Update: Someone did a hilarious edit out of this guy’s reply. Check it out [here].
It’s hot, there’s no electricity and there’s garbage everywhere, an ideal scenario for the Lebanese to keep on nagging. Whether they are at the beach tanning and having drinks by the pool (they might sweat if they swim), or having drinks at a rooftop, they need to tell everyone it’s hot and they can’t stand it, as if we’ve never been through such a hot summer before. More importantly, we always have that urge in Lebanon to one-up each other in every conversation, such as:
Shob lyom kteer.
X: Shob bass?? Fatteeess
Eh walla Fatteess.
X: Fattees bass?? Jhannamm!
3le2et bil 3aj2a 2 hours kenet ra7 jenn.
X: Ana 3le2et 4 hours man!
and so it goes.
Back to the heat wave that is sweeping the country, LBCI was asking few people on how they are handling it and one of them replied with one of the worst pick up lines ever! I’m glad LBCI decided to keep it in the report.
PS: Some guy at Minute 0:18 said something sad yet true “Iza el Arguile btechteghil 3al kahraba, ken 2em el cha3eb el lebnene kello”, but I think this pretty much applies to all Arab countries not just Lebanon.
Three IMAX theatres will be added to VOX locations in the MENA region, including one in Beirut, marking IMAX’s entry into that country. VOX Cinemas are expected to get IMAX by end of this year based on what I’ve been told, but the date hasn’t been confirmed yet. I’ve been to an IMAX theater once and it’s quite an amazing experience. The technology and architecture makes you forget you’re in a theater and makes the movie so freaking real!
I will keep you posted if there are any updates but this is very exciting news for myself and all movie-goers in Lebanon.
IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and VOX Cinemas, a leading exhibitor in the Middle East, today announced an agreement for three IMAX® theatres to be added to VOX locations throughout the region. IMAX theatres will be added to existing complexes in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and in Beirut, Lebanon, marking IMAX’s entry into that country. In addition, IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection system will be launched as part of a completely new development of their flagship VOX Cinema, located within the landmark Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, UAE.
“Moviegoers in the Middle East want only the best cinema technology and movie watching experiences when visiting our cinemas and IMAX is a brand that is regarded as the best among our guests in the region,” said Cameron Mitchell, CEO of VOX Cinemas. “Our commitment to delivering a customer-focused cinema experience is a perfect fit with IMAX’s cutting-edge technology and blockbuster film slate. As we continue to expand our circuit throughout the Middle East, IMAX will serve as an anchor attraction that we are confident will be embraced by our guests. [Source] “
Rumors spread yesterday (from a fake news website) that Rambo is set to fight ISIS in the next and last Rambo movie “Last Stand”, and that his production team is already scouting for locations in ‘ISIS strongholds’ in Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately, the rumors were denied quickly by a representative for Stallone.
It’s too bad as it would have been one heck of a plot. I actually thought of one where Rambo would be in Lebanon on vacation with an old friend before she gets kidnapped somewhere in the Bekaa by ISIS and then he has to go free her from inside Syria or Iraq. He seeks help from his newly made Lebanese and Syrian friends and goes on to battle ISIS from Syria to Iraq.
Anyway the good news is that “Last Stand” still might exist, the bad news is that it won’t be Rambo taking down ISIS.
I’m not sure if my Anthony Bourdain post got CNN interested in my Instagram account, but they asked me to send a couple of pictures that I took in Beirut and they got featured on CNN’s iReport which is pretty cool.
I wish I could have sent more pictures to show them all the complex elements that make Beirut a beautiful city. The old streets and houses next to the skyscrapers, five star hotels and rooftops, the vibrant nightlife 10 minutes way from refugee camps and security zones, the residential streets packed with pubs, bars and plenty of street food, and other things that make Beirut so special and so difficult to live in.
I know Lebanon has a ton of issues now, we don’t have a president, over 2 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees, terrorists at the borders, armed groups inside the country, corrupt politicians and a bad economy but that doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy our everyday life and make the best out of it, and more importantly speak positively about our country.
