Category Archives: M & Lebanon

1, 2, 3 Fly: Finally Paragliding @flylebanonparagliding

I finally did it: Paragliding over Harissa after telling myself I want to for over ten years – wow I am getting old

 

I cannot find the reason of why I did not do it before, but I would definitely do it again.

 

I have answered below some misconceptions about paragliding that I wish I knew before:

 

Misconception 1. It is boring, you just go down the hill and that’s it!

 

Actually, you don’t. The paraglider can move the way he likes, up down left and right. We actually went horizontally all the way to Harissa then stayed on top of the sea for quite some bit.

If you like Adrenaline and you fly with someone as good as Walid Medawar from @flylebanonparagliding you can get your own share of Adrenaline Rush with tricks like the 360 degrees we did.
Still, It is not sky diving. You are floating in space, but you can float the way you like; you can stay as much as you like; and you can go as crazy as you want to go

 

Misconception 2. It is so scary

 

Well, I’ve loved crazy rides ever since I was little but let’s just say that if you ever tried parasailing you might as well enjoy paragliding. But yes, paragliding is much more interesting and ‘free’ – you are not stuck on a pillar

 

Misconception 3. Flying with a professional is uncomfortable

 

It all depends who you are flying with. I flew with Walid Medawar for more than 24 minutes, and I was not bothered at all. On the contrary, I was lucky to fly with him because of his noticeable passion towards paragliding. The fact that Walid still enjoys flying after doing so for over 20 years made me enjoy it even more! He is interactive and caring – and somehow intellectual. I felt safe and in good hands. That is all you should feel when you’re flying up in space right?

 

Of course you are freer when you fly alone if you practice it well, but flying with a reputable paraglider is not bad at all – it actually keeps you company!

 

Misconception 4. The Take Off and Landing might get challenging

 

Just focus and listen. Even though I have wanted to do it for a while, I did not read any blog or book before going paragliding. I just listened to my instructor, and I did not face any difficulties.

In the take off, you just walk then run facing the wind that is blowing you back.

In landing, you just stand up when your instructor counts “3”.

I did both exactly as told & hey! I love it!

 

LESSON LEARNED:

Do everything you want to do before you’re fat, old, and annoying.

Note: Walid gave me a GoPro which took pictures automatically every 5 seconds. Check out the edited footage I took:

Enjoy the winds & the view – and my video 😉

With Love!
M

 

 

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Elections 2018 : Afterthoughts

My thoughts after the elections 2018:

  • What will we do with all the billboards? A good idea is creating tents for refugees or giving them to Waste (the startup that creates furniture and bags from recyclable wastes/ billboards)

 

  • Will we get more women representatives in the parliament? A good idea is to have less female candidates but more powerful and credible ones, supported by other women who want to be involved with politics.

 

  • Can we please have more power in the civil society instead of having random humans and how about the civil society starts their marketing campaigns from now and not a month before the elections? These extremely sophisticated men with no charisma can never prove a point when discussing life-threatening issues with Hezbollah men. The civil society needs a better representation.

 

  • Voting for a political party because of fear of becoming minorities, will it ever stop? Having a secular system is far fetched but it is the only way we can evolve, especially that the parliament is hugely divided and lobbying is not letting any politician solve anything.

 

  • If you want change, can you vote next time? Change is not the future. Change was two days ago, but now it is the future again. In 4 years, will we have more people who really care about Lebanon?

 

Finally, I hope those political parties who won actually plan a better Lebanon and not just a better future for his own grand children and children.

M

 

I HATE FEMINISM!

Lebanese Girls, ”WMN PWR” and “FEMINIST” shirts are beautiful, ravishing; but you know what, is women empowerment just being a statement on your shirts or are you really applying in your life as a woman, a friend, a best friend, a mother, and a citizen?

 

Empowerment is only an “issue” if women support each other, for real. Only when they don’t view each other as competition (in a country where loyal men is as rare as hairless genitals), when they support a woman-friend-startup/ initiative, when they smile to women they haven’t met before, when they don’t hate on every female who’s taller, skinnier, more successful (list goes on..) than them that they establish POWER. A successful strong woman should not be a woman you hate, but a woman you should set as a success story, an example that you TOO can make it.

And if you are successful, supporting less successful women is not stooping down your level, or else you will only be an opportunist, an “arriviste”- ekh.

 

I HATE extreme FEMINISTS.

