Monthly Archives: March 2011

Our tarboush is not our tarboush

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The blog Beirut/NTSC posted some very sad news yesterday, it turns out the Gandour “Tarboush” (AKA Rass al 3abed) is actually not a Gandour or Lebanese creation, but it’s actually copied from a Swiss company! They copied everything, the chocolate idea, the branding of it and even the name!

The original name of the Swiss chocolate was “Têtes de nègre” which translates to “Negro heads” in English and “Rass al 3abed” in Arabic. Back in 1992 “Têtes de nègre” was renamed to “Tête au Choco” or “Swiss Chocolate Whips” while in Lebanon Gandour just recently renamed it from “Rass al 3abed” to “Tarboush”.

I thought this was very disappointing since Lebanese generally regard “Rass al 3abed” as our very own product. As a commentator (bodywotwat) on Beirut/NTSC highlighted, this isn’t the only idea Gandour have copied, here are more products:

Safari is inspired from Lion Bar
Pik-One is inspired from KitKat
Pik-One Big is inspired from KitKat Chunky
Queen is inspired from Prince Lu
Hawaii is inspired from Bounty
Tofiluk is inspired from Twix
XL’Z is inspired from M&M’s
Gandour Gum is inspired from Chiclets

Check out Beirut/NTSC’s post [Here]

Update: It seems there is a possibility that Ras al 3abed was actually created in the 1930’s… once I find out more about this will post another update.

An example of bad customer service

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I got the following email from a reader:

i was walking with a girlfriend of mine in the streets of Monot less than a month ago around 5 pm when i saw Frida (a restaurant i have heard about from many sources) so i decided to go inside to take a look at the menu and the place. There was a menu outside so I read it and continued my walk.

As we walked out of Frida, I saw Roomers (a restaurant i had read about). When I read about Roomers, the concept got my attention and i said to myself that I’d like to try it sometime. That’s why I decided to know a bit more about it. Outside was a menu that wasn’t very clear nor readable; my friend and I were trying to read it when a person came from behind us and asked us very politely to come in to the restaurant and check it out. So we did. In the restaurant, some cleaning and setting up the place were going on (because they open only at night apparently). We were walking around the place a bit and liking it because the decor was very well done. The guy who asked us to come in said: “did u see our menu?”. we answered: ” we tried to but the menu outside isn’t very clear”. so he gave us a menu and went into another room in the restaurant. While checking the menu out and saying that we must come try it, a new guy comes along and says: “please bta3touna d2i2a? 3enna sheghel”. I said: “menfell ya3ne?”. He said: “eh please, 3enna sheghel w ana l owner hon”. I said: ” bas l shabb allna nfout netfarraj 3al ma7al”. He asked: ” ayya shabb?” . A guy who was standing there during the whole thing said: “el chef”. The owner said: ” ah el chef! eh bas ana l owner hon w 3enna sheghel”. So we put the menu down, thanked him and left. We couldn’t even say anything because we were extremely shocked; shocked that a restaurant owner would talk so impolitely to potential clients!!

Anyway i thought that telling you this story might be an act “yfeshelle khel2e” cz u might understand what it feels like, being a restaurant fan too.

If the owner or restaurant would like to respond to the above [Contact Us]

Jounieh highway memorial revealed

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I had posted some 3 months ago about the Jounieh memorial I spotted on the highway [Link]. Today I confirmed it was indeed a Pieta in memory of someone who died on this highway.

I wonder if he was trying to cross the highway when this happened or if it was a car accident. You would have to be out of your mind to try and cross this highway during the day.

My favorite Lebanese blog – Deedee McFly

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There are a ton of interesting Lebanese blogs I check daily but my favorite has to be Deedee McFly. I can never figure out where to eat when I go down to Lebanon so I always end up at Roadsters while Deedee McFly on the other hand seems to know all the great places. I really think its one of the most under appreciated Lebanese blogs out there, check it out [Here]

Fast Internet in Lebanon?

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Technical Support: Bonsoir, keef fiyye se3dak?

Me: Bonsoir, badde 2es2alak iza fi chi machkal 3al internet?

Technical Support: No everything looks normal. What is your account?

(So I gave him my account)

Technical Support: Everything looks normal on my screen.

Me: Great! But everything looks great here too but I cannot go online for some reason.

Technical Support: Hmm, is this happening with you everyday at this hour (around 11pm).

Me: Almost every day yes.

Technical Support: Sorry we cannot do anything about it. The lines are getting overcrowded so some people are left out without internet.

Me: So this means everyone in Lebanon might be having the same issue I have?

Technical Support: I am afraid yes.

Me: And when do I expect to have my connection back?

Technical Support: I am afraid I do not have an answer for that.

Me: Thank you for your time.

I don’t think we should campaign for a faster connection, we should campaign for a connection to begin with!

Speeding on the Jeita-Ballouneh highway

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This is one of Lebanon’s craziest roads with practically no lanes, no lighting, no speed bumps, rare roundabouts, and no radars (only Radar signs) or cops. I was coming back from Jeita yesterday when I saw a huge accident on the long straight after the Jeita Country Club turn. Nothing surprising though as you see those very frequently.

However, I noticed a very interesting fact about that road, that cars reach their top speed almost at Ziad Baroud’s house which happens to be at the end of Jeita. If you look at the map, it is after you get passed Frulatte and Starbucks that cars step on the gas till the end of the long straight some 1 km away.

Maybe if we hang a “Maintain Top Speed” sign there, Lebanese drivers will feel provoked and decide to violate it as they do with every law and as a result slow down.

Why Kidnap Estonian tourists?

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(Picture of Estonia)

The story of the seven kidnapped Estonian tourists has been all over the news for the past few days and still no sign of finding them anywhere. [News]

I must say I find this kidnapping very weird and cannot figure out the motive of the kidnappers. I mean those were all Estonian tourists cycling in the Beqaa. The guns and cars that those gangs attacked with are more worthy than whatever those tourists could have had, unless of course they are transporting an old treasure that they found in the Beqaa valley!

I googled a bit about Estonia [Wiki] and there’s also no political or religious or social or whatsoever reason for us to be in conflict with this country or have any tensions or any kind. Their country is a small peaceful one with almost 1 million habitants and part of the European Union.

There was a similar abduction case back in August 2010 where two Polish tourists were also kidnapped but freed quickly by the Lebanese army [Link]. Could be some bad joke few thugs were trying to pull until they realized there’s no coming back from it.

There’s one thing though I’d like to note here, is that I find a lot of European tourists going to places they shouldn’t go to, or at least not alone. I mean most of the car thefts and crimes that occur in Lebanon take place in the Beqaa and in similar regions, maybe it would be a good idea for the Ministry of tourism to point this out to our tourists before they embark on such journeys. There should be a guide to the risky areas in Lebanon.

Anyway, I Hope that they get released quickly and safely.