Category Archives: Travel

The Lebanese General Security Did Not Confiscate My Passport

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I just got back to Beirut earlier this morning and I got past the General Security just like I do every time. My renewed passport wasn’t confiscated and I wasn’t even warned that I can no longer travel with this passport. Also I didn’t see any announcements or receive any pamphlets that clarify this whole mess but I’m not surprised. In fact, the General Security has done little to contain this crisis and people are still confused on what to do next or what to expect when traveling.

Here’s a small update on this whole passport mess based on the articles and statements that followed the original memo:

Who should get a new passport ASAP?

1- If your passport was renewed by hand (before 2015) for five years, you will need to get a new passport ASAP or else you might be barred from entering your destination, even if you have the necessary visas.

2- If your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children, you will need to get a new passport ASAP.

3- If you live abroad and either 1) or 2) apply, you should head to the nearest Lebanese consulate or embassy and apply for a new passport. Old passports will not be withdrawn and the process to get a new passport should take less than usual.

PS: Even if your passport expires in few months, try to get a new one the soonest and don’t wait for the biometric passports to come out because the Lebanese authorities “think they should be ready by July”, so it’s not happening anytime soon. If you are not flying any time soon, try to wait 3-4 weeks until things calm down then go apply for a new passport. My friends spent the whole day last week trying to get their new passports.

Lebanese airport

Who shouldn’t worry about his passport?

1- If your passport is still new, then you don’t have to worry about anything.

2- The newly issued passports will not be annulled by the forthcoming bio-metric passports, which means that your passport will remain valid even when bio-metric passports are rolled out.

Stuff You Should Know:

1- General Security will not reimburse for the cost of new passports, so if you renewed your passport in 2014 by hand and still have 3 years to go, you will lose your old passport and pay for the new one.

2- General Security extended office opening times until 4 p.m till Jan 18.

3- The International Aviation Organization is not accepting passports that have been renewed by hand anymore, so you might be barred from entering any country. Nov 24, 2015 was the final deadline by the way.

4- The Lebanese General Security was notified of the need to change the practice at the end of 2012!

All in all, this whole mess could have been avoided by a simple SMS, FB Post, tweet or TV campaign. Anything could have been better than posting a memo on a website no one visits.

Sources:
[DailyStar], [Assafir], [General-Security],[Annahar]

Watch Out! You May Need A New Lebanese Passport

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passport

The General Security released an important memo a couple of weeks ago but apparently very few people have read it or heard about it (including myself) because we were all too busy with the holidays. In fact, I think the timing and the rollout were terribly planned as a lot of people travel back to Lebanon during this time of year just for few days and the last thing they’d want to do is spend hours, if not days, to come up with new passports. I’m not sure if they had announced these measures before but they should have done a proper campaign to inform everyone.

The memo basically says that you will need to apply for a new Lebanese passport if:

– The renewal on your old passport is hand-written, just like the picture above.
– Or your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children.

The deadline was set to the 10th of January, after which the old renewed passports will no longer be considered valid on departure. In other words, you won’t be able to fly if the conditions apply and you don’t have a new passport. On the other hand, arrivals will be warned.

Luckily for me, I only have 5 months left on my passport so I have to renew it soon but this sucks for those who just renewed their passports last year for more than a year.

إلتزاماً بالمعايير المفروضة من قبل منظمة الطيران المدني الدولي ،

تُعلم المديرية العامة للأمن العام المواطنين اللبنانيين حاملي جوازات سفر مجددة بخط اليد أو جوازات سفر تتضمن مرافقين بوجوب إستبدالها بجوازات جديدة في حال رغبتهم بالسفر ، وتلفت عنايتهم إلى أنه سيصار إلى سحب الجوازات المنوه عنها من قبل الدوائر والمراكز الحدودية اعتباراً من تاريخ 2016/01/10 ليصار الى إلغائها.

PS: LBCI did a report on this issue. Watch it [here].

I’m In Las Vegas For The CES 2016 Expo!

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vegas

I’ve never been to Las Vegas or to a CES expo before so it’s pretty exciting to be here with the LG Levant team to attend The International Consumer Electronics Show 2016, one of the world’s most renowned and biggest electronics and technology trade shows.

Of course I will be enjoying my time in Vegas as well, especially that it’s my first visit to the US and more specifically to Vegas so if you have any tips on things to do here please do share. The trip was a hectic one unfortunately as security checks took a lot of time in Chicago and Amman but you can’t really blame anyone for being too cautious these days.

Anyway, I’m here in Vegas now and a couple of hours away from the much-anticipated LG Press conference prior to the CES 2016 opening where they will be announcing among other things an impressive 18-inch rollable OLED TV, or in other words a TV that rolls up like a piece of paper. This might be this year’s most exciting announcement so stay tuned as I will be covering it and other announcements live.

