Monthly Archives: March 2010

Visiting Chateau Ksara

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I’ve been looking forward to visiting Lebanon’s most famous wine caves (Ksara, Kefraya, Massaya, Domaine des Tourelles) for a while now and i started off by visiting Chateau Ksara, the oldest Lebanese wine (Since 1857) and one of its tastiest ones as well.

The road to Ksara was truly exhausting, specially going through Dahr el Baydar road, one of Lebanon’s most dangerous and packed roads. I recommend whomever is planning on going there to leave in the early morning, before 9 am.

Once we got to Zahle’s entrance, Ksara was on our right. I always imagined it as an isolated place inside the Beqaa valley, i never thought i’d find it that easily and in a relatively crowded and poor area, which is kind of dissapointing. it turns out Kefraya and Massaya are the distant ones inside the Beqaa valley.

We were welcomed by Ksara hostesses and invited to join the tour that includes a 10 minutes documentary film about Ksara, then a visit to the caves before doing some wine tasting.

The documentary was informative and short. The caves were very old and nice, they consist of ruins found by the Jesuite Fathers in the 19th century and are well maintained as you can see in the pics below.

Finally, we were invited to taste some of Ksara’s various wines ( Vin Blanc (Chardonnay), Vin Rose (Gris de Gris) and Vin Rouge (Reserve du couvent)). If interested, we could buy some bottles from the Ksara shop at prices much cheaper than the market.

Overall, it was a nice trip and a new experience but a very short one, you don’t need to plan a whole day for it. The whole visit (documentary + caves visit + wine tasting + wine shopping) barely lasted two hours. There are no other activities to do up there nor a restaurant, just some snacks and a bar.

I am looking forward to visiting Kefraya and Massaya and see if they are any better and more entertaining.

Darwin Awards

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I read an article about the Darwin Awards a while back on Wikipedia. It basically congratulates people who “do a service to Humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool”. The idea is hilarious! I especially like the special 2007 winner: this genius inserted 1.5 liters of alcohol anally and died of alcohol poisoning. We should thank him for doing humanity a service [Link]

Water in Saudi Arabia

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It’s interesting that sometimes in hotel lobbies (not in the gulf) you find an alcohol display for expensive champagnes or other kinds of alcohol.
I stayed at a hotel in Dammam last week and I saw the same kind of display. At first glance, it looked like a bottle of wine. But after taking a closer look it turned out to be “Bling H2O”!

Bling bling!

There was also a book of fine waters in the display

The water bottle costs 175 Riyals ~ 50 bucks

Earthquake?

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I could swear i felt a small yet long(10-15 seconds) earthquake yesterday around 11:45 pm, but i didn’t hear any news mention it so far, and everyone @ home was asleep and obviously did not feel a thing.

It is quite ironic because i was yesterday discussing with Chahe the large earthquake and tsunami that scientists are predicting in Lebanon soon.

“Earthquakes happen everywhere and everyday in Lebanon,” Elias said.

Most of these are too small for concern – around 1,000 times weaker than the last major quake to strike Lebanon, in 1759 at a magnitude of 7.4, which killed tens of thousands of people.

Now it might be the thought of an earthquake that made me feel there was one, or some phobia, but it is not like i can’t sleep out of fear of earthquakes or start screaming or any of those symptoms, so it can’t be an earthquake phobia or Seismophobia.

If you want to check all earthquakes occuring worldwide, here is a cool website. I couldn’t find any in Lebanon but the website may not report them due to a lack of information, since it is based on Google maps API, or maybe i am mistaken :-)

Maya’s Book

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I was at the airport picking up a magazine when I spotted Maya’s book for sale at the cashier so I picked up a copy for $12 which is a pretty fair price. I managed to finish the book while waiting to board the plane and I found some of the illustrations really funny. The only thing I thought wasn’t necessary was the small copy at the bottom of the page after every story explaining or talking about the subject in the illustration above it. I thought that took away a bit from the experience and I personally didn’t think the illustrations needed it. Overall its definitely worth picking up at the very least to support a talented blogger like her.

If you don’t know who Maya is click [Here]

Pubbing in Jounieh

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Awhile back I read on one of the Lebanese blogs (I don’t remember which) about how the nightlife in Jounieh was picking up so i decided to check it out tonight with Najib. We parked our car in the main Jounieh square next to two Super Night Clubs and decided first to pass by Lush and check it out. The place was packed and there was no place at the bar and all the tables were full. So we decided to keep walking to another pub nearby called Barly (or something like that). Again it was extremely packed with only a single table that was empty but booked for someone else. We then walked to a third pub further down the street called Hooligans. The bar was full but we found a sweet spot in the corner of the place (picture above) and sat down only to be told that table was booked.

It was like a big WTF? We’re in Jounieh not Gemayze whats going on here?

We finally found a pub called Tonic which had some empty seats at the bar. The place looked like it was getting spillover customers from all the other packed pubs but it didn’t matter, an ice cold Almaza tastes the same no matter where you are. It’s pretty cool how the night scene is coming to life in Jounieh, there is a lot of potential there and it’s a great alternative to Gemayze specially if you just want to grab a drink without having to waste your time driving down to Beirut.

Update: Found the blogger that posted about Jounieh, it was Ivy Says [Link]

The Ultimate "Lebanese Driving" weapon

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A very thoughtful gift from Chahe.

It practically lets you focus better on driving among crazy Lebanese and still enables you to let them know what you think of them when they cut you off (among other things).

You basically stick the finger on the window:

And squeeze the small pump to show the finger:

PS: Use this weapon carefully as it can get you injured, beaten up, shot at or even killed in Lebanon lol

Twister

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Spotted my first ever twister today. I was on a photo shoot in Seheili when we spotted a twister over the sea. It looked pretty cool. The picture above is a picture of a picture on a laptop screen which a friend took. Will try to get the original photo tomorrow.

le français à la libanaise

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That is a funny article i received today that lists the newly invented French words by the Lebanese.

Ces libanismes, ces confusions de sens, ces inversions existent quasiment depuis la nuit des temps… Les plus surpris sont généralement les Français qui entendent pour la première fois la langue de Baudelaire revue et corrigée par une copine, un chauffeur de taxi ou une « tante » assise à la table d’à côté.

Here are some “Lebanonized” French words and sentences:
– Bonjourak
– Bonsoiren
– Bonsoir, tous les soirs
– Mhastra (Hysterique)
– Daprass (Depression)
– Pannak (Panique)
– Tmaqyajit (Maquillage)
РCousint̩ (Cousine)
– On fait du sport « un jour oui, un jour non » avec ses nouvelles « espadrines »…
– Les Libanaises vont chez la « manicuriste », la même que la femme de celui qui « est descendu aux élections »

The funniest of all are some Lebanese families who want to sound classy and turn their family names into french ones.
2ostphen – Estephan
Gad3oun – Gedeon
Dekkanji – Deconji

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