The Lebanon Summer Guide for 2018

Post by Mark

Haven’t done this for a while but here is my Lebanon summer guide for 2018 in case you’re heading there in the next couple of months.

//////// FOOD ////////

Since I was with four vegans on my last trip, one of the places we really wanted to try was Coara. It had been on my todo list ever since I watched the video above. The food was incredibly delicious and the husband and wife that cook and run the place were extremely hospitable. I highly recommend it and it’s just an hour away up in the mountains from Beirut.

Originally a small Armenian restaurant in the poor neighborhood of Burj Hammoud, Onno became popular with the tourists after Anthony Bourdain fell in love with the place. The restaurant has now expanded with multiple locations around Lebanon, but the food is still great. My favorite location of theirs is in Badaro, it’s walking distance from the Smallville Hotel and it’s surrounded by some decent bars.

Kalei Coffee Co.
This is my favorite coffee spot in Lebanon. Not only is their coffee good but they’ve got a very chill garden area to just kick back in and take a break.

Hanna Mitri Ice Cream
I honestly have no idea what the place is called, I just know the name of the owner and I think that’s what most people go by. It’s a hole in the wall, literally, but he has the best Arabic ice cream you’ll ever have. All the ice cream is made fresh daily and depending on what time you pass by he might have sold out of specific flavors or even closed down early because he sold out of everything. There usually is a small queue outside the door but it’s never that bad. Oh and make sure you know what you want since the owner is the equivalent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. If there is a queue and you get to the front and are confused, don’t expect to get any ice cream. If you’re stuck, just ask for a mix of everything.

Smoking Bun
Still my favorite burger spot and that mostly because it’s located in Mar Mikhael near all the bars. This is the #1 burger place to stumble into half drunk at 2AM. They even have a vegan burger which wasn’t bad at all.

//////// BARS ////////

This has been my goto place for a few years now. It’s located right on Mar Mikhael street and its a very chill bar with good music and a small outdoor seating. This is a great place to sidewalk drink while watching people walk by and a great place to socialize with complete strangers.

This is a small bar also located on Mar Mikhael and a few stores behind Internazionale. Their super pro bartenders probably make the best cocktails on the strip and their smoked rosemary whiskey sour is insanely good. This is the place if you want to have a good cocktail.

People – Aishti Rooftop
If you’re in the downtown area and are looking for a mid-day break then this is a nice place to stop in for a glass of chilled white wine or Prosecco. It’s located on the rooftop of Aishti and it’s usually pretty quiet during the day.

//////// BEACH ////////

Colonel Beach
Located to the north of Lebanon in the beach town of Batroun, Colonel beach is part of the Colonel beer brewery and restaurant. It’s not that big but its cozy and obviously they’ve got a great selection of their own beer to choose from. Check their schedule if you’re interested in beach yoga since they take place pretty frequently during the summer time. There is no entry fee to access this beach.

Lazy B
While Colonel is located in the north, Lazy B is located in the south in the town of Jiyeh. They have multiple pools including one just for adults and they also have a pretty large sandy beach area. What I like about Lazy B is that they don’t have loud music blasting and they have lots of private shaded areas with hammocks scattered all around. Lazy B also has a good selection of poolside food to choose from and there is alcohol of course. The entry fee is $30.

//////// ACTIVITIES ////////

One of my favorite things to do in Lebanon and I always recommend visitors to go on a day hike. The Tannourine Cedar Reserve is a place I recommend often since the location is incredible and the trail fairly organized. Check out my previous post on hiking in Lebanon [Here]

ATV Adventure

ATVing in Lebanon can be pretty fun and adventurous especially if you head up to Faraya and take one of their 6-hour excursions. I’ve done it three times with different friends and we’ve always had a blast. For more information on this check out my previous post [Here]

If there are any other places you want to recommend, let people know by leaving a comment below.

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A Film School in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Yesterday after passing by the clays and crafts store Herafy, I happened to see a sign for the “International Academy of Arts”. I was curious to know what it was, so I walked in to find an old cinema projector in the entrance and then the hallways covered with black and white old film photos. So I kept exploring until a guy who works there came up to me and asked if he could help. He ended up giving me a tour of the facility and explained to me what they do.

