An American in Lebanon: Cultural Customs


Once arriving in Lebanon, you might not get cultural shock right away until you start getting into a social circle dominated by Lebanese natives, who have been raised with the culture. When you start committing faux-pas and wonder why people are gossiping behind your back, then you will find that you are clearly a foreigner.

PDA- Public Display of Affection

Feeling secure?


Some Lebanese politicians recently warned that the country is going through a dangerous phase of car blasts, assassinations and bombs, calling people to be “cautious".

With the escalating political turmoil, most Lebanese citizens are nothing less than worried about the situation. Do you feel secure? Does it affect your daily life and your mood?

“It’s unpredictable…nobody knows what’s going to happen yet,” says engineer, George Tabbal, “but we hope for the best.”

“This region is like a volcano…we pray to God it will be ok, but we don’t know until something happens. Waiting is the most difficult part,” says Ibrahim Shatila, shop owner.

Back to school...


It’s that time of year again. The time that children dread, the time that parents have been waiting for, and the time that teachers are ready for. It’s back to school time.

Ashrafieh will soon be full of school buses bringing kids to and from the numerous schools in the neighborhood.

For most young kids, back to school means putting away the toys and taking out the books and writing utensils for 8 to 9 hours a day plus homework time at night.

This year, back to school is coinciding with a shaky political climate (more shaky than usual) and this leaves parents nervous when dropping off their children. Anything could happen at anytime with the escalating pressures from all sides.

Domestic Animals in Achrafieh


Ashrafieh isn’t just about all the big buildings, the construction sites, the restaurants, the cafes, the shopping and the laidback people. It’s not just home to thousands of residents but it’s also home to the animals. You may be saying, “Come on…animals?” But the truth is…it’s their home too. Isn’t it?

The more you walk around in Achrafieh, the more you notice birdcages hung out side shops like good luck charms. Most people just walk right past them and don’t notice the tiny little being inside the cages. The birds. Finches, African Greys, lovebirds, parakeets, all kinds of breeds with feathers of beautiful colors that no one seems to care about, except for the child or two that passes by, holding their nanny’s hand pointing upwards and pulling the nanny towards the cage with wide eyes trying to get a glimpse of the winged wonder.

God Help the Outcasts


Whether they were born this way, or life took them down a rough path, they find themselves on the streets with nowhere to turn. Whether or not they could have avoided their fate, fact is, they’re living it.

Be honest. You see them, but you pass right by them and don’t think twice. Some of you. It’s not uncommon. When you have so many homeless on the streets, you sort of tend to become desensitized to them and their existence becomes trivial.

Children begging on the street or selling Chiclets or flowers. They are becoming more and more bothersome, instead of being seen as “the children of the future”, they are ignored.

From Day To Night


Looking for the perfect place to take your date for a good time? Look no further. Achrafieh is your go-to place, equipped with everything you could ever want to take you from day to night!

Start out walking around, visiting coffee shops and stores, have a light lunch, then go to a coffee shop and get ready for a fun night out pub hopping at Gemmayze’s hotspots.

“We usually hang out at all the coffee shops, our makeshift living room, and then we have dinner at some restaurant in ABC and meet our friends in Gemmayze for drinks and walking around afterwards. No reason to leave the area. You’ll save a lot of headaches from traffic and parking if you come early and stay for the whole day,” says Joe Malkoun, 32, associate professor at NDU.

Introvert vs. Extrovert


Achrafieh is home to both extroverts, those people who love to socialize and introverts, those who’d rather keep to themselves. Just like that, there are quiet places and loud places in Achrafieh where both types of people can exist peacefully.

Cafés like Urbanista (Gemmyaze), Starbucks Sassine and Colombiano also in Sassine are full of extroverts, as the noise from the inside and full patio outside resonate with loud voices and cheer.


Foreigners' Experience in Achrafieh


“Never judge a book by its cover,” they say. Well, I can concur with this statement.

Achrafieh is a book with an average cover. On the main roads, you see the commercial side of it. Modern buildings, major coffee shops, like Starbucks, as well as fast food places and small shops lining the streets.

My first impression: Ok, so just another neighborhood with residential buildings and stores. Boy, was I ever wrong. When I was asked to write an article for Live Achrafieh, I was excited to be asked to go explore the area, take pictures and see what I found during my adventure. What I found was more than I had ever expected.

Summer Hopes in Ashrafieh


Summer 2013 has arrived, and the shops and coffee shops of the neighborhood still hope that the area will soon be bustling with tourists and booming businesses... However, businesses are complaining of slow days, due to the current political climate, as well as lack of tourists coming to Lebanon.

“Last month was our best period,” says Cynthia Jarjoura, Store Manager of the Sassine Square location of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. “Three weeks ago, business has decreased, probably because of the political situation. People prefer to spend money on basic needs instead of luxury items such as tea and coffee outside. They’d rather just make it at home.”

Parking… always a challenge in Ashrafieh


Parking is always a problem in a crowded neighborhood, such as Ashrafieh. We asked some residents and visitors what they thought about this issue.
When it comes to parking in Ashrafieh, one might have to pinch and squeak in order to fit. In daytime, the street view is constantly decorated with cars aligned to the sidewalk. It´s crowded, to say the least.

“Parking in Ashrafieh? It´s terrible!” a woman yelled out as a response to the parking situation.

Most people don´t seem very happy when asked about traffic and parking in this part of Beirut. A frequent driver, Salim Turk, actually described the parking situation here as the worst in all of the Lebanese capital.

“I think that parking in Ashrafieh is worse than most other areas because many people come here to work. It´s a very busy place during working hours,” he said.