And the reason is that the son of the Iraqi Transport Minister was very late and the plane had to leave without him. Apparently the Iraqi authorities didn’t like that and asked the plane to go back and bring the Iraqi Minister’s son and his friend.
I like keeping my car clean but I hate waiting at gas stations for an hour on a Sunday morning in order to wash the car. Few malls like ABC Achrafieh and City Mall have a car wash service but it’s not a practical solution. Having said that, Just Wash looks like the ideal solution for people like me, as it’s a delivery car washing service and more importantly an environmentally-friendly one. They basically send their cleaners to wherever the client has parked his car and clean both the inside and outside for 10,000 LL.
What’s interesting about Just Wash is that they are trying to spread awareness on the excessive water consumption in Lebanon by using a water-less washing technique (non-toxic biodegradable chemicals) that needs only 250 ml of water per car, as opposed to at least 10-20 liters for a normal car wash. Their staff also drive electric motorcycles to reduce carbon emissions.
I like almost everything about Just Wash (Their Facebook Page Is Great), but I am a bit worried about the chemicals they use and whether they could ruin the car’s paint or the interior. Moreover, Just Wash doesn’t operate on Sundays which is weird since it’s the peak day for car washes in Lebanon usually and it’s not very practical to go down open your car or pass the keys to the Just Wash staff during week days while you’re at work.
In all cases, it’s good to see Lebanese going for eco-friendly solutions like Just Wash and I think it’s worth a try. I hope they will reconsider their working hours though and open on Sunday from 8 till noon at least.
I am going to take this beauty for a spin this weekend. It’s a dream come true and I cant wait!
Train Stockyard in Tripoli
Here’s a nice [article] by Nicolas Photiades on how the private railroad network helped boost Lebanon’s economy in the late 19th century, and how the best way today to bring back the trains is by re-privatizing the network just like the DHP (Damas-Hama Prolongement), the company that operated the railroads for both Lebanon and Syria back in the 1950s.
Back in the mid-19th century, the so-called French Road was the only way inhabitants of Beirut – numbering about 60,000 – could trot or gallop their way to Damascus and trade goods with its 150,000 denizens. Then the only paved road in the near East, the route won international renown for its essential role in driving economic growth in the two cities and the Levant generally, cutting the amount of time it took to travel between them to 13 hours from four days. The Sublime Porte conceded the road in 1856 to Count Edmond de Perthuis, a former navy officer who was living in Beirut, for him to exploit and operate for 50 years. At the time, Lebanon’s road link to neighboring countries was very poor and inefficient, and a traveler would take huge risks when journeying to relatively far-away places such as Damascus.
But the French Road soon reached maximum capacity, and as the 50-year lease was nearing its end, the highway and the Port of Beirut that it helped prosper came under threat by the Ottomans’ first rail concession in the region, which was granted to a British firm for the Haifa-Damascus line. This prompted the French, who feared that the British initiative would rob Beirut of its place as a regional commercial center in favor of Haifa, to ask for their own Beirut-Damascus rail concession. Hoping to avoid being beaten by their British rivals, who had a few months’ head start, the French forced their workers to slave round the clock and through the winter in the snowy mountains to finish the rail line quickly. The first trains on both lines – and the first in the region – made their inaugural journeys to Damascus in August 1895, likely within months of each other. That further trimmed the 147-kilometer trip from Beirut to Damascus to less than nine hours.
The new lines brought about significant benefits. They stimulated commercial and industrial activity throughout the regions where the rails passed and gave Beirut’s port huge importance as a regional hub. Rails were also at the origin of the development of the Bekaa wine industry, with the French Brun family becoming the first to establish its wineries there. The rail also helped significantly boost tourism and put Lebanon on the map worldwide as one of the most modern and innovative countries in the Middle East.
Later on, during the Second World War, Lebanese railways were extended to include a coastal line from Haifa to the Syrian border in the north, going through Tripoli. With this latest addition to the existing network, it became possible for Lebanon to be linked directly to the rest of the region and to Europe. It was this new line and its link to the Orient Express that allowed my uncle to travel to Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944 to present his doctorate thesis on railways in the Levant. [Link]
I googled the above image that was uploaded on Cheyef7alak’s Instagram to make sure it’s not taken from another source and apparently it isn’t. Still hard to believe it’s true though.
Here’s a funny picture I found on their account.
I loved the quote at the end of the video.
[YouTube] – Arabic starts at Minute 1:24
I didn’t understand a word of Arabic but she’s funny.
Good news for the LGBT community in Lebanon.
Judge Naji El Dahdah, of Jdeide Court, Beirut, threw out a case brought against unnamed transgender woman by the Lebanese state on January 28, 2014 but only published today. The transgender woman was accused by the state of having “same sex relationship with a man”. However, El Dahdah rejected the case based on accepting a previous ruling by the Lebanese NGO, Legal Agenda and Helem, which was as follows:
Gender identity is not only defined by the legal papers, the evolution of the person and his/her perception of his/her gender should be taken into consideration. Homosexuality is an exception to the norms but not unnatural therefore article 534 (which prohibits sexual relations that “contradict the laws of nature”) cannot be used against homosexuals, and therefore, technically, homosexuality is not illegal. [HuffingtonPost]
Here’s a link to the article in Arabic. [Legal-Agenda]
The ReVa machines are based on the 3Rs principle: Recycle, Redeem and Reward. They accept empty juice bottles and cans, soft drink bottles and cans and water bottles and give in return green coupons which AUB staff or students can exchange later on for free water bottles, Plat Du Jour or even free guest passes at CHSC.
This is a great initiative to help spread awareness and improve the recycling process at AUB. So far 3 ReVa machines were installed at Ada Dodge Cafeteria, Charles Hostler Student Center and AUBMC Cafeteria as part of the pilot program and hopefully the idea will spread to other universities and even businesses. Based on AUB article, the number of bottles placed inside the machines during the month of February reached around 9000 bottles.
Spinneys already has ReVa machines in all its branches.