Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – July 1st 2015

IMG_8201.JPG

It’s time again for my selection of things to do from Lebtivity. There’s no doubt that the most anticipated event this week is the opening ceremony for Jounieh International Festival featuring a synchronized fireworks show along the bay of Jounieh.

  1. Fireworks & Opening Ceremony of the Jounieh International Festival 2015
  2. Ramadaniyat Beirutiya 2015 in BIEL
  3. Full Moon Party Lebanon 2.0
  4. Music on the Grill: Open BBQ & Live Band at The Hangout Beirut – Every Sunday
  5. BistroBar Live presents Shady & the band Every Monday
  6. Jazz Night with Arthur Satyan & Special guests at The Hangout Beirut
  7. Yin/Restorative Yoga Series (5 sessions)
  8. Lebanon Summer String and Orchestra Workshop
  9. Performing arts and music workshop
  10. Try It Out: Art Therapy Session

Moreover, if you would like to have an Iftar out during Ramadan, make sure to check the list that Lebtivity has put together for restaurants offering Iftar formulas.

Comments { 0 }

The Sweet Treat You Should Try This Ramadan

daoukiyeh

If there’s an under-rated Arabic sweet shop around Beirut then it must be Al-Daouk in the Cola area.

The owner of the shop created back in the 80’s this really awesome dessert and named it after his family, hence the name “Daoukieh”. It’s made of Ashta (think cream) mixed with cashew nuts and fixed between two layers of ground pistachio puree. What makes all the difference with this dessert is the use of quality ingredients, be it the fresh Ashta or the premium pistachio. The result are the above little green appealing pieces of heaven that explode with rich flavor in your mouth.

The reason I’m writing about the Daoukieh is that I still encounter a lot of people who have never heard of it. So if you want to treat yourself to some really good Arabic dessert this Ramadan make sure it is the Daoukieh. Al-Daouk Sweets is located very close to the Beirut Arab University in Cola, anybody in the region will be able to provide you with directions to it, and the non-stop traffic jam near the shop is totally worth it. It sells for 24,000L.L/Kg.

I’m aware by the way of the other alternatives to Daoukieh such as Bohsalino and Safsoufieh, but trust me on this, Daoukieh is the real deal.

Comments { 2 }

Le Gray Swimming Pool Among the Most Incredible Pools on Earth

I just stumbled upon this list of incredible swimming pools in the world by The Huffington Post and was surprised to find the swimming pool at Le Gray Hotel featured in it.

The swimming pool is truly stunning and has a cool view over the Mediterranean and Beirut downtown. It’s also worth noting that the spa at Le Gray was earlier also ranked among the top 10 spas in the middle east.

Comments { 0 }

Al Rifai Angel Drones is More Like a Stunt Than a Campaign

angeldrones

The Angel Drones is an initiative by Al Rifai that aims to donate packages of clothes, food, and other essential items to needy families in Lebanon using drones that are labeled as “Angel Drones”. The whole campaign sounds pretty nice as it goes with the spirit of Ramadan in term of helping poor people and feeling with them. Moreover, technically speaking the video is well executed and kudos to whoever made the filming.

However, with the budget that seem to have been allocated for this campaign I really think Al Rifai could have done a lot better.

Even though the video started good and felt very touching, at the end of watching it I was only left thinking about drones and how much weight they can carry around… I bet I was not the only one who thought about that and I really doubt this was Al Rifai’s goal from “The Angel Drones”.

In addition, I really didn’t like the way they displayed the stories of the families they are helping on their website. I mean this is the kind of things that Tony Khalife and Joe Maalouf would do to score with the public… If you want to help poor people then either do it discretely or simply don’t reveal their identities, publicizing it actually goes against the values of Ramadan.

Giving the video a second thought will probably qualify the campaign more as a stunt than a socially responsible campaign. Social responsibility in our case lies in actually donating to the people instead of over-thinking a sophisticated and expensive way to deliver these donations.

In my humble opinion, what Al Rifai could have done instead is producing a video that motivates people to help each other. Take for example the videos that Pepsi Masr produces every year, they touch you really deep and inspire to do good to others or at least be good to them.

The idea is that you do not necessarily have to prove that you are socially responsible in order to score with the public. I think being an inspiration to them can promote your brand much better.

Comments { 0 }

Cool Aerial Video of Byblos Bay

IMG_9628.PNG

Although realtively short, this video shot by Mark Hoyek using a DJI Phantom 3 shows some great scenery from the coast of Byblos.

I have also seen a sneak peak of other video he took in different regions of Lebanon and they look really awesome. I hope he uploads them sometime soon so that I can share them as well.

Comments { 1 }

Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – June 24th 2015

IMG_8201.JPG

Here are my picks of things to do this week from Lebtivity. Make sure not to miss the 4-day Ramadaniyat Beirutiya Festival which aims to revive the old traditions of Ramadan in the ancient city of Beirut.

