I didn’t like the limited edition bottles but I will be having many this summer that’s for sure. On the other hand, I loved the commercial. It’s lively, fresh, happy and full of positive vibes.
Let’s hope this summer will be a great one for Lebanon. Cheers!
The minimum wage in Lebanon was increased three years ago from 500,000 ($330) to 675,000 ($450), yet a lot of people here still think it’s not enough and that it should be drastically increased. There’s no doubt that you can barely live with $450 in Lebanon given how expensive things are now, but that’s not a reason to increase the minimum wage as this could lead to serious economic problems (there are other ways to improve living standards).
I will not dig into this issue as it’s a very complicated one, but I was reading yesterday a chart published by the OECD, Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development, showing the minimum wages in 34 different countries and I thought it would be a nice idea to see where Lebanon stands on that chart. Since the chart is showing the cost per hour after taxes, we need to compute the cost of 1 working hour in Lebanon according to the Labor Law.
As mentioned above, the minimum wage is now 657,000 LL or $450 and most people work 5 days a week and 8 hours a day, which amounts to 168 hours in May for example. If we take Saturdays into consideration the total number of hours would be 188, so the cost of 1 working hour is between $2.4 and $2.7. This means that Lebanon ranks somewhere in the bottom between Hungary and Estonia. Australia and Luxembourg top the list with wages over $9 an hour each, while the US stands in 11th position with $7.25 per hour. As far as Arab countries are concerned, there’s no data available for Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia’s minimum wage is of $720 per month for the public sector while it’s $268 per month in Jordan, $175 in Egypt and between $176–$266 in Syria,
Thank you Elie for the help!
Dream house in Ghbeleh – Keserwan
You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [Here] if you like.
Common Fest – by Sarine
Jump! By Chris Kabalan
Batroun – by Dany
Paragliding over the Jounieh bay – By Petko
Camping by the river – by Bachrouchali
Saida sea castle – by Burjir
The new traffic law is still the hottest topic in Lebanon right now and is even being mentioned in foreign media outlets. The Financial Times shared an article on the traffic law (classified under “Syria crisis” for some reason) last week and The National shared a story entitled “Lebanon attempts to impose order on its traffic jungle” on the same topic today .
I got interviewed by Josh Wood from the National and here are the key points I mentioned regarding the new traffic law:
– All previous attempts of implementing the traffic law started almost identically and all failed.
– People are driving more slowly and carefully at night and wearing their seat belts because the fines are huge, or simply because there are fines just like in previous attempts.
– Policemen are still breaking the law and should be punished more severely when they do so as they are role models for others to follow.
– I’m worried about bribes and recommend we automate the whole process by setting up a platform like this [one].
– The idea from the new traffic law should be to help people become aware of the traffic law and care about their own safety, not just fine them and send the money elsewhere.
– Lebanese should know that the fines they are paying are going somewhere to improve the infrastructure.
On a last note, we have to stay optimistic every time someone tries to implement traffic laws and the current minister of interior is a rather pragmatic person so let’s hope for the best! You can check out the full article [here].
PS: Thank you Josh for considering me and for mentioning almost everything I shared during the interview!
I was actually surprised to see all parties sitting on one table to protest against the Zouk power plant on April 25 but I soon realized it was all nonsense when they started talking about forming committees. I know it’s too early to judge but no one had a serious proposal to end the Zouk Power Plant problem and it doesn’t look like we will get rid of it that soon.
What’s even worse is that the posters that they hung on every street and road are all still there and one of them almost fell on my car on the highway. So now the posters against the pollution in Keserwan are effectively polluting the city as well, noting that most of the area’s municipalities were involved in the protest. Cheghel ndeef wou 3al lebnené!
As you all probably heard by now, UAE citizens will no longer require a visa to travel to Schengen Zone Countries, after the European Parliament approved their proposal back in June last year. Needless to say, the Lebanese weren’t very fond of this decision and filed an official complaint to the EU claiming that they deserve this more than other Arab countries, specially after a study proved that Lebanon is indeed the centre of the universe, and given that Beirut was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East”.
In order to calm things down, and given how crucial Lebanon’s economy and tourists are to the European Union, the EU held an emergency meeting and agreed to grant Lebanese a visa-free access to Schengen Zone Countries if its citizens agree to abide by the following 10 conditions:
1- Lebanese will stand in line while boarding an airplane.
2- Lebanese will not fake bank statements or 5 star hotel reservations in their Schengen application.
3- Lebanese will not attempt to bribe the security guard at embassies.
4- Lebanese will not apply to a different country than the one they are going to.
5- Lebanese will not change seats on the airplane and confuse the hostesses.
