Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 20th 2015


Below are my picks for this week from Lebtivity. My personal favorite events for this week are The Garden Show & Spring Festival, Cabriolet Film Festival, and Yasmine Hamdan Concert at O1NE Beirut.

It’s also worth mentioning that the cool people at Lebtivity are currently celebrating their 3rd anniversary and for the occasion they’re holding a massive competition in which 33 lucky winners will receive 3 gifts each over a period of 3 weeks. Participating is pretty simple and consists of answering 2 simple questions on their Lebtivity Facebook page.

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My take on new bidding websites BidAffairs and BidZeed


Every once in a while Lebanon buzzes about certain type of websites. A few years ago group deals websites were mushrooming everywhere, and right now seems the time for auction websites like and

Judging by their names these website first seem like regular bidding websites, but the process of purchasing their offered items has little to do with the real concept of bidding.

To be able to participate in the ongoing auctions, you first start with buying a number of bids ($17.5 per 25 bids at BidAffairs for example), and from then on each bid you place will increase the price of the item by one cent, and at the end of the auctions you end up paying for the bids you have placed ($0.7 for every single bid) in addition to the final price of the item. So for example if an item in fact costs $500 and got sold for $10 (1000 bids), then the website will earn $0.7 x 1000 + $10 = $710, while the user will end up paying for the number of placed bids plus the final item price.

Some people will consider such deals a steal, but I tend to see it more as gambling since each bid you place is non-refundable. Assuming you place 20 bids and don’t end up winning then you practically have paid $14 for nothing, and there’s actually a high probability for this to happen since the website keeps on extending the auction end time by 15 seconds each time someone places a bid. So it’s not like the whole thing is limited by a clear time-frame in order for users to try to make use of the last few seconds.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling such websites a scam, but they just don’t feel right to me.


BidZeed team e-mailed me last night to let me know about a feature I missed on their website called “Buy Now”. In case you weren’t the highest bidder at the end of an auction, this feature will allow you to purchase the selected item at retail price while deducting the value of the bids you have spent from the original price.

I thought it’s worth updating the post to mention that such feature exists since it differentiates BidZeed from other similar websites and gives you the option to not waste your bids for nothing, given that you of course want to purchase the item in question at the price set on their website.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 13th 2015

Here’s my pick of events from Lebtivity for this week. My top three favorites that I hope I’ll be able to attend are Beirut street food festival, the sand competition at Tyr’s Rest House, and the Garten opening.
  1. Bikfaya Flowers & Spring Festival
  2. Séminaires Étiquette à la Française “Culture & Diplomatie”
  3. Beirut Street Food Festival 2015
  4. Communication and Negotiation workshop at Skillz
  5. RestHouse Tyr Sand Competition (Summer Season Grand Opening)
  6. L’anniversaire: Spectacle de marionnettes françaises Dim Dam Doum n 1 (musical)
  7. International Museum Day 2015 @ mim museum
  8. “Is He Dead” Play
  9. Shebaik Lebaik… “شبيّك لبيّك”…
Don’t forget to check for many more options!
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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 6th 2015


Lot of cool events are happening this week but I personally found the most interesting one to be the screening of the “On The Rails” documentary by Zeina Haddad which includes stories from the employees who used to work in the railways. The event is taking place this Monday at the UNESCO palace.

  1. Common Fest Beirut
  2. Concert One Lebanon 2015
  3. AUB Honey Day 2015
  4. Karting Inc. 2015
  5. On The Rails Movie Premiere
  6. Aperitivo All’Italiana on the terrace of Mario e Mario
  7. Nazira’s Cooking Classes
  8. Dialogue of Culture – A Spanish Cultural Event in Lebanon
  9. BistroBar Live presents Shady & the band Every Monday
  10. Blissfull Stillness / Yoga Class

Don’t forget to check Lebtivity from endless other options.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 29th 2015


It’s time again for a new round of events picked from Lebtivity. Make your choices wisely!

  1. 2015 Annual AUB Latin Night
  2. Matsuri Festival Beirut 2015 – First Japanese Festival in Lebanon
  3. Rhino 3D and 3D printing workshop with Fab Lab
  4. Open Sushi at Titanic Piano Bar
  5. Woman’s World Exhibition 2015
  6. Beirut International Jazz Day 2015
  7. LOVE and the Law of Attraction Workshop
  8. Souk El Akel – Lebanon’s Street Food Market
  9. Cinco de Mayo – Mexican party at Junkyard Beirut
  10. ALWAN LB Marathon
  11. Spring Festival – Makdessi Street, Hamra

Don’t forget to check for many additional options.

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Review – The 2015 Mini Cooper


Earlier this month I got a media kit about the new Mini Cooper 2015 models. And being a fan of Mini ever since I was a little kid, I thought of checking with Bassoul Heniene if they have a car available for a weekend test-drive, and luckily enough I was driving one following a few calls.

I actually got the traditional two-door hatchback. And the minute I picked it up I knew I’ll be in for a fun weekend. Just like all its predecessors, the 2015 Mini maintains a young cheerful look, and I was quite thrilled with its driving experience.

