Expedia Scratchpads and Beirut

The other day, someone had asked me what I do for fun and I jokingly replied, “I blog, jog, and look up flights.”  When I stopped to think about it, I realized it wasn’t a joke. I’ve posted about the need to frequently travel in order to keep up morale in a draining country that takes its toll on your sanity. It’s a luxury I know, but work trips and breathers abroad have made adulting here a little more bearable.

Each trips’ afterglow lasts less time than the trip before and I find my Expedia’s scratchpad filling with destination options every week. I don’t book or confirm anything. I’m subscribed to Booking.com, Jetsetter, and other travel newsletters/blogs. Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 3.43.22 PMBeing bombarded by targeted ads that know I’m susceptible to DEPARTING FROM BEIRUT even though, when abroad, I’m a cheerleader trying to lure everyone into planning a visit to BEY.

It used to be that you would travel, return, and feel refreshed. Ready for another round after being up against the ropes. However, I return with pent up resentment and annoyance at the stagnation that is supposed to be home. I haven’t had a “it’s good to be back” in a while. Keeping my thoughts busy planning the opening of our new branch and my body exhausted via marathon training, I’ve come to terms with what keeps me here. It’s what has me rooted and hoping this place doesn’t burst into garbage-flames but those two halves of my life are also what distract me from the Lebanon-problems that are out of my control.

I don’t like being a downer and I don’t like myself when the travel bug starts getting under my skin. I do wish that it wouldn’t visit so often but maybe it likes the Beirut atmosphere more than I do lately so it’s been sticking around. Only time will tell.

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BambiRunsBey42K: Hitting the Half

This is the 3rd installment from the BambiRunsBey42K biweekly series covering the marathon training journey with NRC Beirut.

Let’s start this one off with the Olympic Creed by Pierre de Coubertin: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

This creed can be applied to our rigorous training since, just this Thursday, the coach said, “for those of you training for the 42, we’re just getting started.” The struggle is making it to and participating in the Beirut Marathon, not crossing the actual finish line. I missed two training sessions because my thigh muscles have been a little stressed and I’m hoping this will subside so I don’t need to take a full-on break now that I’m used to this momentum. But guys, I RAN MORE THAN A HALF-MARATHON YESTERDAY.

Even if Michael Phelps has 23 Olympic medals, the number 23 will forever be Michael Jordan’s. As of week 6, NRC owned 23 for a day, meaning we’ve overcome the half-marathon distance. I only made it to 22 before Coach Mark told me to turn back because I was going to drop but the Bulls legend would be impressed for sure. Then again, he’s a six-time NBA champ so he might just be like, “you alright.” Whatevs Mike.

Arab Ladies Running the Olympics
The first Lebanese woman to participate in the marathon, Chirine Njeim ranked 109 out of 133 with a time of 2:51:08 – less time than it takes me to do a half – AND she became the 28th woman to rep a country in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. 

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Photo Cred: Rick Egan, Salt Lake Tribune

Sarah Attar was the first woman to complete the Olympic marathon for Saudi Arabia in 3:16:11. There were 3 other female athletes from Saudi competing this year.

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Photo Cred: Lucas Oleniuk, Getty Images

According to Quartz, “All four women representing the kingdom this year could reach peak athletic level because they were either born in the States or have spent a large portion of their training time abroad. They had to leave the kingdom, where it is difficult for women to access athletic facilities, to earn their wildcard entries.” There is a group called Jeddah Running Collective (JRC) trying to change what it means to be active (and female) in Saudi. Read more about them here.

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Two Weeks of Hills
We did a lot of hills these last 14 days. Two days of climbing hills in Gemmayzeh with a bunch of hills by the ski lifts, let’s just say ’twas the season for inclines. All part of conditioning your body.

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Besides hills, we’ve been sticking to tempo & long distance runs in order to improve our stamina and endurance respectively. The wildcard run was our non-NRC fun beer run on cross training day. Our coach organized an easy route through BCD only to end up tracing the map of Lebanon, followed by beer and chips at Coop d’etat rooftop. It was a reminder that we’re doing this for fun, not for a podium.

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20K in Kfardebian vs 23K in Beirut
On a bright and shiny Sunday, we went up to do a 20K at high altitude in the mountains of Kfardebian. The 2000m elevation, dry heat, and uphill track were a different combination than what we’ve come accustomed to during our humid Beirut trainings. Add on the complete lack of toilets or tree foliage to hide behind and, as a female, you’re a little scared to down 6 bottles of water. Please note that I have never experienced penis envy before but men, in such moments, you are lucky that the world can be your bathroom.

