Friday, 29 October 2010

Sewage on Beirut beach

Looks nice, yeah? Shame that the lovely reflection is in fact coming from a pool of stagnant water which flows freely from a storm drain straight onto one of the few remaining public beaches in Beirut.
These were for a massive story Executive is running this month by Sami Halabi about the myriad problems within Lebanon's water sector. Sounds boring, but when you've been waking up wondering if you'll have water today for the last few months like many here in Beirut, it makes for a compelling read – in short; government is shit, resources are mismanaged, usual story. I'm sure Sami will have the more eloquent version on his blog soon.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Zabaleen feature for Esquire Middle East

So Esquire gave me and Josh Wood a whole 8 pages for our feature on the Zabaleen. Awesome. Cannae wait to see this in print, which won't be too hard now as they've finally managed to get the Middle East edition on the shelves over here.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Flags for 'Amjad

A love of Mahmoud Ahmadenijad seems to go hand in hand with an insatiable appetite for vigorous flag waving. If somehow the authorities could have tapped the collective kinetic energy Lebanon's flag wavers over October 13th &14th, Lebanon's shitty power situation (3hr+ a day blackouts) could have been solved for good. Hundreds of thousands of grateful Lebanese, mainly Shiaa, filled stadiums in Hezbo stronghold suburb of Herat Hreik and the southern town of Bint Jbeil, which were both fairly well flattened by Israel in 2006 and rebuilt with Iranian cash. And they sure did love waving them flags. I guess when someone's payed for your home to be repaired, horrific human rights abuses far from home can be conveniently overlooked.

Also, if anyone says Hizbullah don't know how to party, then show them this video. I'm expecting a reality-talent TV show appearance anytime soon.

Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah addresses Herat Hreik's Al-Raya stadium

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tyrant on the tarmac

Everywhere I went over the last two days Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kept turning up (usually about three hours later than expected). It got a bit embarrassing in the end, we ran out of small talk and just had to avoid making eye contact. It's been exhausting but premium fun, more photos to come...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Angelo Gaja

Angelo Gaja, apparently quite the luminary of Italian fine wines, was in town to introduce his top-class tipple ($360 a bottle, anyone?) to the Lebanese market. Not providing tasters for thirsty hacks was shockingly remiss...

Friday, 8 October 2010

Good morning Lebanon!

 Alright, so the top one, Chabrouh dam in the mountains above Faraya, was taken in the evening, but the three below required hauling my lazy hide out of bed before sunrise to drive to Harissa,  overlooking the Jounieh bay just north of Beirut. Mornings are great for the soul but for the body, not so much.