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Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Old Oct 7th 2013, 2:05 pm
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Default Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Hi All

I have an interview in Kuwait coming up and this may lead to me relocating from the UK. I have been looking through the forums in general and I'm aware of the main moans about traffic, red tape and weather.

I'm married and have a daughter who is 3.

Please can any of you tell me:

1) where is a good location with other Brits to live if working near the airport?

2) what are schools like for this age? Our daughter is currently at a pre-prep and we would like to continue this type of early years learning as well as playing of course, is this type of facility available?

3) apart from shopping and the gym, what other past times and activities are available (we are aware kuwait is dry so not looking for pubs etc) are there many expats in Kuwait? Is there much of a social scene?

4) how much should we look to budget for living - rent, utilities, mobile, internet, food (assume not eating out more than once or twice per week - home cooking more) ideally looking for a 4 bed villa not too far from airport, guide to cost of leasing a car or 2. Would it be better to have a driver?

5) a lot of properties have maid accommodation so it seems to be fairly normal to have a maid - what do they do around the house? I assume cleaning and laundry, what about cooking, child minding (obviously once all settled in), grocery shopping? No "extra services" required or expected!!!!"How much would you expect to pay?

6) what is there for children? How did your children settle and adjust, what would you do differently if you had the chance again?

I'm sure this is just the start of trying to research, so any info, help pointers appeciated,

Many thanks

Paul
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Old Oct 8th 2013, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Paul, I've put some thoughts down below in answer to your questions.

Originally Posted by PaulMK77 View Post
Hi All

I have an interview in Kuwait coming up and this may lead to me relocating from the UK. I have been looking through the forums in general and I'm aware of the main moans about traffic(true), red tape (Neither better nor worse than anywhere else, just different each time you do it) and weather (sunshine... almost every single day... you feel warm...).

I'm married and have a daughter who is 3.

Please can any of you tell me:

1) where is a good location with other Brits to live if working near the airport?You've got a whole swathe of options, and I'd recommend anything South of 4th Ring Road, East of the 50 and 51 and North of the 211 as being accessible for the airport. It's easier to commute southwards in the morning and north in the evening. The Ring Roads will be slow whichever way you go, but 4th Ring Road is Satanic. Depending on your budget, there's some good new built flats in Egaila and some beautiful villas in Mishref. Britons are scattered throughout the parts of the city I've described, with hotspots in Salwa (schools), Mahboula, Fintas and elsewhere.

2) what are schools like for this age? Our daughter is currently at a pre-prep and we would like to continue this type of early years learning as well as playing of course, is this type of facility available? Schools are decent, with plenty of choice. It will need you to come out and find one that you're comfortable with.

3) apart from shopping and the gym, what other past times and activities are available (we are aware kuwait is dry so not looking for pubs etc) are there many expats in Kuwait? Is there much of a social scene? There is a huge social scene, you just have to find it. There are about 13,000 British expatriates in Kuwait, 35,000 Americans and 2 Maltese.

4) how much should we look to budget for living - rent, utilities, mobile, internet, food (assume not eating out more than once or twice per week - home cooking more) ideally looking for a 4 bed villa not too far from airport, guide to cost of leasing a car or 2. Would it be better to have a driver? The package that you get offered will be broken down into Base Salary, Housing, Transport Costs, Insurance etc. Base your rent, therefore, on the housing allowance part of your package. Try horizonq8.com and see what their rentals are going for; Mrs Danuta is a very good agent.
Utilities will often be covered in rental cost, (or you can pay 25KD a year (about GBP 55) for your electricity), with gas bottles costing you maybe GBP 20 a year, if that. If you have to get ADSL, then it'll be about 8KD a month (if your house has a telephone line) for unlimited download or 10KD-12KD a month for 3G mobile 10Gb download. VOIP is "not allowed" so load the apps before you arrive, and get a decent data package for calls home. VOIP apps are not blocked, unlike in Oman. I put 25KD a month on my personal phone for data and calls, and tether my laptop and tablet to the phone. 4G wireless hotspots are uberquick, and cost about GBP 40 a month for 35Gb.
Food is more expensive than UK for most things. The cost of imported salad items will make you cry (Five quid for a red pepper?) but Saudi or local produce isn't bad. You can eat out for pennies or bankrupt yourself. Shwarma can be had for about 1/4 to 1/2 KD, and the top end restaurants will demand every penny you possess.
Cars start at about 200KD a month up to whatever you want to spend. Never buy a car that has been previously owned by a Kuwaiti, as maintenance and servicing will always have been very optional indeed... Do you want a driver? Advantages: if you go to parties where "tea" is served, then he can pick you up. Disadvantages: He will probably not be as good a driver as you are.