“International Academy of Arts” is a film school that teaches acting, directing, cinema makeup, editing, sound recording, radio broadcasting and more. They had different rooms for different subjects and they all seemed to be pretty up to date. No idea if the school is any good but if this is something you’re interested in it might be worth checking out. Their website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment but you can check out their instagram @i.a.arts.

Here is their location on [Google Maps]

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100Gbps Internet in Kuwait Starting Next Month

Post by Mark

Kuwait is on its way to become “a country with the strongest and fastest Internet in the Arab world” through the use of optic fiber cables, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting a source close to the Sate Ministry for Services. The source pointed out that majority of the advanced countries provide Internet with a speed of 50 gigabytes, whereas the ministry will provide 100 gigabytes starting from August. [Source]

And somehow I’m still stuck barely getting 10Mbps because I live in Salmiya.

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iPhone X is NOT Water Resistant!

Post by Mark

Over the weekend while chilling poolside in Dubai I had my iPhone X on the side of the pool with me because I was expecting a work-related email. I didn’t think it would be an issue since I knew the iPhone X was water resistant up to 1m deep for 30 minutes and other than a few splashes every now and then, my iPhone wouldn’t be anywhere that deep. I even watched a video on YouTube of a guy submerging the phone in 20ft of water, then throwing it in the washing machine before freezing it in a block of ice in the freezer so I didn’t think a few splashes of water would be an issue at all. Turns out I was wrong because somehow my iPhone X now has water inside it.

The amusing part is that last week my mum messaged me while on vacation asking me if she should get one of those waterproof bags to use with her phone for taking underwater photos. I told her she didn’t need to since her iPhone 7 was waterproof. She was like are you sure??? And I was like yeah of course and then sent her screenshots of articles talking about how the iPhone 7 is waterproof. A couple of days later I get the message below from my sister. Clearly I got hit back with karma.

So now I’m back to using my old iPhone 8 and the smaller screen makes it feel so dated compared to the X. Not only that but I deliberately don’t have any social media apps on this phone so I feel so disconnected from people. I’ve got bowling tonight with friends and I’m having trouble organizing things without WhatsApp and I have another friend who is having her baby any day now, and she could have had it already and I wouldn’t know.

But I kinda like the phone like this since it partially feels like I’m detoxing, but also partially feels like I’m being punished for being so stupid to get my phone wet. So learn from my stupid mistake and don’t get your iPhone wet unless it’s by accident.

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Movies Showing in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

Screenshot from Tag

The movies below are now showing at Cinescape, Grand Cinemas, Sky Cinemas and VOX:

New This Weekend:
Ant-Man and the Wasp (8.0)
Loving Pablo (6.2) ♦
Monsters Busters (7.2)
Tag (6.9)
The First Purge (5.5) ♦

Other Movies Showing Now:
Adventures of Petey and Friends (2.8)
Avengers: Infinity War (9.2) ♦

Deadpool 2 (8.1) ♦

Escape Plan 2: Hades (3.8)
Incredibles 2 (9.2)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (6.8)
Masha and the Bear (7.9)
Maya the Bee: The Honey Games (5.6)

Ocean’s Eight (6.3)
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (7.4)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Solo: A Star Wars Story (6.3)
The Little Witch (6.3)

The movies below are also now showing at the Scientific Center IMAX theater:

Amazon Adventure 3D (6.6)
Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters 3D (7.4)
America Wild: National Parks Adventure (5.9)
Dream Big 3D (7.9)
Hurricane 3D (7.0)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (6.3)
Tiny Giants 3D (8.0)
Watermelon Magic 3D (7.4)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.

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Kuwait Airport Terminal 4 Inaugurated Today

Post by Mark

The new support terminal (T4) was inaugurated a short while ago. This new terminal will be handling all the Kuwait Airways flight to help reduce the load from the main airport terminal. According to my source at Kuwait Airways, the new terminal will be active and fully operational from August 8th of next month.

I’ve attached some photos to this post taken by Sarah Alsayegh. I’ll hopefully be getting a tour soon and will take more photos and post more information then.

PS: Supposedly the terminal isn’t this dimly lit, but instead the photographer retouched them to this effect.

