Sep 23, 2011

I hate the rain… in Beirut!

I hate the rain…

Though I dream of living in Switzerland, visiting New-York in winter and enjoying the view of a Parisian night with its streets covered in a white snow coat, I can’t help but hate rain in Beirut!

Just by hearing the “bad news” on the weather reports last night, I started feeling cramps in my stomach! I looked in the mirror over 10 times repeating to myself everything is going to be just fine, last year’s incidents won’t happen all over again… after all, those were last year… (for those wondering which incidents, please be patient!)

And so, with a large smile on my face, I did my manicure, my pedicure, showered, brushed my hair and got ready to face an amazing Friday morning…

Fridays usually denote the beginning of a week-end in Beirut, and often enough I am excited to wake-up early in the morning and greet everyone with a happy (almost singing) voice: Gooood morning sunshine!

Sun? That is one thing not on the agenda for today…

Though I love the rain, the snow and the storms; Though I love cuddling in bed, watching a good DVD with a bowl of pop-corn while it is raining outside; Though the storms can be exciting and scary at once… Something has happened to me the past few years… “Beirut in the rain” has happened to me!

I hate the rain… more specifically... I hate the rain in Beirut.

I hate the fact that my Blackberry service goes down every other day as long as it’s raining. I hate the fact that my mobile service goes down 3 or 4 times a week too!

I hate that I have to live by the candle because electricity and rain are not best friends!

I hate the fact that the Lebanese roads are not properly equipped with a sewage system, which leaves us with plenty of water ponds all around. I hate the fact that the asphalt on the roads is not adequate for rainy weather, which increases the accidents rates… starting by myself (those who know me well are probably laughing now…).
I hate it when people start panicking and lose their driving skills (not that many have them anyway!).  It’s like they are broadcasting a message saying: Hey, it’s raining… let’s drive stupid!

I hate rain in Beirut because people become so dull… everyone wants to stay in because it’s raining! Some lose their logic too and start wearing long sleeves, boots and drinking red wine to keep warm while it’s still warm outside, and if it wasn’t of the rain, they would be partying in their “all matchy” outfit on the beach somewhere!

I hate rain in Beirut for some “blondy” reasons too…

I hate rain in Beirut because I can’t wear my heels anymore… who can run in heels to escape the rain on the non-equipped roads of the town?

I hate rain in Beirut because my make-up will not stop falling apart (no, wearing waterproof make-up won’t help here!) and because my hair will keep on freezing and losing its style and shape.

I hate rain in Beirut because with rain comes snow and cold, and not all of the country, not even all of the shopping malls, are equipped with properly heated systems and I have to over-dress (in quantity not style) in order to stay warm!

I hate rain in Beirut because even though I love Beirut… nothing is equipped to let me enjoy this amazing weather!

Sep 8, 2011

The top-10 must have for a perfect Lebanese Beach day…

Once upon a time, going to the beach was all about sun-tanning, relaxing, swimming and spending some quality time with friends and family member… maybe also play a little bit of Tennis or Basket Ball, walk on the sea side… mmmm it was all about what it isn’t now!

Now that the new era is here, a new guide must be set in order to help you all change the vision you had, once upon a time, of a perfect beach day!

1- The Crowd
Girls, boys, singles, engaged or married… everyone is allowed at the Lebanese beaches… apparently except for children! What used to be an almost “family only” activity is now the new “clubbing” experience of the region! Almost anyone and everyone is “partying” on summer Sundays; Say bye-bye to masses and family reunions and kiss the gathering lunches good-bye!

2- The Swimsuit
Bikinis are a must! Plain, colored, with glitters or glossy material; everything works as long as it is a bikini!
Well I believe I just said it all… No need for your Speedo, goggles or nose protection clips anymore… Who’s going to swim? Most of you will be lucky to see a girl wetting her hair! (Why would anyone ruin her $10 brushing?)

3- The Accessories
From the beach outfit, to the earings… passing by the bracelets, the belly button, the anklet, (drop the necklace… you don’t want to over-do it after all!), the matching nail polish (it takes you 10 minutes to change that red into a fuchsia with the really quick dry new nail polish releases. Contact me for my favorite brand!), the hat, the bag, the towel… everything must be a perfect match! Those accessories? They are “beach-exclusive” ONLY!

