Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Exploring Israel

Despite the difficulty of posting photos from slow Lebanese internet connections, I'm going to begin writing about Israel from a Lebanese/Arab perspective.

I'll be covering issues of language, settlement, history, ethnicity, and much, much more.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Prices in Lebanon

Lovely, lovely Lebanon.

I just went shopping for clothes. The prices are fantastic. The fancy shops are going out of business. They're having 300% off sales. Finally, goods are coming down to an affordable rate for Lebanese. If the situation continues, goods will be affordable for Syrians.

Prices for chicken, milk, ice cream, and other daily items have skyrocketed. If the situation continues, all I'm going to eat will be olives and apples.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Middle East Loves KFC

The American chain restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken is surprisingly popular in the Middle East. At least, it surprises me. I can't think of anyone more American than a Confederate Colonel, but that's just me.

There are a few KFC locations in Lebanon. KFC is all over Saudi, to the extent that people like to call it "King Fahd's Chicken" (although the joke's gotten old now that Fahd is dead, and Abdallah doesn't fit anywhere into KFC).

I ate at KFC once in Amman, Jordan. It was horrible. The one time I ate at KFC in Concorde in Beirut, it was bad too. But at least they have good advertising campaigns with happy pieces of chicken gracing bright red and white billboards.

I think I saw a KFC in Tel Aviv on the corner of Dizengoff and Arlozorov (or was that a Pizza Hut? They're owned by the same people).

In The Lexus and the Olive Tree,Tom Friedman writes about the big KFC billboard he saw out of his window in Kuala Lumpur. That was one of the few moments in which he was caught off guard and sickened by the American commercial presence.

I throw my weight behind Tazaj - the Saudi international chicken chain. The first time I ate there was in the United States. Pretty funny, eh? Tazaj in the US, but KFC in the Middle East.

Mmmm... Everyone loves chicken (except for vegetarians, and the Hindus who don't eat it on certain days of the week)!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Significance of Dates

The political situation in Lebanon is so bad right now that members of the two camps barely talk to each other.

In fact, when one Lebanese meets another a question is often posed, "Are you 8 March or 14 March?" An American Lebanese friend likes to say, "I'm 4th of July."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Interpreting Lebanese Statements

We Lebanese are flakey people. We love to tell people things that will never possibly come true. When we say, "Tomorrow," it doesn't really mean tomorrow. But this trait is not uncommon around the world.

What is unique is the style of Lebanese friendliness:

An American friend has a useful way of interpreting Lebanese flakiness. She argues that when Lebanese say, "We will have lunch in my village this weekend," or, "All of us will get together before you leave the country forever," we really mean "Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get together and have lunch in my village this weekend?"

Unless a date and time are given, the offer is just a friendly gesture. There is no weight to it, and nothing should be expected of the other. For example, one should not give the person a call on Friday saying, "So, are we going to have lunch in your village this weekend?" The answer will be awkward: "Uhhhh, listen. Uhhh, not this weekend. I've got this important event. But call me next week, and we'll arrange it."

The Great thing about Egypt

The great thing about Egypt is that it's so dry that you can leave potato chips out in a bowl for a month and they won't get soggy from humidity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cultural Learnings

The name of this blog is my own. The description, however, was the idea of Dr. Roy Brand of Hebrew University. He thought the title should be, "Khaled: Cultural Learnings of Israel for Make Benefit Glorious Islamic Nation." I chose "Abu Salam: Cultural Learnings of Israel and the West for Make Benefit Glorious Arab Nation" because it is a more encompassing of all Arab and Western peoples.

I must give credit where it's due.

There's a big elephant named Borat! no one is talking about.

Announcing the Arrival of ABU SALAM

It's been rough getting here. Travelling from Lebanon to Israel and the West is difficult: visas, expenses, wars.

But this blog isn't about history. It's about a new beginning.

I, here, am inaugurating a site that probes Israel and the West for the benefit of the Arab Nation. I've travelled extensively through these mysterious and powerful societies, and will convey my knowledge to my countrymen.

This site will also explain the glories of Arabia to Israeli and Western audiences, who too often fail to understand the incredible intracacies and wonders of this massive region, from salacious Saudi Arabia to lissome Lebanon, bold Bahrain, elegant Egypt, and keen Kuwait.

To best articulate this message, I am speaking the international language of English - a language not nearly as beautiful, poetic, or complex as Arabic, but of greatest practicality.

The Americans and the British taught me their greatest skill - Hard Work - which I will apply to management of this blog. From the Jews, I've taken their greatest skill: talking.

Posting on this site will be difficult for me, as I do not have an internet connection at home. It's too expensive, and the connection I would get would be too slow. So, internet cafes must suit my needs.

Let us begin the exploration!