6- Lebanese will not attempt to carry a 50kg luggage into the airplane as a carry-on
7- Lebanese will no longer clap when the plane lands.
8- Lebanese will not play loud Arabic music (or sing a mouwwel) on the airplane.
9- Lebanese will not attempt to smuggle keshek or basterma.
10- Lebanese will not schedule five different appointments on the same day to avoid waiting in line.
(PS: Satire Disclaimer)
14 teams will participate in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, out of which 7 automatically qualified and the 7 remaining will be determined after four regional qualification tournaments. Lebanon is playing in the Middle East/Africa region and needs to defeat South Africa to qualify. The Cedars team has already beaten Malta easily and is performing strongly at the moment.
We’ve already missed out on the last two World Cups but Lebanon seems well placed this year to make it to qualify so let’s keep our fingers crossed! Lebanon will play South Africa on 30 October 2015 in Dubai.
For Rugby fans, you can check out their game against Malta [here].
Update: WalkBeirut is not organizing walks at the moment.
One of my favorite things to do in Beirut is walk around and discover new streets, old houses and hidden spots. I always have people ask me about the location of some of the pictures I take while I’m walking around Achrafieh, Mar Mikhael or Gemmayze and I always thought it would be a nice idea to organize walks around Beirut and let tourists and locals discover the old parts of Beirut like they’ve never seen them before.
For those interested, there’s WalkBeirut, which is run by AUB graduates, and offers guided walking tours of Beirut, and there’s also Beirut Old City Walk which is run by Elie Karam who take tourists on walks and shows them Beirut’s old hidden gems. Elie’s next walk is scheduled for May 24. WalkBeirut is obviously the better choice if you want a professional well-guided tour, but I’ve read testimonials on Elie’s Facebook page and most of them loved the experience and found him funny so I think both of them are worth a try, specially that they cover different areas.
In fact, Beirut old city walk covers Achrafieh and Burj Hammoud areas while WalkBeirut‘s stops are mostly around DownTown Beirut and Kantari area. The ticket prices are respectively $15 and $20 excluding food.
If you know other people or organizations who offer walking tours, I will gladly share them.
I posted back in 2010 about a shortcut road in Dbayyeh that might save you 20 minutes of morning traffic. The road (shown in red above) was accessible to everyone back then but they’d close it randomly sometimes. After a while, they closed it for good yet I’d notice army vehicles or convoys using it from time to time, but more and more cars have been using it in the past couple of weeks for some reason. I asked around and they told me you need some sort of “wasta” to have your name registered at the gate and they will let you in.
I can’t really confirm this info but the sure thing is that more and more cars are using it and I’ve been spending an extra 20 minutes in traffic because of this shortcut which is unacceptable. If they need the road, they can use it for emergencies or security reasons, but otherwise it should be kept as closed once and for all!
Even though Keserwan is one of the most populated districts in Lebanon, the hospitals there are all average or below average when compared to the ones in Beirut. I’ve been to most of them and they are all old and badly equipped, not to mention that some of them are dirty. I remember posting once about the unfortunate ski accident that killed Melanie Freiha and how the nearest hospital to Lebanon’s most popular ski resorts is 30 minutes away and is not prepared to welcome all sorts of injuries. Of course the hospital is not to blame here as the concerned ministries and the authorities should have considered long time ago opening emergency centers in popular touristic spots and ski resorts.
Having said that, it looks like the wait is over as the Keserwan Medical Center will soon be opening in Kfarhbab, Keserwan. KMC will be a major academic affiliate of AUB Medical Center in the North and will allow AUBMC to cater to a different segment of the Lebanese population in the mountains and north of Lebanon. What’s great about this hospital is that it’s located on the highway and easily accessible, and of course that it’s modern, will provide state-of-the-art medical care to patients and most importantly healthcare delivery in the area. Speaking of AUB MC, the AUB faculty of Medicine was recently ranked no.1 among university medical facilities in the Arab world, according to the 2015 QS Rankigns by Subject.
I passed by the KMC 3 months ago and a couple of buildings were already completed. I was told that it’s already open but not officially but I can’t confirm that. A friend of mine told me that the hospital should be fully operational very soon. If you have further info on KMC, please do share.
Here’s a small brief I found online and few pictures taken from SY Architects:
The center is located in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Lebanon, with an amazing sea view and rapid access from the main highway in Jounieh. The individual buildings of the Medical Center are designed according to the latest international scientific standards, with the purpose of providing both efficient and safe care. K.M.C Hospital architecture creates a comfortable space for nursing and treatment, thus contributing to a patient’s positive mental attitude, in an atmosphere of a healing environment, for spaces designed can affect both the physiological well-being of the patient.