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Anthony Bourdain’s Episode on Beirut Was Disappointing

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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.

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This Sums Up The Hypocrisy in Our Society

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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.

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Beirut Will Be Featured in Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain Tonight

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Anthony Bourdain is back once again in Beirut to uncover more of the less known destinations in the city on CNN’s Parts Unknown.

The available photos show him at military the military themed bar Abu Elie, interviewing Michael Elefteriades and exploring Music Hall, as well as going on a tour with a group of motorcycle riders on the corniche.

The first time Anthony Bourdain came to Beirut was in 2006 and he was not able to finish his episode due to the 33-day Israeli war that broke out in July, so he later came back in 2010 and filmed it again. Back then he featured places like Pierre and Friends, Souk El Tayeb, Le Chef, Onno, Chez Maguy, and Falafel Sahyoun. I hope this episode features more places of the unbeaten path.

PArts Unknown airs very late at night our time by the way so you can catch the episode tomorrow morning on CNN’s website.

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The Ultimate Guide to 2015 Summer Festivals in Lebanon

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The good people at Lebtivity have the full program for nearly each and every festival going around the country this summer. So I thought it would be nice to compile them all in one post to help both tourists and locals better know about them and pick the concerts and events they would like to attend. Clicking on each event will lead you to its respective program on Lebtivity.com.

Byblos Festival

The International Festival has been held annually since 2003, in July. It takes place by the seaside in the historic quarter, in front of the castle built by Crusaders in the 12th century.

Baalbeck International Festival

The festivals date back to the mid 20th century with the first organizing activities being held in 1955. After one year, presiden Chamoun named it the Baalbeck International Festival, which became a governmental institution whose goal was to promote tourism and Lebanese culture.

Beiteddine Art Festival

The Beiteddine Festival was launched amidst war and destruction in the middle of the 80’s. It came as an act of faith in Lebanon’s cultural specificity and its power of creativity and artistic freedom. It was a call for normality in the middle of the chaos and madness of the civil war. The festival takes place in the large 200-year old Beiteddine Palace.

Jounieh International Festival

Jounieh International Festival was launched in 2011 is now famous for the opening ceremony marked by the synchronized fireworks show along the bay of Jounieh. The festival takes place at Fouad Chehab stadium.

Zouk International Festival

Zouk International Festival was launched in 2010 and attracts guests from all over the country and abroad. Zouk Mikael is 10 minutes away from Beirut, perched on a hill of Kesrouwan overlooking the Mediterranean. Its roman styled amphitheatre with a capacity of 2500, built for major events, hosts the festival.

Batroun International Festival

The festival had a shy and amateur debut in the early 90’s until it acquired international standards and earned its place among international cultural festivals. In 2009, the Batroun International Festival was born and started hosting leading local and international artist from all over the world.

Ehdeniyat – Ehden International Festival

Ehdeniyat, which started in 2004, flourished from a local and national event to an International festival of Music and Art. But above all this, Ehdeniyat became an experience of glamour, culture and tradition; “An Experience that Never Ends”.

Beirut Holidays

Beirut Holidays is a series of concerts and shows in the heart of Beirut Souks. Launched in 2012, the festival brings together diverse musical performances and talents, local artists and international performers, from East and West mixing varying genres and tastes.

Cedars International Festival

After almost half a century, the Cedars International Festival will return this summer to Bsharri. The northern town will host several of Lebanon’s top artists as part of an effort to revive tourism in the district. The four-night festival will feature a wide range of musical and artistic performances.

Dbayeh Festival

An enchanting event taking place in Dbayeh this summer. An initiative by Tajammo Ahel Al Mahabba for the fifth consecutive year to raise the voice of hope and peace in Lebanon.

Moreover, the below smaller festivals will also be happening.

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Marrouche is back!

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Chicken sandwich lovers rejoice! I just learned today that Marrouche has reopened again but is now located in Manara near the International College instead of Sidani street in Hamra.