4- The High-Heels
As you all notice, the high-heels do not fit under “The Accessories” section.
Why?  Because all by themselves, high-heels at the beach are a phenomenon!
Now seriously, aren’t you girls too tired after Saturday’s night party (Where you were wearing high heels of course)? I tried myself to go out on a Saturday night (wearing high heels) and then wear heels again on Sunday morning (not to the beach of course!) and my feet were a disaster! Seriously, “sisters”…? Is there a secret to that? Please share!

5- The Make-Up
Well last time I checked, they created water-proof mascara and they were using it for the brides on their wedding days… you know, the bride would be emotional, the tears might fill her eyes when she gets her “oh so waited for” solitaire diamond… Ok, ok… let’s not be too harsh, water-proof mascara and a little gloss might be acceptable anywhere and everywhere, even at the beach; they “enhance” natural beauty. But what I really don’t get is the full make-up! Seriously girls, what’s with the “smoky eyes” make-up? Did you look at yourself in the mirror before leaving the house or is it just something you recently learned and want to show off with?

6- The Wine
On Sundays on the Lebanese shores? Everyone and anyone is a wine connoisseur! And the all time favorite is Ksara’s Sunset… Seriously people, I have to agree that the Rosé wine is the best to have in the sun, but has anyone tasted another Rosé?

7- The Music
After the excessively loud music from Saturday evening’s party at White or Skybar, you would think Lebanese want to relax on Sundays… Have a Lazy day… A Lazy Sunday! But hey… who are we kidding here? A phone call or two and here is a list of our favorite Lebanese DJs and their residence resorts for the week-end… I wonder if those people even sleep!

8- The “Valid” Phone
(Beware not to drop it in the water, the following listed phones, under the “valid” categories, were proven NOT to be waterproof!)
Your phone is not a valid phone unless it is an iPhone or a Blackberry; They allow you to automatically update your status on Facebook, Twitter, to discuss with your friends (who suffered from last night’s hangover) what they are missing over WhatsApp and bbm (BlackBerry messenger) and… well that’s about it! Because if your phone rings when you’re at the beach, you can’t really answer it because of the loud music (#7) and you’ll be too tipsy anyway because of the wine, sun and no water on the head combination (#2, 6 & 10)

9- The Camera
Girls, belly buttons, DJ, the crowd, the pool, the people inside the swimming pool, the girls you know, the hot chicks you don’t know, the alcohol, the champagne, the sunset (the actual sunset, not the wine bottle)… everything and anything is considered to be “hot” material for the Facebook photo album that you will upload as soon as you reach your house tonight.
Do not forget to use your mobile camera and add “teasing” pictures to your “Mobile Uploads” album, during the day, from the beach!

10- The SUN!
I’m not sure the sun is even a must have (anymore) for a perfect Lebanese beach day but well… I just had a 10th spot to fill here!

Sep 6, 2011

Mon Liban à moi

This blog I wanted it to be about all “new” things, new notes, new feedbacks, new comments… But all rules have few exceptions and the following note is an exception.
Following a friend’s demand, I share with you: Mon Liban à moi

The morning:

I wake up early this morning, just like every other morning for the past few years, to go to work.  Outside, I cannot hear any birds singing; instead, I hear the neighbors fighting: the newlyweds are arguing because the wife can’t get along with her mother in law (ajéda hal m3attara 3a 7améta), the girl on the 2nd floor is arguing with her father for coming home too late the night before (wlik 3ayb ya papi, chou baddoun y2oulo el jiran!) and of course, my mother blames our house helper for everything (ya 3ammé leh ma jebo el mayy?!).

A deep breath and I jump out of bed… brrrrr it’s freezing and the heater is not working… again. No need to dig for reasons, my LebanON is OFF this morning and the generator can’t support both hot water and heating system.  Priority goes for hot water and shower, of course!

Getting Ready:

I run to the bathroom for a quick shower… very quick since we’re out of water (referring back to my mom) and it’s freezing (gentle reminder); and I get dressed.

