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It’s been almost a week since I’ve returned from Tunis, and I have barely unpacked, and I literally have sand from the beach there in my favorite sandals. Asides from the massive amount of fun, sightseeing and shopping that was done there, those four days were dedicated to the Regional Meeting of Creative Commons, which also served as an initiation of the CC Tunis community, that I am sure will greatly enrich the region with their unlimited passion.

Within the event a series of workshops were incorporated to introduce ‘sharism’, creative commons and remixing in an open source worlds. The whole event culminated in an amazing concert, the music and program of which was created by the participants within these four days.

Photo take by Bilal Randeere's during the workshop and is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA license click to view more photos by Bilal From Tunis

Together with Eman Jaradat from Jordan, we gave a workshop* on how to use Creative Commons in combination with Social Media to Create, Share, Network and Build Your personal brand. We tried to explain CC, the different social networking platforms and how to share/find work there as well as emphasizing the importance of proper attribution.

The most amazing part of that is when we gave the attendees an assignment to create their own works representing current Tunis. Our participants were mostly writers and journalists, but surprisingly they have created very interesting conceptual work with limited tools and the internet, whilst one group ‘borrowed’ a designer from the other workshop to fulfill their concept.

You can see the results, as they were remixed into the video created during Stephanie Terroir‘s and Mahmoud Abou Wardeh’s workshops, which was projected in the concert.

Creative Commons Tunis Regional Meeting

Tunisia is a unbelievably beautiful country, with warm and welcoming people, despite the recent events, everything was completely safe and peaceful when we were there. So I absolutely recommend for anyone thinking of a vacation spot to pick Tunisia, you would not regret it!

*building the workshop and exercises and coordinating it online is a whole other story/miracle all in the spirit of CC, big thanks to Donatella De La Rata for bringing me and Eman together ;) and Naeema for providing guidance, the slide background and some of the slides from her presentation.

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Found this file laying by mistake on some corporate CDs we  have, the supplier must have mixed up two jobs together.

Anyway I though many of you would enjoy flipping through it, or sharing it with foreign friends.

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Tonight I am heading out to Amman for the 1st Arab Social Media Forum, a full day event wholly dedicated to Social Media throughout its aspects.

But the more exciting thing is that following my An Event for the Netizens post the event organizers asked me to be the moderator for all he twitter questions coming from the global audience(1). So all that you need to do tomorrow is follow the #ASMF2010 hashtag and tweet your questions to the speakers and the most interesting ones will be answered.

Looking forward to it!


1- Perhaps it is also an attempt to curb my natural tweet cynicism ;)

Beirut Duty Free - Ad Campaign - Take back more than just sand between your toes

My travel bug is growing worse and worse every day. My biological clock just knows that it is supposed to be somewhere half way across the world…

And passing by the above billboard by Beirut Duty Free Every day, evermore tingles my consumerism and desire to travel…

How do you deal with your travel bug?

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So you walk all uptight past that revolving door, get your bag from the security scan, up the escalator you go stepping on that posh weird carpet Phoenicia Intercontinental has and someone points you to a really insignificant glass door, a typical hotel glass door really…. you open it… and everything turns to purple, and it is a completely different piece of cake… That’s Amethyste!

The Atmosphere?

After sunset, you step into candle light and submerge into wonderful purple light… the music is soft and relaxing, but not sleep-inducing, rather entrancing. I guess my love of all things purple and its use in color therapy makes you slightly biased. It is not the place for wild partying, or coming all dress upped to check who is doing whom, wearing what… It is a good place for intimate … “me” and “us” time…

The areas is divided into different seating formats – there is the pool side, the area with the breathtaking sea view, the shisha couches, the bar…

The place is good for talks as the music, though mixed by very famous DJ does not overpower, and allows you to fill it in with your own lyrics… Special smells envelope you in a mixture of the plants growing, the sea breathe and a light caramel residue of the shisha tobacco whiffs (unlike the awful ones commonly encountered)… The staff are very amicable and friendly, so no up-tightness there either.

Amethyste lounge in phoenicia intercontinenetal beirut Amethyste Lounge Bar via @uxsoup

The Tastes?

I guess I should start by saying that at Amethyste, the food is served as though it were a performance. Final steps of some dishes are performed right in front of your eyes, the kebab comes with a small mangal with coals and is unraveled by a waiter from  underneath a sheath of markouk bread all in an theatrical and yet subtle manner. with  All of this adds to the magical atmosphere.

As you can see the presentation of the dishes is very nontraditional and colorful, with great pops of color. The table set and the cutlery is also extremely intricate with wonderful surprising twists…
When it comes to the taste though, I expected it to pop more and surprise me with flavor boldness. But it did not. Nevertheless, I need to say that I dropped in after a dinner at Chopsticks… Then again I would guess you would go to Amethyste for the atmosphere rather than the food,because no one would go to White after tasting their bland overly priced food. And still my expectations after the great presentation were so high that I could not help feeling a bit disappointed. The meals are quite small, so once again it is an experience rather than a dining place.