 

 

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“Will you at least vote for one women in the government?” – 59% said YES

Elections are very soon; we have more than 140 candidates. I think it’s very inspiring, but I find a gap here. Let’s stop the candidacy of more women (and not fall back into female competition and divided voting) and focus on getting a specific number of women in the parliament. If you are voting make sure you will not vote for a list that does NOT include at least one woman. According to a study presented at the KIP project in April 2017, Lebanese men are more likely to vote by only 1.2% than Lebanese women. This shows that if only women included female candidates in their voting, we will have more than 4 of those (who might actually do something) in the parliament this time. I met some of the candidates in the Women In Front conference held lady with Foundation Diane; they are beautiful INTELLIGENT charismatic women, that is what we need more of in the parliament, and within our government.

 

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“Female Quota?” – 56% said yes 44% said no

Why do I hate feminists?

They sometimes ask for over-equality. A participant in the conference was asking to lower the fees of candidacy for female candidates. NO, just because you get free drinks in a bar, doesn’t mean you get more privileges than men – you want to decrease the fees, let’s apply it to both genders. Equality is equality.

This is why having women in the government is not FEMINISM. It is human rights.

 

One last thing, since I mentioned the elections, VOTE.

You want change? VOTE.

Don’t prepare gatherings on voting day. VOTE.

Don’t go to the beach, VOTE.

Don’t travel on that day, VOTE.

Oh, and Happy International Women’s Day!

 

All the percentages shared are polls on my instagram and represent a good focus group of Lebanese people 

#STOPTheBurning! Lebanon, SIGN THE Petition!

Sign The Peitition NOW!

I watched the screening of the documentary “An Incinerator for Beirut” last week;
Our government is planning to acquire an incinerator or two from Denmark, to deal with the waste issue. However for the time being we are burning waste out in the open or throwing it into the sea, Ziad Abichaker traveled to Danemak and investigated on spot what’s going on. Here’s a few things I learned while watching the documentary:

Before 1970, Danemark used to throw their garbage in the sea because they didn’t know any better, out of which they are still suffering till today the consequences – 40 YEARS LATER!!! 
Non-recyclable wastes and relatively small-metal wastes get burnt in full combustion chambers; recyclable wastes get recycled not burnt. Danemark do not have any procedure that decomposes huge metalic objects, nothing remotely close to “thermal disintegration”. A huge part of the burned wastes are used in the building of infrastructure, particularly the foundation of roads.
Danemak itself sends some of the recycled wasts to Norway (wastes that contain high dosage of toxic gases and metals like dioxine); Plasma is not applicable in Danemak and does not work efficiently on recycling household wastes. The most toxic residue of non-recyclable & metallic wastes is dioxine. We do not have any laboratory that tests for dioxine in Lebanon. The cost of such a factory costs around 1.5 million dollars.
According to the study of a professor in the American University of Beirut, we will be highly effected by the waste problem in Lebanon. Demographically, the radius effected extends to Achrafieh/Dora (40%) and Antelias (10%); consequences include genetic deformation. 

As mentioned in the Human Rights Watch, despite protests calling for an end to the garbage crisis, more than 150 dumps across Lebanon are openly burning trash at least once a week. Older people and children are most at risk. Doctors say the burning leads to respiratory illnesses and could increase the risk of developing cancer as a result of sustained inhalation of smoke. The government of Lebanon can and should stop the burning and manage the waste in a way that respects health and meets environmental standards.

Our parliament is finally considering a national solid waste management law that would ban the open dumping and burning of waste. Take action today and tell the government to #StopTheBurning! Sign The Peitition NOW! 

https://www.hrw.org/stoptheburning 

Having said that, every “recyclable waste” we do not recycle today is a step closer to getting cancer and having our genes deformed. Before just implementing the incinerator in Beirut, we should start by recycling our wastes! Again, those combustion chambers only burn NON RECYCLABLE wastes. Enough of thinking it’s nerdy or not-cool to recycle, RECYCLE NOW! 

 

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Still Wanna Use Uber and Co?

Now that it’s out an Uber driver murdered Rebecca Dykes, a British diplomat in Beirut,  I am beyond shocked – and I feel the need to share this:

Around 6 months ago, I was contacted by Careem, another chauffeur driven car booking service operating in the Middle East, as an ‘influencer’ to promote their service on my social media:

I was riding with around 6 girls to Halat Sur Mer, the driver/ pilot commented that his boss doesn’t know he is a Careem chaufeur, so he doesn’t want to show in my posts. When I asked him where he works, he did not answer which got my girlfriends and I very uncomfortable.