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Oddly enough, Kfardebian was easier than the Beirut run for me. Yesterday’s was tough mainly due to lack of hydration and not having the right fuel in my pockets (I brought chocolate instead of nuts, bad move). I did what I could and next week, I’ll get it.

Bambi Stats & Mini Victories
Making it to the 23-1K is still huge for me. Let me flat-out admit that in the midst of every run, I’m not floating on clouds with joy but it is the feeling of accomplishment after completing every session that makes me come back. There were bad-run days in the last two weeks but I’ve never pushed myself beyond the limits that I’ve been overcoming during this process and it’s that question of “how much farther can you go?” that makes me want to keep trying.


Just for Kicks
In all the Rio madness, there was an article on Adweek that talked about how Nike changed Olympics marketing via their ambush marketing at the ’96 Atlanta Olympics. Their effective way of plastering Nike everywhere without being an official sponsor was genius and has changed the way brands can talk about the Olympics ever since. Read all about it here.

Running Will Run Your Life
A lot of fellow runners have been telling me that it’s normal for this commitment to take over your life since so much of what you do (eating, going out for drinks, sleeping patterns) affects your performance. As of now, even Amazon knows I’m a runner after ordering ShoeDog, a Garmin Forerunner, Shalane Flanagan‘s Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook, and a bunch of protein bars. I’m testing products for import but also stocking my pantry with the essentials. Looks like I’m just a sucker for pain. Kidding, but I’ve never felt more badass with this squad behind (or in front of, in my case) me.

 

10 Essentials for New Runners

Since I started running late last year, I slowly ended up putting together a drawstring sports bag filled with my running essentials. You can find a lot of these items at any store or pharmacy but I got most of my stuff from Wesley’s Wholesale because I work there. I’ve recommended the products I’ve tested and liked. I’ll admit being the product guinea pig is the funnest part about working in FMCG retail. Bring on the goodies!

…and then run off the calories.

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Photo Cred: NRC Pacer, Nour Ghaddar


PRE-RUN

SUNSCREEN
Living in Lebanon means we are blessed with sunshine 7-8 months out of the year, if not more. This means you have to protect that face (and those shoulders, arms, neck, and lips) when out on the road after 6am. The key is to get a sunscreen that is waterproof or made for activity so that it doesn’t irritate your eyes when you sweat. Factor of at least 30.

Bambi Recommends: Kiss My Face Cool Sport Face and Neck SPF 30 + SPF lip balm

LUBRICATION
Stop giggling. There’s a lot of friction that comes with running as a sport and it’s not just between the ground and your shoe soles. You need to apply a thin layer between your skin and your gear to avoid discomfort, chafing, and blisters. Hotspots: top of your toes, sides of your feet, under the sports bra lining, under your phone armband, edges of your shirt, and in between them thighs if you lack a thigh gap. Ain’t no shame, ladies do yo thang. And dudes, you need it (or pasties) on your nipples.

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Bambi Recommends: Vaseline, any generic petroleum jelly

DEODORANT
You don’t need to suffocate your friends just because you’re breaking a sweat. We all get funky after a 9K but let’s try to keep it to a minimum. No one wants to smell like wet laundry that was left in the machine for 2 days. Consider it a favor to humanity. You will also feel less self-conscious about your stench when you run into that hot bartender as you charge down the corniche.

Bambi Recommends: Secret Outlast Clear Gel. It leaves no residue, has no frilly flowery scent, and lasts all day.

GEAR
Just get everything absorbent. Absorbent socks, headbands, and clothing that will soak it all up and keep you dry. Shorts with compression lining help avoid chafing, a well-fitted sports bra keep the girls perky, and comfortable running shoes enhance your form.

Bambi Recommends: Nike dri-fit anything and everything. But seriously, don’t even think about wearing regular socks.

SNACKS
Depending on when you’re running, you’ll need to properly fuel beforehand. Morning runs require some carbs like a few tablespoons of nut butter on toast/crackers, dates, or half a banana. Afternoon runs mean you should have a snack a few hours before: dates, applesauce, dark chocolate, or some trail mix.

