Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Lebanon

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I youtubed Lebanon and I found a song called “The Lebanon” by the Human League. Apparently “in May, 1984 the band released the politically charged single “The Lebanon.” The single peaked at #11 in the UK” (Wikipedia)

Click here for video

The lyrics capture the reality of the war:

She dreams of nineteen sixty-nine
Before the soldiers came
The life was cheap on bread and wine
And sharing meant no shame
She is awakened by the screams
Of rockets flying from nearby
And scared she clings onto her dreams
To beat the fear that she might die
And who will have won
When the soldiers have gone
From the Lebanon
The Lebanon
Before he leaves the camp he stops
He scans the world outside
And where there used to be some shops
Is where the snipers sometimes hide
He left his home the week before
He thought he’d be like the police
But now he finds he is at war
Weren’t we supposed to keep the peace
And who will have won
When the soldiers have gone
From the Lebanon
The Lebanon
The Lebanon
From the Lebanon
I must be dreaming
It can’t be true
I must be dreaming
It can’t be true
And who will have won
When the soldiers have gone?
From the Lebanon
The Lebanon
The Lebanon
From the Lebanon

Its a Jeep thing you wouldn't understand

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I took this picture on my way to work today. The Jeep was practically blocking the right lane yet seemed indifferent. I remember this sidewalk was adjusted and heightened few weeks ago so that no cars park that way, but once again Lebanese drivers took it upon themselves to challenge those measures taken by the municipality and got out their 4×4 vehicles.

Funny thing is that he put his “flasher” on as if that makes his stop legal.

PS: I got the title from the jeep forum. It is one of their many slogans.

Maameltein Latest Updates

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I read this today on hummusnation, hilarious !!

أعلنت بلدية جونية أنها ستنظم لأهالي البلدة رحلة لصيد السمك إلى منطقة المعاملتين يوم الأحد المقبل حيث تقع حفرة على الطريق العام قبالة “بوظة العنتبلي” عمقها متر ونصف المتر، وقطرها حوالي ثلاث أمتار، وذلك بعدما أصبحت من المعالم السياحية في المنطقة بسبب غنى الثروة البحرية فيها وجمالها الطبيعي الخلاب.
وفي مقابلة مع أحد أصحاب المحال المجاورة للحفرة، قال المعلم روكز أن الحركة التجارية انتعشت بشكل ملحوظ في المنطقة منذ أن زاد عمق الحفرة وأخذ قطرها بالتوسع. فأصبح يقصدها صيادو الأسماك من كل المناطق كما أصبحت مقصداً للسياح الأجانب الذين يأخذون صوراً وهم “بالمايو” يتشمسون قربها. حتى أن أحد السياح قرر الغطس فيها وانتشال التوتيا من قعرها.
وقال مختار البلدة أن مجلس البلدية قرر أن يسيج الحفرة وأن يحولها إلى موقع تراثي، مما يسهم بالحفاظ على تاريخ المنطقة العريق بالسياحة والآثار. وأشار أن البطركية ستبعث بالأبوتي حسن عبد المسيح لمباركتها وتحويل الماء فيها إلى ماء مقدسة (ماي مصلاية) لإضافة السياحة الدينية على المنطقة، حيث ستفتح الحفرة ابوابها للمرضى والمعوقين، ينزلون فيها فيشفون… “وبعيد الشر عن قلبكم”.
أكد شهود عيان أن أحد الصيادين تمكن من انتشال سمكة قرش من الحفرة زنتها ٧ طن

Best Labneh in Lebanon?

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One detail i forgot to mention in my Visit to Ksara post was the stop on my way back at Badiha Massabni shop to buy Labneh and Jebneh Baladiyye. This place has become a traditional mandatory stop for all tourists or Lebanese passing by Chtaura.

In fact, this place is so famous that Lebanese diva Fayrouz visited it and took a picture with its owners, and it is not that common that Fayrouz takes pictures. Mansour Rahbani also shows in the picture and Badiha Massabni as well.

I got myself a Labneh Sandwich (in Mar2ou2 Bread) and bought home 1kg of Labneh, Halloum cheese and Chanklish. Labneh was very yummy but i must say a bit too salty. Nevertheless, i recommend this place to anyone who likes a good Labneh sandwich.

Here are some pictures of the place.

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Monster Wrangler

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The video above is of a off-road competition that was held in Lebanon a couple of years back. With tenket il banzeen hovering around LL30,000, I’m sure this guy doesn’t use the jeep to drive to work every morning. It’s one great performing jeep though… [YouTube]

Gumruk… no one wants to pay it!

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Ever noticed how no one really knows the full legal procedure of what is required to drive a car with foreign license plates in Lebanon? These are typical conversations I hear every couple of days:

“Iza bteshtriya men barra, fik ma tedfa3 el gumruk (Import tax), bas baddak etdahhera 3al 7doud elsouriyye kel 6 months 3ala fatret 2 years”

“La2 man, inta gheltan, ghayyaro el2anoun. Sar lezem etrajje3 el siyyara 3al source. Iza sheriya men Dubai, lezem etrajje3a 3a Dubai. W kamen el siyyara lezem etkoun bi esm wa7ad 3ando residency permit. W saret 3 years, mesh 2 years”

“Tayyeb iza sheriya men California? Baddi 7etta 3al bekhra marra kel 6 months w redda 3a LA? Aslan min khabbarak hal khabriyye?”

“Fi wa7ad ba3rfo, bya3ref wa7ad 3ammo byeshteghel 3and wa7ad bel gamerek”

Typical…

I stopped by the Audi dealership in Mar Mikhael a couple of weeks ago to check out the Audi A3 ($45,000). After talking to the salesman for a couple of minutes, he asked me if I travel often. I told him I travel every other week for work. He informed that they had just started a program whereby you can buy a car in Lebanon with Lebanese license plates (with the letter “M”) without paying the gumruk.

Here are the conditions:
- Valid passport
- Travel at least twice a year
- Have the full amount of the vehicle including the gumruk ($45,000)
- Pay $27,000 for the car and freeze $18,000 in the bank for 3 years
- Go to the dealership every 6 months to renew the “deal” (I’m guessing it involves bribing people left and right as well)
- After three years either pay the amortized gumruk (~30% of $18,000) or sell the vehicle
- Validity: 3 years

The salesman did not seem very confident about the “rules”. Apparently, they started the program last summer and one entire cycle hasn’t been completed to see what problems people might face at the end of the 3rd year. I asked him how much do I have to pay every 6 months and to whom, his answer was “ma ba3ref, shi 400-500$ la wa7ad mna3rfo bi zabbet mou3emalet.” When a salesman tells you “ma ba3ref”, would you buy a car from him? 400-500$? It could easily be $1,000

How much easier would it be if there was a government website with all the rules and regulations concerning this subject? It doesn’t need to be something complex, just simple rules that a normal citizen can follow without having to bribe people.