Flats for the office are fine? No, no… focus and think straight Maya!*inner voice* “The girl who works with you had high heels on yesterday, and she can’t look better than you today too… opt for the high heels!"  To hell with comfort, right now I need to impress to go to work. Impress who exactly? Ok so: high heels, jeans and black top… black jacket… mmmm no way! I wore that one yesterday! Let’s try again: high heels, beige top and brown jacket? A bit better… a blow dry, a little bit (of too much) make-up and I’m ready to go to work.

The ride:

The car type of course reflects the “prestige” of the Lebanese society (even though I drive a Mercedes just for the love of the car).

I get ready for my 2 hours drive to work.  (You want to define traffic jam? Look at the Lebanese roads, Monday to Friday, between 7 and 10 in the morning! My grandma is the only person not driving a car out there!) Courageously, I face 30 harassments, 3 guys follow me to work, 2 of them have a car crash while racing on another to follow me... pretty cute!

Turning the radio on, I can easily choose between 3 morning shows, the classics: The first of them discussing the latest increase on the fuel tank price (eh oui! Didn't you know that in a couple of months, a fuel tank will reach the price of a Louis Vuitton bag?).  The second being the horoscopes (mmmm let's see what Aquarius says today, shall I continue to work or will I catch a flu or fight with my colleagues today?) and of course, the third choice goes to the eternal morning drama (the news!).

Politics, Society and Outings:

After finally arriving to the office, the whole team is discussing the latest political events. We cannot forget to mention here that each and every Lebanese (including myself) hold a doctorate in Political History and Analysis... and so, we can't really accept our diversities and we (the team and I, myself) insult one another for not following the same political party!

From politics we move to religion; Forgetting the beauty of our country, we can’t help it (unfortunately) but slipping a few: "chou baddik fiyoun holik" and "nehna minsalle gheir, sibhan allah", without forgetting the "leik leik baddoun y3amroulna jemi3 7add el knise!" and vice versa... (excuse me for being so blunt, I am stating what I daily hear).

And the outings!

Oh... the outings: from Happy hours to Shisha meetings and dinners (3 salads, 12 entrées, 2 main courses, a coca-whiskey, desert and fruits), an outing a day is a must! With my friends and the friends of my friends (whom I automatically add on my Facebook, through my BlackBerry phone as soon as we sit down)... I honestly end up on Friday evening too tired to party the week-end away... but hey! I've got to get ready and go see my best friend whom I have not seen the past 24 hours... Dans Mon Liban à moi, I have 100 gossips to share after 24 hours... and of course, phone calls are way too expensive for us to chat for a long time!

Where's the catch?

From politics to religion... arguments keep on increasing day after day; cultural events are almost 90% replaced by Starbucks and Gemayzé outings, the girls are becoming Barbie-like and materialistic, the guys are playing the Godfather role (each for his own family), the taxes are high, the fuel is expensive, the salaries are low... Almost everyone still lives at his parents place by the age of 30 because getting a place of his own is too expensive... We're addicted to technologies, forget about social life... The traffic jam takes away half of our day...

But hey! You want to know where the catch is?

This is my country... THAT is the catch!

Mon Liban... à moi

Sep 5, 2011

A little bit of me...

We are what our past made us. We are the results of our smiles, laughs, tears, disappointments; of our joys, depressions, achievements. We are the results of our dreams, hopes, and aspirations.

Starting my blog was a hard decision; I did not want to end up sharing articles others were writing… I needed to commit to write my own articles, share my own thoughts… and I hate sharing… not my thought at least.
You know, opening-up on the way you think, on your actions and reactions, explaining your own decisions and points of view can be destructive as much as constructive.

They say showing the real you might open the window to many to love you. I say it also opens the window to many to hurt you by discovering the real you, your weaknesses, your emotions… Just like when I was a little girl and my parents knew how much my best friend meant to me; whenever they wanted to punish me, they forbid me from seeing her… It was like they were punishing me through her… They just didn’t realize how harmful it was for me.

Opening-up to anyone and everyone is the same today; However, I am not a little girl anymore and my own emotions and reactions can’t be used against me now. I am who I am and this blog is just:
A little bit of me…