A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: July 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Obsessive Compulsive Shoe Owner

Shoes by you.

Every single time I see my brother’s shoe collection, I am taken by surprise.

It’s amazing, he only really owns two pairs o f shoes, in various colors:
1) A million pairs of lace-free loafers.
2) Four pairs of canvas shoes.

I understand Gus’ obsession with loafers. Afterall, laces are the stupidest invention ever, and they should be deemed as vintage as typewriters in this functional day and age. The first thing I do when I get shoes with laces is knot them to death, until they turn to slip ons.

Comparatively to my brother’s shoes, here  is how colorful my shoe collection a few years ago was:

Do you have a favorite kind of shoe or shoes that you just can’t stop buying?

The Guide to the ultimate Arab Greeting: Cheek kissing

Greeting a person in the Arab world might as well be the trickiest thing in our culture. Is it enough to just shake hands? How many cheek kisses is this person expecting anyway? Is it one per cheek or three per cheek? Is he going to embarrass you and put his hand on his chest? Since they’re too far, isn’t a wave just enough? Is it necessary to stand up? What about walking her to the door?

Really. Arab greetings etiquette is just a pain in the ass. There’s afterall always that really high probability of a lip-lock, if your calculations are just a few seconds or centimeters off.

So if you’re as socially inept as I can be, or if you’re planning on visiting Amman, or if you’re a foreigner living in Amman, this little guide might help:

1. The double-kiss on the cheek is mandatory 96% of the time. Yes, some people consider you rude if for not swapping grease and/or slime.

2. When you arrive, you kiss everybody hello, starting with the person nearest to you and going in a circle. When you leave, you kiss everybody goodbye.

3. If you happen to be seated when someone walks in, you stand and wait for the greeting around 30 seconds before the person reaches you.




4. Women kiss women. Women kiss men. Men kiss men. Sorry guys, but you cannot avoid the man kiss.

5. But don’t kiss the other gender unless you are really good friends, really close family, or if you’re totally sure the other person won’t mind.


6. Do not, and I repeat, do not, touch anyone’s cheek with your lips. It’s really just for show, your lips should actually just kiss the air and make the popping sound.

7. Unless you want to get caught in a very uncomfortable lip-lock, kiss the right cheek first.

8. Often, the kissing greeting is compulsory for even people you just met. If you feel reserved about kissing them during the first handshake, you probably should when you’re about to depart.

9. If you want to show that the greeting is particularly heart-felt, lay your palm on the person shoulder as you greet.


When driving becomes writing

It’s not often that one can catch the attention of both auto-maniacs and design-lovers.

Toyota did just that, with the iQ font, typography designed by a car.

toyota font by you.

toyota font by you.

toyota font by you.

Here’s the font:

toyota font by you.

You can download it if you want from here, though I’m not sure how usuable it will be :)

Here’s the video:

جبنة شلل

One my favorite things in the world.

Plus, like I already mentioned, although I love, love, love milk products, I do not really like the yellow-colored variety. I would much rather stick to the multitude of ways that white cheese is produced in Palestine, although of course, being completely biased to the gods of cheese, I will always say that good old Nabelsi cheese really will kick any other kind of cheese’s ass.

Ya3ni seriously, can you think of any other cheese that would taste as good with the world’s sweetest dessert as it would would the world’s saltiest and herbliest sandwiches? Think knafeh and man2ooshet za3tar o jobneh. I think not.

But our conversation today is not about jobneh Nabelseyeh, it’s actually about jobneh shelal, a more obscure kind of cheese, for some reason I cannot fathom.

It was one of the few foods that we were allowed to “play” with as kids. But hell, you can’t help but play with it, it comes in a knot, exactly like a young girl’s hair. And then we would undo the knot, and start pulling out string by string, and seeing who gets the longest string. We’d see how far they’d stretch, before dangling each string as far as our hands could reach down to our mouths. Typically, we used to call it jobneh sha3ar, or “Hair cheese”. I only discovered it’s correct name recently.

