A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: June 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

Another place added to the boycott list

… and this time, it’s Milano. Yesterday, I got a message from them that read, “Milano Restaurant invites U to watch tonight Germany & Spain on a big screen. No cover charge.”

I thought, wow, that’s cool. Milano’s food isn’t all that bad and their backyard garden is very cute, so I reserved there for four.

We get there around 9:30 to find out that they had seated us at the very back of the garden with the tiniest, unclearest tv in the world hanging overhead. We thought, okay, it’s not a problem, we did book rather late after all. We ordered drinks and asked for the food menu, decided we’ll order pizza, a burger, and an appetizer.

The waiter comes to take our order, and informs us of their brilliant idea on how to capitalize on football. Except, it’s really much sneakier than that of any other outery in Amman, because at least everyone else is very clear on the extra charges.

“There are no pizzas today, sir, only main courses,” he says.

“Ok, fine, we’ll have a burger then.”

“There are no burgers today, sir, only main courses.”

We take a look at the menu and realize that they mean steaks, escallopes, and fillets, all of which of course cost over 10 JDs.

“Alright, if we order a main course, can we at least have a salad or an appetizer on the side?”

“We’re sorry, sir, we only have main courses today.”

Of course, we decide to get up and leave. On the way to the door, we notice that there are many tables that were served appetizers and salads.

We ended up watching the game at Chilli House next door, where we ordered a burger, a cheese coney, pasta, two cokes, and fries for under 7 JDs. Plus, they were super friendly and served us coffee on the house.

I don’t understand these retarded marketing ploys. They trick you in a message to think that they have no minimum charge, and they treat you, their customer, pretty badly. Plus, we would have surely spent a lot more money there if it weren’t for that “we only serve main dishes” marketing ploy. We would have happily had a burger, a pizza, an appetizer, and several drinks over the two-hour length of the game, and their total would have surely been higher than the 20 JDs of two main courses.

Well, whatever. Milano lost themselves some clients- and clients that were more than happy to recommend them to friends and family.


For tonight’s game, a pretty big group of us are boycotting all the places that are screening the game with minimum or cover charge, and heading to Milano instead.

Wednesday Brand Diary


This is my Wednesday’s brand diary. Most of my days really include the same brands.
The only Arab brands: Mood, Fine, and toot.

(idea stolen from here, hattip: Phil)

What brands do you use every day?

Survey for Ammanites

My cousin Basem has a project and has very, very nicely asked me to post this little, teeny, weeny 3-question survey for him.
If you live in Amman, please take half a minute to fill it out. It won’t take much of your time, I promise!


FIFA through the ages

Since the Euro Cup is not the freshest subject right now, lets take a minute to commemorate the various designs of the FIFA World Cup instead.

One of the reasons I came to love design so much is because it manages to sort of portray a decade. The colors, the styles, the technologies, and the copy used in logos, advertisements, posters, etc. are all relevant to the pop-culture of the days they represent. It really is indeed very fascinating.
When it comes to soccer, I do enjoy watching the games, but I am not a sports fan in the sense that I would totally root for a team because their team logo is gorgeous.
The cross between design, pop culture, and sports is brilliant. Here are the various logos of the Fifa world cups:

Fifa World Cup logos

1930, Uruguay:

1934, Italy:

1938, France:

1950, Brasil:

1954, Switzerland:

1958, Sweden:

1962, Chile:

1966, England:

1970, Mexico:

1974, West Germany:

1978, Argentina:

1982, Spain:

1986, Mexico:

1990, Italy:

1994, USA:

1998, France:

2002, Korea-Japan:

2006, Germany:

2010, South Africa:

Cause you know, there’s no one from home to support

When did so many people start rooting for Spain?
Sarah is espanaaaaaaaa…
Oraib is Spain “We Are Still The Championsssssssssss .”
Ola is glad that Spain won because they deserved it, and realized how much Italy SUCKS.
Zeina is only stating facts :P and is thrillledd italy is OUT:D go spainnn :D.
Faisal is OLE OLE España !!!
Ali is ¡Viva España!
Ayah is sooo happy for espana yaay hahaha italy in your face you deserve it.
Emad is Spain w basssssssss.
Seeba viva espaniaaaa italyy la baraaaaaaaa.
Hiba is and Italy lost.. woohoooo and they call themselves champions!!!!
Farah bye bye italiaaaaaaaaaaaa :P.

