Building projects of all sizes are exciting. I love how the many small details fit into fewer larger ideas to come together in creating a solution, whether it’s a dwelling, a road, a bridge, or even a whole city. Al Hamra, both as a project and a building, is in a class of its own. Even if one is not interested in architecture or skyscrapers, this building is different. It will (already has) change the skyline Kuwait City for ever. The design is simple, beautiful and unique; and it brings a new level of creativity and sophistication to our city. If that’s not enough, it also happens to be the tallest carved building, and one of tallest skyscrapers in the world.
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It’s more flying and less visiting, at least for this week. I’m tired of Dubai Airport. This is not in any way a criticism, far from it in fact. I’m just bored of it. For this trip to France, I chose my old friend British Airways so I stopped at Heathrow – a refreshing change. Our local park is visible in the above photo, the green space behind the five tall buildings. It was funny being so close to my family and unable to meet them. I will, God willing, see them on Friday.
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My wife and I visited Aberdeen a few years ago, and my limited memory of our visit is of a very grey city. As my plane landed, I could see the long beach, the river, and grey! Rows and rows of buildings and homes covered with local granite.
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Staying in a ‘flying theme;… the battery charger for my camera is no longer working. I just travelled to Qatar (and back) and had to leave my camera at home. I will get a replacement as soon as possible. In the meantime, enjoy some of the shots taken on my return flight from Paris.
Whilst I always try to capture my travels when on business, I am inevitably more focussed on the task at hand. Phone-calls and discussions with colleagues mean many opportunities are simply missed. Being on holiday allows me more concentration on my photography.
This post summarises my journey – looking out of my window seat. My favourite shot is the one above of the Thames and Houses of Parliament. Have a look at the larger version for more detail.
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I’m back in the air!
Jeddah airport has been renovated but it still looks hopelessly dull. It’s such a contrast to what it looks like from outside. I love the simple tent-look of the main terminal building. The lack of the ugly (but necessary) jetways, and the vast open area of the airport apron, help maintain the illusion.
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From 30,000 feet, a dust storm is rather beautiful. That’s what we should do in fact: we should build stations high up where the weather is both cooler and dust-free. Just look at that blue sky!
Even dust seems to produce beauty: I love the view above – taken from our cruising altitude. Dubai wasn’t anywhere near as dusty as Kuwait – but it was a ‘yellow’ journey from start to finish. Below are a few shots from the trip, starting with the airport, Dubai, the ‘World’ and Kuwait.
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On my flight to Dubai earlier this evening, I saw Ahmadi shortly after take-off. I’ve always liked how ‘different’ Ahmadi looks compared with the rest of Kuwait. For me it’s the hints of green and the many red roofs that give it its charm. This is the first time I see Ahmadi by night – from a height. It still has a different look about it.
Most towns in Kuwait are modern blocked areas with a co-op supermarket somewhere in the middle. It’s nice to have one area that’s not from the same cast.
This is what it says in Wikipedia:
It was also home to several thousand mostly British Ex-pats and their families from 1947 through to 1970, and possibly beyond. The original town layout was from an American pattern. Streets laid out at right angles to each other – 1st Street, 2nd Street and so on. At right angles were the avenues. The town was built on a slope facing the sea, which was about 7 miles (11 km) away. The street that ran across the top of the hill was called “main street”. It housed the upper eschelons of the KOC. It ran down the hill in order of KOC rank. Within the town was the Hubara Club – a complex of buildings with a swimming pool, meeting rooms, restaurants, squash courts, tennis courts etc. Employees of the KOC would use this club every day to meet and chat. Their children spent most of their time here. Towards the bottom of the ‘hill’ was the ‘souk’ or shopping area; banks a cinema, which is now been closed down and a few shops.
‘Sprint’ is probably the fastest most powerful pigeon we have. However, he tends to spend some nights away from home. I have no idea where he goes… Unfortunately, it means I can’t use him for Project Bird’s Eye.
I have added a new page. I chose Neubronner as the name of the loft, named after the pioneer of aerial photography using pigeons. Have a look and check again for updates. I hope you find it interesting – even if you have no interest in pigeons.
I’ve been thinking and planning this since last summer. I can’t wait for the potentially fascinating findings.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Dubai. I will be going there a few times over the next month or two. This doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped there on the way, or the way back, from somewhere. I suppose anyone with wings has to stop there at some point.
I managed to catch a glimpse of Sh. Zayed Road from the air very early this morning. You can see Emirates Towers if you open the larger version.
Home sweet home. Our short holiday is over.
Half the times I tell friends that I managed to spot a landmark from the air they give me this look that says: we believe you but you need to get a coffee… Well, today was special.
This was Mangaf during our landing this morning, shortly after sunrise. At the bottom of the photograph are the gardens and chalets of the Hilton Kuwait Resort. In the distance, highway 30 and Subiya are visible. Zooming in I can even point to our house.
We’re spending the Eid holidays in London. A cold, wet, freeeezing London. Great…
During summer it always feels like a holiday being here. Even when we lived here. For some reason, I associate the summer weather with all the tourist attractions. It has been a few years since we spent more than a quick stop-over in London around this time of year. Winter-London feels like I’m back home. Many old memories of frost, coats, scarves, hats and numb toes.
During our final approach into London’s Heathrow, I saw our 777 perfectly drawn onto the clouds. For those familiar with the area, you can just see the GlaxoSmithKline building in the centre left.
I took this from a Gulf Air flight out of Kuwait this morning. The weather was beautiful and clear. The plane was banking to the right and I found myself staring at this view of KWI. For the first time, I noticed the name “Kuwait” written on the ground in that huge lettering. I wonder if they’re lower beds? It seems too big an area. Have a look at the larger version by clicking the photograph.
I fly through many airports around the world, and I still think Kuwait’s is one of the best. Even though I now associate cigarette smoke smell with the lady’s voice calling the gates, and that KWI doesn’t have good shops and restaurant, it scores high where it counts. For me, the most important factors are world class: Good highway connection, close/cheap long term parking, short distances to walk between gates and lounges, and most importantly it takes less than 25 minutes to do everything – whether departing or arriving.
This will change, and soon, with all the planned expansions and runways. We currently have 8 million passengers coming through Kuwait, the new airport will have a capacity of 20 million. I have a friend working on this project but he’s unable to share with me anything confidential. Al Watan Daily had an article on 6th November about the new plans. Read it here if you’re interested.
It looks like this small airport luxury will be gone soon, so enjoy it! Even with the Hajj rush starting soon…
It was a clear night and while I always try to get a window seat on the right hand side, I couldn’t check-in online for this KLM flight from Muscat. I couldn’t choose my seat and this was the result! I know it’s not the sharpest image, but I had to share this great view.
Kuwait City’s skyline is changing by the day. So many projects in a relatively small concentrated area. Many of the new buildings have a little more inspiration behind them than the old usual peach/beige cubes. My favorite is Al Hamra.