A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for January, 2008

one hot lemon

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 31, 2008

Some people are naturally gifted when it comes to ordering meals in restaurants. I, on the other hand, often manage to make ordering the simplest item (a cup of tea, for example) into a monumental task.

So perhaps it was fated that Saturday’s dinner with my aunt and uncle should produce some khaltic cringing.

They decided to take me to their favorite Lebanese restaurant, Tanureen (which my aunt wrote about here). Taking someone who lives in Lebanon to a Lebanese restaurant in Kuwait might have frightened off fainter souls, but my aunt & uncle are made of stern stuff.

Good thing, because I was about to become a small, diamond-wearing bull in a china shop.

Only this china shop was a Lebanese restaurant covered from floor to ceiling in mustard-yellow, Bedouin (or maybe Palestinian) textiles. The effect was lovely – warm and welcoming, reminiscent of a homey tent – but Lebanese it was not.

Tannourine, the village for which Tanureen is named, is a lush mountain-side spot in northern Lebanon. Its spring provides the water for one of the country’s best-known bottled water brands, the eponymous Tannourine, whose motto is: “The cedars drink Tannourine.”

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The Tannourinis would probably die if they knew that Kuwaitis associated them with desert tents rather than snow-capped cedars.

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But while I had indeed brought a bottle of Tannourine water with me on the plane (just ask me how secure I think the Beirut airport security procedures are … ), I hadn’t gone to Tanureen to defend the sensibilities of Lebanese Tannourinis. My troubles with the restaurant began with the beverages.

I didn’t feel like drinking tea, but I wanted something warm. So I asked for white coffee, i.e., water with an infusion of hot something or other: rose water, orange water, lemon water. I like lemons, so I asked for a white coffee made with lemon water.

The water, a tall older Egyptian man in a tuxedo, looked at me in horror. Apparently, white coffee was not on the menu.

So I did what H often does in Seattle: asked for hot water with some lemon in it.

The waiter looked at me again. I had been speaking English, but switched to Arabic, thinking that it might make my request more clear.

“Hot water with lemon,” the waiter said, laughing. “What you want is one hot lemon.”

I wasn’t sure that this was actually what I wanted, but a hot lemon seemed to be the best of the available options.

When it came, I realized my mistake. The cup and teapot looked innocuous enough.

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But when I began pouring, I realized what I had ordered.

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“One hot lemon” was just that: strained lemon juice, heated to boiling in a teapot. It looked like something else, and it tasted like … like I was sucking on a lemon.

“Oh well,” my aunt said, noticing my puckered up face. “At least we know you won’t get scurvy.”

And then I tried ordering a salad. The menu listed two salads that looked intriguing: the Tanureen salad, and the seasonal salad.

What is in the Tanureen salad? I asked the waiter.

We have many salads, he answered, Zen-like.

I tried again.

What is in the Tanureen salad?

Tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. It is a green salad, he told me.

Okay, I said. What’s in the seasonal salad?

Same-same, he told me. They are the same.

But the prices are different, I said, confused.

Yes, he said.

You know, my uncle said, raising his eyebrows, we come here all the time and never have any trouble ordering.

So I just ordered “a salad”, and waited until the bill came to determine which one I had eaten.

The salad was delicious, as was the fish (especially with the special “hot lemon” sauce I added to it). But I don’t think my aunt and uncle will be taking me back to Tanureen on my next visit – or if they do, I imagine that they will ask for a children’s menu for me :).

Posted in Arab world, family, food, Kuwait, Lebanon | 1 Comment »

feeling sluggish?

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 31, 2008

I try not to post news stories very often, because I feel that most people can find the news on their own, but this one is of more personal interest: the BBC is reporting that severed cables have disrupted internet services  around the region.

Of course, disrupted internet service is a way of life here in Lebanon, but I can personally attest that internet in Kuwait moves at light speed. So the slow-down must have been painful.

Internet services have been disrupted in large parts of the Middle East and India following damage to two undersea cables in the Mediterranean.

There was disruption to 70% of the nationwide network in Egypt, and India suffered up to 60% disruption.

UK firms such as British Airways have told the BBC that call centres have been affected by the outage.

Industry experts said it could take up to one week to repair the damaged cables and resume full service.

