The Lebanese Beaches To Go To Or Avoid This Summer Based On Their Pollution Level

The National Centre for Marine Sciences, based in Batroun, has been doing a study over the past several months about the quality of the water at several Lebanese beach areas, from the tip of the North to Naqoura in the South.

As such, they’ve come up with the following infographic about which beaches to go to and which ones to avoid this summer:

State of Lebanon's beaches

 

As expected, the best beaches in the country are in the Batroun area in the North and the Tyr/Naqoura area in the South, which has the country’s cleanest shores.

This means that it is our responsibility as Lebanese to avoid the beaches in areas marked as severely polluted, for the better health of ourselves and our loved ones. Polluted water may not have immediate effects from one swim, but recurrent exposures are bound to have detrimental effects on our well-being.

As such, the resorts in areas affected by high pollution rates should take it upon them to clean up their water if they still want people to pay the horrifying amounts of money they charge for entry. And if not, then we have entire areas in the North and South where many free beaches exist and where the water is as pristine as it is clean.

 

Advertisements

Syrian Jamming of Lebanese Phone Networks?

This is not the first time this happens with me. I called Alfa about it before and they blamed my phone. So now it happened with my iPhone 4S (it previously happened with my iPhone 4) the moment I reached home in the North. A telecom engineer told me it couldn’t be my phone and this is illegal.

I have no idea how something like this is possible. I’m well off the Syrian-Lebanese border so how can I get Syriatel reception all the way on the coast?

It also sticks around for a good 30 minutes unless you force your phone to switch carriers. That also doesn’t always work.

The interesting thing is that if I switch simcards to the Syrian MTN one I got when I visited, it doesn’t work. It’s only with Alfa. Anyone with MTC having this as well? And can anyone explain how such a thing is possible?

The Lebanese Hypocrisy Towards Syria: Three Fishermen Kidnapped by Syrian Navy in North Lebanon

I had blogged a while back about how the Syrian occupation of Lebanon can be considered at least as bad as the Israeli occupation of the South. I still stand by what I said. You can check that post here.

The latest regarding the Lebanese-Syrian relationship is the Syrian navy kidnapping three Lebanese fishermen (Arabic article) from the North after having their boat enter four nautical miles into Lebanon’s marine territory. Perhaps a mile can be considered as a sailing error. But four? Let’s not beat around the bush here. This was an obvious breach of Lebanese sovereignty. One of the fishermen, aged 16, has died. What is our government doing about this? Absolutely nothing.

This is but one part of a series of transgressions that the Syrian army and regime do on a daily basis in Lebanon. And yet we fail to act. Our voices are never heard when we speak against the Syrian breaches. They can kidnap our people, they can enter our land, our sea, terrorize villagers on the borders…. We do nothing. We sit around and watch TV and hope for the best.

Not let’s contrast/compare this with the Israeli scenario.

An Israeli boat enters four miles into Lebanon’s nautical territory, you’d be constantly bombarded about it in the news. An hour later, Lebanon would have had an official complaint filed in the UN. If that same boat had kidnapped three Lebanese fishermen, rockets would have been fired from the South on Israel. A war might have been started (it’s not like the 2006 war had a bigger apparent reason).

The only difference between Israel and Syria? Israel is an enemy state whilst Syria is not. The difference between what Israel and Syria do regarding Lebanon? Absolutely nothing.

“Activists,” as they like to call themselves, shout and protest against anything Israel-related in Lebanon. They have the right to, obviously, freedom of speech and all. I don’t think, however, they have the right to shove their views down everyone’s throats (especially when it comes to irrelevant matters that won’t change anything). I want to see what those “activists” will do regarding this latest Syrian breach. The answer is actually already known. It’s exactly what they have done regarding the previous transgressions: absolutely nothing.

A couple of months ago, in my anatomy lab at med school, one of the doctors told us a story. He told us about when he was in Med School at USJ and one of his professors was the late Dr. Fadi Serhal. They used to discuss politics with him. Amin Gemayel, the president back then, was going to sign the May 17 treaty. So they asked Mr. Serhal, who was an MP back then, about the situation. His reply was as follows:

“Lebanon is bound in the South by Israel. It’s bound everywhere else by Syria. If there was anything happening for the benefit of Lebanon, you should be more than certain that it will be disturbed by one of those two countries: either Israel or Syria or Israel and Syria working together.”

This was about thirty years ago. It still applies today. It’s also high time we see it as such.

Winter in Lebanon: The Cedars

This past weekend, I decided to go with a couple of my cousins on a quick drive around the beautiful Lebanese North, which happens to be where I’m from.

The area in the pictures below is about a thirty minute drive from my hometown in the Batroun caza and the road is paved with gorgeous scenery as well. I had wanted to post this yesterday but the Telegraph article took precedence. Check out my commentary on that article here.

So in a way, this post will serve as further proof to what I presented in my commentary yesterday. Perhaps what was very surprising to me was that, despite it being a very sunny Saturday, the number of people hitting the Cedar slopes was very little compared to how popular Faraya seems to be even though this is a much nicer area to visit.

