Monday, December 28, 2009

bring ya duckets by the dozens


So I've been really lazy and haven't updated in fooooorever. So much shit has happened since the last post, I don't really know where to start.

First off, my Arabic is slowly improving, I'm beginning to read faster but my understanding of classical Arabic is still very minimal. But inshallah (hopefully; literally: god willing) I'll be good to go by the time I return to the states, which by the way, has been pushed back to August 10th. Leaving Lebanon on the 7th and spending 3 days in Cairo then New MOTHERLOVING Jersey. I can't believe I missed all that snow btw, I think the coldest it got in Beirut was maaaaaybe 45. I saw a picture of E$ on the book of faces drinking a golden delicious 40 in some heavy snowfall, made me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Its a shame Lebanon has no 40's, its exactly what is missing from this country.

Even though I'm having a crazy time here, I wish I could teleport or use a portkey, or floo powder, fuck it, I'd even take a broom cause I do miss home sometimes, but in a nostalgic way. At the same time, there is just this feeling I get walking the streets of Hamra, or driving on the autostrade at 4 am with the white stripes or bobby d blaring through the speakers, or sitting on the wall at the marina in Jbeil kickin back some almazas and watching the waves come in, or people watching on campus here at AUB, or stepping outside every morning to a view of the sea, or eating/cooking bangin grub, or smoking the best goddamn hookah I have ever had in Kaslik; all with people that I never in a million years would have imagined meeting here.

It feels like home sweet home. Its so strange how my life here is so similar to my life back in the states, yet at the same time very different (I know descriptive right?) but at this point I can't come up with the right words to describe it. All I can say for sure is that poop IS funny, and always will be funny.

Anyways, second semester started about a month ago, things are running fairly smoothly. Been going to a lot of places recently. When Tom was here we went to Baalbeck where there is an ancient Roman temple called Heliopolis (the city of the sun), it's also where a lot of drugs/guns come from in Lebanon (allegedly).

This is a digital copy of a picture from my dad's 35mm (Thanks pops).

Then later in the week we headed out for Damascus, the capital of Syria. On the way there I was drifting in and out of sleep but apparently while crossing over the mountains we couldn't see more than a meter in any direction. So we get to the border and are told by the (micro) bus driver to go down to duty free and sketchily buy cigarettes for him because there is a two carton limit per person. Now he can smuggle them back into Lebanon and sell them for a profit, or use them to bribe border guards, woooot! So then we waited about 3 hours for Tom's visa to be approved and we finally made it to Damascus, found the cheapest hotel took a nap and hit the town. Damascus was ballin. The souks (open-air shopping bazzar type thing) are awesome you can find anything you want there, food, textiles, leather, spices, cheap toys, playstation rip-offs, delicious ice cream, and it is all built around the most amazing mosque I've ever seen (pictures will be posted at a later time, waiting for them to be developed). This mosque is massive, It was completed in the year 715 and houses the alleged tomb of John the Baptist (he has many alleged final resting places) and the tomb of the great Salah ad-din (Saladin). We then headed out to the christian quarter and hit up some bars and what not, mingled with the locals, etc. On the last day I bought an oud and we headed back to Beirut. Damascus in a nutshell was cleaner, relatively cheaper, had nicer people, and was more authentic than Beirut; obviously I don't know how I would feel about living there, but just visiting for 3 days was awesome.

This past Sunday was probably the most fun I've had in Lebanon to date, got about two hours of sleep Saturday night woke up early and headed up to Faraya (with some friends) located high up in the mountains of Lebanon, and went snowboarding for the first time in 3 years. Surprisingly, I was way better than I used to be (I only fell three times) and we chilled all day on the slopes just admiring the sheer beauty of these snowy mountains. Even Bob Ross, the king of painting landscapes, couldn't have captured what this looked like. I do look like the offspring of a tomato and a panda bear cause I didn't apply any sunblock and I was wearing sunglasses all day, but its all good baby babay.

I'm starting to bore myself so its about that time eh chaps? I'm gonna try to write on this thing more often so keep a look out if you like what you're reading!