International telephone calls, which have also been affected, are being rerouted to work around the problem.
Degraded performance
Disruption also occurred in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, reported the Associated Press.

In Dubai, at least two internet service providers (ISPs) were affected.

An official at the provider, DU, told AP that a fault in a cable between Alexandria, Egypt, and Palermo, Italy, was to blame.

DU issued a statement to alert customers to “a degradation in internet services and international voice calls for some customers during peak times”.

The company said it was due to “cuts in two international submarine cable systems in the Mediterranean Sea this morning (Wednesday).

“We are working actively with the submarine cable system operators (FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE 4) to ascertain the reasons for the cables being cut,” it said.

FLAG Telecoms operate the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG), a 28,000km (17,400 mile) long submarine communications cable.

SEA-ME-WE 4, or the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 project, as it is known, is a submarine cable system linking South East Asia to Europe via the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

Repair work

Neither of the cable operators have confirmed the cause or location of the outage but some reports suggest it was caused by a ship’s anchor near the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

One Indian internet service provider, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), linked the problems in India to the disruption in Egypt.

Egypt’s Telecommunications Ministry said it would probably take several days for internet services to return to normal following the disruption on Wednesday.

Emergency teams were trying to find alternative communication routes, including satellites, AP was told.

The ministry’s Rafaat Hindy said: “Despite this being an international cable affecting many Gulf and Arab countries, we are closest to it and so we have a lot of responsibility.

“We are working as fast as we can.”

Posted in Arab world, internet | Leave a Comment »

the power of ish.

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 30, 2008

One of my favorite words in English is not really a word at all. Its “ish”, which I use all the time as a modifier.

I don’t use it all that often in its classical application, as the suffix of an adjective: peckish, for example. I like “ish”on its own.

For example:

Are you hungry?

Ish.

 

Or:

Was the movie interesting?

Ish.

Apparently I am part of a larger, generational trend – one that extends to another favorite suffix, -esque. Word Reference has a wonderful forum discussion (archived from 2005) on both words and their use to indicate either approximation (2:30ish, today’s estimated lunch time) or uncertainty/skepticism (safe-ish, a perfect term for Beirut).

There is an Arabic word that works beautifully as the equivalent of “ish” – and no, its not “ya3ni” (although that can work – but its nice to have options).

Its “shi”, as in “thing”, and not to be confused with “shai”, as in “tea”.

“Shi” can be used as follows:

I’ll pick you up at shi 8:15

I’m working on something shi difficult today

I haven’t heard it used on its own yet, but I’ll keep my ears open. Or open-ish.

 

Posted in Arabic, words | Leave a Comment »

Back to Beirut

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 29, 2008

Last night my aunt and uncle took me to what turned out to be a five star, no holds barred Moroccan restaurant in Fehaheel (see my aunt’s post for a full review). I didn’t even order a tajine – I wanted to try the entrees, and they were delicious.

Carrots, eggplant, lentils, tomato salad – by the time I finished my stomach hurt from being so full. I was just starting to recover when the waitstaff brought a plate of sweets … and the two cookies I had pushed my stomach right past the tipping point once again.

My very dear friend M, with whom I have had many Arabic language and Arab World adventures, defines two categories of fullness: full to the point of pressure, and full to the point of pain. I was beyond pain last night – and it was worth it, because the food was so good.

When Moroccan food is not good, it is pretty average: oily and tasteless. But when it is good, it is really, really good – and Marrakesh’s food was delicious.

There is a reason why many Moroccans have come to prefer French baguettes to Moroccan bread – but last night even the bread was good:

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And now I am back home, blogging in my chilly, coming-back-to-life apartment as the rain falls. Its a wild weather day in Beirut – when H picked me up at the airport, we were nearly blown away by the wind (though to be honest I like the way it gave my hair some much needed extra body).

As I finished booting up my computer and sat down at my desk, the rain turned to hail – rapid-fire balls of ice crashing madly onto my patio. I haven’t seen such weather since … well .. since I was in Jerusalem, almost precisely two years ago. There’s something about this January/February season that lends itself to madness, I think, although the scientific side of me scoffs: “how would you prove that?”

I don’t know. But I do know that bombings, protests and snipers notwithstanding I am very happy to be back home, especially since the electricity was on when I arrived.

Posted in Americans, Arab world, Beirut, blogging, family, food, holidays, home, Kuwait, Lebanon, travel | Leave a Comment »

skiing while Phoenician

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 28, 2008

After “graduating” from Faraya’s baby slope (I’m requesting a diploma), H and I slowly made our way through Faraya’s more challenging offerings, arriving after long last at Mzaar, the mountain’s peak.

The way down began with a gentle slope – a deceptively gentle slope, as I realized only when I found myself at the edge of a nearly vertical drop.

Well, it wasn’t really vertical, but by the time I realized that it was merely a very blue blue, I had spooked myself back into chasse-neige (snow-plow) land.

I trundled my slow, deeply inelegant see-saw way down, grateful not to have fallen and irked with myself for being such a … well … flat-land Midwestern weenie. So when H proposed another trip to the peak, I agreed.

But when we arrived at the top the second time, we decided to stop for a little touristing.

In the charmingly Age of Discovery (if sectarianism is your thing) way that Lebanon’s Maronites have of claiming land for Christ, Mzaar is emphatically Christian. Its peak carries not one, not two, but three crosses – each one bigger than the next. (Imagine the Three Bears with a black-robed priest in lieu of Goldilocks, and you will get the idea.) So perhaps it was no surprise that Mzaar also has its own chapel.

[I'm skipping the part where I 1) could not figure out how to get out of my skis 2) had to enlist help 3) fell and 4) nearly toppled over again because I am so clumsy in ski boots.]

The chapel was quite beautiful: small and spare, but well-lit and contemplative.

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The pews were covered in sheepskin to keep the chill from soaking into visitors’ bones.

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On the way out, I noticed this plaque – and it made me curious to know more.

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The inscription states that the chapel was established in 2005 under the patronage of a parliament member, and that it sits on the ruin (? I’m missing something here, and dictionary-less until tomorrow, hint hint Arabic speakers) of the Phoenician shrine. “Mzaar” means tour, but it also means site of a visit, and more specifically, the site of a religious visit – i.e., a shrine.

I understand that there is an old Phoenician temple near Faraya – in Faqra. But I didn’t realize that there was one on Mzaar, although with a name like Mzaar I suppose I should have been less surprised. Does anyone know the full story?
As for me, I was so overwhelmed by both the chapel itself and its Phoenician connection that I ended our little tourist jaunt by collapsing in a stick-over-pole catastrophe. Not while going down the slope, of course, but from the effort of getting my skis back on.

Posted in Americans, church, Lebanon, research, skiing | Leave a Comment »

an American at an “American” school: Robert Ober on IC

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 28, 2008

I love memoirs. I love the range of human experience they open up: the fascinating minutiae of daily life, the compelling quirkiness of the individual perspective. So when I saw that Robert Ober, headmaster of Beirut’s International College from 1998 to 2001, had written a memoir about his time in Lebanon, I immediately ordered it, and read it all in one go on Christmas Day.

Ober’s memoir, Seeing Arabs Through an American School, is fascinating – biased, but fascinating. He makes some strong generalizations about “Arabs”. But his insights about Lebanese culture and particularly the hotbed that is Ras Beirut, with its trifecta of AUB, IC, and the American Community School, are not to be missed.

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The chapter titles themselves give insight into the challenges Ober faced as headmaster: “Descent into conflict”, “A non-sectarian school in a sectarian setting”, “Syria and other stumbling blocks”, “Customs and values”, and “So whose campus is it?”, among others.

With both the chapter titles and the anecdotes he chooses to recount, Ober pulls no punches when it comes to critiquing the fossilized hierarchies of privilege that made it difficult to return IC to its pre-war glory days as a truly world-class school.

For example, from secretaries to deputy deans, some Lebanese personnel who had taken positions during the civil war viewed their jobs as sinecures and signs of status, not as positions in which they were actually expected to work. Hence much of Ober’s time was spent soothing wounded egos and trying to figure out just why employees like the school’s incompetent janitor were allowed to remain on the payroll (in the janitor’s case, because he was Druze, and the school feared that the Druze militias that protected it during the war would be ‘upset’ if he were fired).