The drinks were pretty cool, and the ice cream deserts were quite good too. Have also been told that the shishas  served at Amethyst have very special blends and flavors, so try it if you are into that kind of thing.

The food at Amethyste Lounge - Mozarella and WatermelonSalmon At Amethyste lounge via @uxsoup Shisha Lounge space at Amethyste

When should you go there?

Go to Amethyste in the evening to have the full experience, as I doubt it will be as magical in day light.

If you are in Lebanon for a vacation, this the place to visit on your last evening in Beirut, it will help you amass all of your experiences in one final exotic punch.

If you are at very important stage in your life when you have a very critical decision, drop in to see the world in perspective.

When you are meeting old friends, whom you have not met in a really long while, this is a very intimate place for conversations.

If you are ready to pop the question, to your better half, do it gazing into the sunset diving into the sea, and no matter how commitment phobic your partner is, their guards would most probably be down in Amethyste.

And finally, don’t disregard the place for critical business meetings, especially for business partners from abroad, so far this is one of the best places for this kind of thing it the Beirut nightlife scene, and I am always on the lookout for these.

You Can check all the Amethyste Menu’s Below:

The Pool Menu:

The Cocktail Menu

The Main Menu

Also check reviews by fellow bloggers:

- This Is Beirut: The Opening & Hump Day at Amethyste

- Uxsoup’s Review of Amethyste

- Lilo’s Review of Amethyste

- Star Scene Photo Report from the opening night

I will leave you with the “official” description of the lounge from the Phoenicia Intercontinental Site:
Améthyste pool lounge will soon become the number one night destination in Beirut with an artistic vibe and Oriental international influences fused together in a purple haze. Locals and visitors may feast in the visual vista, quench their thirst and delight their palate in a relaxed and vital atmosphere. Améthyste features the largest selection of unique Tequila and Rum from all over the world.
Location:  In Hotel – Main Lobby Level – Outdoor Pool & Terrace.
Telephone: +961-1-369100

And don’t forget to let me know what you think :)

Images used via @uxsoup & @meinlebanon

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Last week some idiot completely blocked off my car and I had to take a taxi to work. By the time I got there, I had a nice acquired tobacco aroma from the driver, as expected! However, on my way back home, I had a very interesting encounter, that made me remember this photo I took in a Jordanian cab. When someone smokes in the car, or in any closed space for that matter, I always remember the techniques used to smoke fish & meats.

Anyway, the cab driver I was driving with on my way back home, though a smoker himself, ask his passenger not to smoke in the car and wait till he gets to his destination. Now that was an unexpectedly refreshing act as opposed to the usual cab drivers taking it as an opportunity to grab a free smoke and puff up in a good company :)

Have you ever taken a ride with any similar Beiruti cab drivers?

… and speaking of Beirut & Amman, don’t forget to attend Twestival Beirut-Amman this Thursday, March 25.

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perfect summer job

Last week, when we were in Jordan, my prince charming  and I had a whole 15 minutes prowling around the hotel room and shoving out camera and mobile chargers into all the three-wholes sockets with hope of energizing our appliances. And hasn’t every traveler gone through that?

And that stretch to the inner ‘aha moment’, that establishes a positive interaction and sentiment is what makes this ad simply genius!

HSBC think local act global ad electrical switches hsbc the world's local bank advertisement sockets

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Back to USSR!


Cafe/Club* Tovarisch (Comrade) in Minsk, Belarus


Anyone nostalgic for the great Soviet State, or those that didn’t catch the wave the first time around will definitely enjoy this place’s concept. All is done to submerge you into that far away era, except the service, which is immaculate!

As you go down the stairs to enter you handshake with the doorknob & are greeted by a Huge hammer & sickle installation with a USSR map backdrop. The spacious dining room fully re-enacts the interior & setting of typical  a Soviet restaurant starting from the music down to the knife & fork. 



And an alcove hides a bright red dance floor with an orchestra pit and a display of a huge variety of items Made in USSR.


Upon further rummaging you will also find the endlessly creative bathrooms decorated with Soviet newspaper & lampshades in the forms of giant flies.


Once you have finished you meal, you can write an Anonimka** and comment on the food.


The food is sumptuous and really affordable ( as most places in Minsk) a 2 course meal for 2.5 cost us around 25 USD. Sorry we didn’t take photos of teh food which we gobbled on too fast!


Even the restaurant’s business cards enhance the restaurant’s brand through the Soviet emblem & the traditional typography.


And their giveaway calendars forewarn in the Communist style: Have you been to Cafe Tovarisch?



What are your favorite themed restaurants?


*Well it is actually a restaurant, but in Belarus there’s a huge tax & licensing difference between cafes & restaurants

** In the Soviet times people would anonymously snitch on each other to the authorities, this was called an “anonimka”


Find out more on Tavarisch’s Website

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