Body and Interior Design

I personally think what distinguishes the Mini from other hatchback cars is the playful design inside out. The 2015 model got some minor makeover especially with the taillights which no longer look very rectangular, but other elements such as the grille and oval lights remained unchanged. So there’s no dramatic changes here but rest assured the car will keep on turning heads on the street.

And to complement the body look, I found the interior to be trimmed with good materials. It actually looks appealing with some cool details like a ring of led lights around the central display that changes colors according to your driving style.

The base model I had included the following features: automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a six-speaker audio system, an auxiliary audio input, Bluetooth, a climate-controlled glove box, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.



The driving position feels commanding with a wider viewing angle than other cars. However, while it felt relatively spacious up front, the rear seats seemed sufficient for children and short people. I also tried to mount my kid’s car seat but he ended up with his legs almost touching my back. But that was the two-door version at the end.

Driving Experience

It’s fun, so fun actually! I personally love to be in total control of the car when driving. That’s why I find some cars like Mercedes to be somehow boring. I mean regardless of the top speed you can reach with some cars, you feel like they’re guiding you and not the way around, but that’s not the case with a Mini. The comparison might sound a bit weird, but with control and fun I was having it felt more like I was playing with an RC car!

The Mini has three driving modes that you can choose from: Green, Mid, and Sport. The green and mid modes are fuel efficient and best suitable for driving in the city and when stuck in traffic. The sport mode on the other hand is much more fun, and you’ll get to feel how responsive the car becomes once you switch to it.

I was eventually driving in sport mode most of the time, and I can assure the turbocharged 1.5L engine did deliver! The car acceleration was pretty impressive and the whole driving experience was pretty thrilling due to the sharp handling and responsive steering you will feel, and that’s only the base model, so I wonder how S model or even the John Cooper Works will feel! Needless to say, driving back my original car didn’t feel very good!

It’s worth noting that the Mini has a start-stop function that automatically shuts down the engine when the car is not moving in order to reduce fuel consumption.

My Take

As I said before, it’s a fun car, but everything comes with a price. The model I had (1.5L two-door hatchback) is priced at $31,500 which is relatively high for a hatchback car… But is it worth every cent? Damn yes. Actually If I had that budget for a new car I honestly wouldn’t think twice before buying one. Feel free to call this review a biased one, but I just fell for the Mini!

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 22nd 2015

Ever since I had a kid I started valuing the car free days that are set around Beirut every now and then much more! So needless to say, among the below event I picked from Lebtivity for this week, I’m mostly excited for the “Discover Armenia Street” this weekend by Achrafieh 2020!


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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 15th 2015


The biggest thing happening this  week is HORECA which is one of the region’s big exhibitions for hospitality and F&B companies, so expect a buzz about it on the foodie blogs as of Monday!

  1. Public Speaking workshop at Skillz
  2. Fund Raising Dinner for BiBickfaya
  3. Access Masters Tour
  4. Fridays @ Playroom
  5. Wahdon Band Saturdays
  6. “Re-volt” live with Big Hass
  7. NLP Control the language of your mind
  8. Guru Yoga Retreat @ Zenotel, Bikfaya
  9. HORECA 2015
  10. Bikeathon Baldati Beirut – BBB 2015

For more options, you can always check

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 8th 2015


It’s time again for the weekly picks from Lebtivity. Being a fan of Game of Thrones, my favorite event this week is definitely the season 5 premiere screening at Metro Al Madina.

  1. Matteo Countertenor: Barock Easter!
  2. SOUND OF MUSIC in Lebanon
  3. WAREHOUSING Best Practices workshop
  4. Maqtoob At Coworking961 – The Best Business Tools For Entrepreneurs
  5. Diamond dowsing with sabine gemayel
  6. BIPOD 2015
  7. Brick Floyd LIVE at Metro Madina
  8. Marco Carola in Beirut
  9. Dreamcatcher workshop with CherryPerry 5th edition
  10. Game of Thrones SEASON 5 PREMIERE Screening!

For more options, don’t forget to check out

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Volatile Cedar – A Cyber Espionage Operation by Lebanese Hackers


Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli IT Security firm, reported a couple of days ago the unveiling of a cyber espionage campaign that hit more than 10 countries including Lebanon, Israel, USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Peru, and Turkey, and traced back to Lebanese hackers with possible ties to some active political group (hinting at Hezbollah).

The operation was called “Volatile Cedar”, and experts claimed it has been ongoing since 2012 with targets being carefully chosen and ranging from defense contractors to telecom and media companies. Attackers infiltrated these organizations by mainly compromising their web servers and planting malware on them, and then waiting for server administrators to simply plug in some USB devices which led to infecting other servers and workstations. Check Point however did not provide additional information about neither the affected organization nor the nature of data that has been stolen.

I personally found the news quite surprising because such big espionage operations are usually sponsored by governments, and we all know we don’t have a cyber bureau in charge of similar things here. So one cannot but admire Hezbollah for their capabilities if it was really them behind it, and at the same time feel worried about some big firms being infiltrated like banks and our two mobile operators!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Volatile Cedar operation, you can download this document by Check Point with a lot of interesting technical information about the used malware.

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