The rest of his time seems to have been taken up with other battles: trying to get building keys; negotiating with AUB, which owns the land IC sits on and apparently wanted the College off; and dealing with US-based trustees who seem to have been in lala-land when it came to imagining the needs and capabilities of the post-war IC.

The memoir is frustrating at times, mostly because Ober’s experiences were so frustrating, but also because it does seem that he used the memoir as a way to air his side of the story. As a result, it gets a bit self-righteous in tone … but then again, I imagine that most of the over-privileged IC poobahs he dealt with were rather self-righteous themselves. So perhaps Ober’s tone is merely par for the course :).

Posted in Americans, Arab world, Beirut, childhood, citizenship, education, Lebanon | 3 Comments »

coming soon to a theater near … well, in a way … you

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 27, 2008

I’m dying to see Beaufort, the Israeli film that has been sweeping the European film festivals and is now up for an Oscar. Beaufort Castle is an old Crusader (and possibly earlier) era castle in southern Lebanon that dates to at least the early 12th century. During the civil war it was occupied first by Palestinian militias and then by the Israelis. (A fascinating paper on the Lebanese government’s efforts to restore the castle since the Israeli pull-out is available as a PDF here.)

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(Beaufort Castle, taken during a lovely Sunday day trip to the south last March with S, T, K, and a visiting G.)

I would love to see Beaufort … but given its language (Hebrew) and its nationality (Israeli) I doubt it will be coming to any Lebanese theaters. Hence the title of this post: Israel is near, but not in the way that most movie previews mean :).

Here’s the preview, courtesy of YouTube:

Posted in film, Israel, Lebanon | Leave a Comment »

The dangers of sunscreen

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 27, 2008

After spending Monday skiing, H and I stopped for an apres-ski lunch at the Inter-Continental Mzaar. The avant-ski peanut butter panini I had scarfed down at the charmingly named Ski Widow cafe was a distant memory by then, and in any case I am almost always ready to eat.

But when we pulled up to the hotel, H’s car failed the security check. Apparently, we were carrying explosives – or something equally dangerous. I began fretting, but the security guard didn’t look alarmed. He just looked bored. Who knows – maybe bomb-bearing skiers are an ordinary sight in today’s Lebanon.

Every hotel, mall, office building and even some private parking lots/garages has its own security staff, who screen incoming cars for explosives. Usually, they work in two-men teams.

One man takes a mirror on a pole – basically, a human-sized version of the instrument your dentist uses to inspect your teeth for plaque – and uses it to check the under-side of the car.

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(Photo courtesy of SDMS Security Products. Just in case you are in the market for a vehicular “plaque” detector, a similar product can be ordered from American Security for $865.)

And yes, it does bear a strange resemblance to the old crumb-scooper vacuums that Wendy’s used to use.

The second man on the security team has the more glamorous job: he shuffles his feet carefully to produce an electric charge and walks past the car, from engine to trunk, carrying what looks like the mutant child of a car antenna and a corrugated metal box.

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(Photo courtesy of ATSC UK. The photograph shows the mini, hand-held version.)

The antenna responds to the ionic charges that explosives give off (I’m getting this from my uncle, not any deep scientific knowledge of my own, so please direct any hard-hitting technical questions to him c/o IntlXpatr.) by swinging around in the direction of the car. If the car has no explosives, the antenna remains pointing directly ahead.

In other words, it works just like a dowsing rod, but without the New Age music and dream-catchers.

Lebanese security firm ProSec uses the ADE-651, and describes it as follows:
This equipment detects traces of both particulates and vapors, allowing for non-invasive searches of luggage, personnel, mail and containers without the use of radioactive source or external carrier gas. The working principle is based on electrochemical (Thermo-Redox) detection. The range of detection is around 50 meters with obstacles and up to 650 meters in outdoor parking lots, the unit can also detect explosives submerged in water or buried underground. Detection from a hovering helicopter is also possible.

Oh yes, because Lebanon has so many helicopters to spare.

Does the antenna box work? Not everyone thinks so. There’s a blog dedicated to questioning whether these explosives detectors do anything more than part governments and security firms with taxpayers’ and clients’ money: Sniffex Questions. Another critique can be found at Schneier On Security.

What I can tell you is that these detectors also detect the presence of other items.

