Tuesday, October 28, 2014

14 Thoughts of a Lebanese in Dubai

1- That sidewalk is as wide as a street in Beirut. 

Walking in Beirut is more of a hike and an adventure. I can't believe all this large sidewalk is just for me. Also, thank God I am on the shady side of the street, it is so hot to walk in the Sun, ah, long tower buildings, that I hate in Beirut here have a vital role, creating a shady sidewalk to the lonesome pedestrian.

2- Disney Took inspiration from the Orientalist painters to create Aladdin, Dubai mall took inspiration from Disney to create "The Souk" part of the mall

in case you are wondering the plant is plastic.

3- In case you are wondering, this plant is also plastic.

But hey, it is in a metro air-conditioned tunnel. and I better not complain, it is very very hot outside. it would have been impossible to make that walk from the metro to the mall in any other way. Also, notice how metro stations take the name of the Mall close to them. they are The ultimate Landmarks of Dubai, and that way, Tourist don't have to bother you asking which is the stop to "Dubai mall"?  

4 - Beirut has a (Ghost) city center and Dubai's mall center seems to function like a central square

You can't talk about Dubai and not mention the malls. Those self contained consumption environments are the only place to escape to during the hot hours of the day if you don't have a day job, aka rich local, tourist or housewife, if you do, you probably go there after work. Yet the center of the mall, which was supposed to function as a central square, somehow fails to do so. Where are the street vendors ;)

5 - The decorative lights of that Supermarket are just hilarious. Ya Lulu, what did you do?
6- The metro station looks cool, and its horizontal rounded shape creates a nice change fitting very well the long shaped backdrop of skyscrapers.

Okay, I want a good public transportation system in Lebanon. 

7 - In Any other city, this wall would have been full of graffiti.
 it seems very weird how clean it is. Tucked in a one meter wide alley, I say it is very inviting to spray bomb
8 - oh, Actually there is a tiny tiny graffiti

Seems like someone did something then decided to hide it. 
Unless, my interpretation is correct and this is a Burger Burka Graffiti. 
9 - Does anyone actually use this gold to go machine?
10 - Gap talking about the art of dressing normal in Dubai. 

What is normal dressing anyways? is it the same in the US., in Dubai, in India, Egypt and Japan, etc..? What works in the USA as calling for a casual look might not work as good in Dubai's mall, as westernized as they might look at first.

11- Can you please clean after your dogs in Ashrafieh?

How many times have you stepped in dog poop on the sidewalk in Beirut? seems like dogs are getting more and more popular everyday, yet not cleaning after them. let's not wait for Beirut municipality to take legal action as I already mentioned in this previous post

12- There is something called Sandstorm in Dubai and it is nasty but it hopefully does not last long.
13- The Best thing about Dubai is the Beach

It is Clean, accessible and Free for all to use. Why does that seem to be a difficult thing to achieve in Lebanon?

14 - A final thought for the workers of Dubai building the city silently.

That day I learned never to go out without a bottle of water in my bag.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Since the city is small

This man, the one you don't know
Yet often see, since the city is small

Who stays a while, who drinks his wine
Often by himself,
yet sometimes babbles with your friends, 
or friends of friends,
Since the city is small, and the bar is smaller.

This man, the one you don't know, 
yet to whom you smile, 
Has got an appealing face, a mystery grace
Got you intrigued but you don't know why

This man has always left
A bit too soon,
this man has always moved a bit to fast
Out of your sight, 

Sitting with your friends, laughing all aloud
You did not see the intruding smile


He held your hand and lifted you up, 
And you flew away from the friendly spot
To this man you listened 
He did actually talk, 
Intrigued you were, just for how long?
With words you replied: of course, what else?


Did he notice what you said? it is not important 
Obvious that became, you drank more wine
To haze the certain
Yet, the moment is always here for now,
Or was there for then, to be quite precise.