5) a lot of properties have maid accommodation so it seems to be fairly normal to have a maid - what do they do around the house? I assume cleaning and laundry, what about cooking, child minding (obviously once all settled in), grocery shopping? No "extra services" required or expected!!!!"How much would you expect to pay? If you let your wife clean the outside of the apartment/villa, then your Kuwaiti neighbours will think that you are monumentally wealthy, because you can afford a western maid. Depending on how good your maid is, she could be the saviour of family life in Kuwait, or she could at least make life easier for the family. Most maids are excellent with children, and would expect to include childcare duties along with cooking and cleaning duties. If you think that you don't need even a part-time maid, wait until you see a house after a sandstorm has been through; no matter how well you think your house is sealed, it will fill with very fine dust which settles everywhere. Living in maids tend to have lower salaries, because you are providing them with housing and food and electricity and internet and flights for their holidays and and and, while part-time or living out maids have to provide their own accommodation etc.

6) what is there for children? How did your children settle and adjust, what would you do differently if you had the chance again? Kuwaitis love children. Kuwait is designed for children. There are play areas, child-sized things, child-based activities and Kidzania is an entire child-centric shopping mall/play/work experience which costs KD 12 for entry. Your daughter might be too young for that at the moment, but in two years, she will be hooked. There is no better country I have come across for the combination of indoor facilities and the way children are treated and respected. Outside, though, is less grand, although there are things like the equestrian centre. Kuwait is multicultural, multi-faith, multicoloured and your daughter will absorb all of these influences like a tiny little sponge.

I'm sure this is just the start of trying to research, so any info, help pointers appeciated,

Many thanks

Paul
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Old Oct 10th 2013, 8:44 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Many thanks CJMB, some great information and it is appreciated

Paul
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Old Oct 13th 2013, 4:55 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Most of the info is wrong though......especially the part about red tape!!! And its just gets worse from there. Probably a Kuwait apologist.
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Old Oct 13th 2013, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Originally Posted by LITDH View Post
Most of the info is wrong though......especially the part about red tape!!! And its just gets worse from there. Probably a Kuwait apologist.
If you tell me which information you believe is wrong, I can answer your comment more accurately.

I'm not sure what you mean by Kuwait apologist. But the advice and information that you have added to this discussion really make me think that you haven't really got any advice to give. If you do have negative information and advice, then give it. That means that Paul will have a balance of opinion. If you have further negative comment, without advice, then it's not going to help Paul at all and should be kept to yourself.

If you would like to explain the phrase "Kuwait apologist" then please do so by PM rather than take up space in a public forum.
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 9:57 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Op and you are saying Kuwait is dry? I thought the International Hotels weren't? I assumed if you lived in a cheaper hotel you could get a taxi back and forth to the non-dry hotels? Is this not true then?
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Originally Posted by Beakersful View Post
Op and you are saying Kuwait is dry? I thought the International Hotels weren't? I assumed if you lived in a cheaper hotel you could get a taxi back and forth to the non-dry hotels? Is this not true then?
Nope, comletely false. What happens, though is a Moonshiner's representative might knock on your hotel door and offer liquids not entirely legal....
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 10:53 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Right, I'll be putting off that for the foreseeable. Bahrain it (finally) is then....
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 10:55 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Originally Posted by Beakersful View Post
Right, I'll be putting off that for the foreseeable. Bahrain it (finally) is then....
You'd be bitterly disappointed if you went to Q8 instead of Bahrain!
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 11:01 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Trying to do a tour of all the countries in the region, if my passport has room for the stamps (incidentally, got accused of overstaying in the UAE last visit as several of the guys together couldn't find my latest stamp) But no 'tea', goes to the back of the queue. I just didn't want to really go over the Causeway this particular weekend as we've just had a special day for my students. Salary day.
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Old Oct 30th 2013, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