I watched last night the season finale of CNN’s Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain which was shot in Beirut, and I hated every single bit of it except for the short interview with Joumana Haddad. I really had high expectations for that episode, but I lowered my expectations after seeing the comments on Facebook and it turned to be even worse than I thought it would be and did not reflect the words Bourdain used to describe our capital. In fact, if I didn’t know Bourdain, I would have thought he’s some clueless foreign reporter who’s visiting Beirut for the first time and still thinks we are at war. All he talked about for nearly 45 minutes was Syrian & Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, ISIS, Hezbollah, bombings, ISIS, 2006 war, recent suicide bombings, ISIS, the 1975-1990 civil war and more ISIS.
Let me just start by telling Bourdain that ISIS is far from Lebanon and its borders, and the map (shown above) does not reflect ISIS control in Syria, nor its threat to Lebanon. The Lebanese Army and Hezbollah are not even fighting ISIS on the borders but Jobhat el Nousra.
Moving on to the full episode, I went through it minute by minute and took notes along the way. The episode kicked off with the cliché mosque and church contrasts, and then of course showing veiled women walking next to lingerie shops or billboards. We are proud of this co-existence of course but it gets boring when someone mentions it 10 times in the episode and randomly shows pictures of the Virgin Mary or Jesus or a mosque.
Bourdain then took a ride with the Harley Davidson Lebanon chapter and they visited a snack shop in Beirut (Broasted Rizk) which I’ve never heard of before. They barely mentioned the food there and talked for about five minutes about the civil war, the war of the hotels back in the 1970s, thee Holiday Inn and other war-related stories.
Afterwards, Bourdain kept talking for few minutes about explosions and the civil war before he got to Burj el Brajneh camp in Beirut and continued his war talks by covering Syria, Palestinians, ISIS and wars in the region. He visited poor families and children and had Syrian food inside the camp. They also showed gruesome pictures of war victims which weren’t really necessary.
Bourdain moved back to Raouche, showing people dancing the Dabke and then ISIS fighters somewhere in Iraq or Syria I don’t know. He then mentioned that you can swim and ski on the same day in Lebanon, and headed to Ras Beirut to have lunch with his security guard in Beirut, who thinks that Lebanon looks a lot like 2006 now (Don’t ask me how). In fact, all they talked about over lunch was war, explosions and the terrifying ISIS. Of course after lunch, we got another cliché church-mosque-night club constrast.
Radio Beirut was next on Bourdain’s to-do list and it was a short but fun act. He met with Chino and Lebanese Rapper Hussein Charafeddine who was once arrested and mistaken for a suicide bomber.
Moving on, Bourdain then had dinner somewhere in Beirut’s suburbs in a Hezbollah area. Food looked nice but the guy had a machine gun in the kitchen for some reason along with Hezbollah posters all around. Needless to say, everything they talked about was the 2006 war and ISIS and of course Hezbollah.
Bourdain was meeting Lebanese Journalist and activist Joumana Haddad but he made sure to include more cliché pictures of sexy Lebanese women, then a Virgin statue, a Chanel store and the reflection of a mosque, because Lebanon is the only country in the world where you will find conservative religious women, women in bikinis, a chanel store and a mosque (ma hek?).
Joumana’s three-minute interview was by far the best part in this episode and Joumana impressed as always with her opinions and take on things. She explained to Bourdain that it’s not “awesome not to have a president for a year”, and that the chaos that we are living in is not something you’d want to experience for over a year and she’s right.
I then skipped the part with Elefteriadis because I don’t think he’s the right person to talk to about Lebanon or Beirut as a whole. I love Music Hall and I admire the things he has done to improve nightlife in Lebanon but he’s a self-proclaimed emperor who lives in an imaginary kingdom. That’s all I have to say here. Bourdain finished the episode by visiting a cafe which I haven’t heard of as well and that is managed by Syrians and Lebanese.
All in all, “Parts Unknown” is an American travel and food show where Anthony Bourdain is supposed to go around the world and uncover lesser known places and explore cultures and cuisine. That said, coming to Beirut and visiting camps and war-torn areas is definitely not the right way to explore cuisine and culture and the way he portrayed Beirut to the whole world was a rather negative one. It’s as if we are living in constant fear of a new civil war or of ISIS invading the country which is far from the truth. We trust and believe in our Lebanese Army and we’ve always stood as one against terrorism and hopefully always will.
