Monday, November 2, 2009


Right, let's start from the beginning.

I'm no longer on my "study abroad" year in Beirut, it saddens me and makes me happy all in the same time, just because of all the great and inane things I blogged about. So CONTRARY to common belief, the Beiruti Stupid is native to all countries and regions around the world, and I'm here to blog about it.

Now, granted, they're not ALL from Beirut...that would just sadden me. So I'm upstarting my blog, and this time I'm on steroids.

The first time I walked in to a Dunkin Donuts in Boston was in August 2007, just before I started college here. To my eternal joy, I see that they're selling croissants, which as you know, is a French pastry, hence its popularity among Lebanese (who says we aren't refined? huh?)

The croissants shelf wasn't labeled. I approached the cashier and blurted out "Can I please have a cRRRRoissant?" in typical "refined" Lebanese way. The cashier looked at me oddly and responded "You mean the French donut, sir?"

Yes you read it right, she said:

"French donut"

Absolutely dumbfounded by this newfound discovery - that in America, they tend to generalize foreign delicacies (Swiss Cheese=Emmenthal...I know, tell me about it) - so I resolved to answer tit for tat:

"Could I have a German donut instead?"

"A what?"

"A pretzel. Oh you don't have that. I'll have a Jewish donut then"

"Excuse me?"

"No? You're not catching on to this? Bagel? Get it?"


"You know what, I'll just settle on the croissant"

I hope you like it, there's more to come soon!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Story of Smurfs.

I know I have't written much in a long time, but I've just thought of this story and it seemed worthy of being told.

I was sitting in Math class the other day, early in the morning (that's 11am to you ordinary mortals) and as usual at that time of day, my attention span is, oh, maybe 3 seconds long. In order to be unobtrusive and unremarked by my professor, I have a habit of writing down anything that's on the board, while mechanically taking a glance at the professor every once in a while. Basically, I put myself in Auto-pilot and hope for the best.

It's bad enough that I'm usually grumpy and confrontational to stupid people, but I suppose this one takes the cake.

A guy in my class, usually the class clown interrupting the class frequently, decided to sit next to me that day. Considering we were close to having finals the following week, I thought that was wise of him. In addition to being slow-witted and basically giant-sized, his Achilles was his voice, for he had a rather squeaky voice for such a massive physique.

The first 20 minutes of class go smoothly, devoid of Squeaky's usually merciless class obstructions. All the better for my mind to rest. And suddenly he turns to me and asks a question.

I didn't quite hear what he said, that being a combination of me not listening (or giving a damn) and his high-pitched voice my sensible ears filter out most of the time. And slapstick as I am, I responded:

"I'm sorry, but I don't speak Smurf"

(For you uncultivated, the smurfs are the little blue cartoon creatures - Schtroumpf in French)

Thankfully, the cyclops was rather speech-and-mentally challenged and didn't understand a word I said.

I suppose I'm grateful for having an accent few Lebanese associate to properly, otherwise, I'd be in for a good beating.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FML # 1-2-3

I didn't sleep last night.

I go to class at 9:30. I get there on time, since my professor has a knack of ticking people off the attendance list if you're so much as 2 minutes late. Anyways, I was dead tired, as you can imagine, and I was in no shape to endure an hour and a half of Business Law lectured by an english-illiterate half breed.

So I start spacing out, I sort've unfocus my eyes a little bit, and since the professor was squinting at a Domino's pizza flyer (don't ask) I thought I'd have 5 minutes of respite. I stare into the back of the chair in front of me, which is to say nothing, and a girl sits down on the seat - I barely notice, but apparently she didn't take a liking in my behaviour.

So she waits till the professor starts lecturing to loudly whisper "what are you looking at???"

Thankfully I had the reflex of pretending I was half asleep (as I was) and that she had just woken me up from my day-dream (which she had). Nonetheless my professor now thinks I'm a perv.


Moral: If you think you're gonna start day-dreaming in class, shield your eyes at all cost.

After class, I start walking to the campus exit when this woman corners me with a free cup of hot steaming coffee. I gently refuse, since I intended to take a nap as soon as I got home, but she insisted, so I took the cup and I started walking away from her.

But nooo she insists on hounding me until I drank the whole cup, constantly reminding that it would be a waste of *good* (not so much really) coffee. So I down the whole cup and was deprived of my so dearly needed nap.


Moral: If you're going to sleep, and a dubious woman wants to hand you a cup of coffee, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.