Update: Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Update2: Here are some more details:

– Shaded parking for over 2,000 cars connected to the terminal via an air-conditioned bridge

– 50 check-in counters

– Special check-in counters for people with special needs

– 16 self-check-in machines

– Terminal has first and business class lounges

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Non-Alcoholic Whisky

Post by Mark

Not sure who’d want this but if you’re interested, they’re selling a box of 12 for KD63. I’m trying to get a hold of one to review just out of curiosity but here is the link to the local dealer’s [Website] if you can’t wait.

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Acura NSX

Post by Mark

The local Acura dealer now has an NSX in stock. It’s by far the most interesting car in the Acura lineup but at the asking price, they just have too many great and more exciting competitors *cough* McLaren 570s *cough*.

The dealer is selling the NSX for KD65,000 and it’s just the one displayed above. They’ve only ever imported three to Kuwait, one was sold to someone in Dubai and the other two were sold locally.

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Public Prostitution Headquarters

Post by Mark

If you’ve been wondering what that new building in Shuwaikh was for…

They’ve got the same mistake on their website as well [Here]

Update: The link doesn’t work anymore and the company issued an apology to the Attorney General which you can read [Here]

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Everything You Need to Know on the New Airport Terminal (T2)

Post by Mark

Last week I was given a very detailed presentation on the new terminal that’s under construction as well as a site visit to see the current progress. There was a lot of information presented but for this post, I rounded up what I thought was the most interesting. So here we go:

– The terminal is shaped similarly to other airports around the world for the same reason all cars have 4 wheels, it’s a shape that works really well for airports. But like all cars have 4 wheels, there is still a big difference between a Ferrari and a Kia and this applies to airports as well. Although airports can be shaped similarly, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all function the same way.

– Eventhough the terminal is huge, you still won’t have to walk much. The distance from the terminal entrance to the center of the terminal is around 150m. The furthest a passenger has to walk once inside is 600m. That’s one of the advantages of the triangular shape of the terminal, less walking distance for the passengers.

– The original plan of the terminal was to open with a capacity of 13 million passengers a year with an ability to expand that up to 25 million if needed. The plans have changed now and the terminal will now be able to handle 25 million passengers from day 1.

– The terminal will have a level of service rating of “A”. Dubai, for example, has a “C”. The level of service is calculated using a variety of things including the distance between passengers in the terminal, facilities, wayfinding etc.. For an airport of this capaciaty, its generally very difficult to get an “A”.

– The terminal has enough gates to handle 21 Airbus A380s (above) but also has the capacity to handle 51 smaller aircraft all at once (below). Thats possible because the majority of the gates can either take one large plane or two smaller ones without having to make any modifications.

– The terminal will have over 5,000 underground parking spots dedicated just for the passengers. Our current airport in comparison has around 1,500 that is also shared with the airport employees.

– Nothing is off the shelf, everything is being custom designed and made for the terminal. There are some things that have never been done before even for Foster + Partners, so its a learning experience for everyone involved in the project.

– Landside is airport lingo for everything before immigration and security, airside is what they call the area after. There will be no mall located in the landside part of the terminal but the airside will have a retail space larger than Trafalgar Square (pictured above).

– There will be 44 immigration desks and 26 security screening machines just for economy travelers. Premium passengers will have their own immigration and security checks in a different area.

– The footing of the building (the foundation base) is 5m deep. I had no idea if this was a lot or not but I was told by architects and engineers that this is crazy deep, usually the footing is around 1m max. The reason for this is the footing has to support all the arches which support the whole roof and structure of the terminal.

– Speaking of arches, there are 800+ arches being used in the building.

– The airport will have a floor for arrivals and another for departures so the two don’t mix. The departure dropoff and the arrival pickup area outside the airport are 500 meters long each and composed of 4 lanes. So they both have 2KM each of temporary parking.

– The rendering above of the expansion of T2 where the terminal is mirrored is just to show that there is room to expand but the final design of the expansion terminal might look completely different.

– Nobody knows what DGCA will do with the current airport once T2 is up and running.

– The terminal is currently 1% behind schedule but the contractor has a catch-up plan in place.

– Contractually the airport is expected to be completed by September 2022. It might finish earlier but September 2022 is whats in the contract. Once the airport is completed it will be handed over to DGCA and it could then take up to a year for the airport to open and function.

I took random pictures at the site as well as screenshots from the powerpoint presentation. If you’d like to see them then click [Here]

Below is a video presentation I found of the airport as well that features a lot of animated renderings.

If anyone has any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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