Naptime...the best time of the day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

tis' the season

Word on the street is that it's december, but I don't believe it one bit cause it hasn't been below 55 degrees and I hear that it really doesn't get much colder. This is my first time being away from home during the holiday season (Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years). It feels weird, I didn't have turkey on thanksgiving, and no birthday punches on my birthday. Dustin and his friend Dan were here for a week of debauchery which totally screwed up my sleep cycle. But it was well worth it. It really doesn't feel like the holidays, its not cold, there's no snow (in beirut at least), no christmas carols on the radio all day. They did start putting up lights though. I guess as much as christmas has become a commercialized, consumerist, holiday (in the western world at least) it still gives you "that warm fuzzy feeling" on the inside. Maybe this christmas will be a challenge to get in the holiday spirit without all the advertising and non stop christmas music.

Here's a little clip I'm sure you guys all know:

So, I finally got a chance to go to the Beqaa Valley this past weekend on a geology field trip and it was amazing.
It actually reminded of NJ a lot. Colored leaves falling off the trees, big open fields with rolling hills, and trash as far as the eye can see. There are a lot of farms and big villas as well.

And here are some random videos from youtube, which by the way is illegal in Turkey. Democracy my ass.

Thanks to dustin and dan for introducing me to kasta they are sick.

Here is a new show on MTV called "jersey shore" I'm sure it's already the new True Blood by now but here's a trailer just in case

Friday, November 13, 2009


It's now 12:34 here in lubnan so I just wanna wish my sistah Rima, not to be confused with my name (Rami...real creative mom and dad), a very happy birthday and wish her luck on getting her driver's license. Take care of my car please...I know it breaks down a lot but when she runs she's a beauty. And don't pull a Rami and crash it into a tree after a month! (knock on wood).

and while your on the web check out

apparently we almost got hit by an asteroid on Nov 6th...and there's gonna be an intense meteor shower on the 16th.

well, got a shit ton of studying to do..and alot of "stumbling" as well


Monday, November 9, 2009

some just whine and complain

It has been quite sometime since my last update. I don't know why, its not like it's hard to sit and write a couple paragraphs about whatever but I guess I'm just one lazy mofo. School's been pretty sweet you know as sweet as school can really be. I do have this one class (culture, boundaries, and identity) that is pretty much "zeitgeist" spread out over 4 months. It's interesting but we always end up at the same conclusion: capitalism is evil, the western world is mistreating the east, and so on and so forth. But it really makes you think about this world that we live in and the power struggles that occur "unbeknownst" to us common folk. Here's some knowledge for ya:

Tamiflu is currently the only vaccine available for swine flu due to the fact that it is patented from generic production until 2012 or something. I can't recall the company who makes it (too lazy to even do that, plus the internet is like 56k here) but guess who the main shareholder is for said company. None other than that scum Donald Rumsfeld (freedom of speech motha fucka!). Its weird that we have become so used to our governments screwing us that we don't even take notice. But you've all heard this a hundred thousand times over so I won't bore you. That's why I like to waste my time learning useless things on the internet, which I will now share with ya'll. Btw the easiest way to do this is to use a little thing called "stumbleupon" where you can select from a massive lists of interests and then you just have to click. Be warned: you will waste hours on this thing, so be careful!

This one is a truly interesting story about a guy who is living for a year with no money, completely off the grid. I really want to do this...who's with me?

Ever wondered how long your condiments last? here it is:

the solution to global warming:

Haven't seen any of the new episodes but this is sweet...literally

And finally:

So now that I've wasted your time...go waste your own.

"colonialism is sponsored by corporations, that's why halliburton gets paid to rebuild nations"

Coming soon...a little exhibit of a wonderful artist named angela..and others.

btw why does everyone have to turn 21 before me? Not that it matters in this country...btw lebanon finally has a unity government! Ma3brouk! (congrats)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

With both barrels

Haven't updated for a looong time but in my defense, the AUB proxy settings (that monitor your bandwith usage) don't let you upload pictures on blogspot. It also doesn't allow me to use skype, adium, ichat, or magic jack. So I had to travel off campus to a restaurant/cafe called euro deli.

