and sound effects.

I grew tired of it after a while but the kids had a great time and after we had seen all the dinosaurs in action they had some fun on the amusement rides at the venue. If the park is still open I’d suggest you take your young children there as they’ll get a kick out of it.

The ticket prices were advertised as 4KD but when we visited it was 2.5 KD per person and children below 3 went in free. I was also trying out a new lens and took some strategically angled photos there to avoid the cluttered background but some of them needed some photoshop manipulation as well.

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Senseless Killing of Wild Birds

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In a previous post I’d mentioned how my friends would go out into the desert to shoot the local wildlife and migratory birds. During the last couple of outings they had also come across instances where birds where shot with shotguns and other live ammunition and left there to die in the desert.

It’s a shame that people get a kick out of shooting these rare birds for fun then and leave them to die. A few months back there was even a news report of a crane shot on Gulf road, which is not only a danger to the birds itself but to passersby on the street.

As you can see from the pictures below, the desert habitats of these local and migratory birds are something that needs to be cherished and maintained in pristine condition. All photos taken by my friend Manoj Olikara.

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Cox and Kings Global Services – Kuwait

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Yesterday a family member needed to renew their passport so we went to the newly opened Cox and Kings Global Services office in Sharq to submit an application. The visa and passport services of the Indian Embassy have been moved from BLS International to Cox and Kings.

The good thing about the move is that they’re now in 3 locations in Kuwait so that makes it easier for those living in the suburbs. We went to the branch in Behbehani Complex in Sharq and got our work done in less than 15 minutes.

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They’ve got a whole bunch of value added services [link] including passport delivery which I think is quite convenient if you don’t have the time to go there or work in a double shift job. There are 6 counters to submit your applications and a mini snack counter that also serves coffee.

Here are the locations; Sharq, Fahaheel and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh (for some reason many Indians refer to Jleeb Al Shuyoukh as Shuwaikh)

Lahore Shahi Qila – Pakistani Food

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I decided to write about this place after my second visit there a couple of days ago. Shahi Qila is a little Pakistani restaurant in Sharq area and it’s almost invisible unless you actually go looking for it. The place is so nondescript that my friend didn’t even know the name of the place even though he loves the food there.

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On both visits we ordered; Chicken Tikka, Channa Masala (Chickpeas) and fresh Rotis. The food is typical Pakistani fare with copious amounts of spice and oil. I love the Chicken tikka and channa masala at Khyber but this is now my current favorite place if I’m in the mood to get hot and sweaty for lunch.

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The chicken tikka lacked that tangy flavor that you get in Khyber but its perfectly grilled and has the right amount of charring. Unfortunately I didn’t try anything else at Shahi Qila so I can’t recommend more dishes but the chicken tikka and channa masala combo is a must-try.

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The place may look like a cheap joint on the outside but once you go down to the dining area on the lower floor you’ll be surprised to see that its neat and spacious. Prices aren’t too bad either. There were four of us and the bill was 5 KD. Parking can be a problem during working days so it would be better to park across the street near the police HQ compound and walk to Shahi Qila.

You can find the place in the map link here [Google maps]

Shahi Qila
Al Shoafaat Building,
Umer Bin Khatab St.
Sharq
Tel: 22470965

Inside the Grand Mosque

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During the National Day holidays a friend of mine arranged a trip for us to visit the Grand Mosque in Kuwait City. This was my second visit to the mosque and this time around I had a fish-eye lens in my bag to capture the enormous prayer hall inside.

Hajji Khalil Habash at the Grand Mosque

The guided tours are conducted by the group; “Western Perception of Islam” and our guide was a very knowledgeable gentleman by the name of Khalil Habash. You can see many videos on Youtube of the tour taken by tourists and here’s [a recent one].

The tour of the Grand Mosque is something that everyone living in Kuwait should take at least once. The rulers have spared no expense in creating this awe-inspiring and beautiful place of worship and it shows when you walk around the hall. Our guide, Mr. Habash, explained in great detail about the structure itself and its significance to both Kuwait and the Muslim world. We were a group of around 20 tourists from different countries and so the medium of communication was English.

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This post contains photos taken with my D60 and also the GX1. On my first visit there I wasn’t able to capture the magnitude of the interior with my kit lens so on the second try I used a fisheye lens on my GX1 and that gave me satisfactory results.

Continue reading “Inside the Grand Mosque”

Sivamani and Stephen Devassy

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Ever since I saw Stephen Devassy perform live I’d developed a liking to his style of music and on-stage performance. So when I heard he was coming to Kuwait for another show I way trying to find a way to get tickets. Luckily a friend of mine gave me tickets to the event in Hawally park yesterday evening. Thanks James!

This was also the first time I’ve seen Sivamani performing live and the duo was pretty awesome. They played for almost 40 minutes and alternated between solos, fast and slow tracks and some highly entertaining duets. I’ve got some random clips of the night in the link below but I hope I can get my hands on the official video taken by the video crew.

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Tour of Liberation Tower

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This weekend my wife and I went on a guided tour of Kuwait’s Liberation Tower. The trip was organized by Aware Center and we were lucky to get seats for the tour although we weren’t so lucky with the weather. As we approached Kuwait City it was clear that the haze was not going to clear up during our time there.

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The guide took us to the third level where there’s a bridge that leads to the elevators that access the main tower. The tour would only go as high as 150 meters as there’s sensitive defense communication systems on the top levels and entry is restricted.

This is going to be a long post so click on through for more..

Continue reading “Tour of Liberation Tower”

Hunting for Chalets in Kuwait?

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A couple of nights ago a colleague of mine and I were looking for a good chalet to rent during the Eid holidays. I came across two new websites but unfortunately most of the places we called were either too expensive, 500 KD upwards or fully booked for the whole week.

The sites are easy to navigate and have a gallery for each property so that you can get an idea of the available facilities. The contact phone numbers are also listed for each property. The chalet’s descriptions are in Arabic but we got around that by using Google Translate. If you’re using Chrome you can use the built-in translate feature. The best thing about the sites was that each location is also marked on a map so that you can take the coordinates and find your way there easily. Some even have a video presentation!

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Good luck finding a chalet for Eid!

Shalay.com & Aqarat4u.com