Moreover, while driving around these mountains, your mind is taken out of your car and to a whole other place altogether. You cannot simply drive around without forcibly stopping to try and take a picture that barely encompasses the beauty in front of you. They call the Cedar forest in North Lebanon: The Cedars of God. I think I know why it’s called as such: if God wanted to choose a place to live in (during winter), it’d be this.

It’s absolutely breathtaking.

The view from a town on the way: Hadath El Jebbe

Entrance of Bcharre, the city.

View from Bcharre, the city

Church in Bcharre

The Cedar Mountains as seen from Bcharre

Another view of the Cedar Mountains from Bcharre

Leaving Bcharre towards the Cedar Mountains

Note to self: Converses are a bad idea in such circumstances

Awesome house. Can you imagine living here in winter?

Your visit to the Bcharre region won't be the same without 2145 posters of gorgeous Setrida Geagea

The Cedars of Lebanon

The Cedars of Lebanon - again

The snow on the Cedar Mountains

Another view of the snow

The Cedar Forest from afar

 

And then, just before leaving, my cousins decided to remember my brother, Joseph, who happens to be in the US as a foreign exchange student. So this is to Joseph:

All these pictures were taken with my iPhone 4S and were not modified in any way.

Walk of Causes – Lebanon

Matias and Jørgen are two Norwegian men have decided to do something that most Lebanese don’t even think about, or consider doing as one so gladly pointed out in the video I’m posting below as “bullsh*t”: Walk Lebanon from the North to the South, collecting donations from the people they encounter for good causes.

The first episode, the video of which can be found below, features them going around Lebanon’s gorgeous North. The money proceeds of that episode will go to the Lebanese Red Cross.

What’s interesting about this to me is, apart from the immensely interesting thing these men are doing, that I, as a Lebanese, have never been to the parts of Akkar they’re visiting. I also haven’t been to the Lebanese South, unless you count Saida as part of the South, which many don’t.

It goes to show how little we’ve really discovered firsthand of our country and I think this applies to the majority. However, we do excel at nagging. But no matter, behold the video:

And make sure you check out their Youtube page for other episodes.

Dear Roadster Diner,


I love you. I really do.

Out of all Lebanese restaurants, you might be my second favorite. A close second at that. Sorry, but nothing can top Batroun’s Pizza Royal (and they don’t make my wallet go drastically thinner too).

My relationship with you can be abusive sometimes, mostly from your part both to my wallet and my cholesterol levels. And despite that, I keep going back.

But this is not about me loving you. It’s about you not loving me as much. You see, you, as a franchise, can be categorized as somewhat xenophobic (Dubai doesn’t count). How so? Have you looked at how your branches are spread out across Lebanon?

Take Beirut as the center. Your branches are located all around Beirut. The furthest one to the North is in Kaslik and the furthest one to the south is in Verdun. So say I’m spending summer in my hometown in the North, I cannot eat your Diner Mite 220 unless I go all the way to Kaslik, where I have to wait for ten or more minutes so I can be seated in the non-smoking section. And during summer, the City Mall branch has waiting times that can go to about 30 minutes. To say business is overflowing would be an understatement, right?

So why don’t you invest in spreading out more to the North and further to the South? I’m not saying go all the way to Akkar or the Southern border but you know, Batroun or Saida would be a good stopping place, no? I’d even take Jbeil if Batroun is too far for you.

You see, your rival Crepaway is already spreading out way more than you do. Their Batroun branch has been doing quite well for a few years now and they’re opening up a new branch in Jbeil. I don’t like Crepaway as much as I like you but they’re more accessible, and therefore, more prominent in the Lebanese scene. Look at it this way: more people would readily go to the more available place, right?

The new branches don’t need to be a full blown architectural design like the new Batroun McDonald’s. They can be a small place enough to keep business in the positive range in small Northern cities and enough to satisfy the appetites of your customers whose lives do not revolve around the Lebanese capital.

Sincerely,

A hungry Lebanese citizen.

McDonald’s New Lebanon Branch – Batroun


The McDonald’s franchise is opening up a new branch in the coastal Lebanese city of Batroun as part of what looks to be an aggressive expansion campaign.

The Batroun branch has been set at an old fashioned Lebanese house, completely renovated for this purpose, right on the main road.

The two-story house/restaurant’s interior is composed of state of the art equipment that contrast with the rustic exterior. I have to say, this is probably the most amazing McDonald’s restaurant in Lebanon, if not everywhere. It combines both tradition with the future.

But the question begs itself: how successful will this branch be in a city known for an overflow of restaurants that offer cheaper burgers and sometimes better food?

Don’t expect many outsiders to come to this branch. After all, other branches are only a ten minute drive away. This McDonald’s is for the people in Batroun, a not very populated city. Will the returns be enough to cover the cost? I doubt. It’s still a nice place to look at though.

Check out the pictures I took of the place while passing by: