Skiing and swimming in the same day

We’ve all heard a million times that in Lebanon you can ski and swim in the same day, but did you ever meet someone who really did that?

Alex Taylor, a reporter in The Daily Star, felt like confirming the myth a few days ago and actually went skiing at Mzaar in the morning, then drove around noon to Jbeil and hit the beach.

After a few runs, I’m feeling exhilarated, but a bit overheated and in need of a swim. It might be the booming tunes by Stereo Love and the Black Eyed Peas blaring from the lodge speakers or maybe subliminal messaging from all the billboards advertising vodka, but I’m feeling ready for another, world-renowned Lebanese pastime – to party. I take off my skis, intent on joining the snow bunnies drinking white wine at the lodge in their furry, Prada boots, but remember that I have a mission.

I’m off to Jbeil, following flashy Hummers driving down the mountain. As I descend, the temperature rises, as do the glorious smokestacks of the Zouk power plant just ahead. Beach, here I come. Source

And just like the article revolves around a cliche idea about Lebanon, it also has a cliche start and ending. For some reason, Alex started by comparing Lebanon to the rising phoenix, and ended it by telling that she still has to pay Skybar a visit to see the “real” Lebanon there (yeah right).

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Kassis Electric ad fail

Kassis Electric is offering to teach you for free how to spy on your spouse through their mobile phone when you buy them an iPhone 4 as a gift from the store!

That’s what their ad in Al-Waseet says, check the below snapshot.

So be careful next time you get a gift from Kassis Eelectric!

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Meet Mrs. Coharik Ichkhanian

Many showed interest in knowing more about the lady running Ichkhanian bakery, luckily I found this segment from “Helwi w Morra” by Barbara Massaad, the author of a book titled “Man’oushe” about Lebanese bakeries and containing more than 70 man’oushe recipes.

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Haze over Beirut

I was driving from Tripoli to Beirut yesterday when I was surprised with a haze covering the area from Zouk all the way to Khaldeh. It was actually the first time for me to see a haze that thick on the coastline, even flights were halted for a couple of hours at Beirut airport.

Here’s a couple of photos that I found on Facebook taken by Mr. Mohamad Mashnouk around sunset. You’d think the first one was taken in Dubai.

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Ichkhanian bakery

I’ve heard of “the Armenian lady” who makes great Lahme Baajin at Zokak El Blat since ever, but I never bothered checking her bakery out until last weekend and finally knew what was I missing, a lot!

People probably call her “the Armenian lady” because there isn’t lot of Armenian shops in western Beirut, while her bakery is in fact called “Ichkhanian” (by the family name of her late husband) and has been operating since before the civil war.

The Lahme Baajin you’ll find there are just awesome and could be the best in Beirut, the dough is so thin and the meat has a unique taste especially if you ask for the extra spicy mix. Perfect for a quick bite anytime a day.

The bakery also caters Manti, Shish Barak, and Borek at relatively reasonable prices, and I heard they’re great as well.

One thing you should be aware of is the bad temper that Mrs. Ichkhanian sometimes shows, she’s actually  a very nice lady but for some reason seems furious all the time. Still, the food is totally worth it.

Here’s a map showing where the bakery is exactly located and how you can reach it.

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The NY Times on Chateau Musar

The Lebanese wine seems to be gaining a good popularity in the world because of its fine and unique taste. I recall reading several articles in world newspapers and magazines about the numerous vineyards we have in the north and Bekaa, and here’s one of the latest articles published in The New York Times about Chateau Musar.

The one consistent thing about the wines is how inconsistent they are, as Mr. Hochar might say. Each vintage is profoundly individual, partly, no doubt, because wine from Lebanon, one of the oldest wine regions in the world, is so unusual, and partly because Mr. Hochar makes so little use of modern winemaking techniques, which might serve to file away Musar’s distinctive edges.

“The dimension of taste in Lebanon is different than anywhere else,” he said. “Not better, but different. Better has no meaning.”

In a world full of wines trying to be the best, many people find it refreshing to see a wine simply trying to be itself. Source

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Free internet quota at night for everyone?

Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui announced on twitter yesterday that unlimited internet quota from 12AM to 7AM has been approved by the government and will be activated as soon as the decision is published in the official gazette.

Some ISPs already have the unlimited night traffic offered to some of there users depending to which telephone exchange office they’re connected. My parents subscription with IDM in Beirut for example gets double the speed and unlimited traffic at night, while my IDM subscription in Aramoun doesn’t because they claim it didn’t pass some “feasibility test” that was performed.

Anyway, I hope it doesn’t take too much time before we get that feature activated for everyone!

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Cedar tree planted into wireless devices

No it’s not like really planting a cedar tree into some electronic device! But a research team at the American University of Beirut discovered that cedar tree shaped antennas are ideal for use in some wireless devices.

The team found that the geometry of the cedar, based on repetitive triangular parts, allows a cedar-shaped antenna to operate at multiple frequencies, which makes it suitable for many types of wireless devices such as mobile phones.

Karim Kabalan, professor and chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was the mastermind behind the design, after two years of searching for an antenna that would be easy and inexpensive to fabricate and innovative, veering away from the usual rectangular and circular shapes. Source

The Lebanese Phalanges should be credited for the design though, it looks pretty much like their schematic cedar.

Thanks to @mkdubai

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Huge photos directory of Lebanon

You’ve got to check this old photos directory of Lebanon by the digital documentation center at AUB, which I discovered through one of Sietske’s latest posts. It has more than 12,000 photos categorized by location (Mohafaza and Qadaa), and you can easily spend hours browsing them!

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Beirut in 8-bit

The hoax services that Google announces on each April Fools’ day are more like a tradition, and the Google 8-bit maps service has got to be the coolest joke for 2012. They actually announced yesterday that they will finally be adding support for the classic Nintendo Entertainment System with the launch of 8-bit maps featuring low resolution graphics.

And here’s how Beirut would have looked like on a NES!

You can check here more about Google’s pranks for this year.

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