This man, the one you know 
and often see, since the eyes are there
Yet don't often note, since the city is cold
Who stays a while, who drinks his wine
Has got a face that lost its glare

You sit with your friends, you lift your eyes
you shake your head, you don't mean the smirk
you've meant a 'hello,
we have met before'

you don't understand how 
your sight can change, for what you see,
Is a man you know, since the city is small,
A friend of a friend, and nothing more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Massive Attack at Byblos Festival

It was a great concert, with a professional band advocating for basic human rights while giving a gigantic show. All that in the beautiful setting of the old Byblos / Jbeil city.

From Mosul Christians to Gaza strip, to the refugees in Lebanon, all got mentioned.


Check out Glamroz video.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rothko and this wall

I never understood (the emotions of a) Rothko painting until I kept being stuck in traffic in front of this wall.

The white not so white, the yellow not so yellow, the brown not so brown, the horizontal lines

Repetitively. For it couldn't move me at the beginning, specially if I was having a bad day, (or a too jolly day to see things), but then one day, a good day, I saw it: this sensuality of the expression and the sensation it gives, Rothko spoke about but, I never really grasped. And, from then on, it stayed with me. On a good day, and on a bad day.

The next time you are passing by, art (or a crumbled wall wanting to be art) might make your day better, or maybe just this moment you see it, a sensation of ease and peace will get hold of you, like the effect of a poem, of a musical rhyme, or of rain; of things you understand move you, but not really why.
It will get hold of you, and you will somehow regret the green light obliging you to move, putting an end to your poetic moment, while you will try to hold its effect the longest within you.

sourceWhen I finally had the opportunity of seeing live Rothko's paintings at the Tate Modern, I was able to make that connection between the images of the paintings I had seen in books and online/ the wall of that building in Beirut/ the actual paintings. 

And I wonder:

Will the new building, that is soon going to swipe that one away, be able to create any poetry, any music, any art in our city?

Qu'y aura t-il derrière la façade des choses?

What will happen to this shell?  
The compromise between completely destroying the heritage building or keeping it, is keeping only "a façade" and building inside and above it (a 10 story building). 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dog poop danger in Ashrafieh's Neighborhoods

few weeks ago, this facebook status of mine seemed to resonate with a big chunk of people
While we have thousands and thousands of problems in Beirut, I am going to talk about the least urgent one, because it doesn't need the state or the municipality to be solved, but I believe every single person (dog owner) can solve it by himself, before waiting for a 50.000LL fine law to start acting. Call me optimistic, but it is just stinking awful in my neighborhood and I believe that now is a good time to start talking about this (even if more urgent matters worry you all),
Pets are those happy beings you come back home to, play with, they are always there for you and never complain and as everybody knows "a dog is a man's best friend"specially, if you have the time and space to care properly for a pet, they are a big plus in anyone's life. 
While the culture of owning dogs in Beirut, and Ashrafieh more precisely, is growing with the marketing and social media efforts of some pet shops, it seems that taking care of where the dog poops is on nobodies mind, as if as long as it is not human waste, animal (big) shit is OK to have on the (little) sidewalks we have, or even next to buildings and shops entrances. 
Other then the hideous smell or the dirty shoes you might have from stepping in those, the amount of flies around them is scary, you don't want to think where next these insects are going to land.

Feel free to print and paste next to your home.
So I decided to take action alone and made this flyer and hung it in the street (Saydeh street/ Karm el Zeitoun area), The parking already banned dog walking on its premise. I have noticed others (in Tabaris) doing the same.
Here is the UAE's proud "First  internet page on dog poop" as they explain and give advice

I hope the marketers behind the "walk your dog" event happening soon in Beirut, will talk about the whole responsibility of owning a pet, specially in a crowded city.

 Any small google search can show you the many problems and disease transmitted by dog waste.

So Scoop it, curb it, bag it, trash it... just don't leave it there as if it doesn't exist and no one sees it. WE DO and no one likes it, and we think your dog is cute just not his poop.

Hint to the entrepreneurs in dogs accessories : while you are at it, get the biodegradable dog poop bags to the lebanese market. 

You want to act all hipsterish owning a cool pet? YOU got to scoop the poop.
City of Belgrade "Clean after your dog" creative campaign. More here

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