You can follow me on twitter @LeNajib and Instagram @LeNajib and on the blog’s Facebook page [here]. You could also follow the hashtag #LGrocksCES.

roll up tv The leaked 18 inch rollable TV

LG also recently launched the V10, an impressive new smartphone and a major upgrade from the previous LG G4. I will be reviewing it soon and how it’s different from the G4 which is one of my favorite smartphones from 2015.

v10

Meeting Ken Block + My Favorite Cars From The 2015 Dubai Motor Show

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20151110_115312 With Ken Block and Abdo Feghali

Meeting Ken Block and the unveiling of Ford’s all-new GT supercar at the Dubai Motor Show were the highlight of my trip to Dubai earlier this month. It was my first time at the Dubai Motor Show and I would definitely come back a second time. The whole experience with Ford & Lincoln was great, the events were pretty awesome and well-organized, the team was very helpful and the Dubai Motor Show has all the cool and newest cars you could think of.

Going back to meeting Block, I’m a big fan of Ken Block’s Gymkhanas as they keep getting better and better. In the most recent one, Block was driving a monstrous 845 HP All-wheel drive 1965 Ford Mustang in the streets of Los Angeles and the video was insane! I’m hoping that I will go for a drift with him one day or experience how a Gymkhana is being filmed. He’s a cool and down to earth guy by the way.

hooniga via Hoonigan

I met Block briefly before the reveal of Ford’s all-new GT supercar which was one of the most anticipated cars at the 2015 Dubai Motor Show. The super-car is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with up to 700 HP. Ford is planning to take the GT to next year’s Le Mans race to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, and they’re hoping to dominate the sport just like they did in the late 1960s.

Here’s a list of my favorite cars from the 2015 Dubai Motor Show, starting with the Ford GT of course!

Ford GT
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GOPR0352_1447151287853_high

Lykan Fenyr

The Fenyr Supersport is W Motor’s second supercar and it looks really promising. I’m eager to see it perform on a track.

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB10
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Starting The Week On A Positive Note: Seelebanonforyourself.com

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tannourine

#SeeLebanonForYourself is an initiative by Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel to highlight the beauty of Lebanon through high quality virtual images. The Virtual Reality campaign was kicked off a week ago (but halted due to recent events) and aims at showing Lebanon’s gems through high quality virtual images..

You can enjoy the virtual tour in three different ways:
Desktop: This is the simplest where you just drag the mouse to move the panorama.
Mobile: Using the gyro icon, just move your phone around in 360 degrees.
3D imaging: You can use Google Cardboard, Samsung gear VR or Oculus rift.

nouriej

The website is simple and loads very quickly. The images are breathtaking and you can easily zoom in and out. The areas currently available are the following:
– Baalbeck
– Jeita Grotto
– Saydit el Nourieh
– Saida Souq
– Balou3 Balaa
– Saida Sea Castle
– Beiteddine Hammam

And more will be added soon.

jeita grotto

Despite everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, there are always new initiatives aimed at showing what Lebanon is truly about and reminding us that we live in a beautiful country.

Check out the [website] and spread the word!

Saida souq

baalbeck

My First Time At The #DubaiMotorShow

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dubai

I just landed in Dubai and I’m here to attend the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show. I’m here with the Ford & Lincoln team and I’m looking forward to another exciting experience. This is my second trip with Ford and I love how professional and well organized these people are. Last year, the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang was a phenomenal event and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially going up to the 112th floor on Burj Khalifa to see the new Mustang.

I’m here till Wednesday and I’ll be posting daily updates about the Motor Show and my trip. You can follow me on Instagram [@LeNajib], Twitter [@LeNajib] and Facebook of course [BlogBaladi]. I’m also on Snapchat [LeNajib] but I still don’t see the point from using Snapchat so don’t expect many updates there.

Week41 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Chouwen1 Chouwen river like you’ve never seen it before – by @RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

Rachaya Rachaya by BitarGeorges

Grand serail Serail in pink – by Naiiman

Chouwen2 Another stunning Chouwen river shot – by @RiseAboveLebanon

Bekaa Bekaa – by Eihab

Baalbeck Vintage Baalbeck – By Joe el Hage

Akkar Stunning Akkar – by Nurturkmani

Lebanese Passport Among The Ten Worst Passports For Travel

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leb

The 2015 Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index is out and Lebanon was ranked 101 out of 109 along with Congo, Iran, Liberia and Libya. The report ranks countries in terms of freedom of travel and visa restrictions and the Lebanese passport allows you to visit only 37 countries without a visa versus 114 countries for UAE passport holders. UAE is the best ranked regionally in 40th spot, followed by Kuwait and Qatar in 63rd and 66th position, Oman and KSA in 72nd and 74th spot.

If we look back at the 2013 report, Lebanese passport holders had access to 44 visa free countries while we only can travel without a visa to 37 countries now. On a positive note, MTV reported that tourism improved by 25% in Lebanon when compared to the previous year and tourist expenditure is on the rise as well.

Week39 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Ramlet Ramlet el Baida – So far still a public beach. Picture by RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

HIppo Hippodrome Beirut – by Zcitytips

Chabrouh Chabrou7 Dam – by MichoKhoury

Bqarzla Bqarzla falls – by Amiiryoussef

Bekaa Bekaa – by RiseAboveLebanon

Bakich Bakich – by MichoKhoury