Jobneh shilal was our finger food, always placed in the center of the living room’s table for us to snack on.

What’s your favorite kind of  cheese?

Ink Calendar

Here’s an awesome calendar concept. It basically uses the timed pace of the ink spreading on the paper to indicate time. The ink is absorbed slowly, and the numbers in the calendar are “printed” daily.

The colors range from dark blue in December to, three shades of green in spring or oranges, red in the summer.

[Oscar Diaz via Fabrik Project]

On making it easier to get people addicted to over-the-counter meds

Damn. This packaging is painfully gorgeous. The simplicity, the color-coding, the no-jargon and non-sense approach.
Ahh. Is it possible to fall in love with JPEGs?




Cease to Talk

Really pretty photography by Gregoire Alexandre.

[via Fabrik Project]

The Fate of the Biggest “Seder” of Knafeh

I actually found these photographs on Facebook with the same title above in Arabic. It’s amusingly entertaining.

Apparently, the creators of the world’s finest dessert have managed to create the biggest knafeh in the world. How too-fittingly appropriate. They used some 600 kg of cheese and 300 kg of sugar, along with 35 kg of pistachios. It weighed 1,765 kilograms and was 74 meters long. The sweets were laid out on a tray stretching across Nablus’ main square and were quickly devoured by tens of thousands of visitors.

Here’s is the funniest article about this feat:

“The bake-off is also meant to clean up the city’s image, tarnished by chaos and violence during the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. For nine years, starting in 2000, the Israeli military held the city in a chokehold of checkpoints. The restrictions were significantly eased last month, in a nod to the Palestinian government’s recent law and order campaign, and visitors can now enter freely.

The message of today is that we want to live in peace, Rabi said. We can build our nation and our future.”

Yes. And Knafeh is most definitely the best way to send out that message. Double definitely for building a nation and a future. And I am almost not being sarcastic.

I find it suitable to mention now that I always considered myself a cheese person. I mean, of course I am, cheese makes everything better. Recently though, I discovered that I am a white-cheese person. Nabulsi cheese, kashkaval, feta, and all other kinds of un-7ede2 deliciousness. Randomania.

A weekend away

[images taken during my last trip to the port city of Aqaba]

I’m really excited about heading to Aqaba tomorrow. I think I really deserve this break of doing nothing but lounging by the sun!
Have you ever thought of how water is so alien to our the norms of earthly elements? It’s gooey yet smooth nature, the way it just floats around, taking up everything that goes with it. It’s really quite amazing.
Have great weekends everyone! :)

The Stay-Cool Guide for Whiners

It’s hot. Yes. I know. I SWEAR I KNOW.

Not that it matters if I know or not, people seem to believe that whining about the weather can somehow magically make the air a little cooler. It doesn’t. It only makes it worse, and makes everyone being whined to more aware of how their butts are currently sticking to their chairs.

It’s been almost seven long years since we moved to the city with the mild Mediterranean climate, from the city with the hot Sahara winds. Seven long years with my ability to thrive on heat constantly ebbing away with each passing summer. I am half-way though to becoming a whiny, heat-stroked local. My stupid human body, no matter how hard I try, is starting to forget that 30°C was the winter it had growing up.

Here are a few tips that might curb with the whining, and they are all completely unscientific and completely improvised:

1. Replace a Mist-Cooler with a damp sheet hung in an open window.
2. Close your curtains and blinds during the day.
3. Flip over your pillow every few hours at night.
4. Get a fan.
5. Move to Germany.
6. Drink lots of cold, icy Pepsi.
7. Skip the apples and bannanas, and try watermelons right out of the fridge.
8. Keep your freezer stocked with red, frozen 2-for-a-bareezeh askimos, also known as popsicles

Not that I’m complaining, I’m guilty of whining about how cold it is in the winter :)

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