Author Archive | Rami

Divvy Showed Labor Day Love to One of Their Employees

It’s always nice to have all the effort you put into your job recognized by your employer, let alone getting rewarded with a trip to your dream destination!

For labor day, Divvy tricked one of their employees into thinking they were filming a short documentary and surprised him with a trip to Greece for all the good feedback they were receiving from their customers about him.

They definitely went the extra mile with their gesture but it is such things that help make employees feel a sense of belonging to their workplace and probably think twice before moving elsewhere.

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LEGO Emoji Art in Beirut

Someone going by the handle “LemojiArt” on Instagram contacted me today to inform me about a visual project they’re working on which involves building LEGO Emojis (hence the word lemoji) and sticking them around Beirut. I can’t really explain the point of the project other than bringing a smile to passers by and I personally liked it.

Among the lemojis made so far my favorite is the one at Salim Salam tunnel since I get stuck there everyday! (I wouldn’t have noticed it by myself though if it wasn’t for the photo due to its small size)

Mar Mkhayel

Salim Salam

Ain El Mrayyseh

I have no idea about the real identity of the artist as he/she prefered to remain anonymous, but all I know is that the project will not be limited to Beirut alone and will soon “invade” other cities, so stay tuned to LemojiArt.

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Taxi Booking Apps Now Cost Less Than Regular Taxis in Lebanon

It’s been a while since I last used a ride hailing app around Beirut, and when I recently booked a Careem last Saturday it caught my attention that they currently charge 6,000L.L for rides within Beirut which is less than the standard fare you pay for other regular Taxis (10,000L.L / ride). I later checked UBER and noticed that they are charging a similar low fare as well.

I know the price difference doesn’t matter much with people who rarely use taxi cabs to commute, but those who do it frequently will definitely save some good money using mobile apps. My wife for example take cabs 3 to 4 times a week and I already convinced her to use Careem since it is my favorite booking app locally.

Talking about Careem, they recently announced integration with Google Maps, so you can see the estimated time of arrival as well as a fare estimate when you search for some location on Google Maps which can be quite useful. To try it out you can simply choosing the ride-hailing icon when searching for directions, then clicking “Open App” to launch Careem and book your ride.

I know the use of apps is to some associated with paying premium prices, but in the case of taxi booking apps it is not, so give it a try.

Photo via Flickr

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 3rd 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. Bickfaya annual flowers festival is coming back this weekend with colorful plants an flowers at very discounted prices, so make sure to go if you have an empty balcony or garden to decorate!

  1. AnaLies: A Liar’s Nightmare
  2. Exclusive film release of ‘In the Last Days of the City
  3. Kif Ken El 3acha – Theater Play
  4. The National Day of Chicken Wings!
  5. Ecrans du Réel – شاشات الواقع
  6. Red Street Boom Opening in SmallVille Hotel
  7. Scottish Ceilidh Dancing
  8. Marché aux fleurs de Bickfaya
  9. Arabic Calligraphy Workshop
  10. Family program | Capturing the Sun: A Green Screen Workshop

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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Lebanon Ranks 99th in World Press Freedom Index – 2nd Among Arab Countries

Reporters without borders issued their yearly World Press Freedom Index and Lebanon came in the 99th place among 180 countries (dropping 1 spot since last year) and in the 2nd place among the Arab countries behind Tunsia.

Here’s what they had to say about the state of press in Lebanon:

Lebanon’s media are outspoken but also extremely politicized and polarized. Its newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels serve as the mouthpieces of political parties or businessmen. Lebanon’s criminal code regards defamation and the dissemination of false information as offenses. Journalists who are prosecuted and convicted by a “print media court” are usually fined, but a prison sentence is still legally possible. Bloggers and online journalists may receive summonses from the “bureau for combatting cyber-crimes” if something they have posted on a social network elicits a complaint from a private party.

Morevoer, below is a list of some Arab countries compared to us:

97 – Tunisia
99 – Lebanon
104 – Kuwait
119 – UAE
123 – Qatar
126 – Oman
138 – Jordan
158 – Iraq
161 – Egypt
164 – Bahrain
165 – Iran
166 – Yemen
168 – Saudi Arabia
177 – Syria

The country with the freest media turned to be Norway, followed by Sweden, Finland and Denmark, while North Korea came at the bottom of the ranking.

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Beirut’s New Bike Lane is Just Impractical

It has been less than 10 days since the unveiling of Beirut’s first bike lane and it is already proving to be impractical, not only because drivers are unsurprisingly ignoring it, but also for the simple fact that it was set up on the left side of the road whereas bikers are obliged by traffic laws to ride on the right side of the road and on the bike lane where it exists. The result is an experience as the one you can see in the below video.

