Tag Archives: Beirut Lebanon

Bride Wanted Agency #EPICFAIL

Bride Wanted Agency

Just another sponsored ad on Facebook..

Like a good looking, educated woman would be interested in a man who places ads for brides on Facebook.  #EPICFAIL.

Thanks for this C!

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So happy to be home..

*For the next two weeks, this blog will become “This is Miami” instead of “This is Beirut”..but not before I talk about my flight back home..

I arrived at Rafic Hariri International Airport with only one friend to see me off..You know, it was 2:30 a.m on a Friday morning, how could I have expected more friends to come with me?  I mean, it was a working and school day the following day..people have to get their sleep.

But that didn’t seem to stop everyone else!!..Families and friends swarmed around loved ones showering them with love..food..and gifts up until the last minute..It really was so sweet to watch..

Rafic Hariri International Airport

"Bye Habibi! Bye Habibti!"

Rafic Hariri International Airport

At the airport..When is my gate going to show up? arghh!

Check-in and passport control went quite smoothly.. I wasn’t asked a barrage of questions like I was anticipating..the most exciting thing probably being the herd of leggy Eastern European models that sauntered past everyone  - naturally attracting stares (from men) and glares (from women).  They looked as if they had just left a fashion show or photo shoot..fully made up and with their hair done..I suppose these types of things are normal, as many of the flights to Europe coming out of Rafic Hariri Int’l Airport leave in the weeee hours of the morning.

We boarded the plane and I suddenly became very happy that I had decided to change my seat from an isle to a window at the last minute..Although I was given a seat in the last row of the plane..I was the only one that had a whole row to myself!

And it was the same on the second leg of my flight as well..except this time, almost everyone had a row to themselves..I really was surprised at how empty the flight was from Rome to Miami..these airlines must  really be operating and such a massive loss!  In any case, it makes such a difference to be able to relax comfortably and really sleep on a long flight..it’s probably why I feel so good now..

Alitalia Airways

Me..stretching out my legs on z plane..

Aside from having extended leg room, the other highlight of the flight was when the crew members of Alitalia handed out delicious gelato..not some gelatinous desert or tasteless cake..but delicious Italian gelato..I was in heaven!

Alitalia Airlines

Me..with my legs stretched out..reading about sushi traditions in Osaka, and enjoying my Italian gelato..yes I took off the paper before I ate it! ;)

As was to be expected US Customs and Immigrations officials made up for the lack of questions I was asked at the airport in Beirut..I’ll spare you with the details, but let’s just say I felt like I had been subjected to an hour long interrogation!  Exhausted and sweaty..I came away from it scot-free, it probably helped that I was traveling in my birthday, and was even able to keep my Lebanese sweets that I had packed for my family!!

Speaking of those sweets, they were quite popular with everyone..especially with my Step Father whose grandparents are Palestinian..and even with my brother and sister who had never tried them before!

Lebanese sweets

I wasn't able to make it to Tripoli to buy the sweets..but Al Baba (or as I mistakenly called it, Ali Baba lol) did just fine!

I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to be in my father’s arms at the airport,,or how it felt to watch my brother and sister running down the driveway with “Happy Birthday balloons” when they saw me pull up, or how it felt to hug and kiss my best friend – my Mom – and my grandparents after 9 long months..

Let’s just say, I’m so happy to be home..

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I still have water..for now.

I feel very fortunate that I have yet to be affected by electricity and water shortages since moving to Hamra.  Although I can’t say the same for one of my friends who lives not too far from me, yet hasn’t had water in over a week!  My roommate thinks that our building has a well..what would I do if I didn’t have any water?  Where would I go to take a shower?  Ughh I don’t even want to think about it!..I hate to be the bearer of bad news today – but what is going on??!?!?

According to an article in The Daily Star,

“Experts added that over-consumption, over-pumping and mismanagement are causing Lebanon’s fresh-water wells to become contaminated with salt water, making the reserves unfit for human consumption, a recent study shows.

Lebanon has been gradually depleting its water resources through mismanagement, pollution or simply wasting it into the sea, with the Energy and Water Ministry estimating 1.5-billion square meters of rainwater gets washed into the sea each year.

The situation is so dire that last year experts warned that Lebanon could run out of water by 2015 if current trends were not reversed.”

Scary.

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A chimney of curls..

I appreciate creativity in advertising, but not when it gets to the point of styling a woman’s hair in the shape of a house!!..I’ve been seeing this ad everyday as I pass the Hamra branch of Bank Beirut on my way to work..

The ads, which are plastered on the outside of the branches, feature this women with her ridiculous house shaped hair, and a blond haired blue eyed man wearing a pair of glasses in the shape of a house. Really?

And is that a chimney? hahaha a chimney of curls?

Do they have chimneys in Lebanon?  It really bothers me when advertisements aren’t market specific.

Home loans Lebanon

Bank Beirut's advertisement for home loans..

Have you seen them?

The wonderful ad even graces their webpage..

Bank Beirut Lebanon

Bank Beirut housing loan

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A walk along the Raouche..

This past Sunday marked the first time I ever walked along the boardwalk of the Raouche.

Something that I intend to do much more often..

You see everything on the Raouche..