I used to regularly get ruined in Q8. The date rum the locals make is awesome. Nice tasting with coke, brutally strong and somehow does not cause hangovers. Also everyone brews their own tipples. Beet, wine, fizz etc. It's quite good fun although you have to plan a few weeks ahead.
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Old Nov 2nd 2013, 6:26 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Please can any of you tell me:

1) where is a good location with other Brits to live if working near the airport?
WE live in the suburb of Salwa on the 6th ring road which is the road you would take to the airport (about 10km) Accommodation is easy to find and many have communal swimming pools.

2) what are schools like for this age? Our daughter is currently at a pre-prep and we would like to continue this type of early years learning as well as playing of course, is this type of facility available?

I have seen quite a few pre schools in our area but as I don't have children here I haven't any experience of these. I do know that one of the schools provides a pick up mini-bus service for kiddies living at Arabian Villas in Block 11. (This is good accommodation (reasonable price for 3 large bedrooms) with a maids room too - KD650 per month. There is a chinese restaurant on site and they have weekly Thursday night barbecues which are well attended by expats from all over Kuwait as they serve types of meat that you can't usually get here and also you can Bring your own beverages.

3) apart from shopping and the gym, what other past times and activities are available (we are aware kuwait is dry so not looking for pubs etc) are there many expats in Kuwait? Is there much of a social scene?

For ladies, there is a very strong social club: British ladies society, amongst others. There are always lots of activities planned and you get to meet others who have sewing groups/book clubs/ bridge etc.

4) how much should we look to budget for living - rent, utilities, mobile, internet, food (assume not eating out more than once or twice per week - home cooking more) ideally looking for a 4 bed villa not too far from airport, guide to cost of leasing a car or 2. Would it be better to have a driver? It is becoming more difficult for non-working spouses to get a drivers licence, but most women I know are quite happy to get a taxi. They are plentiful and there are recommended 'expat-friendly' taxi firms that can take you anywhere you want.

5) a lot of properties have maid accommodation so it seems to be fairly normal to have a maid - what do they do around the house? I assume cleaning and laundry, what about cooking, child minding (obviously once all settled in), grocery shopping? No "extra services" required or expected!!!!"How much would you expect to pay?

I have no information about maid's salaries, although at Arabian Villas, the maids that service the common areas are available to come in as daily/weekly chars. I have contact details for this complex if you need more information

6) what is there for children? How did your children settle and adjust, what would you do differently if you had the chance again?

We found a lot of useful information via the EEK! online magazine. This has been temporarily suspended, but is resuming in the next month or so I understand.

I'm sure this is just the start of trying to research, so any info, help pointers appeciated,

Many thanks

Paul[/QUOTE]
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Old Nov 6th 2013, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Egailia is also very close to the airport, so could be worth considering, and it may seem far out to some you talk to but it is starting to take hold in terms of things to do, There are 2 malls in Egalia currently and another one is almost finished. Near by (Junction 30 and 208) there are a collection of resturants including soon to be opening Ihop and Starbucks. So really lots to do. They are mainly large villas split into apartments rather than tower blocks.
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Old Nov 11th 2013, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Thanks to all for all of your replies, unfortunately this opportunity didn't work out this time, but the information will surely help others

All the best

Paul
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Old Nov 12th 2013, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Kuwait - So many questions . . .

Q8 went dry a few years ago.
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