Category Archives: Personal

Life ain’t so peachy

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When I was in Lebanon over the weekend I tried to book a table at MAD but it was fully packed so we ended up going to Life instead. When we first got there the music wasn’t so bad but that’s probably the only good thing I have to say about the place.

I basically didn’t like it.

Firstly the majority of the people there were either men and women aged 40 and up or really old men in their 60’s and 70’s with young bimbos or Eastern Europeans. The style of people kinda reminded me of Medusa in Jounieh. If you’ve never been to Medusa by the way that’s a good thing so don’t worry about it.

The music also went downhill or maybe I’m just old and lame but the kinda music they started playing would make even Skybar’s seem better. There was a “show” around 1AM where they two girls got up on the cat walk to dance. It was girl on girl action and it lasted for maybe one full song or two and then it was over and they were gone. Too short of a show and there should have been more girls (preferably also stripping).

Then there were a bunch of little things that stuck out as well. I thought the place looked a lot better when it was dimly lit (like in the photo above) but most of the time they had bright lights flashing and so the general ambiance was too bright and it looked tacky. When the girls were dancing they had these bright lights on behind them which brought to notice a huge dirty smear all over the glass window behind the girls. It was so distracting that I was noticing the glass more than the girls! Out table was up on a balcony and there was a horrible make shift bar underneath us. It looked like it was built after the place was finished and it looked cheap, old, broken and dirty. It really wasn’t a pleasant sight to see. The waiters also dressed like those in Lebanese restaurants (black pants, white shirt and black vests) which isn’t very cool. When we ordered a bottle of whiskey they brought us 18 years instead of the regular 12. When we ordered a bottle of vodka they got us the larger 1L bottle instead of the regular .75L. Doesn’t sound like a big issue but it felt like they were trying to get all these extra charges off us whenever they could.

On the other hand their roof is actually pretty cool. It’s similar to BO18 and opens up and closes so it’s an outdoor and indoor place at the same time. Their sound system was also pretty good with a lot of deep bass but if they only used it to play some decent music…

Anyway you can check out the place for yourself, they’re located behind BO18 right next to Sleep Comfort.

Seheili is the ghetto

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When I’m in Lebanon I live in Seheili (it’s like 5 minutes after Jeita) and for some reason a lot of thefts and robberies take place there. For example my building got robbed twice during construction and the second time our buildings caretaker was held at gun point. Then yesterday night a neighbor across the street had his FJ Cruiser stolen. If that’s not bad enough the thieves contacted him from Baalbak the next day and told him he could have his car back for $10,000!

Seheili is starting to sound like the ghetto. It’s really odd.


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I was just watching the live coverage of the 5 story collapse on MTV and I have to say the studio news anchor was incredibly annoying. She kept cutting people off and then when another news anchor was interviewing the head of the hospital where they had taken the injured to, she interrupted them abruptly telling them they had to stop because the news was about to start. THIS IS THE NEWS! What the hell are you talking about? I can’t believe she cut them off so they could go into the news.

3G with MTC Touch

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So based on the feedback I received in my previous post I got myself an MTC Touch line the day I arrived to Lebanon. I also subscribed to their 500MB package for $19 which is slightly less then what I pay back in Kuwait for the same amount of bandwidth.

My experience didn’t start positively. I got the line and subscribed to Mobile internet at 6PM but I only had my internet activated the next morning. Then I only had EDGE not 3G. I called up customer support and found it very frustrating.

First of all it takes a few minutes of redialing to actually connect to 111. Then when you connect you are FORCED to listen to all the menu options. You can’t skip by pressing the number you want, it doesn’t work that way. You need to hear the automated machine read out ALL the options and only once she is done you can select an option. So what should be a 10 second process is suddenly a minute long. I spoke to customer support 3 times and it was frustrating all 3 times since they couldn’t solve my issue. One guy said I should wait till its 24 hours since I signed up, another said to call again after 24 hours and they would register a complaint, another said I should visit the service center. When I asked for the APN information one guy told me he didn’t have it and I should visit their website. Actually one guy refused to file a complaint even because according to him the service was working since I got EDGE. I told him aren’t you guys advertising 3G? Aren’t you guys advertising the fastest mobile internet? My phone works with 3G and I’m only getting EDGE not the 3G you promised so the service is NOT working.