So as promised here are a couple tags/stencils around the campus that I especially like. There are a couple random pictures of places on Bliss street as well. Oh and a little "art" from yours truly.

First here's a couple day/night views from my dorm:


fighter of the...


This next picture is a tag I pass everyday going to and from my classes, and it reminds me to not be a scumbucket...whatever that may be.

This is a painting on the side of a school in hamra on the way to AUB from my uncle's place, all I have to say is wtf?

this one is all over the place. I think its about how all the different factions/political parties/religions in Beirut are always at each others throats. And I've recently been informed that Lebanon technically has no government right now, idk to what extent, but looks like its riot time (jk). As messed up as it sounds I'd like to see some "mashkal" (fighting) while I'm here. I'm probably going to wish I never said that haha.

I think I've seen this somewhere in the states but I can't remember where.

self-explanatory...not the most artistic, but it gets the job done.

This reminds me of the symbol for the autobots, and I like how they are all chilling on the red graffiti.

Translation: "Silicone=Art".

I love the name of this place, it cracks me up every time I pass it. especially if you say your l's like r's

"Bliss House: BBQ, Juice, Ice Cream"...all you will ever need.

Rutgers: Beirut (does anyone see a dolphin in the "R"?)

Translation: "Khood" it means "take it" i think, but it's traditionally said when giving someone the finger.

phone home

My artistic rendition of Andre, the owner of Captains Cabin, a dive bar of sorts where a lot of internationals and AUB students hang out. I've met people from Cali, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Boston, Jersey, it's actually really weird that most of the people I've met are not actually Lebanese.

Looks like we're going to rent a car and go to Jbeil, not really sure what it is but I know its really nice and it's on the ocean. Should be a good time. There are some other graffiti pics I took but I'll update later cause I didn't download them from my camera yet.

Well I've been sitting here at euro deli forever cause apparently they still use DSL here, and not the good kind.

This one goes out to Omar (it won't let me embed the video because Universal Productions blows) I'm sure most of you have already seen it but for those who haven't its sweet. The song is called "handlebars" by Flobots:

Anyways I think I may be overstaying my welcome here so farewell, and have a great weekend!

-End Transmission-

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Don't think twice, It's alright

Classes are finally going to start tomorrow, and I can't believe I'm saying this but I am really looking forward to starting. I met my roommate, Omar, and a bunch of his friends, they are all good people. It's like I never left New Jersey. One guy, Patrick, is actually from New Jersey so we had a good talk about pork roll, the shore, eagles/giants, all that good shit. He has a band called Lazzy Lung, check em out they are pretty nasty.

I overloaded on food yesterday first we had BK (delivered), got a whopper, then later got a shish tawook (garlic chicken, fries, coleslaw, pickles, ketchup), then got another burger and a lahmbujeen (i dont know exactly what it is but it was delicious) and then I immediately suffered a massive heart attack and ruptured my stomach.

My room is tiny and my mattress feels like its stuffed with decomposing bodies. But I do have a sick view of the ocean (pics will be posted soon).

Coming up next: A post about Beirut's graffiti art (maybe sometime this weekend) they have a lot of sick stencils around campus and in Hamra.

Here's a weird video:

Every little thing's gonna be alright, yea, every thing is gonna be alright,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

four right chords

Over the past few days I have been contemplating what to write about (maybe I've burned out too hard and too fast) but whilst in the bathroom at a local pub known as captain's cabin (which plays the best music of all time ie; bob seger, pink floyd, third eye blind (hint hint), toto, etc.) I thought maybe I'd do a recap of my likes/dislikes of my experience thus far. I know my "journey" is still in it's infancy (it's actually more like a fetus, I haven't even moved in to my dorm yet and classes don't start until October 5th) but I feel as if a recap/analysis of my time here thus far will be helpful. I can step back and maybe learn something from this...or it could just be another meaningless rant about the world. Who knows? Half the time I don't even know what I'm talking about, so I don't expect anyone out there in the universe to give a rat's ass.

