Frankfurt Airport – The German Experience

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It seems the most difficult Schengen Visa to get is from the German one, all the others were more routine and less difficult with the paper work. I can understand if they wanted to clarify paperwork, but they out right refuse any bookings from a local travel agency, the whole process was annoying and if you just want to make a one or two week stop they just give you a one month or two month visa. Previously they used to give 3 to 5 year visas without an issue. If you get it from Italy or Spain they still do that and 3 years from the French Embassy and the French used to take the longest. At least the British have a normal two week process or a 45 KD VIP process which takes 3 to 5 days.

I have my Visa and took off with a one day trip to Frankfurt and the rest of the week in Amsterdam. Unluckily for us there were probably two planes that landed from China because the lines were insanely long and these people do not know how to que. A new line opened up which one lady went to who wasn’t European and so I tried my luck and so did a friend. The lady immigrations officer was thinking of letting us pass on the European line since there were no Europeans but the guy next to her told her to send him back and he sent me back to the insanely long line. We understand rules but there was no one there and the lines for Europe remained empty.

We got back in line and waited, the Chinese were getting stamped without any questions and I would say at least 80% of them didn’t speak a word of English. They didn’t even bother looking at their paper work. We thought at least the line will move quickly.

When it came to our turn, instead of taking 2 mins it took 20 mins. The guy wanted my confirmation booking in Frankfurt and in Amsterdam, and he wanted to see my ticket back to Kuwait. I told him I have the printed booking from Lufthansa that I already gave to him and my confirmations are on my phone. He looked at my phone and then shrugged, he asked me why I didn’t have a ticket with me, I told him no airline issues a ticket one week before the flight. He went through my passport twice and kept typing on the computer, I was done to his annoyance and my friend was still going through questioning. The Chinese guy behind me walked out 30 seconds after me.

That was a very strange experience, and I’m surprised that Germany is turning into this, since when I spoke to people about it they told me it isn’t an isolated incident.

Now as for when we were leaving my cousin wanted to do the tax refund as he had one item from Frankfurt and one item from Amsterdam. In Amsterdam the Customs people told us he would have to exit the European Union to get the customs stamp so in his case he would get it done in Germany. When we went to Germany they stamped all the things of the Chinese guy in line in front of us without asking a question or asking to see the items.

When my cousin step up he just had to invoices with the details filled out but he refuse to stamp the one from Amsterdam and we explained to him what we were told and he simply said it wasn’t his problem. Then he refused to stamp the other invoice and said he would get it done after immigrations, but then when we went inside they told us it was only Jewelery at the inside customs not a Tumi bag.

This was the strangest experience I have had at Frankfurt Airport, it seems they are getting a bit aggressive with arabs from what I can tell. In Frankfurt itself it was easy and an enjoyable trip for me even though I was just there for 24 hrs but this treatment at the airport was not expected.

WH Smith – Kuwait Airport

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This was a very pleasant surprise, That Al Salasil has opened WH Smith at Kuwait Airport. It is a lot better then the previous magazine store they had there which was a bit depressing. They had a decent selection of English books, some Arabic and a respectable amount of magazines overall.

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I’m looking forward to more books being brought into Kuwait, even though a lot of bookstores have shutdown over the years there is still large amount of people that like buying books. Lets hope that this business venture with WH Smith turns out to be a successful one, I’m happy to see a store like this finally open in the airport.

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‘GoSleep’ Sleeping Pods in Abu Dhabi International Airport

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At Abu Dhabi International Airport, sleep comes for about $13/hour! A thoughtful initiative by Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), Abu International Airport terminals 1 and 3 is now hub to “GoSleep” sleeping pods for passengers to take a quick nap.

Now they really are thinking ahead and the comfort of the passengers, even if its only 10 of them at the moment. In Dubai International Airport they have the SnoozeCube which is a bit more expensive per hour, basically a small room with some amenities, but this pod is really a sleeping pod. I wouldn’t mind using it watch movies comfortably while waiting for my next flight if it was available in a lounge. I don’t think we would be seeing this in Kuwait Airport any time soon, also I don’t think they would have any space to put them. What nice about these pods thats different about a room is that they recline into a full sleeper so you can stretch your legs or you can have them slightly reclined, a relaxed way to spend a few hours, something I’m willing to try out but I haven’t been to Abu Dhabi International Airport yet.

Link: ADAC

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New Shipping Rules From Customs

A lot of us order lots of items from outside of Kuwait, and now with the arrival of the iPhone 4S people will be making a ton of orders to satisfy their Apple addiction, I for one am addicted to Amazon. Now things have gotten a lot worse then before with customs and I’m not sure if this will get any better.

Ministry of Information shutdown their desk at the Customs Airport Counter. So what does that mean, it means every package has to be taken from the Airport to the Ministry and checked out so the process was long before but now its even more ridiculous.

