Decoding Kissing Patterns

Another distinctive characteristic of our Arab culture is the unique way we greet each other. In the exception of some parts of Kuwait & UAE where they greet each other by knocking their noses together, Arab people tend to welcome each other by the act of placing a cheek next to a cheek and vacuuming off the air in your mouth and ultra-shrinking the size of your lips to make a "mwah" voice.

In western societies, the above "kissing" welcome is only witnessed among the females whereas men avoid physical contact and stick to the default raising eyebrows and a 3 word welcome of "you alright?" or "wussup amigo/homie/cuz/ my man/ buddy/dude?" that varies from a country to another.

Although Arab girls share their western counterparts in their similar greeting methods, the western man is usually left puzzled when he sees the complex different patterns that male Arabs greet each other. Sometimes it is not as simple as one kiss on the left and another one on the right.

Personally, I am among those who get confused especially each time I go to Amman to greet my family members. Each one can be identified by his kissing pattern much more accurately than DNA sample or fingerprint recognition. Here are few examples of the anomalies I faced:

Cousin A: Kiss on the left, two kisses on the right

Aunt's Husband A: left,right,left,right

Aunt's Husband B: left, right.

Uncle A: left, right, right,right,right,right,right

Uncle B: left,right, left and then he goes on a kissing combo spree that differs each time he sees you. Of course, this is directly proportional to the number of cigarette big packs you buy him from the duty free shop in the airport.

Uncle C: left, right, right, right, left, left.

Cousin B: Kiss on the left, kiss on the right and once you start withdrawing, he grabs you for a surprise last one that can be on either cheek (depending on his mood)


These are all the examples I have documented so far. I am still in my data collection phase of a much larger project; A project that I need because I discovered that my attempts of avoiding such confrontations has not been fruitful.

I dream of the day where we only use facial expressions or hand shaking to welcome each other rather than those complex kissing patterns.

But then you get to meet someone, like the case that happened with me 2 years ago, who refuses to shake hands justifying his decision saying: "I am not gonna shake with a hand that you might masturbate with"

You know what? I'll stick to raising eyebrows.

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Lady Luck’s Surprise


So I am back in jeddah. I still can't bear the idea that I'll spend my first summer here in KSA. While my family and cousins will be having fun in amman, I'll be stuck in this empty, boring hot place here.

Despite all that, I wanted to stay positive. Those 20 days were enough to charge my batteries again. My face stayed joyful until I passed the first check point at Amman airport.
They stopped me and decided to inspect my luggage. My luggage is composed of: laptop bag, hand bag, and a full suitcase that will cannonball items at you once you unzip it.

The authorities decided to inspect my handbag for "suspicious items".

"What's this?"

"Its my fruits bag" (note: my dad was jealous of me enjoying apricots and peaches from our home garden while he is not. So he sentenced me to bringing him one bag full of fruits)


I didn't like their sarcastic tone. I was unintentionally building up a compound feeling of fear and rage. I hate being inspected. After checking up the fruits, they preyed for my personal mini-bag that had my personal hygiene items.

"Shaving Gel- confiscated. Body Spray- confiscated. Perfume—keep it. Razor – we'll let it pass. Toothpaste- confiscated…"

I made the dreadful mistake---arguing

"What? Why? What do you want from these?

"These are the rules".

"What kind of rules are this? I came with them and nobody harassed me at the airport..So why you?" I was not even shouting. I was just expressing my discontent.

Apparently, they didn't it take it lightly

"WALA..who do you think you are? Don't be fooled by our civilian clothes. We are mokhabarat. How dare you speak to us like that?"

[Shocked] "sir..I didn't mean to…I was trying to understa…"

"You know what? Give me your passport…NOW…Come with me"

Shivers were running up my spine. Oh my Goddess, what did I do?

Minutes later, I was out. After they documented my passport information, they gave me a lecture on how they were being nice to me for not charging me of assaulting a government officer (WTH…assaulting an officer? I was not even shouting). My unfortunate meeting ended with a "we will watch you" signal and to be constantly inspected for the next 5 years.

Oh Great. This is the 2nd time I get what I call "greylisted". The first one was in Canada. Apparently, I misunderstood a law at Canada airports where you should report all items that you purchase OUTSIDE Canada and its estimated value. I put none because I thought that they were interested in tobacco and alcohol items. A "5 year inspection sentence" was their own way of telling me that any shoes, clothes or perfumes I buy outside Canada shall be reported.

The drama is not over yet. Fate decides to give me another slap on the face when I descended in Jeddah airport. I roamed the place three times before I gave up on finding my luggage. It contains:

  1. Most of my clothes (back at home, I have few shirts, 2 or 3 t-shirts and one pair of jeans). My shopping emergency siren is screaming like hell.
  2. 4 DVDs (smokin aces, next, saw II, casino royale) and one playstation 2 game (tomb raider)
  3. My Olympus C-770 Ultra camera– it's the most valuable item in my luggage. I usually pack it in my laptop bag. This was the first time I put it in a big suitcase. How unfortunate I was.


It has been more than 48 hours and my luggage is still missing in action. The Royal Jordanian airlines are trying to talk me to a compensation fee. I still refuse to consider this option. Moreover, it turns out that their compensation fee is ridiculous to mention. 100 JD..i.e. 150 US dollars. That barely covers one third the cost of my camera.