The problem lies in the fact that the lane seems to have been set up in a way not to disturb the valet parking guys who occupy the right lane day and night. You just can’t expect something to function correctly when you start it wrong… In my opinion, the municipality and Beirut by Bike are using this bike lane thing as a stunt to appear like they’re doing something for the city while they know beforehand that no one will make use of it, and best of all, it costs nothing to draw lines on the road!

We can barely fit cars in our street, let alone creating bike lanes, so in order to make that happen the municipality must first work on rehabilitating the roads, and in if it’s impossible then I think they better focus on improving something else and take proper credit for it.

video via Mohamad Cheblak

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FC Barcelona Legends VS Real Madrid Leyendas in Beirut – Full Match Highlights

Barcelona won a second Clasico within a week on Friday but this time when their legends team beat the Real Madrid legends 3-2 at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut.

Barcelona legends were led by Ronaldinho, and even though he didn’t score, he showed he still got the magic with three assists in the game. Giuly scored twice for Barcelona and Simao also scored a goal, while Fernando Sanz and Javi Guerrero scored for Real Madrid.

The game was broadcasted live on MTV, and for those who missed you can still check the highlights as posted on FC Barcelona’s YouTube channel.

On a side, the game was very well organized and security forces were all around the Sports City Stadium to ensure it goes smoothly. If only we see the same energy put by the Lebanese Football Association to make the Lebanese league more interesting to watch and follow!

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I’m Absolutely Loving Karrenn.com

Searching for a new car and settling on the right one for you is never an easy task in Lebanon because auto ads always lack transparency. Most of the time, the advertised prices you see on billboards correspond to the base models and are exclusive of VAT and registration fees, moreover the displayed cars turned to be the fully loaded edition which eventually costs more money.

That’s where comes the role of Karrenn.com, a website that promises to cut through the advertising lingo and provide simple facts and figures about the newly released models. It has been around for several months now but I personally didn’t really notice it until I saw the new 0% billboards for the 2017 Nissan X-Trail and wanted to have more information about it, and then saw their recent article about the same ad. Their approach is quite straight forward, they provide a comparison between the advertised price and the final one including VAT and registration, along with complete specs of the car you will be paying for. Moreover, they list any other available editions with their corresponding final prices and provide you with their recommendation to whether buy or not. For example, in the case of the 2017 X-Trail, it would be a good decision to buy one with the offer RYMCO is currently running.

I also went over other articles they posted and noticed you can easily make a preliminary decision about the right car for you with the figures they list. So in case you are searching to buy a new car, I highly recommend check Karrenn.com and spare yourself phone calls and visits to the dealerships in town.

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Meet Mirna El Chalouhi

I personally have passed countless times by the Mina El Chalouhi commercial center and highway (spanning from Sin El fil to Nahr El Mot), and until I saw the below report by Al-Jadeed, I have always thought they were named after a late figure who must have deserved it for the good deeds she might have done in the past.

Turned out Mirna El Chalouhi is a young woman who simply had a commercial center named after her in the seventies by her late father, and people eventually started referring to the highway by the same name. I’m not sure though if the municipality there has the same official name for it.

I guess it’s fair to say we can call this the revelation of the day!

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Lebanon Ranked The Healthiest Arab Country According to Bloomberg

Lebanon was ranked the healthiest Arab country according to the Bloomberg 2017 Global Health index last month. Among 163 countries included in Bloomberg’s study Lebanon came in at 32 ahead of Qatar (36), Bahrain (40), UAE (43) and Oman (48). The study was based on several criteria such as  life expectancy at birth, causes of death, availability of clean water, and existing health risks.

Some articles are attributing the result to our Mediterranean cuisine which doesn’t relatively rely much on animal fat as much as other Arab cuisines do. A lot of our traditional food requires the use of vegetables, olive oil and other healthy ingredients, on the other hand you see other Arabs depending more on rice cooked in mmargarine with beef or lamb meat in varied ways.

However, what I believe the study should have also taken into consideration is healthcare accessibility for senior citizens. Lebanon scores pretty bad in this field since people automatically lose their social security coverage once they retire at 64, time they eventually need healthcare services the most! I personally pay a hefty amount every year for a private insurance company in order to keep my parents medically covered, and I still had to fight with the admission office at one of the hospitals in Beirut because they were refusing to let my father in when he got sick last year. But yes, we are still ranked 1st!

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