#Doueihy & #Hallab ping-pong match & how #SocialMedia played a part in giving this campaign a new dimension
On Thursday we were driving up to the mountains and on our way we encountered a navy-blue van with the name “▓▓▓ Zaffa" on its rear window.
(I had initially typed their full name but I will try to look them up first and let them know of the following as it would be more productive I think than just shaming them).
At first we were like “oh cute, they’re headed to a wedding” but that thought hadn’t yet been voiced out completely that I see something flying out to the window and landing on the side of the road!
Less than a minute later, more garbage was being thrown out!
Seriously, littering is not the sort of image you want to project when you are selling yourselves as “artists”.
And as much as I am sure your dancers are lovely on stage, it was utterly disappointing watching young people having so much disdain towards the environment. The environment of my own hometown mind you.
So ”▓▓▓ Zaffa”, you might want to ask you dancers, tech guys and drivers (I don’t know who did the littering but I am sure it was not the driver as he was on the other side, but still, no harm in educating everyone) to keep an empty garbage bag at all times in the van for them to use when they are on the road and will inevitably eat and drink in a narrow place which is not necessarily equipped to welcome their paper bags, kleenex and other plastic bottles. But our mountains are even less equipped so let’s try to keep them clean.
I met the best taxi driver this morning!
He went bizerk when we had to stop at a red light and kept honking frantically for the car in front of us to move. What was weird was that he did it with the coolness of a serial killer and even joked “that guy is probably cursing at us right now, but seriously, who stops at a red light?”
A few meters later, we encountered a lady driving up a one-eway street in the wrong direction. That was one of those narrow old Ashrafieh streets and he seriously shook his head and told me in a grave and solemn voice “I’ve been a driver for fifty years and I have never, and I mean never, driven up that street in the wrong direction”.
WoW. I mean WooooW. He serisouly blew my mind! And then it happened…
"I don’t really know why. It’s just this street. I just never ever drive up that street in the wrong direction”.
Ah, phew. Scared me for a moment. The end of the world is not today.
Crash Course in Chinese:
How do you say Black in Chinese?
Last night, we had dinner at Chopsticks in Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon.
I arrived first and told the waitress we were a party of three. My two friends came with a third guest which means that we ended up being four at a table with three plates and their respective cutleries.
The starters came and we were still missing a plate, a fork, a knife and a glass. We had to mention them to finally get them because apparently, our friend was invisible. In their defense, she is on a strict diet and it could be that she is starting to fade away.
A couple of hours later, as the evening came to an end, we asked for the check. My friend and I decided to pay by card and the rest was settled in cash. The total, with tips, amounted to a 100 dollars.
My friend E needed to pay for two, 50 dollars using a blue credit card, I was to pay 25 dollars using a black credit card and finally our friend paid 25 dollars in cash.
When the waitress came, we felt she might be confused so we repeated about five times that she was to retrieve 50 DOLLARS FROM THE BLUE CARD and 25 DOLLARS FROM THE BLACK CARD.
When she raised the BLUE card and said "yes, yes, 25 dollars from the BLACK card" we knew we were going to be in trouble.
So we repeated again, and for the fifth time, while shaking the right card respectively: "BLACK 25, BLUE 50".
Naturally and as expected, the black card was charged 50 and the blue card 25.
So when we told her she mixed them as we were staring at our receipts, waiting to sign, she innocently and very seriously asked: "can’t you switch?"
And E, who funnily enough happens to be a lawyer, to legitimately wonder and enquire: "what should we switch, identities?"
And we are still seriously wondering. So, anyone out there has any idea what else she could have meant for us to switch?
Because I hope to God she didn’t mean that by me signing another person’s receipt (which would be forgery and identity theft) the amount would magically not be retrieved from my account anymore.
My Lebanese mobile isn’t working.
So I searched online for a customer service number to get help from alfa from an alternative phone, since, well, my Lebanese mobile isn’t working.
I called their number (03391111) and got an answering machine that let me know all the lines were overloaded and I had to call back later. I wasn’t even requested to stay on hold.
So I went to the next best ting: social media. I twitted alfa:
Anyone at @AlfaTelecom that can assist me? I tried calling 03391111 but got a machine saying the lines are overloaded & need to call later.
And got an immediate response!
Less than a minute later, a get a call to the number I left in the online form! Less than a minute!! Needless to say I was impressed. That was just outstanding!
And I am greeted with a “welcome back to Lebanon”; that person knew who he was talking to! Turns out the same person who answered my tweets, Nizar, also called me to follow up. Nice.