The best thing about this reopening is that they retained the same staff. The man on the right is actually the one who used to make the sandwiches in Hamra for as long as I can remember. And knowing that they have been operating since the 1920s, I really doubt they will be compromising the ingredients quality now, so I think we’ll be having the same awesome chicken garlic sandwiches just as before. But I’m not sure though if the sandwich price has increased or is still the same (7,000 L.L).

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – June 17th 2015

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The biggest thing happening this weekend is the annual music celebration “Fête de la musique” which usually takes place on the first day of the summer (June 21st) at several locations around Beirut. So for this weekly round of events from Lebtivity, I decided to include the program of the performances taking place at Beirut downtown, Gemmayze, Zouk Mikael, The Hangout, and ABC (Achrafieh & Dbayeh).
  1. Rand Performing For Nepal at The Hangout
  2. CHANCE party at WHITE – Fundraising for Children with Cancer 2015
  3. World Blood Donor Day 2015
  4. International Day of Yoga in Lebanon
  5. Father’s Day Crafts for Kids

Fête de la Musique Special

  1. Fete de la Musique 2015 – Programme Beyrouth, Liban
  2. Fete de la Musique a Gemmayze
  3. Fête de la Musique à Zouk Mikael
  4. Fete de la Musique at The Hangout Beirut – Latin Jazz night with Pulsaçao
  5. Fete de la Musique at ABC

For more idea you can always check Lebtivity.com.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – June 10th 2015

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It’s time for another round of events picked from Lebtivity. My favorite one for this week is the annual Cherry Festival in Hammana which allows people to go charry-picking in the orchards. I know it’s a quite fun festival as I’ve been to it before and I’m actually planning to take my little kid there this year.

  1. Celtic Legends – Irish Dancers Show in Lebanon
  2. Byblos en Blanc et Rosé
  3. Live acoustic Jazz with Arthur Satyan at The Hangout Beirut
  4. Mandala classes
  5. 7th Annual Karaz Hammana Food & Feast Festival
  6. A walk in the old parts of Beirut
  7. Lebanon Lantern Festival 2015 | “We Remember”
  8. Revisiting Dalieh Exhibition
  9. The Golden Tracks at Bus Stop
  10. Happy Xiao- Happy Mondays!

Many other options are available on Lebtivity.com. Also, don’t miss the competition they’re holding for their 3rd anniversary as this week is your last chance to participate!

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – June 3rd 2015

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Car free days are getting quite popular these days. Following “Tout tout a Beirut” in Hamra last weekend, Badaro will be a car free street this Sunday, and I hope we get more similar events throughout this summer!

Many other cool events are also happening this week and below are the favorites that I have chosen from Lebtivity.

  1. Badaro In Good Spirit: A Car-Free Day
  2. LinkedIn for Business & Recruitment – Workshop 2015
  3. Live acoustic Jazz with Arthur Satyan at The Hangout Beirut
  4. Dieudonné En Tournée
  5. Danish Feast – 4th Edition
  6. Summer Misk Festival 2015 – Full Program at Beit Misk
  7. Green Festival
  8. Beirut Marathon Women’s Race: Rise & Run Forward
  9. Lebanon HR Summit 2015
  10. Le Grand Rassemblement” des Anciens de l’USJ

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for additional options.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 27th 2015

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Another week goes by and it’s time again for my picks from Lebtivity. I’m personally planning to attend “Tout tout a Beirut” in Hamra and “Marché du livre” in Jbeil.

  1. 3a Tari2 El Janneh – Theater Play
  2. Cauet au Liban
  3. Live acoustic Jazz with Arthur Satyan at The Hangout Beirut
  4. Cabriolet Film Festival 2015
  5. The Dream Matcher Experience – Beirut
  6. Marché du livre Jbeil
  7. Beirut Designers’ Week 2015
  8. Ahla Fawda presents ” Tout Tout a Beirut “
  9. Joseph Leon (paris) OAK (beirut) live
  10. Writing and Measuring HR Strategies – Training with MEIRC

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for more ideas, and don’t forget to participate in their 3rd anniversary competition.

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

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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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