Giveaway: Two invitations to The Roof at the Four Seasons Hotel – Beirut

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Picture taken by myself [@LeNajib]

As I posted two days, the highest and coolest rooftop in town, The Roof at Four Seasons Beirut, has kicked off its summer season this weekend. The Roof is located on the hotel’s 26th floor and is a great place to chill out after work or on the weekends.

For those of you who still don’t know where it’s located, it’s on one of the two tall building overlooking Zaitunay Bay at the best possible spot in Beirut. I circled it in red in the picture below.

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Original picture via Zaitunay.com

Anyway, Four Seasons Beirut were kind enough to let me give away two invites to The Roof for BlogBaladi‘s readers. Each winner will get to bring some one along and enjoy the unique experience The Roof has to offer. You will get to try signature drinks as well as a selection of Asian tapas and watch the sunset from the best possible spot or just enjoy a chill-out night.

Lebanese singer Lara Rain performs there every Thursday and Saturday starting 9 pm for those of you who like live entertainment.

If you want to win one of these two awesome invitations to one of Lebanon’s most luxurious 5-star hotels, you just have to leave a comment on this post with a proper email address. Competition ends on Tuesday May 7th at 6 pm. I will pick two names randomly (Using random.org) and post the names of the winners at the end of the day.

If you have any questions regarding The Roof or Four Seasons Beirut, you can follow them on [Twitter] or on [Facebook]. They are very friendly and fun to talk to.

I will post the names of the winners and more pictures of the Roof on our Facebook page. You can check them out and like the page [Here].

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NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

Lebanese homes and offices already have proper addresses, but no one uses them

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Funnily enough, it’s much older news than the upgraded data plans

Telecom Minister Sehnaoui announced yesterday the good news that a bid was launched for the addressing of all of Lebanon, and that from now on, every home or office in Lebanon will have a proper address. Of course everyone got excited about this, including myself, but the truth is Lebanon’s postal system has been revamped since 2002 but remains unused.

To make myself clearer, check out this article from the Economist dated January 3, 2002 and entitled: “Lebanon’s postal system Revamped and unused

A FEW years ago, only optimists would have dreamt of posting a letter in Lebanon. Today, that has changed. The problem now is getting people to use the post.

In 1998, the government granted a licence to SNC Lavallin, a Canadian contracting giant, to run the postal system. This was no minor endeavour. Years of war had wreaked havoc. Postmen, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of their neighbourhood had long been the backbone of mail distribution, had lost track of their flock during the fighting. Most streets have no name, and addresses are often no more specific than “second floor in the white building next to the flower shop”. SNC Lavallin brought in Canada Post as a technical adviser and created a new sorting and distribution system. Every building in the country has now been assigned a postal code, and most letters reach their destination within 24 hours

The Lebanese, however, have learned to get by without a post office. Private courier services flourish; the government failed to enforce SNC Lavallin’s monopoly.

This article clearly states that every building in this country has been assigned a proper postal code almost 10 years ago but no one bothered using it. This being said, I am not sure whether Minister Sehnaoui was aware of this company, or the fact that the project of addressing Lebanon that he’s been promoting has been available yet unused for 11 years!

It is worthy noting that SNC-Lavalin signed a 12-year contract with the Lebanese Government, which means that we paid money for a company over 12 years and didn’t make proper use of it. You can read more about the contract signing [Here].

Can the new owner succeed where western experts failed? Snail mail may be losing ground to more modern forms of communication, but even in developed countries, ever more letters are being posted every year. Having secured a longer licence, Lebanon Invest expects to break even on mail delivery. But the real money, it thinks, lies in other uses for Libanpost’s infrastructure. It wants to turn the company into a full-fledged distribution and logistics group, offering everything from one-stop billing to financial services, where the margins are higher than on mail delivery. As everywhere, it will take more than letters and stamps to build a profitable postal system.

On a final note, this bid might not be the right thing to do considering the past experiences, taking into account that more modern forms of communications are spreading nowadays and more importantly given that this project has already been done before! What needs to be done is re-implementing the addresses we paid tens of millions of dollars SNC-Lavalin to do for us, and update them internally to make them up to date and cut costs.

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Screenshots taken from A Separate State of Mind

Thanks M for the article!

Missing in Beirut

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I spotted this poster in Gemmayze the other day and found an online article talking about a Polish diplomat missing in Beirut but I don’t know if they are both related as one has the guy’s photo without his name and the other has his name without a photo. NowLebanon also talked about the missing diplomat and stated that he went missing on April 21st. According to the Lebanese Local police, the Polish diplomat probably drowned with his companion Micheline Maalouf whose body was found last Sunday.

““Local police are convinced that he drowned in a place that is is particularly dangerous for swimmers,” foreign ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki told Polish Radio.
Wojciech Gawrysiuk, an employee at the Polish embassy in Beirut, is understood to have attended a party in the city on Saturday night in the company of a Lebanese woman named Michlene Maalouf.
According to Lebanese news source Now, Maalouf’s body was found at 6.15 am local time on Sunday morning. She appears to have drowned.”

Happy Easter!

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Spotted at ABC Achrafieh

This is the second Easter Christians celebrate this year, this time for the Orthodox Christians.

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Spotted at ABC Dbayyeh

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Always a good time for Maamoul – Picture from Taste of Beirut

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Gluten-free Maamoul – Picture from Sans Gluten a Beirut

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The Holy Fire is described by Orthodox Christians as a miracle that occurs every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Great Saturday, or Holy Saturday, the day preceding Orthodox Easter. [Holy Fire]

Israeli man who crossed the fence into Lebanon released

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Picture from The DailyStar

The Israeli man who crossed the technical fence and the Blue line between Israel and Lebanon turned out to be mentally ill and was handed over on Saturday to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Hopefully, the Israeli warplanes which have been flying for days over our skies will also go home and leave us alone.