Also, when he first picked me up, I recall he told me that I was more than 5 minutes late, so he turned off the map.

When we reached our destination at around 9 pm, I realized that I had left my wallet in his car. I called the pilot and told him that I need him to bring me back my wallet, he didn’t come back. Instead, he asked me to “order a Careem for my way back” . Not wanting to be rude, I agreed. I spent my whole night without a wallet. At around 1 am, I order a Careem. 5 minutes later it turned out, the pilot assigned wasn’t the same pilot who had driven me there. I cancelled the trip, and tried again. After 30 mins of trial and error, with my girlfriends and I waiting, I called the pilot and asked him to get my wallet right away. 

I called Careem’s marketing representative and apologized saying I don’t want to recommend this service to people who follow me. I deleted all the posts. The marketing rep told me it was my bad that I was late for pick-up, and couldn’t understand that I was actually more worried about the driver “turning off the map” and working “under cover”. 

25520044_10159704269960084_1563505195_nHowever, I still ordered uber sometimes both in Dubai and in Lebanon – since I thought it was an “international standard” service AND valet-fees-free. Now when I think about it; Even though most of uber pilots were nice and friendly, a lot of them were aggressive especially when it comes to “rating them a 5” or making them wait for 5 minutes – and by aggressive, I mean really aggressive. I have a rating of 4.88 on Uber, I had no idea that there was any Passenger rating till a rude pilot once mentioned that we both rate each other in a weird tone.

I also was once charged twice on my credit card for one Uber trip. I tried to contact the headquarters, the only way I could reach them was FACE BOOK MESSENGER – which is ABSURD! They promised a refund, I’m not sure they refunded my money. 

I remember when I was still in school, we had “3ammo George” my friends and I used to call. He was a dad, he was like our dad. We would call him at 5 am, he would get out of bed just to drive us all home. From THAT, to modern apps with complete psychos driving digital natives around the city,  is ridiculous! 

Being talkative and always questioning life, I ALWAYS asked every driver if he is both an Uber and Careem driver. 90% of them told me they were both, Uber and Careem drivers in Lebanon need to have a red plate/ public-driving license – so they’re limited and usually work with BOTH. It was a chance that this diplomat ordered an Uber, it could be either.

The reason I am writing this is to warn everyone, that I was NOW about to order an Uber (even though all of the above) to Mar Mkheyel, now I am just in shock and grateful I am ALIVE!!!!

Order a taxi from real reputable companies, NOT ON THE STREETS (my mobile phone was stolen from one of those once) “3ish ktir shouf ktir”; REAL COMPANIES who are always in contact with their supervisor, on walky talkies, THOSE!! Uber and such are just apps that take around 20%-30% of the fees you pay per ride. Even though they’re trendy and cool, they are simply NOT SAFE!

Or at least don’t ride with them before: 
1- Drivers cannot turn off maps!
2- Drivers are inspected especially for criminal records!
3- A 24/7 costumer service department answers complaints and not Facebook Messenger!

PS: Many UBER drivers were nice and extremely friendly and “fatherly”
Stay Safe Please!
M

KASSER. RECYCLE. REPEAT. @KasserLebanon

Having a garbage epidemic did not really reshape our daily routines into being less violent towards our daily usage of everything. Solving the size of this issue starts with reducing, reusing, and recycling. When we reduce our usage of products, less items will go to waste. When we cannot reuse an old item – when it is completely retired, we recycle it.

It takes us a lot of patience to think of recycling our beer glass bottles – however it takes everything but patience, if we were to actually smash glass bottles to tiny pieces getting our rage out – instead of getting it out on the streets. Yesterday, I smashed an old phone, an old TV set, kitchen blenders, a lot of glass bottles…

– and I FELT GREAT!

Let’s support @KasserLebanon into getting the word out!
Basically the initiative is smashing out old unused items & sending it to recycling. Kasser will be arranging a lot of events and collabs so make sure you stay tuned with their socials.

They are very interactive on instagram and facebook, Follow them, DM them and they’ll answer! 😉

Also, here’s the team’s instagrams: @pedroskt @mariadoloresgebrael @gass13 @cyntttttt

With Love
Less-Stressed M