  1. Moules & Frites Special Night at The Hangout Beirut
  2. Ramadaniyat Beirutiya 2015 in BIEL
  3. GREEN STEPS picking Cherries in Baskinta
  4. Open BBQ & Live Band at The Hangout Beirut – Every Sunday
  5. Hermits Trail, Tannourine
  6. “ABWAB” Photography Exhibition – Rosie Nasser
  7. Fashion Business Seminar
  8. Nia® ~ “Joy of Movement”
  9. Kids & Teens Festival
  10. Consumption Exhibition: Prix Pictet – Beirut Exhibition Center

Fro more options you can always check Lebtivity.com.

Comments { 0 }

Lebanese Taxi Driver Dies of Heart Attack Because of a No-Seatbelt Ticket

Ticket

This is one of the weirdest news I lately came across. Lebanon Files reported about a taxi driver named Salem Zgheib who died of heart attack after getting a 200,000L.L fine for not having the seatbelt on.

I’m not sure if it was a bad coincidence and Lebanon Files just dramatized the issue or the man did actually really get mad to the point of having a heart attack and died. Anyway, the whole thing makes you think about people who barely make ends meet and have absolutely no support from the government yet are faced with unfair fines compared to their monthly income. Some may argue the government should treat such people like taxi drivers a bit differently, but then again if it weren’t for the huge fines people wouldn’t really feel like they are forced to abide by the rules.

May Salem Zgheib rest in peace. The policeman who issued that ticket must be really feeling like shit now even though he was just doing his job!

photo via Sietske

Comments { 1 }

Lebanon Is Finally Getting The Much Needed Internet Infrastructure Upgrade

lebanon internet speed june 2015

I just stumbled upon this really good news about the Ministry of Telecommunications’ plan to upgrade the internet infrastructure by using fiber-optic cables to connect Ogero switching centers to residential and business premises.

The current infrastructures utilizes a fiber-optic network to connect centers together but relies on old copper wires to carry out internet data to the subscribers. The problem with these old wires is that they can handle transferring a maximum of 8Mbps depending on how close to the switching center you live. That’s why 1/3 of internet users in Lebanon cannot get more than 2Mbps to their homes since they simply live too far away from a central office!

The upgrade project will take 5 years to finish as per minister Harb and should allow internet speed to reach 100Mbps. So until that time, expect to encounter a lot of digging around the streets and just pray for the whole thing to finish on time without any major interruption.

Comments { 6 }

Anthony Bourdain’s Episode on Beirut Was Disappointing

anthony bourdain beirut

So I finally managed to watch Parts Unknown season five finale on Beirut (via torrent download) and was quite disappointed.

The show is actually about food and travel, so I was expecting Bourdain to explore some of Beirut’s hidden gems but instead he went to Burj Al Barajneh refugee camp in the first part of the episode to learn more about the Palestinians living conditions here in the country. He then made several people speak about religious diversity and how the different sects coexist happily in Lebanon (especially Sunni and Shia these days!), and he later visited some Hezbollah supporter in Dahieh all while portraying the party as a mighty beast.

Moreover, he never failed during the episode to stress about the threat coming from the east, that is the Islamic state. So it was basically more about politics than anything else. I believe he could have simply aired some recent report about the political situation in Lebanon and spared himself a trip here.

Comments { 1 }

This Sums Up The Hypocrisy in Our Society

IMG_9575.JPG

Every now and then photos like the one above surface on the internet and people start showering the Lebanese police and governmental employees in general with criticism.

No one is sure yet how authentic this photo is since the ISF hinted on twitter that the policeman might have done this stunt on a closed highway as part of some training. It would be really ugly if it turns out to be true, I mean this is the kind of stuff you expect zouzou ebba guys to be pulling on the highway, so having this officer acting the same way is just plain unacceptable…!

But thinking about the photo and the reactions it got for a moment make you realize it actually sums up the hypocrisy in our society…

The man is basically in charge of fining those who violate the law by performing such stunts, yet he enjoys doing them himself! Likewise, we tweet myriads of photos showing ISF officers texting on duty, while we fail to drop our phone when driving. We even argue that the new traffic law should allow us to check our phone on red lights!

We report tens of ISF officers on motorcycles without helmets, yet we also hate to wear them because it’s too hot and they mess our hair! We also break twitter writing about people bruning red lights around the city, but we are of course allowed to do it after 10PM because we know better. Oh and the best of all we also hate when people take advantage on us through “wasta”, but we absolutely have no problem using the same “wasta” to break the rules too!

So yeah, the photo is still ugly, and the officer still deserves to be punished for it, but next time you see something similar, don’t react as if it’s something out of this world, because what you will be seeing is just a reflection of this hypocrite society we live in.

Comments { 0 }