A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: May 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

Visual Illusions Galore

This visual illusion is really good. Stare at the dot in the middle.

What you can do this weekend- tell a story

Falafel in Jordan by you.
street smiles by .ash.

06390006DEV.jpg by Fata Al-Janoob.

Breakfast by Little Lushie.

So it’s the weekend- one of the hundred weekends you spent in this city during your lifetime, and even more if you count those lazy Fridays of your parents and grandparents.

That’s a whole lot of memories, experiences, feelings, images, documents, tal3at, Friday prayers, family lunches, and aimless lounging. And I’m just covering the weekends.

Amman’s story is the story of its people. It’s those little moments that make up the collective Ammani experience. The bateekh seller. The pigeons. Lunch at teta. Garden’s Street on a particularly crowded day. Dowar Abdoun in its heyday.

This weekend, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to give a little tribute to the city of my birth, Amman. I’m going to look through our family albums to see if I have any interesting photographs to share, in celebration of its centennial. They’re inviting everyone to share their ‘Amman story’. These stories will be published on the site when it is launched in June 2009.

That’s like, soon. So this weekend, why don’t you do that too? Just toss in your memories, and click send.

Here’s the link to the website.


Otherwise, read more about the idea on 360 East.

Hitler freaks out over Comic Sans MS

I had blogged about the “Ban Comic Sans” movement way back in early 2005. Today, after two years at Syntax, the type-freaks of Amman, I have a much stronger dislike for the Microsoft-created monstrosity.

By the way, this is an actual German movie about WWII.

The Six Crowds You Meet in Heaven

Well, if your heaven is Amman at least.

A little visual intro of how the various “people groups” of Amman collide:

Amman Jordan by you.

Of course, these are most definitely not every group in town, rather, the ones I am most familiar. Which do you belong to?

And who are these crowds exactly? Well, a little explaining is always fun…

1. The Rainbow Crowd

Books @ Cafe by a. ateeq.

Conglomerating in Jabal Amman and Weibdeh, the self-acclaimed Rainbow Crowd are to Amman like flower-power-children were to San Francisco. That is, freeing themselves from societal restrictions, choosing their own way, and finding new meanings to existing in this world (in the Amman context of life, of course).

They dress in ways that 92% of society find peculiar, and they listen to music that other people do not find amusing. They all seem to belong to a sort of secret cult with transparent forehead tagging that allows them to recognize one another.

The Rainbow Crowd people are usually creatives or wanna-be creatives. That includes starving artists (who are not starving), expats who left the comforts of their first world lives to hippie-around with idealistic dreams, and well, that’s about it.

Meet them at: Jabal Amman house parties, Books@Cafe, Room 29, Jordango.

2. “Tantat Il Bakalorya”

Amman Jordan by you.

Bakaloryans don’t get offended just yet. This term does not refer to just you, but actually to everyone who went to any of the schools that fall under the same category: New English, Baccalaureate, Choueifat, etc.

Although it might have been over a decade since they tossed their graduation caps, they still hoard around one another like no one else exists in this world. They are always very smartly dressed, whether fashionable or not. Their cars are nice, their houses are gorgeous, and they have a very refined taste in architecture, music, and about everything else. They all work at their families private businesses, making a lot of money doing so.

Usually, they hang out in each others homes, except for the few days a week when they meet at the nice places of Amman, like Nai, or Vy, or the Sheraton’s overpriced terrace (The Sanctuary).

Meet them at: Nai, The Sanctuary, themed house parties in Abdoun or Dabouq.

3. “Shelet il Arageel”

Bel Mondo Cafe by you.

A drive through Amman on a nice summer evening will get you to appreciate the huge number of people who inadvertently belong to this group. The argeeleh crowd is also the most diverse, as it includes many people from the other crowds as well.

The argeeleh people love their nicotine, deliciously inhaled via waterpipes, flavored to death with the most unexotic Mediterranean fruits: peach, watermelon and mint, lemon, guava, cherry, melon, just to name a few. The argeeleh menu is often more comprehensive than the food menu, with season specials.

The plenitude of different places all around town that provide ample space for this group to come together also helps in establishing a very colorful population. This population includes people from all walks of life and with varying degrees of conservatism, liberalism, outfits, beliefs, and cash.

Meet them at: Tche Tche, Shahbandar, Talet il Jabal, Cafe Doner.

4. Abdoun Peeps

Amman nightlife by adamvanloon.

Abdoun places in a nutshell: born to blossom, bloom to perish.

All made true by the people who move from one new hip place to another new hip place, catered to by the coffeeshops, restaurants, and bars that open and close depending on the season. They’re cool today, gone tomorrow, only to be changed to a different place with a different name, a different menu, and a different look.

The Abdoun peeps are usually fashionable, although of course fashionable is not always good. They’re also usually under 20, meaning that they probably never really saw heyday Abdoun, when the city’s favorite form of entertainment was going round-and-round the roundabout.

Met/ Meet them: Prana, Irish Pub, Coffee Nation, Leymoun, Houston’s, Broadway, Mirador.

5. Shabab Abdoun

Not to be confused with the Abdoun Peeps, Shabab Abdoun are usually college-age guys trying to find cheap entertainment. The entertainment usually consists of parking their cars somewhere with a view in Abdoun, and buying 15-piaster coffee water from street vendors strategically parked next to them. Then, they’d spend hours coming together and just chilling out.