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Bambi Recommends: Artisana Organics raw pecan butter, Taza Chocolate Coco Bezos Coconut 70% Dark, Cote D’Or 70% Dark, or one stick of the classic dark Unica

SPARE HAIR TIES
These stupid things always snap in the middle of a run and you’re stuck tying a knot in a string that rips out your hair when removed. Keep a spare on your wrist for these moments or you’ll be forced to ask for one from an Olympian with a man bun. Please don’t run with your hair down, life’s not a Pantene commercial.

Bambi Recommends: Goody Ouchless pack of 10. None of that rubber band nonsense.

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POST-RUN

DISINFECTANT
You may still suffer from cuts, blisters, or rashes after a run so it’s always good to have alcohol pads & band-aids on hand.

Bambi Recommends: Western Family has a tube of rubbing alcohol wipes and a pack of individually wrapped pads which are portable and do the trick.

SKIN CARE
Sweating, running in the sunshine, blisters. Moisturize with coconut oil. Slather that ooze everywhere. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and sunscreen that has a light consistency. It’s not sticky and you can use it on your hair too. Vitamin E skin oil speeds up healing of blisters or rough spots because it prevents water loss in the skin.

Bambi Recommends: Any coconut oil would do but choose one you like based on smell. Some brands make you smell like macarons which is fine if you dig it. I prefer not smelling like La Duree. And JASON Vitamin E 32,000 I.U. Skin Oil.

SNACKS
A small snack after a tough run helps to restore muscles and your low glycogen levels. No need to inhale a bucket of chicken though. You can out-eat any workout with the wrong diet so stick to string cheese, dates, yogurt, a protein bar, or coconut water. These will replenish energy and hydration levels until you have a proper meal.

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Bambi Recommends:
 Dark Chocolate Nut & Sea Salt Kind Bar

EXTRA CLOTHES
If you’re not hopping into a shower nearby, bring an extra shirt and socks or a pair of flip flops to change into. Air conditioners are a bad mix when you’re walking around in smelly wet clothes. And have a spare bag to put your gross gear in because that stuff is going to be drenched so it’s best to keep it separated from your other belongings. Makes laundry easier too.

See you on the streets!

From Corporate World to Family Business: A Lebanese Tradition of Transition

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The struggle is real.

There are so many misconceptions tied to the working for dad route. The assumption is that you’re living a cushy lifestyle, able to jet off to Milan for a weekend on a whim, and incessantly receiving special treatment just for being the boss’ offspring. A chunk of the Lebanese youth, including myself, have decided to go for this path professionally and I want to shed some light on the truth of it.

BEFORE I GET ON MY SOAPBOX, SOME BACKGROUND: I work as the creative strategist for our American imports chain, Wesley’s Wholesale. Basically, I’m the advertising/marketing/PR/anything-on-Adobe/all-around-social person of the company.

Why would you want to work for your family?

When I thought about my career path and how I would grow in a corporate structure, I saw myself being able to do the work to make it to the summit. It was not a question of capability, it was more about investing in the future. Climbing the ladder, especially with Lebanon’s salary margin, looked depressing. If I wanted to live according to the standards that I’m used to while growing up, it was hard to imagine how to do that given the limited liquidity a corporate job could offer, even in the long run.

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Your salary is probably SO much higher than what it was at your old job.

Not necessarily. Working to run an expanding business doesn’t automatically equal Rich Kids of Beverly Hills status. There are more costs, more sacrifices, and more spending when you’re trying to keep all the cogs greased. A machine won’t run on prayer alone. However, at the end of the day, you’re busting your butt for your family empire, not partners behind glass doors. You’re not focused on the monthly wage because you’re looking at the bigger picture. This is your livelihood, it’s what puts your sisters through college, it’s what you can build your future-life on.

So you’re guaranteed a top position where you’ll never be fired. How difficult for you.

It’s not like being crowned a duchess. Do not assume that all heirs/heiresses of family empires are undeserving brats. There is immense pressure with such an inheritance. Knowing that suddenly there is a beast that you need to figure out how to tame when you were used to caring for domesticated kittens? It’s overwhelming.

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If you’ve got that position or that’s the road you’re on, it’s because your bosses think you’re worthy and up to the task. They see your potential even if you don’t. If you’re useless, no one’s going to drag a dead horse, not even your parents. They’ll only tolerate you for so long before they chuck your ass out. It’s not personal, it’s business.

What do you even do there? Aren’t you a designer?

