Dodgem, A Movie by Christophe Karabache

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Something tells me this movie won’t make it to the Lebanese theaters.

In an insecure suburb of Beirut, Nour, a Lebanese transvestite, meets Vanesa, a Spanish model who poses for a photographic project and both set up a bizarre relationship. The project is blocked. Nothing happens as predicted. Vanesa stays in the apartment, feels bored, drinks too much alcohol and is lost in her dreams. Nour frequently visits his violent lover and realizes his marginal habits. In the street, young boys beat some people with slingshots…

Lebanese Ministry Of Interior & The Lebanese Traffic Management Center Launch the #منحط_دركي_لكل_سيارة Initiative

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Driving 3al Lebnené

The Lebanese Traffic Management Center (@tmc_lebanon) launched an awareness road safety campaign on Twitter on Sunday with the collaboration of LBCI, Annahar, LebanonDebate, the syndicate of Taxis in Lebanon and IDE academy. The aim of the campaign is to spread awareness and allow Lebanese drivers to share traffic violations on Twitter by using the hashtag #منحط_دركي_لكل_سيارة (Long and Unappealing hashtag).

I’ve already stated previously that TMC is doing a great job and I love how they’re always tweeting new updates but this campaign is very similar to what Cheyef7alak has been doing for years. The one big advantage they have is that they are linked to the Ministry of Interior and the local authorities and can actually handle some of the violations or problems raised.

For example, someone complained on Twitter about the potholes on the Zouk Mosbeh road leading to NDU, and TMC informed the concerned authorities who went on site and apparently fixed it. However when I crossed the road at night, it was more of a “ter2ee3a” than a job well done and the potholes started showing again already.

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In all cases, it’s always good when the authorities listen to people’s complaints and handle them and things could only get better if both sides cooperate properly. I think the next step should be a nice mobile app or website where people could submit complaints and violations and follow up on them.

Here are some of the pictures shared on the hashtag:

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15 Places American Tourists in Lebanon Can Feel Safe To Visit

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Eastern-style coffee

The U.S. government strongly urges U.S. citizens in Lebanon to exercise extreme caution and to avoid hotels, western-style shopping centers, including western-style grocery chain stores, and any public or social events where U.S. citizens normally congregate, as these sites are likely targets for terrorist attacks for at least the near term.

After reading the U.S Embassy warning to its citizens who are currently in Lebanon, I thought I share some of the not so Western-Style places that American Tourists, at least those adventurous enough to stay in Lebanon, could safely visit:

1- Al Falamanki – Sodeco, Beirut
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One of my favorite chillout spots in Beirut. Great Lebanese Food, Old Arabic songs all in a beautiful setting. Arguile and Backgammon also available. All the items on the menu are “Lebanonized”, even the “Red Bull“.

2- 3al Baladi – Jeita

If you don’t want to stay in Beirut, you can always head to 3al Baladi in Jeita. Labneh, Bayd Baladi, Saj, Chanklish and of course Arak Baladi. There’s also Arabic entertainment (one-man show), which I would never go to personally, on weekends.

3- Al Saniour Sea view – Maameltein

Arguile and Beer over a great view of the Jounieh Bay. This place has a style of its own when it comes to food as it has a Scud and a Patriot Man2oushe on the menu (I kid you not!).

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4- Kasr el Helou – Tripoli
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Despite all the armed clashes in Tripoli, Kasr el Helou is the safest place in town as everyone from all around Lebanon (except Douaihy) loves that place. Try the Halawit el Jeben and the Sfee7a.

5- Furn el Sabaya (The Ladies’ Oven) – Amchit
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Picture via Paty

This is an authentic Lebanese (Not so Western-ZWZ-like) Furn. It is run by three ladies (Lorenza, Martha and Lucy) who serve their visitors unique and delicious home-made food. They take pride in their food and have been delivering the same quality for almost 20 years now. Read more about it [here].

6- Afif: Emperor of Lahm Baajeen

Even though this guy only serves Manakish, you could spend the day there listening to his stories and jokes. He speaks 3 languages (At least he tries to) and is more interested in making you laugh than finishing your Man2oushé.

7- Massaad – Zahle

Massaad is known as the best place to eat Taouk in Lebanon. It is located in Zahle and it is apparently recommended to have a Zehlewi with you when you’re ordering.

8- Al Sa’eh Library (مكتبة السائح)- Tripoli
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Even though the decades-old library got torched by some idiots, all of Tripoli is working to restore this precious library back to what it was. The library is owned by a Greek Orthodox Priest and contains tons of documents and books on Islam.

9- Mir Amin Palace
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If you want to know how Lebanese are able to have fun and enjoy life despite the troubles in their country, go visit the Mir Amin Palace and you’ll forget about everything.

10- Boubouffe
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You can’t visit Beirut and not try the best shawarma in the world.

11- Falafel Joseph – Sin el Fil

The most famous Falafel place in Lebanon. During the Christian fasting, you could wait up to 1 hour to get a Falafel Sandwich.

12- Jeita Grotto

It’s probably the safest place to be in Lebanon because Lebanese never go there (they’d rather have arguile), even though it’s a wonder of nature (Not one of the 7 new wonders though).

13- Cave Al Siwan – Mayrouba

Good Lebanese Food, Loud Arabic Music and an out of the ordinary cave. It doesn’t get better (and safer) than that.

14- Saida’s Soap Museum

A charming place to visit when you are visiting Saida. Make sure to pass by El Baba sweets and try Knefe there.

15- Kaak el Asmar – Ehden
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Ehden is one of the most beautiful and peaceful towns in Lebanon, and Kaak el Asmar is the best Kaak in Lebanon. Everytime someone’s coming down from Ehden, I ask them to bring along Kaak from el Asmar. They’re heavenly and taste much better than the stuff we have in Beirut.

I know there are tons of places I could add on this list, but I think it’s a good start for now.

Ministry Of Public Health In Lebanon Releases Mobile App

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The Lebanese Ministry Of Public Health launched today a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, aimed at facilitating the cooperation with other ministries, the private sector and civil society. I downloaded it and thought it was a very useful app.

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Once you install and open the app, you get a welcoming page with sliding banners on top, a small news updates tab in the middle then the different menu items. Here’s what you can do with this app:

– Check out the official price of a medicine from a long detailed list. [Drugs Price List]
– Determine if your medicine is legal by checking the [Distributed Drugs] list.
– Check out the various MOPH campaigns and other media in the [Gallery].
– Report fraudulent action to the ministry in the [Be Responsible] section. You can also attach pictures.
– [Locate Public or Private Hospitals] nearby from a long detailed list sorted by area.
– Access the numerous services and campaigns of Ministry of Health under the [MOPH Directory].
– You can also call directly the MOPH on their hotline 1214.

There’s one option that I believe should be added, one that allows users to follow up on their complaints and see if any actions were taken. That will make Lebanese trust the ministry more and cooperate in a better way.

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