Clearly after these two fiascos I thought, "What else could go wrong in the space of 1 hour?" Right? Well lo-and-behold, I walk off campus and onto the streets of Beirut to get back to my studio apartment, and some Machiavellian hag decides to throw away her dirty water out the window...and onto my blissfully uncovered head.


Moral: If you're walking on the streets of Beirut, you're having a bad day ALWAYS look up when walking under balconies.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A fine, fine Saturday morning.

Saturday Morning:

I wake up. It had just stopped raining, and I was in boxer shorts, heading to the kitchen.

I go on the kitchen balcony to water my dad's plants (my dad's into plants), once again in my boxer shorts. Now, watering plants requires some...bending. So I do my thing for 5 minutes, I turn to face outside because the sun's rays were just coming in, when I see this guy on a balcony from the building across from mine, holding a camera pointed at me. I flipped him off and went inside.

So if someone sees my butt on the internet, I swear I am not mooning you.

That will be a site (*sight, punny!)

Moral: Never go on your balcony half-naked. There's always somebody watching.

I go to the club, buy a bottle of water (at 4 times the original price) and I walk up the stairs to the gym. I was installing myself at the treadmill, when a girl I sometimes see at the gym on weekends comes up to me and asks me if she could buy my bottle of water for 5000 LL (10 times the price of a bottled water=$3.33) because she was beat and didn't have the willpower to walk all the way down. In my dashing Hugh Grant charm, I told her to save her money, and she could give me her number instead.

She said: "I'll go downstairs"

Fuck me.

Moral: Never get too cocky with a woman in need.

I decided that a haircut was long overdue.

So I walk to the coiffeur, I argue with the hairdresser because he tried to pass someone off before me while I waited even longer, and I finally got my seat.

Now usually, I daydream while getting my hair cut, because I think it's infinitely boring to wait it off and I didn't have a good view of the tv in the mirror, I didn't want to get out with a torticoli.

So I start thinking about different methods of humiliating my Int'l Law professor (I called the fool's teaching methods "sub-par") while the hairdresser does his thing.

30 minutes later, I come out with a crew cut.

Hey, it was still better than that mohawk he gave me at first.

Moral: Don't tell your hairdresser to "surprise" you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Frère Jacques

This morning I had a Business Law exam.

In the exam, multiple choice, there are 31 questions, each worth 3 points. Unconventional grading.
First of all, I'm having doubts about this guy's english proficiency. Here are some excerpts:

5. Which goverment [sic] body can annul a none-constitional [double-sic] law?
A) The Constitional [sic] Council
B) The Goverment [sic] Council
C) All of the above
D) None of the above

11. Ahmed sells his dog for 2 kilos of gold. His contract is:
A) A sales contract
B) An exchange contract
C) None of the above
D) A & B & C
E) All of the above


But, besides that, I finish the exam, and I start reviewing my answers. I count all of the questions to make sure I didn't miss any, and a pattern starts forming in my head. All of a sudden, the melody of Frere Jacques pops up in my head. Since I had finished early, I started playing around with the music in my head. The melody goes like this:

Do Re Mi Do,
Do Re Mi Do,
Mi Fa Sol,
Mi Fa Sol,
Sol La Sol Fa Mi Do,
Sol La Sol Fa Mi Do,
Do Sol Do,
Do Sol Do.

Nooooow, convert those in a different solfege and it goes:
C G C.

And to top it all off, 28 of my answers coresponded to that EXACT sequence of notes (in ABCDEFG manner). So I changed my 3 remaining answers to the song, in hope that the professor did it on purpose. And i sure as hell hope he did because i just checked my answer, and so far I have 27 out of 31 answers correct by my reckoning.

So either I'll get an A on this exam, or somewhere up there, God is laughing.

God, please be merciful. *smiley* :)

PS: Frere Jacques is perhaps the most popular French children's nursery melody. It also is the very first song any new French musician learns.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Micro professor

In the fall, when I had just started class in Beirut, I had registered for Microeconomics. As it happened, it was my first class of the semester, and I was ominously excited.

So I walk in 5 minutes before the class was supposed to start, took a seat in the 3rd row, and looked around. The professor was a thirty some woman, with very pale skin, long straight black hair, entirely dressed in black. So I called her Morticia Addams.

Weird. That's the only word I would use to describe Morticia's habits. First of all, she always turned off the lights at the front of the class, because she said the light didn't agree with her complexion. Therefore one half of the class was always plunged in semi-darkness. Also, when the class starts, she locked the doors so the late students can't come in and she would rejoice in scratching their names off her attendance list. And she had a very heavy Lebanese accent, almost Russian. It was weird.