Shabab Abdoun could also be from any other group, they might just be broke or not in the mood to put on the whole act.

Meet them at: The hill behind Blue Fig, the new ring road.

6. La3eebet Il Shadeh

sultan cafe by Frederik Ohsten.

With a couple more JDs to spend than Shabab Abdoun, La3eebet Il Shadeh ensure they have a whole night’s entertainment with their deck of cards.

They conglomerate at “guy-only” coffeeshops to smoke, drink coffee, and lethargically kick each others asses, while discussing the problems of the world. They know each other’s weaknesses and strengths (when it comes to cards of course), and generally only look up from the table when there’s a really cool goal on the football game being shown on tv. This is also the most mysterious group to myself, as I do not know how to play cards, and generally cannot see the entertainment factor.

Meet them at: Don’t really know, I know that my brother keeps referring to a place called “So7beh”.

Which do you belong to?

Possibly Related:

The Five Arab Guys You Should Never Date
The Five Women You Need to Stay Away From

Perfect Pancake Tool

My fondest memories of pancakes all revolve around my brother, Omar, who really loves pancakes.

When we were kids, staying at my grandmother’s house in the summer, he decided to make pancakes for himself. At 3:00 AM. What he ended up doing was burn her ancient kitchen table with the really hot frying pan.

Anyway, here’s a cool hack for a nice rounded pancake via Lifehacker:

“If your quest for the perfectly-shaped, drip-free pancake has lead you down the dark halls of infomercial madness, take note: all it takes is the re-purposing of a condiment squeeze bottle.”

In the image, a ketchup bottle.


Pacman goes Russia

1 by you.

Really funny.

Via English Russia.

tasmeemME- finding creativity in the Middle East

I just happened across tasmeenME, a mingle of Elance and Akhtaboot, for creative people in the Middle East.

The idea itself is fantastic, given that most creatives are more online than people who work in other industries in the Middle East. Plus, creatives love freelancing, and it’s often hard to come by if you do not have many contacts.

The website is still in beta, which makes me hope that its design will improve as time goes by (it looks too much like a template). Its functionality isn’t the smoothest thing ever, it’s not very intuitive, but I can also see it improving drastically with a few tweaks here and there.

Check out TasmeemME here.

Should I forward that email?

Dedicated to all the people in the world who still send forwards in 2009. Dude, the forward trend went bye-bye around 10 years ago!

If you love sharing, I have a few solutions:

1. Start an account on Digg, Reddit, or any other sharing platform.
2. TinyURL your ass off with Twitter, Watwet, or any other sort of micro-blogging platform.
3. Share links via your social network account, for example, Facebook.
4. Download Firefox and get a social bookmarking extension like Delicious.
5. As a last resort, because I hate forward blogs, start a blog or somehing.

Thank you for not spamming my email.

Where are you going to watch the Champions League?

The worst thing about big football games in this city is that coffeeshops and sports bar use the opportunity to weasel your dinar’s out of you with excessive skill. Tickets that include nothing reach 25 JDs, the price of drinks (even Pepsi!) quadripples, and they turn into schmucks with reservations and stuff. You remember our experience with Milano, after which we’ve boycotted it.

To make your life a little easier in choosing where to go, I’ve decided to freely advertise the Nox Champion’s League Final (this coming Wednesday the 27th), because it’s a good deal, and because I know the people who work there and I’m pretty sure they have something entertaining up their sleeves.

For 10 JDs, you get free drinks, free food, free gifts, and of course, it wouldn’t be a football final without the quizzes and raffles. The gifts should be cool too, they include signed Man United and Barca stuff… The best part as far as I’m concerned: outdoor seating by the Dunes pool to kickstart your summer!

For more info, here’s the Facebook event group.

If you want to secure a seat, you can pick up your tickets at:
– Showtime Abdoun 588 5055/ 88
– iSystem Abdoun 582 9504
– Dunes Club Airport Street412 5400
– NEM Office University Street 516 3357/ 079 5968967

They will also be available at the door, if they aren’t sold out by that time! :)

The Life and Times of Classifieds

I often feel that the gazillion classified newspapers we have in a city of a million people are the perfect embodiment of everything wrong in this world. Publicly accepted health scams “Lose 10 kgs in 12 days or get your money back”. Unmonitered cheating. Shitty design. Spamming the cities driveways. Waste of paper. Misinformation (and lackthereof). It really is very disgusting.

But sometimes, this disgustingness can amount to being really funny. Case in hand, these two brilliant ads I found in this weeks Al-Waseet:

Ads by you.

“New laptop. Modern American specifications. For Sale.”

Phrased in the same exact way that scammers trying to sell a house would phrase their ads, afterall, I guess this guy is more used to trying to sell houses with “Kitchen under modern American specifications.”

Ads by you.

“I POD Laptop. Area of 160 Gega. Excellent condition. Attractive price. Due to travelling.”

This one is absolutely brilliant. An I POD laptop. I didn’t know they made those. And it’s measured in area. And he’s selling because he’s travelling, which defeats the whole purpose of it being a laptop, as laptops can actually travel with you.

I’m telling you. Everything that is wrong with this world.

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