A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: July 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

Rainbows Make Me Happy

Really. They do. Even pictures of rainbows.

I would KILL to have this hair cut:

Alas, I don’t have the balls.

I’m Not the Sunday Type

And so I’ll leave you with some pretty typography.

Cool Hunting Amman: Weibdeh is It

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Jabal Amman is over. Finito. Terminée. Khalas.

The glaringly horrifying Rotana screen of hell has sealed the area’s fate.

You can’t walk, you can’t drive, you can’t breathe. Most of the new places are cliche, devoid of soul, and exceptionally touristic. The original hippies that resurrected the area in 2001-2002 have long abandoned their posts for more interesting pastures.

Weibdeh, here they come.

Weibdeh today is the Jabal Amman of ’99. Many of the old apartments around Sharia Street are rented out by expats, local hippies, or families who have been living there for decades. You take a stroll down the pavement and you can’t help but notice all the new little shops and cafes that have been opening left and right. The art galleries and institutions seem to be on the increase.

What Weibdeh needs now is a couple more cafes, a pub or two, and a nice place to eat. Then it’s all set.

AndFarAway… Now With Real Fruits

Okay. Not really. Fake fruits and candy taste better anyway. But AndFarAway has gone through a series of improvements, and I have Mohammed Al-Shara to thank for that.

The improvements include:

1. We moved AndFarAway’s database from Yahoo’s disastrous hosting to Mohammed’s own. This will improve sooo many things, including better social integration (eventually, hi Isam), speed, and reliability

2. The WordPress version has been upgraded to the latest version (now I have to upgrade my Mac to Lion so that I’m all 201l)

3. Mohammed also cleaned up some of the database, which is really old and really large.

Thank you Mohammed, you rock! :)

I’d also like to thank a bunch of amazing people who have helped me out over the past six years by attempting to fix issues related to Yahoo’s disastrous hosting, namely: Ibrahim, Rani, Razan, Emad, and Amer.

No more Yahoo. Yahoo!

A love ode to Mashrou Leila; El Hal Romancy

Unlike the Egyptian movies, the Hollywood flicks, and the Omar Abdallat’s of the world, there’s something about Mashrou Leila that manages to supersede place and time. It’s in the realness of their lyrics. The lack of cliches. The pain, a perfect reflection of our own.

In Mashrou Leila lies randomness. A deep connection with a culture that has been “embarrassing” for decades. A love for rejects, rebels, and eccentrics. An embracing of a marginal society that lies on the parameters of our existence as Levantines, as Arabs, as humans. The life of lost kids, we who care not for the restricting realities of the traditional ideologies attempting to overtake us. Suffocated, restricted, enraged.


“El Hal Romancy” is their latest song. I can’t stop listening to it. It is so good I want to burst into tears from emotion.

“Tzawajni o eqra2 Engles fi sareeri”? Engles? Who mentions philosophers in lyrics? I am blown away.

Here are the lyrics:

الحال رومانسي

ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﺇﻥ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺭﺟﻞ ﺃﻡ ﻣﺼﺮﻑ ﺁﻟﻲ

ﺑﺲ ﺍﻷﺟﺎﺭ ﻳﺎ ﺧﻴﻲ ﺻﺎﻳﺮ ﺳﻮﺑﺮ ﻏﺎﻟﻲ

ﺗﺰﻭﺟﻨﻲ ﻭﺁﻗﺮﺃ ﺃﻧﺠﻠﺰ في ﺳﺮﻳﺮﻱ

ﺇﺫﺑﺢ الخروف ﻗﺴﻢ ﻭﺯﻉ عالجيري

الحل ﺭﻭﻣﺎﻧﺴﻲ ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ

ﺣﺒﻚ ﻛﺴﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﻄﺎﻉ الخاص ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ

ﺯﻓﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﻭﺱ ﺯﻓﻮﻫﺎ

Palestinian Men in 1940

As I was looking at this week’s installment of The Atlantic’s “World War II” special, I found myself automatically stopping by this image, due to the interesting nature of the outfits.

Then I discovered that this photograph was shot in Palestine in 1940. The caption reads: Arab recruits line up in a barracks square in the
British Mandate of Palestine, on December 28, 1940, for their first drill under a British solider.”