Anyways, for a month the class went as normal. Her teaching methods were nothing short of crappy, but it was the only Micro class that fit in my schedule, so I stuck with it.

One day, she shows up in some kind of futuristic black latex/spandex suit, complete with platform shoes 5 inches high. Every step she took made a squeaky sound, as new shoes sometimes do. There was, however, an unexpected element in these shoes.

She goes to the board, turns on her heels in her signature move, and a sound comes out:

She turns back to us, slowly, and says:
"I know some people have phone mobile that make fart sound. Give to me now."

Obviously, none of us said anything.

So once again, she turns on her heels, beckoning the sound again:
"proooouuuut" coming from her shoes.

She turns back to us:
"Listen, I know I am teacher, but I am also friend. If who have phone mobile give to me now, maybe I not destroy it when I go to my home"

I know what you're thinking. Outright laugh out loud, right? No.
Remember, we were locked in a room with a psycho-b***h wearing latex shoes that make farting noises on the floor. So no, we didn't say a thing.

It was a horrible experience.

In retrospect I think she got her PhD by plugging her Arabic thesis into Google translate, it's the only thing that makes sense. Figures.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Failed Date #2

Well, you must know first of all that the "failed date" series is not in chronological order.

A few months ago, I believe it was early-December, I was coming home from class in the afternoon. So I go into the building, and step into the elevator, and a pretty brunette followed in. She uttered a small "thanks" as I held the door out to her. I press on the button for the 3rd floor, she presses the one for the 5th. The elevator urged upwards, and midway between the 1st and the 2nd, the elevator suddenly stopped and the lights went off. It was a power cut.

Now as you may know, power cuts are pretty common in Lebanon. About 8 hours a day are spent in the dark for the few who don't have a backup diesel powered generator.

Back to my story.

The building I live in does have a power generator, but for some reason, the elevator wouldn't start and we had to wait for the elevator repairmen to come over. Any amount of button-pushing wouldn't do us any good.

In good humour, I said in English "lucky day, huh?"
To which she responded "tell me about it"

Now you must put yourself into my position. I meet this girl, very pretty, kind eyes, slim, a bit shorter than me (which doesn't come along very often, I'm afraid to admit) and to top it all off, a perfect American accent. In a nutshell, she was a catch.

So we start speaking for a while, waiting for the repairman to come, and I learn that she's an English major, sophomore, and an aspiring writer. So after the elevator lurched upwards again, as I was getting out of the elevator, I ask her if she'd like to have dinner with me at a nearby restaurant, to resume our interesting conversation (smooth, I know). She graciously agrees. I then proceed to say "I'll pick you up at 8" (get it? I'll pick her up from 2 floors above me, har har).

So we go to this cozy Italian restaurant on Hamra street, barely a 5 minute walk from our building. We sit down, glance at the menu, and start talking. Turns out she's been dabbing with writing for a while, and had written about 50 pages of a prospective book.

We're interrupted by the waiter. This is our conversation. I'm E, she's S, and the waiter is (you guessed it) W.

W: what would you like?
E: I think that I'm in the mood for pasta.
S: Ooh pasta?Are you sure? It's awfully fattening.
E: Umm you might be right I think I'll stick with goat cheese salad or something.
W: Good choice sir but you must also know that all our pasta is made out of whole grai-
S: Yes, yes whole grain wheat. Anyways, I think I'll have cheese stuffed raviolis in creamy tomato sauce. Oh and I'd like some garlic bread to start with please.

Right so besides that odd conversation (in which she basically called me fat) we start talking a bit. I ask her who her favorite author is. She says J. K. Rowling. Now, I know what you're thinking, another hardcore Harry Potter fan, but at first I tried to be sympathetic. So I ask her what she likes about the novels. She says she loves the plots in the stories, the deep character developments, and the imaginative magic (imaginative, right, Latin words and a wand. Oh my! she's the first to have ever done that!). Now I'm not ashamed to admit that I have read all Harry Potter books, yes. But it's not quite something you advertise.

So I try to steer the conversation away from Harry Potter, and she goes on by saying "yeah, remember that book I'm writing? The one where I've finished 50 pages already? It's Harry Potter fiction, maybe I can continue the series one day..."

There's when she went brain dead to me.

The rest of the date was devoted to small talk and trivial conversations.

She did call me back at one point, to invite me to her parent's chalet in Faraya. But it was a no.

I'm cursed, I know.