The Abu Dhabi Police has apparently decided to add Lykan HyperSport to its fleet as part of “its efforts to reach out to residents, especially the youth, on traffic safety”. I’m not really sure how buying a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine with a 770 horsepower super-car and displaying it at touristic locations and malls will help promote road safety but it’s worth a try if they can afford (which they can) paying $3.4 million for the car.
Just to give you an idea on how exclusive the Lykan HyperSport, a supercar made by W-Motors a Lebanese-based company by the way, it is the first Middle Eastern supercar and one of the world’s fastest. Moreover, the super-car is one of only seven in the world and features “diamond-encrusted headlights and an interior straight out of Star Trek”. It was featured in the latest Fast & Furious 7 movie “flying” from one skyscraper to the other.
The Lykan is definitly not the first supercar to join Abu Dhabi’s police fleet as the Rolls-Royce Phantom was recently acquired. Dubai’s police fleet is as impressive and includes a Lexus RCF, a McLaren MP4-12C, Aston Martin One-77, Audi R8, Bugatti Veyron, Mercedes SLS, BMW M6, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari FF, and a Bentley Continental GT.
The above picture was shared yesterday by LiveLoveBeirut and includes Captain Saadeddine Dabbous who is Middle East Airlines’ first ever 6pilot, as well as his sons and two grandsons who also work for MEA Airlines. Two of them are captains and the two others are first officers.
The Dabbous family has three proud generations of pilots, which is quite amazing but what’s even more amazing is how Captain Saadeddine Dabbous became the MEA’s first pilot Lebanese ever. Saad always dreamt of flying a plane but he joined the Middle East back in 1947 as an accountant and used to earn 150 Lebanese Liras per month. Two years into the job, he decided to apply for a pilot training session. Saad passed the medical tests, then the first round so MEA transferred him to Cairo for a year and a half to complete his training. He graduated on top of his class and then traveled to London for another 6-month training.
After 4 years of training, studying and flying as a co-pilot, Saad became officially the first Lebanese MEA pilot in 1952 when he drove a Dakota DC3 plane from Cairo to Beirut. Saad’s first ever trip was covered by the Lebanese media and the Prime Minister at the time Saeb Salam was waiting for the plane to land at Beirut’s airport. Captain Saad was honored during a ceremony the next day and officially proclaimed as MEA’s first official pilot. Saad worked as a proud MEA pilot until 1985 when he retired after doing a final trip from Cairo to Beirut just like his first ever flight. His two sons Tarek and Hisham later on became pilots as well and their respective sons Saad and Wassim are on their way to become pilots.
Captain Saad flew over 25,000 hours in his career and was honored by the Lebanese President.
I found this cool YouTube channel yesterday called HighCamFly which uploads the most awesome aerial videos from all over Lebanon. The latest one was during the Armenian Genocide March on April 24, and my favorite is the video below that shows beautiful Lebanese landscapes in different regions. The Dhour Choueir in the snow video is also worth watching.
Speaking of aerial filming, does anyone know if it’s legal to fly a drone anywhere in Lebanon or do you need a special permission to do so? I’ve been thinking about getting one for some time but if it’s a hassle it’s not worth it.
I found this funny video of Shant and Elie trying out chocolate bars that cost 500 Lebanese Pounds or less and it made me crave a Tutti Frutti bar. I love how you can’t really tell what’s the flavor inside the Tutti Frutti bar but it’s amazing!
Here are some of the chocolate bars they tasted and my take on them:
– Tutti Frutti (My favorite)
– Pick One is indeed a fake Kitkat
– Metro sucks
– Apello (I never heard of that one) but it looks like the Halo. I never liked it.
– Break is ok.
– Flute & Kinder are quite amazing but we can’t really put them in the same category as others.
– Unica is awesome but I loved their description (layers of biscuit with a chocolate smell hahaha).
– Addicto is everything but addicto.
I would add Nouba, which I love, to the list, as a well as a coconut bar (fake bounty) but I can’t remember its name, and the Pick up as well which is not that bad.
Lebanese Rally driver Roger Feghali has become the first Arab driver to win the famous Antibes Côte D’Azur in France after beating Jean-marie Cuoq, the Championship leader, in the final classification. Roger competed last year and was going strong before he had to retire, but he came back this year and dominated the event in his Ford Focus WRC.
Feghali and Matar beat Citroen C4 WRC driver Jean-Marie Cuoq by more than 2 minutes, which is a very comfortable margin. This marks Roger’s fourth rally victory of 2015, after dominant wins in Jordan and in Lebanon (31st Spring Rally and 4th Jezzine Rally). Feghali won’t score points from this rally as he’s Lebanese but it’s still quite an achievement to beat talented international rally drivers in a entry list that included 135 drivers.
Ashekman brothers have been working for the past couple of days on a huge graffiti mural as a tribute to the legendary Lebanese singer Sabah (also known as Sabbou7a). The huge mural was completed yesterday and is set up facing the Grandizer one in Achrafieh on the way up to Sassine before ABC Mall.