Anyway finally after spending around 20 minutes on the line mostly on hold a guy got back to me after discussing it with one of his IT guys. This is how I was able to activate 3G on my iPhone 4s based on their instructions:

– Go to network settings and choose Alfa as my operator
– Then after I do that I should swap it back to automatic
– Turn off and on the iPhone
– Voila, 3G is now active

I thought that was strange but hey, it worked and that’s all I cared for. If the guy told me to stand on my foot while shaking the phone over my head I would have done that if it meant getting 3G working.

And yes, 3G on the iPhone is great. It’s fast and I love it. Earlier I went and parked under this old railway track in Jounieh and got online with my MacBook while tethering to my iPhone and the connection was great. I used to hate coming to Lebanon because of the terribly slow internet connection but now it’s suddenly become a joy. I also have 3G up in my house in Seheili (around 10 minutes after Jeita) which is also great. So right now I’m extremely happy with my 3G on MTC Touch.

MEA Pilots STILL on Strike

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The MEA pilots are still on strike even though the strike was supposed to end yesterday. My wife went to the airport today and turns out her flight out of Beirut Airport was canceled and she was stranded there along with hundreds of other passengers. I managed to book her on a Jazeera Airways flight back to Kuwait but I have no idea if MEA will refund her ticket or not.

I didn’t have a problem when the pilots were delaying all the flights by two hours. I actually was effected by their strike and they had my full support on it. But completely canceling flights that’s a completely different thing. While a two hour delay is a hassle, canceling flights is a life changer. It has a much bigger effect on everyone. Imagine you’re on vacation somewhere around the world and your flight back to your home has been canceled. I’ve never been in that situation and I hope I would never have to. They had a lot of support from passengers and people when they were delaying flights by two hours but by canceling all the flights I believe they’ve lost all the support they had including mine. I was with the pilots before, but I’m not anymore.

Note: It’s interesting that I couldn’t find any news on this strike neither on Naharnet nor Daily Star.

MEA Pilots on Strike

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I’m currently at the Beirut Airport and my flight is being delayed because of the pilot strike Najib posted about below.

Until a few moments ago no flight was showing as delayed. If you had called the airport before arriving to check on your flight they would have told you it was leaving on time. If you asked the employee at check in if your flight was delayed they would have told you no. If you entered Duty Free past the immigration desks and checked the screens your flight would have also shown to be on time. I only realized my flight might be delayed because of the Naharnet article Najib linked to. Even then I checked the Beirut Airport website and the departure screen in the lounge and it still showed I was leaving on time so I figured my flight was affected. Only when it was nearly boarding time and I was about to leave lounge did I find out my flight was delayed. On my way out of the lounge I asked an employee if my flight was taking off on time and she told me no it was delayed by 2 hours.

Even though my flight is delayed and I have to sit and kill time in our boring airport, I do understand why the pilots are on strike and I stand by them. You don’t dump an employee who has been serving you for over 30 years because he ended up getting cancer. I’m not saying the pilot should continue flying (depending on his condition he probably can’t). What I’m saying is that the pilot should continue to undergo treatment on his MEA insurance and once the treatment is complete if the pilot can continue to fly then he should. In the meantime while being treated they could assign him a desk job or accommodate him some other way. Keep in mind this isn’t a new employee or one just has been with them for a short period of time, we’re talking 30+ years here.

Update: Here is a response from a MEA pilot

First of all i offer our apologies for this delay, and thank you for your support. Believe me when i say it was the only way to get our management to listen. The Lebanese pilots association is not demanding that the captain returns to fly, but they are only asking that this captain get his rights as described by the Lebanese law; receive 2 months full salary and 2 months half salary on sick leave where after that the Lebanese DCA shall decide if he is fit to fly and fully recovered or not. MEA gave him half of what the law says and fired him after 38 years of work during his sick leave in the middle of his treatment (against the Lebanese labor law). Again my sincere apologies and thank you for this support.