I’m a designer with a background in advertising. This comes in handy when expanding a mom & pop, brick & mortar imports empire. I use what I learned via the art of selling in order to improve our model and approach. Branding, in-store customer experience, public relations, brand equity – so much of design thinking is part of running a retail business.

In essence, being part of management is like working for a start-up and your job title doesn’t encompass all that you do. You have to wear many hats and learn all facets of the business that you aren’t qualified for for one simple reason: it’s your business. There’s no such thing as “that’s not my job” because everything is your job. If someone slacks off or makes a mistake, you have to put out the fires and pay for the damage.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire someone more qualified for the job? 

In absolute terms, yes. If your spawn is in a completely unrelated field, not in it to win, or plain incompetent, finding someone else would be the better option. I can understand why many families don’t do this though: trust. When you have started a business that is making dough, you’re not going to grant the inside info to a stranger. The secrets of the trade, the magic sauce in the burger, the heart battery thing in Tony Stark’s chest – you can’t give away your recipe for success or you could risk betrayal. Confidentiality clauses can only get you so far before John Doe is stealing your concept and suppliers from right under you.

Don’t you have any brothers?

I can do anything my nonexistent brother could’ve done. Like a boss. Next question.

But you get to do whatever you want, right?

There is more freedom. Creatively, I have direct contact with my client at all times (dad) and I have more flexibility to work on side projects because I dictate my own work load.

But do I get to sign off at 5pm everyday? No. At Sunday family breakfasts, you talk about incoming shipments. At birthday parties, you ask about people’s thoughts on blue corn tortilla chips. Even when walking down the aisle of a Whole Foods for some soap while on vacation in New York, you’re thinking, “oh my god, these chocolates would be such a hit at Wesley’s.” Work never stops, you’re always on the clock. Heck, I’m even blogging about it.

Oh, so…are you happy or not?

In the last few months, I’ve met a lot of people who told me they tried the family thing for a while and couldn’t stick with it. It’s not easy blurring the lines; it depends on the nature of the business, clashing personalities, and what someone wants to do with their life and where they want to do it. For now, I’m giving it a try. Like any job, it has its plusses and minuses. Regardless of the duration, I know my time isn’t being wasted when it’s going to la familia.

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Nike: Unlimited You

There is a reason that most admen/women want to work for Wieden + Kennedy. Like the Harvard of the Adworld, it is the rejection email that you would pin on your cork board before returning to a brief for a dull local client with little or no budget. For me, I dreamed of working there because of the Nike work they did.

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Even pre-NRC, I was fan of the brand, collecting too many sneakers and swoosh emblazoned tanks to count; however, Wieden were able to capture why I loved them, bottling adrenaline into an edit via a consistent empowering message that made you want to go for the gold – whatever that gold was.

The duality in the above’s copy, narrated by the this-is-why-he’s-sexy Oscar Isaac, couldn’t be more on point when it comes to my brain’s dialogue while training. You yoyo between thinking, “A marathon? Who, me?” to Move, I’m running here, don’t kill my vibe.” The Unlimited You campaign stays true to Nike’s timeless Just do it slogan. It’s about breaking out of the cage you put yourself in, the box that you were assigned to fit into, getting out from under that ceiling that keeps you from rising up to the stars. It’s not about erasing your own limits and lightly brushing away the rubber ashes. It’s about obliterating those limits like they were never there. Every. Single. Time.

The Official Unlimited Manifesto
Everyone has limits right?
A point where you just say
That’s it. Enough. Finito. The End.
But here’s the thing
Limits are only suggestions
And “the end” is just something they put on movies.
Life isn’t about finding your limits
It’s about realizing you have none.
So get up. Get out.
Try something utterly ridiculous.
Practice ’til you’re reported missing.
Challenge the street court king.
Run the length of a river.
Then swim it back.
The only person who can tell you your limits is you
And even then you don’t have to listen.
Just do it.

Goooooooooosebumps.

The campaign also showcases the world’s biggest athletes telling stories about their beginnings and the dedication that goes into the sport they’ve adopted as their calling. There are more shorts like the one above featuring Serena Williams, Mo Farah, Alex MorganAshton Eaton, Allyson Felix, Simone Biles, and others. They’re like confessionals that make these badasses look human.

But it’s not just for the pros. It has spread within the NRC group here too. Our members have shared their own stories about why they joined and what taking up running with the group has done for them. Take a look:

It’s rare to see a brand’s projected image shine through to the people who aren’t sitting in on the conference call when the campaign is being born. Clearly, this idea matches what Nike is selling and doing for its customers since they’re willing to share their own experience & growth via a brand-sponsored club in their city.

