AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: April 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Very Non-Jordanian: O Beach

O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan

This week I went to O Beach’s pre-opening media dinner with Oula Farawati.

O Beach is the Dead Sea’s latest private beach, around 5KM away from the last hotel on the strip. It’s big, pretty, and impressive, thankfully staying away from the old Jordanian village style that the other hotels stick to to please Western tourists.

What’s interesting to me about O Beach is the concept, which is very different than anything else we have in the country. I’m not sure about pricing (reports are conflicting), but they have three kinds of “entries”:

1. The Cabbana, an open air tent with a TV, outdoor conditioning, a dining room, a living room, a private changing room, and a jacuzzi.
O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan

2. The lounging beds, for two.
O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan

3. The regular sun-bathing chair.
O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan

They have no hotel, and you can either rent out the “chairs” or whatever under two shifts: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM or 6:00 PM to 3:00 AM. This style makes me think of a hard-core party place, though I’m not sure who their target audience is exactly. I know I’m not a part of their target audience, because I do not really find the place appealing.

O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan
O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan O Beach Dead Sea, Jordan

Interesting idea nonetheless. It should be fascinating to see whether such a concept succeeds in Jordan. My gut feeling tells me it won’t. I mean, the place will succeed, but they’ll change the formula a lot from what they currently have. 

Email Dreams

I have the terrible, terrible, terrible habit of obsessive compulsive email checking.

During the day it’s usually okay, thanks to G(love)Mail’s Superstars Lab.

When it is by no means okay is when I’m sleeping. I don’t even realize that I’m reaching out to my phone while three-quarters asleep to check my mail.

It’s not totally weird as one of the perks of being a member of my family is very conscious sleeping. We all sleep with our eyes open, talk in our sleep, and…wait for this… have the wonderfully powerful ability of carrying out proper conversations while completely unconscious. It was brilliantly practical when we were kids, I always used to tell my mother that I got bad grades when she was asleep. Of course I’d know she was asleep, but what could she say when I’d tell her that her eyes were open and she was talking back a couple of months later? So practical.

Naturally, 15 years later, I’m getting the even worse side of conscious sleeping. I check my email and the emails I read at night sort-of drift off as dreams. What am I supposed to tell people who later ask me why I haven’t replied? “Oh, sorry, I thought you were a figment of my imagination”?

Point is, if you’re expecting any replies from me, don’t hate me too much for not replying. I thought your email was a figment of my imagination.

P.S. A really cool part of being a conscious sleeper is that I usually wake up continuing in my head the last thought I had before I dozed. Like literally. Mid-sentence. It’s so cool.

Okay, It’s Official

My Facebook profile is more popular than my blog.
I understand why, it’s my hub. It’s automatically connected to this, so all posts are aggregated. My Twitter account is also linked to Facebook, so all my tweets turn into status updates, which are also so much more feedback on Facebook rather than Twitter. My Twitter is constantly updated, either on mental time-outs or by prescheduled tweets, resulting in the world’s most updated non-spam Facebook account.
To make matters even more appealing, Facebook’s reply-to-comments by email feature means that it’s constantly and instantly fed with comments from my side without ever leaving my favorite place in the world, which is my inbox.
It makes sense that the same content gets more reactions on a pool of 800 Facebook friends than an open URL. All my Facebook friends are either actual friends or people who added me because they like my blog. Facebook is like Friendfeed for the average user, and an aggregation is quite convenient.
My poor blog though. I told you Facebook is the center of the world. Can’t link that though as this is typed from my phone. Here’s how you find it yourself, if you’re using Firefox: ctrl+t, ctrl+k, now type: “site:andfaraway.net facebook universe” (without quotations).
Manual is the way to go. Now I go back to reading Monocle.
Anyone knows where I can find logically priced issues of Inc. and Wired?

Have you heard of Amman Tech Tuesdays?

Here’s another nifty initiative from the local tech community: Amman Tech Tuesdays, which takes place on the first Tuesday of every month.

The idea is as simple as it sounds. A day that brings tech enthusiasts in Jordan together, from the IT geek to the investor with a few thousand JDs wanting to start “the next Google”.

Here’s what the organizers say about it: “Amman Tech Tuesday (#AmmanTT) a local platform that brings engineers, business people, experts, investors, marketers, entrepreneurs, students and regular enthusiasts from the technology community together on the first Tuesday of every month in a casual but structured setting. The main goal behind the program is to organically fortify and interweave tech-ties in Amman to further our position as the region’s Silicon valley/Sahara.”

Great idea, isn’t it? You can read more about the event on the Amman Tech Tuesday Facebook page.