Are you carrying perfume? the security guard asked H. Cream?

Both the guard and H turned to look at me, a sad case of female stereotyping … especially since it was true. No, I wasn’t carrying a bottle of perfume (“this is a ski trip, not a fashion show!” I can hear my father saying), but I did have a travel bag filled with two types of sunscreen, one anti-wrinkle cream, and some ordinary hand lotion – all in FAA-unfriendly size tubes.

I handed over my unguent collection, blushing, and the guard tested us again. Bomb-free, we continued on our merry lunch-ward way, one of us sporting freshly lotioned hands.

If you want to test the ADE-650/1 yourself, you can purchase one here. No word on how much it will cost you, but I hear that they go for quite a bit more than the traditional divining rod.

Posted in Beirut, economics, explosion, food, friends, humor, Lebanon, science, skiing, travel, vanity, words | 4 Comments »

the month of doing new things: corniche, hip hop, … skiing :)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 27, 2008

January has been my month of doing new things in Lebanon: everything from walking on the corniche (I know, I know: two years in Lebanon and never a walk on the Beirut corniche? Shame, shame!) to attending a hip-hop concert, which featured a mixture of Lebanese and Arab-American artists.

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Trying to find Black & White was the inspiration for my post on whether one can say “in Monot“. What I failed to mention then was the fact that by attending this concert, I and a good chunk of friends and fellow hoppers made it decidedly less cool. We were (are) all too old, and definitely too un-hip.

My group strategically invited a number of younger friends along for the evening, but even so, I think our average age was in the upper 20s – a bit high for hip hop. The next morning, I imagined the event promoter and the club owner getting together and shaking their heads, asking: who were all those old people, and what can we do to keep them from coming back?

So that was one new thing. But perhaps the biggest new thing, in terms of risk to life and limb, was going skiing last Monday. I had the day off; H has a flexible schedule and the self-punishing desire to spend the day with someone who hadn’t been on skis since 1998.

Early Monday morning I began to panic. What was I thinking, agreeing to get back on skis? What if I fell? What if – worse! – I looked bad? I used to be a graceful skiier, and I dreaded the fall back to grinding turns and awkward pole’ing.

H sms’ed to say that he would be a bit late arriving, and I started to google, looking frantically for skiing tips. Thank goodness for the internet: I found a wonderful, reassuring page with lots of good advice. It didn’t save me from the indignity of H insisting that I start my day with a run down Faraya’s “baby” slope, but it did help me when we moved on to more challenging (i.e., not flat) runs.

When I returned home that evening, glowing with delight and happily in one piece, I decided to do a bit more research on Lebanon’s ski history. And naturally, I started with my favorite all-issues-archived-online magazine.

A January/February 1966 ARAMCO World article called “Ski Lebanon!” had this to say about how the Lebanese ski tradition developed (and no, M, the author of this article, William Tracy, does not seem to have been a spy):

It was a Lebanese engineer returning from studies in Switzerland who introduced skiing to Lebanon in 1913. But it was not until the 1930′s that a group of dedicated French and Lebanese young people began to ski in earnest. “We used to spend three hours climbing a slope,” recalls Dr. George Zabouni, president of the Club des Chalets, Lebanon’s biggest ski club. “Then we’d make one descent and it would be over. Now we make 30 runs a day.”

Dr. Emile Riache, president of the Lebanese Ski Federation, makes the same point. “For 20 years we had no mechanical tows. How could we really improve our technique with one run a day?” He mentioned, as an example, the effort involved in climbing 10,000-foot Mt. Hermon of Biblical fame. For one admittedly breathtaking, 20-minute descent, it took five hours of climbing …

Yes. 300 minutes climbing, 20 minutes skiing. I would have found some other hobby.

When Tracy wrote his article, Faraya was new:

For Beirut, the newest and the most convenient ski area is Faraya-Mzaar. Only 39 miles away on good if hair-raising roads (and even closer next spring when a new highway will be finished), Faraya is actually within sight of Beirut. On clear days, skiers, moving up the mountainside on the silent chair lift, can look down nearly 8,000 feet and see the outline of the buildings in the city. They can also look down on a snowy plateau at the foot of the ski lift and see a 70-room hotel that would rank with the best in New England or Sun Valley, a youth hostel, a restaurant, a snack bar, a ski shop, a swimming pool with cabanas and 27 furnished chalets. Faraya is primarily the creation of Shaikh Selim al-Khazen, board chairman of the company that developed it and the man who saw the possibilities of skiing many years ago and kept the idea of development alive by sponsoring an annual skiing banquet in the village of Faraya. Skiers who wished to attend had only to climb the nearby summit and ski down once.