Groups of men beating the drums and dancing the dabke…couples staring longingly into each others eyes…generations of families watching over their little ones as they take a few wobbly steps…boys doing wheelies on their bicycles…men screeching their rollerblades right next to a group of giggling girls…toned athletes getting in their Sunday run…brides waving to no one as they drive by on their rented Mercedes Benz…couples on the verge of breaking up…men getting ready to jump into the polluted waters of the Mediterranean…a group of boys watching as a man swings around the coals of the argileh..men selling inflatable toys…couples taking pictures of each other in front of the iconic Pigeon Rocks..

and me, a girl from Miami..taking it all in..

It really was something…

Raouche Beirut Lebanon

A day by the sea..

What’s funny about this picture is its juxtaposition to Riviera Beach Club..only a few meters away, yet what a world of difference..

Raouche Beirut Lebanon

A mere man, amongst rocks..and garbage..

Raouche Beirut Lebanon

A girl and her bike..

Raouche Beirut Lebanon

fun along the Raouche..

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Cassettes? They still exist? Noooooo.

Cassette stores in Lebanon

Cassettes? They still exist? Nooooooo.

Probably a common sighting for Lebanese people..but can’t say I’ve ever seen a “cassette only” store before.  It stopped me in my tracks as I was meandering from one end of Hamra to the other..

I stood their for a moment..trying to think back to the last time I bought a cassette..when a service taxi swerved passed me, spewing out exhaust by the ton..a poignant reminder than many of the cars in Lebanon date back to the early 1980s..

When it hit me, of course cassette tapes are popular here!  Still, you have to admit…you don’t see that every day.

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Team USA the underdog!

Gotta give it up to the boys of Team USA, for their efforts during this World Cup..For all of you Americans living abroad, who succumbed to the pressure of supporting one of the favorites (Italy, Germany, England, Brazil) SHAME ON YOU!

We might actually have a chance at this..  Shocking I know..!!  It seems my sentiment to the World Cup has changed since only a few weeks ago, when I thought the World Cup was nothing to get excited about..

What brought on this sudden change of sentiment?  It came as I was sitting at Grand Cafe in Downtown, sipping on an ice cold Alamaza, watching what looked to be Team USA’s final match in the World Cup..

When unexpectedly, Landon Donovan scored against Algeria in the 91st minute of the match, advancing Team USA to the second round of the World Cup..!

A sports blog out of Chicago, Illinois had this to say,

“What does Landon Donovan’s stoppage time winner against Algeria mean to this country?

We can’t fully understand the extent of its significance yet, but I think with one touch of the ball Donovan may have changed the face of soccer for this nation.”

I know what it means, American soccer Moms are going to be busier than ever before!

Landon Donovan World Cup

Donovan celebrates after goal during stoppage time against Algeria. photo credit: http://www.nydailynews.com

Go Team USA!

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Stop this law!

The Lebanese blogosphere and twittersphere is in an uproar over the restrictive E-transaction bill that is scheduled to be voted on by Parliament this Tuesday,,here are but a few examples of the general sentiment surrounding this highly charged issue:  The Beirut Spring, Plus 961, and Independence 05..

#stopthislaw

#stopthislaw

According to the movement to Stop This Law’s Facebook Page,

The ESSA (Electronic Signatures and Services Authority) was established under this law with discretionary, selective, subjective and very broad and unjustified powers, beyond the objectives of the law and its functions. Its prerogatives are almost repressive for all “service providers” of electronic services and economic sectors at large

ESSA staff are given the powers of law enforcement (ضابطة العدلية), without any judicial oversight. A number of relevant ministries such as Ministry of Economy, Telecommunications and Finance are marginalized with a clear conflict of powers with the ESSA.

ESSA is given regulatory powers, and operational powers meaning that it can regulate and operate at the same time. There are many contradictions and ambiguities in many of the legal concepts and language.

These observations and other observations in the drafting details (please see the Private Sector Comments document), are preventing this law from performing its desired function. This will result in a negative impact on the economic activity and investment panorama, due to the unjustified restrictions and unusual constraints that the law is putting on vital economic sectors in Lebanon.

Admittedly, it took me a while to understand the ramifications of this bill, as I don’t often read legislative documents, much less Lebanese legislative documents, and cannot comprehend how a government wouldn’t want to tap into the enormous potential of the internet?!?!?

Among the articles of concern are (thanks to Naeema’s flickr account):

* Article 92, saying anyone providing online services must apply for a license. Result: More paperwork, more bureaucracy, more delays, less revenue.

* Article 82, allowing for the warrantless search and seizure of financial, managerial, and electronic files, including hard drives, computers, etc. Result: The government has pre-approval to seize your company and personal assets and information, without cause.

* Article 70, establishing the Electronic Signature & Services Authority, a new regulatory and licensing body with practically unchecked powers. Result: Another agency, who can make or break your organization at their whim.

So.. instead of following the global trend of deregulation..the government has, once again, opted to implement a set of archaic laws which will do nothing but hamper Lebanon’s ability to compete in an increasingly global market place and tap into the wealth of the internet…

Way to go!

As I was writing this my friend showed me this month’s edition of WIRED magazine,

Wired Magazine

There are more Arab web users per capita than the whole of Europe..why would you not want to tap into that?!?

If you haven’t already, join the movement to Stop This Law on facebook..as well as on twitter with #stopthislaw, and by informing your family and friends about this issue!

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