There are so many things that Bourdain missed out on and that could have made this episode a much better one:
– Uruguay Street, Gemmayze, Mar Mikhael, Badaro and Hamra’s nightlife.
– Beirut’s rooftops and open venues.
– Authentic Lebanese snacks and restaurants in Beirut. Since when is broasted chicken part of our culture?
– Zaitunay Bay, Beirut Souks and Solidere as a whole.
– Beirut’s beautiful graffiti murals and art scene.
– The dozens of cultural and artistic festivals happening in Beirut.
– Shawarma, Falafel, Manakish, Knefe, Lebanese sweets, etc …
– A walk around in old Achrafieh and Hamra streets.
– A close look at certain NGOs and their awesome work (ex: LiveLoveBeirut ).
I’m just talking about things to do in Beirut here and I’m sure there is tons of other stuff as well. If Bourdain wanted to see how Lebanese are reacting to ISIS threats, he should have visited Tripoli and seen how vibrant and peaceful the city is right now. We are not living in denial, we know we have a lot of issues to deal with, but that doesn’t mean we need to live in constant fear of war and stop enjoying our everyday life.
That’s what Bourdain should have focused on instead of reviving the civil war and the 2006 war in his report.
Egyptian Prankster Ramez Galal thought it would be funny this year to invite celebrities to a fake opening of a hotel in Dubai, fly them on a private jet and trick them into believing that the plane is going to crash and that they need to jump in parachutes. His latest victim is Lebanese TV Presenter Nishan who totally lost it and start beating the guy next to him. To be honest, this is a sick joke and he’s gone too far this time, and the fact that the plane is actually in the air makes things even worse.
It’s like this guy is waiting for something terribly wrong to happen before he stops. He has already tricked in previous year Haifa Wehbe, Maya Diab and Cyrine Abdel Nour but this prank is the worst ever.
Anthony Bourdain is a popular American chef and author. He used to host the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” and “The Layover” before joining CNN in 2013 to host “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”. I love Bourdain’s shows, his take on a country’s cuisine and culture and how he visits the most random and “undesirable” places and makes them look awesome. To Bourdain, “meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself”, and he’s absolutely right.
I couldn’t find the full episode online yet but I noticed on Facebook that a lot of people didn’t like it and claimed that Bourdain focused too much on religious and political issues rather than focus on the food and culture. Many stated that the episode wasn’t representative of Beirut and Lebanon as a whole, which is quite surprising to be honest, specially after his 2006 Beirut episode which I enjoyed a lot.
I will watch the whole episode as soon as it’s available and update the post with my take on it. If anyone has seen it yesterday, please do share your comments.
I didn’t expect to hear positive things about my blog and my work on 7ki Jeliss especially that I tend to criticize them a lot, but LiveLoveBeirut were their guests last week and they mentioned the picture that I took in Achrafieh that went viral and helped initiate a beautiful campaign aimed at helping children in need.
I’m sharing this small report on LiveLoveBeirut because I’ve been supporting this initiative since day1 and I love the work that they are doing for Lebanon and its youth and the community that they built. A picture is truly worth a thousand words sometimes and LLB has been working day and night to leave a positive impact on the community and show a better image of Lebanon.
They’ve recently launched their website [Livelovebracelet] where they are helping young people achieve their dreams by funding their projects and ideas. Make sure to check it out!
Adel Karam issued an apology few hours ago for disrespecting a 63 year old man who was presenting his brevet exams after the story went viral online and Elie posted about it. Needless to say, it’s a shameful thing to mock an old man for wanting to complete his brevet exams at the age of 63 and he should be praised instead and even though it’s too late to apologize now, I’m glad Adel decided this time to do so instead of blocking those who are attacking him and ignoring them (which he did earlier on Twitter with a separate incident).
More importantly, I hope Adel and his team will learn from this mistake and try to focus on positive stories worth sharing instead of hosting dumb guests and updating us on Kim Jong-un. What happened with Fares Karam few months back was also unacceptable as he handed Adel a loaded gun live on TV.
I still think Adel’s show is a decent one and he does make me laugh from time to time, but it can be much better than that in my opinion.
Update: Never mind the blocking remark, it seems he did block few tweeps who attacked him. I think this is a silly move (from him or whomever is managing his account) that will only backfire on him.