He explained to me the new law and told me that they had been informing customers though Facebook and Twitter (I missed those announcements as my social media was probably filtering and prioritizing all the updates from Dubai) and that there was a sign at the airport arrivals, near the hotel kiosks. Honestly, that was my mistake, I did not notice it but with two babies, one half naked (poop accidents on airplanes suck) and another asleep and after about 40 minutes of waiting for our luggages, needless to say I wasn’t seeing anything anymore! All I wanted was to get out! So I missed that airport desk too…
Bottom line, in case you’re coming from abroad:
1) If you are to use a LEBANESE SIM in a phone you purchased abroad, you will need to register that phone. Do it immediately at the airport as it will be easier or you will have to go to an alfa or mtc office later on. This law has been initiated to control mobile phones thefts. If you fail to register your phone, your phone/line will be unusable.
2) If you are using a phone with a ROAMING SIM, you do not need to register anything.
3) If you want to put your LEBANESE SIM in an already registered “Lebanese” phone, you need to know what SIM was in that phone for the past two years and “release the phone” from that SIM before you place another one in it. That can be done by sending an empty text to 1014 (free of charge). Then place a call from the newly installed SIM and you should be good to go. Note that if you attempt to install a LEBANESE SIM in a phone that hasn’t been used for over two years, you will need to consider that phone unregistered and go register it if you wish to use it.
4) If you purchase a new phone from Lebanon now, it should already be registered and when you install your SIM you should be able to place a call immediately, and by doing so, this phone will be assigned to this SIM. The most important tip alfa gave me would probably be to always get a receipt from the mobile phones shop because some are selling unregistered (illegal) phones. By keeping a receipt, you can make sure you are not fooled into buying a blocked phone.
So, thank you Nizar for the prompt Twitter feedback, the super prompt call back and the useful and comprehensive support. Now that’s what I call customer service.
I am liking alfa right now ;)
A few days ago, I asked for some help on Twitter: I forgot my camera’s charger in Dubai and I was hoping someone would kindly lend me theirs. Instead, my sweetest @lnlne gave a more long-term solution: apparently there is a photo studio in Hamra that provides this service and will charge camera batteries for customers:
PHOTO PALLADIUM on Sidani street (+9611745326 - +9611744266)
And they were so nice they categorically refused to take any money!
They have chargers for most professional cameras (and a universal charger just in case) and my Nikon was treated with the best of care.
Also, and if you’re a fan, they have a nice Lomo collection.
I will definitely use their services again and will print all my photos there from now on. They absolutely deserve my business!
Turns out #Zein Al Attat has a Book Of Shadows!
I’ve been wanting to write about this story for a few hours now but I’m still speechless. I mean tonight was the night. So much I can’t sleep.
If for whatever reason you cannot view the video or do not understand Arabic:
A woman was found dead in a waste disposal site. Her body was completely burnt but it appears she could be identified as a migrant worker. She was pregnant. Witnesses saw a man driving a car drop garbage and a large carpet and then leave. Minutes later they noticed a fire and went to examine the site and found the body.
Since the crime scene is within the premises of a Palestinian refugee camp, their authorities are handling the investigation and already have a man in custody. The report says he was that woman’s friend, allegedly.
Yet another horrific story involving a migrant worker in Lebanon. Since the victim was pregnant one can speculate her lover probably did not want to father the child or face the consequences of being publicly outed as the father.
Reasons aside, this story brings to light crimes and abuses against women in general and migrant workers in particular in a country that already has a bad history in protecting these two groups.
What is even more peculiar is that the Palestinian camp’s authorities are handling the investigation and will hand over their findings to the Lebanese side when they are done. This means that by the time the Lebanese authorities begin to investigate, they will have to rely almost solely on the findings handed to them as the crime scene would have most certainly been tampered with a million times by then. I know, I watch too much TV but still, anyone would agree forensics and evidence collection are not just applicable in CSI: Miami.
An eight months old baby girl is in a coma, on a hospital bed.
It was not a tragic accident. Her parents intentionally and brutally beat her up. Everywhere on her little body. On her head. To a coma.
The two people who are supposed to give everything up, including their lives to protect her. The two people she is supposed to trust will always protect her. They beat her up. To a coma.
She could not even try to run away. Eight months old babies can’t run.
Now you can call me a savage if you’d like. Really, at this point, I couldn’t care less. But all I can think of right now, is that someone should beat these two ass holes to a coma. Typically, I am against the death penalty. Well, apparently I used to be. Because if that little girl doesn’t make it, I think her miserable excuse for parents shouldn’t either.
You can call me a monster too if you’d like. But some people do not deserve to have kids. After reading heartbreaking stories of parents who have had to bury their little ones, after seeing friends struggle to have babies, after having endured two miscarriages myself, I confirm: some people do not deserve children.
That poor baby girl was unlucky enough to be born in the care (or lack thereof) of two of those undeserving people.
Well, they may not deserve children but I do hope they get what they deserve.