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Photo Credit: Special Magazine

Our own Chirine Njeim will be competing in the women’s marathon at this Sunday’s Olympic games, being the first woman to represent Lebanon in the marathon distance. Be it in Rio or on the streets of Bey, athletes are discovering their own unlimited source of power, they’re putting it to the test, and they’re just doing it.

 

BambiRunsBey42K: One Month Down

This is the 2nd installment from the BambiRunsBey42K biweekly series covering the marathon training journey with NRC Beirut.

Unlimited Future
Like those Olympians competing in Rio, the team and I are discovering our unlimited potential after 4 weeks – that potential that will take us to November but continue on into 2017. This program has become about more than the marathon, it’s rewiring my mindset. It won’t stop in November because there is no end when there are no limits. 

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The Warm-Up Threshold
The more I tried to stick to nonstop kilometers of running, the more I realized that it got easier to keep going after the first 3-4K. When you first kick off, your body is still warming up and it isn’t used to extended bouts of exercise. However, if you keep pushing through those horrible 20ish minutes, it regulates itself and suddenly you don’t have that urge to stop anymore because your body’s gone into RUN mode. Mohamad Marhamo, NRC Pacer extraodinaire, says that he feels it around 2K and that this steady feeling will come sooner the more you train. Inshallah.

“Who decided a marathon is 42.2K anyway?”
That was a question a fellow NRCer asked while we were dripping our way through Mar Mikhael. I realized I didn’t know why. OBVIOUSLY, unable to leave a question unanswered, I did some googling. The story is that a Greek messenger named Philippides had to trek 40K to Athens to report the victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Legend has it, he busted into the assembly, made the announcement (“Nike!”), and dropped dead. How inspiring. Can’t wait to finish & die.

The long distance race was incorporated into the first modern day Olympics in 1896 in Athens. The extra 2K was sprinkled on top in 1908 to accommodate the British royals because Queen Alexandra had the race start at the Windsor Castle lawn and end in front of King Edward VII’s royal box at the Olympic stadium. According to Wiki, “the modern 42.195 km standard distance for the marathon was set by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) in May 1921 directly from the length used at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.” So there you have it, blame the Brits.

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Fun Facts: The world’s oldest annual marathon is the Boston Marathon which started in 1897, one year after the first Olympics. Women didn’t get to participate until 1972 and they didn’t have their own Olympics marathon until 1984 in Los Angeles.

Long Distance Sundays…and Listening to Your Body
Like any physical activity, an important part of training is knowing when your body in trying to tell you something versus your mind. There are days when you need to be okay with not making the mark. I missed a run (because of blisters) and couldn’t finish the long distance because of running shoes that were too small (long distances combined with higher temperatures cause your feet to swell so your shoes need to be 1-1.5 size larger than your usual size) plus cramps in my left shin.

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After getting the right sized shoes and letting my blisters heal, I went back out there and finished week 4, including yesterday’s 17K. The runs are important but your body is more so. Now, “3am Vaslin” has become my verb of the year since I slather Vaseline pretty much everywhere pre-run. At this rate, I’m going through one little tub/week.

A Missed Session Doesn’t Equal a Day Off
This program takes up a lot of your evenings but there will be nights when you’re going to have to miss a session for a wedding, a trip to the north, or a Mashrou Leila concert.

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That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for the night. We’ve reached a point where you can’t afford to skip a run so you get homework: doing the run solo when you do have the time.

My last solo run was in Rome but doing 11K under Beirut’s sweltering August sunshine isn’t the same as centro histórico at dawn. We’ve gotten into the habit of sending screenshots of our solo runs to our marathon Whatsapp group so we all know we’re getting it done. Not only does it help to see each one of us is sticking to the program, it also motivates you to drown out the excuses. Your team is running, why aren’t you?

An e-friend of mine shared this short about runners, take a look:


Bambi Stats & Mini Victories
I would have to say that running a 11K tempo run solo and then a 17K two days later would have to qualify as a mini victory for me. With every run, we’ve been learning things about our bodies and how we can improve the marathon experience; not just in terms of distance or pace but also what to eat the morning of, what time to eat it, what sunscreen to use, which socks work best, and so on. Knowing this key info will get us closer to doing it right.