Notice “the” chair lift? Apparently the resort had only one lift (and several T-bar tows) until quite recently. It is silent, or silent-ish, although takeoff and landing produced some “oof!” and “ouch!” ing on my part.

Having recently done a bit of research on Lebanon’s economy in the 1950s and 1960s, I was interested to learn that by the mid-1960s skiing was being seen as part of the wave of Lebanon’s economic future. The Aramco World article puts a good spin on it, but the reality is that the country turned to tourism because its reliance on the trade, banking & services aspects of its strong tertiary sector was already proving dangerous. Here’s the positive version:

Charles Helou, President of Lebanon and a former director of the National Council of Tourism, has placed the tourist industry high on the list of priorities for his country’s progress. He has formed a high-level committee made up of representatives from the ministries of public works, interior, and education; from the army and from the ski federation. Michel Khoury, Helou’s successor as director of the tourist council, is committee chairman. The government, according to Joseph Kairouz, president of the Banque du Credit Populaire and promoter of a new project at The Cedars, “has realized that tourism can be our number one industry, a key source of national revenue. And it has suddenly dawned on our businessmen that the jet age has brought us within reach of the middle class European vacationer.”

I usually think of Charles Helou as the name of a grotty garage on the edge of Saifi, but before he gave his name to the site of cheap trans-Lebanon transport, he was indeed the country’s president, and apparently one of the few in government then to push for diversifying the national economy.

My 1965 copy of Travel Lebanon had similarly complimentary things to say about skiing in general and Faraya in particular. Notice the price of a room at the Inter-Con? Don’t you wish you could pay those prices today :)?

In the past year, Faraya has greatly improved its facilities and now sports an ultra-modern hotel. Price: single w/ full board 35 LL.

And what may be the funniest description of Faraya comes from the 2001 Lonely Planet, which says:

Faraya Mzaar is the Achrafiye of the slopes and half the people hanging about in the cafes, restaurants and clubs are too busy partying to actually strap on skis.

Well, H did warn me that Faraya is Frenchie-land, but those who came on Monday came to ski – and some of them were darn good. I’m looking forward to my next jour de ski, and dreaming of the time when I too will schuss down the slopes au parallèle.

Posted in Americans, Beirut, friends, holidays, Lebanon, music, nightlife, skiing, time, tourism, travel, vanity | 3 Comments »

UM … the mother of all carriers

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 26, 2008

When I reached the gate for my Kuwait flight the other day, I noticed something funny through the window.

A plane was parked at the adjacent gate – and no, that wasn’t the funny part. This was a plane with a very curious brand name:

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(Photo courtesy of Airplanephotos.de)

I couldn’t help myself – I burst out laughing. (Yes, giving a big boost to the reputation of foreigners in Lebanon: traveling alone, with almost no luggage, and laughing. I wouldn’t want to sit next to me, either :P.)

I laughed because I thought: Ummm Air? Ummm … I think I’ll fly a different airline.

Silly me – I was thinking about how the name sounded in English. Luckily, H was standing by to reframe it in local terms.

“Um” means “mother”, and “ayr” mean … well … let’s just say that the airline’s name is funny, but bad. And bad enough that in order to fly it without shame you really would have to book online, because telling a travel agent “I’d like to fly UM Air” would be mortifying.

As it turns out, the “UM” stands for “Ukrainian-Mediterranean”, so yes: adding another sexual twist to the story, this could very well be the airline that brings Eastern Europe’s “working girls” to Beirut.

What the Mother of Air is not doing is bringing them to Europe proper: UM Air is on the EU’s list of banned carriers, thanks to assorted safety violations.

But to Beirut International, ahlan w sahlan :|.

Posted in Americans, Arab world, Beirut, humor, Kuwait, Lebanon, travel, words | Leave a Comment »

 
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