Notice a few interesting things about the clothing in this photograph:

All of these men are wearing espadrilles, which I find exceedingly fascinating. From Wikipedia: “The term espadrille is French and derives from the Catalan name for the shoes which derives from esparto, a tough, wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope.” No slippers, no boots, no sandals.

The diversity in outfits is fascinating. Some men are wearing the umbaz, some are wearing suits, others are wearing pants and t’s, and a few are wearing the sherwal. Unfortunately, I am not aware of the social implications of different outfits in the Palestine of old.

The 7ettas (headwear) are interesting. The second guy on the left is wearing it like a sailor, I suppose. Or maybe not. I was surprised to see Petra natives wearing the 7etta tied that way too in these photographs by Amer Sweidan. So I guess not sailors. Desert dwellers? Cool people? Who knows? The other three next to him are wearing it in the more traditional way. They’re wearing very diverse outfits with the 7etta.

Short Movie: I’m Comic Sans, Asshole

If you have 3 minutes to spare today, make sure it’s on this. It’s hilarious.

I’m Comic Sans, Asshole from joehollier on Vimeo.

More Reasons to Love Mashrou Leila

From their blog:


I hope this message finds you inspired, healthy, and in good spirits.

As you might have picked up from my previous messages, I’ve been working on a new E.P. for some time.

If you’re feeling supportive, it’s available for download on iTunes and on Amazon. You can buy it here:

iTunes []

Amazon []

Otherwise, if you can’t buy it online, then you can download it for free off of the band’s website. We have worked so much on the music, recording and mixing it ourselves – so we wouldn’t have to answer to any music bureaucrats – we’re more than happy to share it with you for free. you can download it on this link:

Support free culture. Support talent. Attend their Amman event on September 10 and September 11.

Ticket price is 15 JD inclusive of one free drink. Here is the event page.

The Ruby Slippers


Originally published in December, 2005.
This post is a part of the “NotSoFar Archive Project”. After eight years of blogging, the project aims to help you rediscover old posts, as well as go back in time. Somehow.


(The below post is not a diary-like entry, it’s just an experimental format for creative purposes)
(All images grow when clicked (whoptee doo))

Amazing how a day can seem so bleh while you’re living it and then when you look at pictures of your day later on you realize that it actually wasn’t too bad… it’s just that you “can’t stand your shadow”.

11:00 – 12: 30 AM. The most boring class with the most boring educator I have ever come across in my life. The class would have actually been quite interesting if it was taught in a different way… Bleh… I hate out-of-department classes. They just suck all inspiration out of you. You can’t even doodle zay-il-3alam-wil-nas in them.

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The awesome life of a student, eh?

12:30 – 1:00 PM. The post office, amazing how snail mail can asbolutely make your day. Especially when it is something made by a very talented artist, Scott Rench, who’s work I stumbled upon and fell in love with around a year ago. He actually has a quite fascinating exhbition now with the tag line “DO NOT JUDGE ME UNTIL YOU’VE WALKED IN MY SHOES”. Thanks Scott!

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1:00 – 2:30 PM. Art Criticism class, this week’s “tatbeeq 3amali” of the faculties art exhibition down stairs.

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3:00 – 6:00 PM. Ultra chic; our design studio. But alas… we don’t take the 3-hour-class amidst this inspiration, but rather, among the drabness in the “Mokhtabarat il Rozam il Mar2eeya” in the physics department.

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5:30 – 6: 00 PM. Life is scary on the big, dark, empty and extremely cold campus of Jordan University. Especially with all the trees…

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Long days. Too long a days.

Support Warsheh Initiative

Fellow Jordanian onliner Shadi Haddad (or Khaled, as I like to call him) has started a really cool initiative called Warsheh.

Basically, it aims to support skilled labor, and is targeted towards teens aged 15 to 24 who either:
1. Have no desire to complete a college education.
2. Have a talent/knack for working with their hands.
3. Need to provide for themselves or their needy families.

What you can do to support this initiative now is to like their Facebook page and thus be updated with their news. Yalla, it’s easy and quick :)

Just click here:

Warsheh Initiative is a non-profit initiative that was created under the “Social Leaders Program” with Injaz.

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