 

Just for Kicks
Water dictates everything. When figuring out the route you’re going to do, make sure to note where you can buy a bottle of water…and where you can empty your bladder. In long distances especially, nature will call wondering why you don’t talk anymore. Another thing that shouldn’t be underestimated: stretching. Before and after runs. Take care of those muscles.

Becoming Obsessed or Committed?
And no, not committed-to-the-insane-asylum committed. I mean committed to this transformation. Subscribing to the Runner’s World newsletter, having a sports bra tan, and ordering only Perrier on nights out because I have a training session the next day. I’ve been reading about all things running, right down to a blessed experience known as runner’s trots. It’s the shit. This is my life now. I’m all in and I don’t recognize this person who’s suddenly…an athlete? I train? Yes. Yes, I am and I do.

 

Abboudi Abou Jaoudé and the Forgotten Era of Arab Cinema

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My recent patronage to Metro al Madina to see shows like Hishik Bishik and Bar Farouk has made me curious about the Lebanese history of entertainment. With Mounia Akl making it to Cannes, Nadine Labaki being a voice for our city, and Fayrouz being my morning muse – ever since that first taste of early Arab cinema at a British exhibit years ago, I wanted to learn more about this era but also see the beauty that was premature Arab graphic design.

A random Google search brought me to an Independent article from 2010 that talked about a man with an astounding collection of Lebanese (and other Arab) film posters. The investigation wasn’t fruitful; I couldn’t find out where this mysterious movie man was six years later.  No Facebook page, no Instagram, no pixelated website with an 8-bit mouse cursor shaped like an Aladdin’s lamp. Yes, that’s what I imagined for an off-the-grid poster hoarder.

Then after one Iftar with my old advertising friends, I’d asked the production peeps if they had heard of this Abboudi. I got his phone number and was told that he was operating out of a space at the end of Hamra. A few phone calls and a scavenger hunt led me to AlFurat Publishing & Distribution, an underground warehouse that smells of old paper, hidden behind a black iron door. Abboudi welcomed us in and immediately pointed to a row of large individually wrapped posters. “All originals,” he said. Apparently he’d been collecting them for some 40 years, jacking them off the walls of the theatres in the city.

 

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Roaming the shelves of yellowing pages, my immediate thought was, “I’ve found the Lebanese cemetery of forgotten books.” In his back room, you can go through the digitized archive of his collection while sitting among legends like Fayrouz, Souad Husni, Abdel Halim, Sabah, and Rushdi Abaza.

 

 

There are racks of A0s and stacks of the thinnest fragile prints, some for sale starting from as little as $10 and reaching $500. When I asked if he’s afraid he’ll run out by selling them, he said, “No no, I’ve got plenty. These are multiples.” To which I think, “damn Boudi, you sly fox, you really cleaned up.” And the meticulous care this friendly man put into preserving these pieces. Chapeau freaking bas.

 

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Only after my visit did I connect the dots and find that Abboudi’s collection was documented in a publication called “Hathal Masa’” (Tonight in Arabic), designed by the wonderfully elegant Studio Safar. So if you can’t choose one of Abboudi’s originals, you can always go for the full book instead. It’s sold at Antoine branches and the Sursock Museum Store. Although an exhibition was held last December at Le Yacht Club for the launch of the book, Abboudi’s collection deserves a museum of its own. Being in a storage room under a building has its appeal but I worry for their long-term conservation.

 

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But let me tell you, having one of these babies in your possession makes you understand what made Abboudi camp out at the Piccadilly as a young man. Just look at that magic?

If you’re interested in visiting AlFurat, shoot me an email and I’ll pass on his contact. Otherwise, you can try your luck and pass by whenever you’re free and need a dose of nostalgic tangible culture. Abboudi’s collection also includes old books and magazines. He’s open 9-5pm. Read more about him here.

 

DIRECTIONS: Continue along main Hamra St all the way to the end. Take a right at the fork after Bendakji cafe (driving parallel to Diabco Stationery and the gas station). Continue straight until the intersection. Touch store should be in your face. Take a right up toward Bliss St. Take another right before reaching Bliss and the fork with the tree in the middle (so you’re on the road that leads to Fakhani, Hussein’s Parking, Socrate, etc). And a final right into a small alley before you continue down the road. There’s a sign but it’s barely visible. Go all the way to the building at the end (same one that’s home to Inaash). Abboudi’s warehouse is at the bottom of the driveway below.