Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reserveout.com

Reserveout

Reserveout is a web and mobile application that allows you to easily reserve with restaurants and bars that are part of its network. There are a lot of nice venues listed on the website and most of them have cool promotions. I already reserved and tried twice one of Couqley’s promotions (You get free desserts and a chance to win a trip to Paris for 2).

Once you book, the restaurant usually calls you to confirm the reservation and that’s about it. I thought free desserts meant just one at Couqley but all desserts are for free which is pretty cool.

There are a lot of other promotions that caught my attention, such as Tokyo’s Sunday Treat, St. Elmo’s Lobster Mania and Happy Hour, and La Estancia’s Live Open Grill.

Check it out [Here].

Lebanon’s Falafel Games

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Lebanese Vincent Ghossoub and Syrian Radwan Kasmiya co-founded Falafel Games and their game, Knights of Glory, is apparently one of the most popular online games in Arabic with around half a million members.

Does anyone play this game? I’ve never heard of it to be honest.

Falafel Games is behind one of the most popular online games in Arabic, Knights of Glory, with around half a million members. On its website, the firm states its aim is to “design and produce the best games of the Middle East, from the Middle East, for the Middle East.” Yet while its core market is the Middle East and North Africa, the management is from Lebanon and Syria, and its strategic partners are Beirut-based venture capital firm Middle East Venture Partners and the Dubai-based MBC Group. Falafel Games is based in Hangzhou, a city of 4 million people some 40 minutes west of Shanghai by train. [Source]

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Villa Clara: Beirut With a French Accent

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A new guesthouse in Mar Mikhail has been featured in the New York Times. Villa Clara Villa is located on Khenchara Street, Mar Mikhael and is a “charming, affordable guesthouse filled with French antiques”. I should pay this place a visit soon and try out the light summer menu.

The tiny boutique hotel, its restaurant and guest rooms stocked with Parisian antiques, opened last year around the corner from an Asterix chicken shack and across the street from its neighborhood boucherie. But this was not Marseille or Lyon, it was the eastern edge of Beirut.

“A Frenchman can easily live in Beirut without feeling displaced,” said Mr. Gougeon, who moved to the Lebanese capital from Paris in 1999, as he sipped local wine in Villa Clara’s leafy backyard after cooking a dinner of crispy-skinned duck confit and old-fashioned île flottante.

For more than a century, through all manner of turmoil, including a 15-year civil war and, more recently, ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria, a distinctly French character has pervaded the city. Much of it is the legacy of the French colonial period — the mandate that lasted from 1920 to 1943 — but a cultural kinship goes back much further than that.

I had come to Beirut to see just how much French influence remains, and discovered an East-West blend more complex and layered than ever. Having left the country for France during particularly troubled times, many affluent Beirutis have returned, bringing with them cravings for Parisian life. A younger generation, meanwhile, has embraced a new hybrid culture — a French, Anglo and Arabic stew — evident in shops and restaurants and trilingual discussions across the city. [NewYorkTimes]

This place is ideal for travelers who are visiting Beirut for few days or a weekend. Rooms are available at $165 with breakfast. You can check out more details on their website [www.villaclara.fr].

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PS: The recommendations for hotels and restaurants mentioned at the article at the end don’t go really with Villa Clara as the hotels are the most expensive in town (Add Four Seasons Hotel to that list) and the restaurants listed are everything but affordable.

Lebanese Army – LAF Shield App

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I suggested in a post last week that the Lebanese Security Forces should set up few useful apps for citizens to submit reports almost instantly and the Lebanese Army has launched today an app that does exactly that and more!

LAF Shield allows you to report any suspicious activity or crime committed and you have the option to swipe and initiate a stress call. It also indicates the danger zones using Google Maps as well as display the list of suspects and wanted people.

This is a great initiative from the Lebanese Army and I urge Lebanese to use the app responsibly. We are in desperate needs of improving the communication between the Lebanese people and such apps are a great way to do so.

PS: The lists of wanted and kidnapped people are still empty.

The app is available on PlayStore and iTunes.

Help Roger Dahan

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Roger Dahan is one of Beirut’s many homeless people. He was found yesterday on the streets of Mar Mikhail bleeding and in a bad condition. He had been lying on the pavement for 2 hours covered in blood and in the sun. After several calls to the Red Cross and 112, Roger was finally Roger taken to the Rafik Hariri Hospital. Some people already volunteered to help him out and a [Facebook page] was open for that sake.

Check out the [Facebook Page] for updates on Roger and how you could help him.

We don’t want him to end up like Ali Abdallah did. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to know whether the Find Ali initiative has been able to locate homeless people in Beirut and help them out. I tried checking their website but it’s not opening.

PS: Thumbs up to Blogger Nadine Mazloum for raising the issue in the first place.

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Photo via Lara Hussein

How successful is the Lebanese Diaspora?

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This week’s episode on the Freakonomics radio examines the Lebanese Diaspora and how successful it is. Listen to it [Here].

“If you look at ten or twenty or thirty of the richest countries around the world, among the richest people in those countries is someone from Lebanon.” Of course Taleb would say this, Dubner thought. He is Lebanese. But the idea stuck. And that’s what this week’s episode is about.

How successful is the Lebanese diaspora? And how did they get to be this way?

Lebanese railway revival to be studied

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Rayak Train Station – Picture taken from Bambi’s Soapbox

Based on the below article, the European Investment Bank will conduct a study to examine the cost and feasibility of reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut-Tripoli railway. The article doesn’t say who ordered such a study but they’ve been doing studies for over 10 years now and still nothing so maybe it’s better if we invest these 2 million euros somewhere else.

It seems Lebanese will have to wait for the oil drilling to begin before they have a chance of any electricity, water or high speed trains (Assuming politicians don’t steal the money first).

LEBANON: Tenders for a study into the feasibility of rebuilding the disused railway from Beirut north along the coast to Tripoli are to be invited by the European Investment Bank during September.

The standard gauge line linking Haifa, Beirut and Tripoli was built by Allied forces during World War II. Along with the rest of the Lebanese rail network it is currently derelict, with the last trains having run around 1997.

EIB plans to commission a comprehensive study of the technical, economic, financial, environmental, social and institutional aspects of rehabilitating and reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut – Tripoli section, and it will seek assistance with the development of tender documentation for procurement of the construction works.

The study is expected to cost around €2m, funded by the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment & Partnership programme.

Cyprus Airways & Air France modify their flights to Beirut

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It’s a good thing no one cancelled their trips yet. Speaking of airports, no decisions were taken yet to open the Kleiat airport as an alternative to Rafic Hariri’s.

Cyprus Airways:
Effective Thursday, the 8:30 p.m. flight out of Larnaca had been moved to 5:30 a.m. to avoid an overnight stay in Beirut. The Cypriot national carrier flies from Larnaca to Beirut, a 30-minute flight away, once a day, six days a week.
“The company has decided to reschedule its flights because of the current situation,” a spokesman for the company told Reuters. [Reuters]

Air France:
Air France has modified the timing of one of its two daily return flights between Paris and Beirut, as the spectre grows of possible western military intervention in Syria, an airline spokeswoman said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Tamanna makes Tarek’s dream come true

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The Official Camaro Club Lebanon along with IMPEX helped to realize Tarek’s dream.

I gladly took part once in one of Tamanna’s events where they surprised Charly at Le Mall by giving him the opportunity to fly to Spain to watch Barcelona play and meet with Messi and the other players. They are great people and the work they are pulling is awesome.

Tamanna is a non-profit association that grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses to give them joy, strength and hope. You can read more about it [Here].