Previously:

  • 3-5 Days International Delivery
  • 3-5 Days Kuwait Customs Clear

Total 10 Days

Now:

  • 3-5 Days International Delivery
  • 3-5 Days Kuwait Customs
  • 4-7 Days Ministry Of Interior
  • 4-7 Days in Custom for the Delivery Company to Pick it UP

Total 24 Days

The Ministry of Information is going through to check what is or isn’t banned but they are going through everything and they don’t have a clue what anything is. I had a very difficult time explaining to them what Gears Of War 3 was, I don’t think they have seen a PS3 or XBox before.

Quick Update
Airport and Port Customs are on strike, good luck getting any of your packages any time soon.

STUCK – A Long Layover

For Formula Drift photographers Larry Chen and Joe Ayala, a lengthy layover in the empty Dallas/Fort Worth airport meant an all-night playground since their flight home was cancelled. Armed with $30k worth of camera gear, the two set about creating Stuck, a playful documentary of their time alone with DFW. I wish I had their camera and photography gear.

Rumor: Wataniya Airways Bankruptcy

This is shocking and very sad news that is going around. Wataniya Airways will be announcing its Bankruptcy very soon and shutting down completely and will no longer be operational. I honestly thought they would be able to reorganize themselves and adjust their issues to get the airline back on its feet. I didn’t think that it would reach this point, and I don’t care what others may say Wataniya Airlines had excellent service and I was very happy traveling on their airlines, they made it enjoyable to travel again. Now we are back to the old options of Jazeera Airways, Middle East Airlines, and Emirates Airlines for travel within the region.

If you have purchased tickets from Wataniya Airlines you only have 45 days to get a refund for any tickets. And it will probably insane over the next few weeks if this is the case.

Wataniya Airways- Early Flight

I had a meeting to get to, organized the next day in Dubai before I even looked at the timing of the flights, luckily Wataniya Airlines flew early enough and I booked on the 7 am flight. I didn’t realize that 7 am would mean that I would have to be up by 5 am to take my time and get to the airport by 6 am. I got to the airport and boarded my flight, it was still dark outside. My flight back was around 6 pm so I had a few meetings get it done, then a bit to eat and head back to Kuwait. Took a few episodes of Supernatural with me on the flight, I am addicted to the show so I have a few episodes with me. I do enjoy flying Wataniya Airlines but I hate the Marhaba lounge in Dubai Terminal One, its uncomfortable and tacky but landing at Sheikh Sa’ad Airport makes up for it.

On the early morning flight I was the only person sitting up front, it wasn’t that full in economy either. I wonder when these flights do get full during the week, but on the way back it was a little more full. Had a couple of arabic coffees to keep me awake, I almost ran out of battery that time in the day but still had a few things left to do. The best part of landing is walking out so quickly, and out to my car to head home and relax for a little while.


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Ken Block vs. Ricky Carmichael

Ken Block is forever famous for his rally driving skills and those insane videos, but Ricky Carmichael isn’t as famous to the general public but he is one hell of a dirt biker probably one of the best period. This video is probably one of the most intense I have seen from Kenny Block, less stunts and more insane driving and it gets a lot better towards the middle. Top Gear did a great job of putting this video together, these guys seriously know how to get our bloods pumping.

Flying Back

Out of the last 24 hours I have pretty much spent it on the move finishing up a few things and then flying. Because of the time difference in Kuwait all the flight times and lay over it has added up to about 22 hours and we didn’t really get much sleep in Singapore because of meetings, trying out restaurants, and exploring the city. 51 hours in Singapore is not enough to check out everything but we discovered an amazing people and city, the cleanliness never stops amazing me. So after all this flying I think I’m going to completely crash for the first day just to catch up with rest.

  • 5:30 am – Woke Up to Pack and Eat Breakfast (12:30 am Kuwait Time)
  • 7:30 am – Head to Airport, Get Tax Refund, Check In Bags (2:30 am Kuwait Time)
  • 9:45 am Take-Off (4:45 am Kuwait Time)
  • Landed at 12:30 pm Dubai Time (11:30am Kuwait Time)
  • Stayed in Lounge for a few hours
  • 3:40 pm Boarding (2:40 pm Kuwait Time)
  • 4:15 pm Take Off (3:15 pm Kuwait Time)
  • 5:15 pm Landed in Kuwait
  • 5:40 pm I got home
  • 8:30 pm Until that time my brain was in a daze since getting home
  • 8:35 pm Dinner
  • 10:45 pm Passed out cold

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On the Flight Back

Flew to the airport, made a late check out form the hotel on Tuesday due to a meeting running a little over. Packed my bags, there wasn’t too much, I just had to make sure I got my magazines, and some other stuff all packed up and ready to go. The streets were still relatively empty, they even told me that the hotel had very low occupancy and the summer crowd would be coming right around the 15th of June. The weather was just perfect a breezy 29 degrees with clear skies, and a little humidity.

I got my bags on a trolley and headed straight to the check-in counter right after security, then passed immigrations and went to the virgin stand to check it out. Virgin just isn’t what it used to be, waited at the gate to board. This time around I was the only person up front with about 15 – 20 people in economy. The place was empty, so I asked the staff that I wanted the food right away since I didn’t have a chance to eat due to the long meeting. After a good meal I switched on my laptop watched about 20 minutes of anime and passed out for 2 hours, woke up to us landing and dusty view outside.

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