The Dutch Mills fight the Russians Bears
Ala’ screw penalties! oh well … давай Россия! , Россия вперед! GOO RUSSIAAAAA !!!
Fares: Spain against Russia/ Germany against Turks: didn’t we use to call this World War One?
Iman funny scientific discovery: vodka is healthier than orange juice.. proof: how russia played against holland.
Rami thinks the Russians are playing AMAZING football, and is now wishing they end up winning the title !! Espania, please do us a favor and CRUSH Italy …
Ethan is amazed at Oranje’s loss to Russia. Who do I root for now?
Mohannad is go holand, fada7tinaa :S.
Saif is RUSSIA Today………….
Ahmad da3aana holland…go spain i guess :P.

Other teams also have some following…
Samer Hopes that Turkey & Italy make it to Euro final.
Rand is Go Germany:) :)
Eihab is “Dance With The Portugese”..ViVa La Potugaal!!
Husam The numbers lead a dance..GO GERMANY GO!
Sarahis Portugal?? Croatia?? Holland?? Spain??….Hmmmmm!!!!
Isam is Germany Over All.

May and things are getting brighter (but busier)

May 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm · Filed under Geek Culture · Edit

Lina is on an adrenaline rush.
Hayat Is Excited :)
Ala’ is Half Man … Half Cocktail
Fouad is predicting happiness and prosperity to all. Twenty dollars please.
Aisha wishes all the 08’s a beautiful farewell!! :)
Yasmine is luvin it ♥.
Mashal Best weekend ever.
Dania is soo hapPy :)
Carmen is listening to Fairouz in a lovely coffeeshop in Hamra working on a chapter…and dreaming of the beach.
Justine sits on park benches with coffee and the sun.
Diana summmerrrr!! yah :p.

Meanwhile, everyone is in…
Manal was in downtown!! Beirut reloaded :P.
Talar is celebrating MAY 25 Resistance and Liberation day.
Farrah is in leb…. missing u :S.
Sarah its not fair!i wanna b in leb too :(((.
Yasmine is in Beirut.
Roof..Destination: BEIRUT.

September and the summer is over
The end of August
Weekend Update
Beginning of January
Feelings going around this February
April Sentiments
Status Update Special: Lubnan
June and things are getting brighter

Exploitation Frustration

Without much of a local soccer scene to speak off (unless of course we’re talking about racism), Jordanians tend to follow and relate to soccer tournaments abroad with a lot more passion (case in hand: Euro Cup, Italian League, World Cup, etc).

During large tournaments such as the Euro Cup taking place now, the entire town seems to turn into a large soccer themed party. The games are watched by every class of society, young and old. The good teams and the bad teams are the focal point of a lot of the casual conversation in offices, cab rides and waiting lines. When the games are on, society seems to forget about the horrendous rates of inflation increasing every day, their shitty jobs, and the gas prices: all that matters is the ball being kicked from European to European.

Soccer matters. It is practically the only activity that a large portion of the population rallies around, fingers crossed. Yet, it comes with a price, as the games are never screened on local tv. It comes on an AlJazeera +1 card with a price tag. For example, in our case, our receiver doesn’t come with a card slot, so in order to get access to AlJazeera +1, not only do we need to buy the card, but also buy a different satellite dish with a card-slot enabled receiver.

We considered it seriously at first, as there are at least 6 people with constant access to our tv who would like to watch the games every day. But then it was decided that instead of spending money on a receiver + satellite + card, we’ll just go watch the games we feel like watching every now and then at random places around town.

Then of course came the very unpleasant surprise taking place as “Minimum Order” and “Cover Charge”.

For example, below are the exploitation policies of some of the places we sometimes hang out at:

The Courtyard – ten jd cover charge
Salute- Five jd cover charge
Tche Tche- two jd cover charge
Champions: ten jd cover charge
Players: 15++ jd minimum charge (yes, with a ++) and a 5 jd cover charge
Books- ten jd minmum charge
Canvas- ten jd minimum charge
Prego- seven jd minimum charge
La Calle- two jd minimum charge

The only place I have called that actually didn’t have an exploitation policy was Dubliners.