The Ashekman brothers have already done tributes to Feyrouz and Wadih El Safi and recently repainted their “To Be Free Or Not” mural in Achrafieh after it was removed by mistake by Beirut’s municipality.
Thumbs up to Ashekman and every talented Lebanese graffiti artists (Ali Rafei and Yazan Halwani to name few) that are using their talent to cover and replace the city’s ugly political slogans with beautiful graffiti murals and powerful drawings.
If you had asked me 5 or 6 years ago what I thought about Tony Khalife or Joe Maalouf’s TV show, I would have probably told you that they need to be shut down. However, as social media is becoming more and more important in Lebanon and the Arab world, these shows are mainly feeding on hot social media topics and taking them a step further, and are helping (sometimes) shed the light on other important topics. Needless to say, this doesn’t mean that the hosts are doing a fine job and should be praised. On the contrary, I’ve been criticizing and bashing Khalife and Maalouf for years and I still disapprove of their methods and some of the stories they cover but the fact that they are able to tackle any topic they want and say (almost) whatever they want on TV, even if it’s wrong, is something we somehow need in Lebanon.
Take for example tonight’s episode with the guy who was filmed beating his wife in ABC Dbayyeh. Both criticized and bashed the man and Maalouf went as far as accusing him of bribery. He even decided to hang up on him at some point when the guy stopped making any sense. Again I’m not saying I approve of such behavior but you need someone to do this dirty job and they are doing it for us and indirectly forcing those who committed a certain crime or are involved in a scandal to show up and defend themselves or state their point of view. More importantly, the fact that the original video spread via social media got people engaged in the show and helped spread the story even further and put more pressure on the concerned parties (juridical body) to do something about it.
Again I am not a fan of these shows to be honest and I struggle to watch them but I do so when there’s a hot story going viral online because both hosts are very well connected and powerful enough (I don’t know who’s backing them) to say whatever they want and they almost always manage to surprise me with the amount of information they collect, specially Joe Maalouf. Unfortunately, their take on some issues is sometimes disappointing and even shocking, like when Tony Khalife was taking sides with some Sheikh and bashing Kafa and other NGOs for trying to help women being abused, or when Maalouf revealed a secret hideout for gays in Lebanon causing their arrest, but that’s where the online community should intervene and pressure them to apologize for their mistakes.
All in all, social media is still growing rapidly in Lebanon and is leading to positive changes in our society but it still didn’t reach a point where it can have a serious impact on some matters, mainly because the authorities rarely listen to what people are saying, and more importantly because some parties are hijacking social media and “imposing” their views by spamming our timelines. We need more online influencers and by that I don’t mean popular Instagram accounts
A year after Azadea Foundation’s revival of the 22,000 sqm Rene Mouawad Sanayeh Garden, one of Beirut’s oldest and most popular gardens, around 11,000 are visiting the garden on weekends and 8,000 during weekdays. Added to that, more than 3000 students from 90 different schools, as well NGOs and other associations visited the garden last year. Free bicycle rides are organized as well for orphans on a weekly basis.
The garden is currently being managed by Azadea Foundation who is providing 7 security guards daily during the weekdays and 11 daily during weekends, and has adopted all maintenance costs for the 10 upcoming years (i.e. security, cleaning, water, electricity, fountain and greenery).
Needless to say, it’s great to see so many people visiting the garden and I hope similar initiatives will be taken to reopen other public gardens and more specifically Horch Beirut which has been closed for years by Beirut’s municipality for fear of vandalism and poor maintenance. A lot of people have been asking for the Horch to be reopened for the public but I’m not 100% with this idea without taking the proper measures. Nevertheless, I think Beirut’s municipality should make it its utmost priority to adopt a plan to reopen the Horch and other gardens given that it can easily afford doing so.
Until then, we need more private initiative to increase the number of green spaces in Lebanon and maintain them just like Azadea did with the Sanayeh Garden.
PS: Pets are still not allowed at Sanayeh garden for hygiene purposes (no one picks up his pet’s poop in Lebanon).
I normally respect traffic laws and I’m not a reckless driver but I sometimes do check my phone when I’m stuck in traffic and the cars are not moving. I also don’t think it’s wrong to answer your phone (using speakers or ugly blue-tooth headsets) but I heard this is not even allowed in the new traffic law which doesn’t really make sense.
In all cases, I was driving from Adonis towards Kaslik last weekend and we were barely moving when I received a phone call that I had to take, so as I was about to pick up the phone and put it on speaker my wife notifies me that there’s a police officer on his bike passing right next to us, so I quickly gave her the phone hoping that he didn’t notice anything. As it turns out, there were two cops actually, the first one on the bike was texting or playing on his smartphone and the other was looking the other way. It’s definitely not the first time I spot cops breaking the law, but it would have been the first time that I am fined by a policeman breaking the law himself. I was wondering how I would have reacted to that if he truly had stopped me. Few hours later, I received the above picture via whatsapp.
Needless to say, we should still abide by the new traffic law and hope that everyone, including policemen and politicians, do the same. Things have improved drastically in the past couple of months but it’s still too early to judge success of this new law.