So far there are a lot of things that are amazing about this place, and a bunch that I wish would just no longer exist, and then on top of that there are things that (depending on the situation/place/company/state of mind) can go both ways. All in all, I couldn't ask for a more amazing summer its been over 4 months since I have taken a test, read a book (for school), studied, worried about grades, did homework, blah blah blah. I made some money, met some cool people, chilled with my friends, made ammends, and just enjoyed the time I had left in the states. But to be honest, I kinda can't wait to start school here. Not saying that my cousins aren't keeping me entertained because they are the shit and I'm having an amazing time so far (wissam, petra, sanaa) you guys have been so welcoming and I can't begin to describe how much I appreciate it. There's just so much downtime while they are at work living their own lives that I start to think too much about why I'm here and how much I miss everyone back home. I just need to be busy, get in the groove of things you know?

Well that's enough for this post, here are some impressions of my first week in the paris of the middle east (where black & white fades to grey).

-All the toilets are probably capable of flushing down a whole pineapple, along with an entire flock of seagulls 
-The soap made of olive oil (I think it's making my hair grow back...not)
-The acceptance of foreigners (everyone I have met so far has been very friendly)
-How cheap somethings are (Movies, water, fast food, smokes, faux sunglasses (Roi Banes), taxis.
-The bars (great music, great food, nice atmosphere)
-The driving (it's like a god-damn roller coaster ride, or a dirty stinky lazy river (cause of the severe traffic jamzzz))
-The beaches (they have huge salt water pools along with your standard ocean, and the one we went to today called "sporting" has planes flying low over it to land at Beirut Int'l which was pretty sweet)
-The darkness my skin is acheiving
-Karate class (I started going with wissam three times a week and it is kicking my ass right now)
-Coffee shops/cafes (offer a chill atmosphere to just sit listen to music and have a nice cup of coffee)
-Being forced to communicate in bumbling broken Arabic (and hand gestures) when I'm not with my cousins.
-The weather
-The political rallies (sp?) (although I couldn't follow what they were saying, they had sweet flags and there were army dudes with rpg's, AK's, and other crazy weapons guarding the rally.
-Soda in the glass bottle/old school cans (with the pull tab)
-Fireworks at all hours of the night (or are they gunshots?)

-How expensive somethings are (Clothes, good food, drinks at bars, and gas).
-Fake people (literally though I haven't seen this many "plastics" in one city before. Too many people look like a leathery joan rivers had beach balls stapled to her chest).
-The amount of pollution/garbage in Beirut, and the complete disregard for the environment (I guess they currently have bigger fish to fry)
-The power outages
-Most women here are like expensive liquor, you stare at them for a while, you think about buying it, then you realize you can get the same end result from something much cheaper.
-That my cousins have real jobs so they aren't around during the day
-I can't drive, nay I'm afraid to drive, but maybe soon I'll give it a go.
-The car's horn is more important than it's seat belt (in the next ten seconds I'm going to count how many times I here a car beep its horn ready? go...23 beeps. wtf.) 

So it looks as though the likes outnumber the dislikes, I know there are more but I think the sun baked my brain today at the beach. Although I have these certain feelings about this place I understand that there are some things you just can't change. So why even let it get to you? If people wanna act like assholes, or if they wanna carve themselves up, or if they insist on honking their car horn, let them eat cake. Let them stuff their over-collagened lips, spiked hair, and car horns with all the fucking cake in the whole world. It ain't no thang.

If anyone feels like putting soapy water in their mouth make sure you take a nice long drag from a hookah first so you can blow sweet smoke bubbles. Or just use the stuff that comes in the bottle with the plastic wand i guess. This DJ at a rooftop bar called le capitol or something was first off, playing the shittiest house music and dancing like a fairy princess on extacy while wearing pantyhose on his face. Then he started blowing those smoke bubbles by putting soapy water in his mouth. I wanted a mighty wind to maybe nudge him just close enough to the bad idea, shouldn't write these things on the internet.

Best of luck on all yall's mid-terms,

PS- I had some bangin sausages in a spicy pomegranite sauce last night...deeeelish. Im thinking about opening a five guys here it would be a gold mine. People here don't understand what a true burger is.

****edit**** check out this sweeet website everyone should get the stumble upon tool bar its the bomb diggity