See you there :)

Sandwicheh Heaven

One of my favorite sandwiches ever is Halloum with veggies, probably because my dad used to make them all the time, and it was always such a feat when he made them for us.

I’m eating that right now, and here’s how you do it:

Halloum cheese, sliced, and preferably from the deli guy, and not the fridge.
https://i1.wp.com/www.radio-canada.ca/regions/greg/imggreg/20061025halloum_asiette.jpg?w=629

Sliced tomatoes, cold.
https://i2.wp.com/sandiandneil.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/sliced-tomatoes-copy.jpg?resize=257%2C191

Sliced cucumbers, also cold.
http://handmadeathomestead.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/sliced-cuke-crop_3230.jpg?resize=252%2C250

All put together in something very bready. Today I’m eating in in Ka3ek, though the most universal bread that works just as yummily with is French bread.

https://i1.wp.com/www.carolscafe.com/Quickstart/ImageLib/2k9_french_bread.jpg?resize=352%2C255

Top with a drizzle of oil and toast lightly.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

The Rebranding of Mood FM

My radio dial is usually switching between two channels, Sunny and Mood, depending on which has less corny music at any given point. But while Sunny is such a cool and colorful brand, Mood’s branding has always been embarrassingly lame — the jingles, the cheap live-trace filters of Celine Dion and Lionel Richie, the weird interludes like “Where in the World?” which make me feel like a 60-year-old woman in overalls and Bingo. It almost makes me not want anyone to know that I listen to Mood!

Even worse, the spot for ugliest radio brand in Amman was passed on to Mood FM after Beat rebranded a couple of years ago. Their brand was so ugly that I almost had a heart attack when I saw the new billboard on the way home. What? No more Live Trace filters? Did they finally realize the need for a more contemporary and classy look?

Mood 92 rebranding

Apparently, they did. The typography isn’t bad, the vibe is right, though I do wish they went with monochrome. I’m glad they dropped the FM in the name and replaced it with the frequency. Their website is not such good proof, it still looks like it was done 7 years ago, but whatever, it’s a huge improvement so I’m not going to whine.

Their previous visual pollution:
Mood FM Ugly Branding

3o2bal 3end the rest of this city’s brands!

So You Need a Typeface?

This a bookmark to self, kinda, but some of you might enjoy it.

This is a flow chart designed to help people find a typeface.

https://i0.wp.com/julianhansen.com/files/infographiclarge_v2.png?resize=536%2C378

Brilliant.

(fonts, font, find font, font finer)

Urban Review: Turtle Green Tea Bar

Turtle Green, Tea Bar

There is hope for Jabal Amman yet, as the newest outery, dubbed “Turtle Green Tea Bar”, happily proves.

During the past few years, Rainbow Street has suffered from the marring attacks of crappy, non-nonsensical, tourist-seeking “village style” design. This design style (also affecting downtown Amman) is really, REALLY stupid, butchering the modern history of Amman and the ancient history of Philadelphia. It would work in a city like Damascus, but the vintage wood, “Bab Il Hara” visuals, and waiters wearing 2aba2eeb is complete historical vandalism for a city as young as Amman. Even Falafal Al-Quds, one of our modern landmarks, has succumbed to this hideous trend. Ahmad had predicted this marring back in 2008, so you can read his post here.

Turtle Green, Tea Bar

Turtle Green, Tea Bar

Turtle Green, on the other hand, half way between Old Times Cafe and Falafel Al-Quds, is the epitome of what Rainbow Street represents, historically speaking. Laid back and brilliantly modern, yet completely unassuming, Turtle Green is Amman’s first tea bar.  

Taste

Style

Vibes

Price

Parking

Staff

The interior of the place rocks. It is neither underdesigned nor overdesigned. Some additions are kitschy, and others are stunning. The mix is extremely comfortable — it’s the kind of place where you’d feel so comfortable sitting at for hours, and hours, whether working using their free Wi-fi connection or chatting with a group of very good friends.

The staff (mostly the owners at this point) did a great job at making me feel like this place can be home. The tea selection is not overwhelming, and I really enjoyed my cold jasmine tea.

This is my favorite new place since Las Tapas.

Turtle Green, Tea Bar Turtle Green, Tea Bar IMG_3381 Turtle Green, Tea Bar

Final verdict: Kick ass. Totally recommended.

Total:

Location: Jabal Amman, Rainbow Street, across from the British Council
Reservations: no
Phone: no idea
Recommended Item: Jasmine Ice Tea
Average Price: 2.5 JDs

Amrooz

Funny Looking Boys

Double B

Funny Looking Boys

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