I mean, it is really grade A exploitation to make use of the fact that not everyone has AlJazeera +1 to bump up the prices to a minimum of 10 jds, and even worse, a 10 jd cover charge! It makes you just feel like damn, if these guys are so open about capitalizing on such occasions, how else are they ripping us off on a daily basis?
I think I’m going to boycott the places that have high minimum charges and cover charges for good.

Typographic Scarf

Not sure how practical this is, but it sure is a cool idea. I’d imagine that Arabic typography would make a much better looking scarf though.

Via the always awesome Boing Boing

Rainbow Bright

Step 21: Jump at any opportunity to take pictures of strange sock/shoe combinations.
In this photo: Roba Al-Assi [photos | remove tag]
Added June 13

From the album:
“How to Act Like an Idiot – Part 1”by Hal

Hal wrote:
at 9:55am on June 15th, 2008

I’m only not on the Internet when I’m sleeping or when I’m shopping.
No wait, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to hug the Internet a little, for comfort :p
And yes. The socks are art. ART I tell ya. Yo when am I gonna see Rainbow Bright’s apartment?!?!? :D

Yasmeen wrote:
at 12:14 am yesterday

1: Roba’s apartment looks like the horrific aftermath of a Rainbow’s drunken night out, seriously, the thing just went out, got wasted, came back in there and PUKED ITS GUTS all over the place.

2: Roba, seriously? The socks?

3: Hal I wake up and hug Ally Mcbeal for comfort at night. She speaks to me. Is that so bad? She’s my internet. How lame did that just sound? Moving along.

4: Hal, your album is hi. la. rious. Emphasis on all three syllables please. Merci. Point final.

Hal wrote:
at 11:40am yesterday

Yasmeeeeeeeen! Ok so
1: I CAN’T WAIT. I am so gonna make fun of that crib MOHAHAHHAHA.
2: That’s what I said. The ‘seriously?’ part.
3: Seriously?
4: :D

Editors footnotes:


I’ve always been seriously amused by abandoned spaces. There’s a certain charm to them, the charm of a place that was once a person’s warm, loving home. The charm of walls that saw intimacy that outsiders have never seen.

When I pass by an abandoned space, especially in the once very beautiful neighborhoods such as Jabal Amman and Weibdeh, I always stop and try to imagine what it was like when the gardens were green, and a family sat and had coffee in the courtyard.

Yet, most of these spaces are impersonal to me. For the most part, the days of their glory came to pass before I reached maturity. My fascination with them is just that of an outsider, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be a part of that space before it was abandoned.

Then this weekend, we decided to go check out if there is anything to salvage in one of the first houses that my family ever lived in. They bought it sometime in the early-to-mid 80’s and we moved to Saudi Arabia a very, very short time afterwards, leaving the house abandoned to vandalism and insects.

During those early years, we used to spend the summers there, but then sometime in the early 90’s, we switched to spending our vacations at my grandmother’s house instead. It has been completely abandoned since then, and when we moved back to Amman 20 years later, my parents decided to buy our current home, because it is close to my grandmother.

The house has basically been forgotten for the past 15 years. The thing I found most interesting when we went there this weekend is how it’s obvious it was never really meant to be abandoned the way it was. The dishes are still stacked neatly above the kitchen sink to drain, the cupboard in the toilet is still stocked with toothpaste and shaving cream, and the toys are still haphazardly thrown around as if my brothers and I had just finished playing with them.

I remember those toys very clearly, and I remember that we used to love sitting on the stairs while we play. My mother had painted a Snow White mural on our bedroom door because I used to love Snow White. I don’t remember her painting it, but I remember being very proud of them.

It is one thing to walk into an abandoned space that you cannot relate to, and a completely different thing to skip over cobwebs and think, damn, I used to love that spot. It’s as if a moment of my childhood got stuck in time, complete with 80’s logos and 80’s fashion.

Of course, with a lot more layers of dust.

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