"STOOOOP"..said the security guy at the last check point. God Damn it…Now what?

"Open your laptop bag"…Oh Crap. I forgot that I was smuggling "God Of War 1" and "God of War II". One of the CDs was in the CD-ROM drive of my laptop and the other was hidden among my papers.

The officer was inspecting the bag. His X-ray machine detected the existence of a CD. To my surprise, he found the DVD of "88 minutes". I knew I had the DVD. I just forgot that it had been in my laptop bag for over a month. Luckily, it looks like the "88 minute" was positioned exactly right above my "god Of War" game, thus his X-ray machine detected one CD only.

He let me pass.

I guess I am not that unlucky after all. Its just lady luck is messing with me. J

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Tagged by ms loala

Available or single
available but not single...or single but not available. Wow it makes alot of difference

like a stock market. It changes every day

Cake or pie
tiramisu and lazy cake

Dance or exercise
exercising by dancing.

Essential item
K750i and the headset.

Favourite color
Pink...hey, don't make fun of me. Its my power color

Gummy bears or worms
hmm..can I have both? L.

Home town -

Indulgence – videogaming and daydreaming

January or February -
January, especially first 10 days. Its wintereenmas time :D

victims of future SAW movies. (I'd love to see kids' body limbs flying around)

Life - Life is a video game. Pump enough quarters into it and you'll eventually win.

legal sex

Number of siblings – 2 (double trouble)

O Oranges or Apples -

Phobias - Dysmorphophobia, & Erotophobia

Favourite quote - Money is brings alot of relatives

Reason to smile
Acmilan winning & beating Kinano in an argument. :D

Season -
Fall (time of tv shows premieres :D)

Tag 3 people
Grave 1, Grave 2, Grave 3

Unknown fact about me
the amount i spend on personal hygiene chemicals (conditioners, shower gels, hair styling gels, after shave, colognes, deodorants, body spray, scalp therapy shampoos etc) is MORE than the amount I spend on my clothes.

Worst habit
downloading (no wonder my 200 GB external hardisk is not enough)!

Your favourite food – Mjaddara &
KJ's pasta.


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Amman..Here I am

Finaaaaaaaaaalllllllly, I am in Amman.

I have been anticipating my leave for weeks and I am glad that it finally came. Since I arrived, I've been occupied with processing my papers and attending family gatherings. My agenda is already booked for a week. Lunch at my aunt's house on Saturday, lunch at my uncles' house Thursday, lunch at my grandparents' house on Sunday. In fact, my agenda is only full of lunch invitations. I will definitely gain weight by the time I leave.

The timing of my flight was at 7 a.m. which was invigorating especially with the fresh air that accompanies the dawn. The slow ascendance of the sun rising to flourish our day was so beautiful from my seat.

2 hours later, I am at Amman's airport. A temperature of 18 degrees was the best way to greet me. As usual, you rarely see a smile once you set your foot in Jordan. It is the land of grumpy people. As much as I was happy to see the introduction of retina scan and fingerprint recognition tools, I felt a bit uneasy when the airport officer asked me for a fingerpint of my thumb. He didn't appreciate me when I protested: "Can you take a fingerprint of my pinky? You know in case somebody wants to steal my identity, he can saw off my pinky rather than my thumb or index finger and I'd still be able to write and hold objects".

Yep, it was one of those times that I pulled a "hamza".

3 hours later, I've seen the first smile of the day. There was this cute hyperactive girl that was assigned to take an x-ray of my chest. She greeted me with "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"..."how are yooooooooooooooooooou?"......"isn't this the beeeeeeeeeeeeest morning eveeeeeeeeeeeeer???". Few seconds later after she supposedly took the x-ray, I hear an overjoyed scream of "yaaay yaaay..I have to repeat it..woooooohoooo. I have to repeat it..woooooohooooooo". Apparently, the first one didn't work because the machine was switched off. Later, i discovered that she was a fresh undergraduate and that this was her first year in the x-ray department and she is so happy that she runs the department on her own. After all, I can't blame her.

Other than that, I vowed to myself that I will use a voice-recjorder the next time I come. On my first day, I have been asked the same questions over a dozen times:

"When did you arrive?"

"For how long are you staying?"

"You came so suddenly. Why didn't you tell us you are coming?"

"When is your family coming?"

I got soo bored of saying the same answers over and over and over. I'll record my answers the first time and play it for anybody who asks again.


Anyway, I'll enjoy what's remaining of my time here and I will resume my blogging duties once I come back. I barely manage half an hour a day on the internet so excuse me if I didn't manage to read all your posts.

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A new insight to boycotting

In the aftermath of the 2nd uprising (intifada), there was a media propaganda that was endorsing the idea of boycotting Jewish / American products like COCA-COLA, NESTLE, INTEL, KIMBERLY-CLARK etc. Although the campaign has been successful in causing major losses for those companies, many people are short-sighted to the effects of a small decision such as whether to drink this can of coca cola or not. So let's pause here for a while

You can hardly say that Palestine has an economy and of course that's obvious from the political instability in the area. No investment, no new business ventures and thus no jobs are out there. This has exponentially skewed the unemployment rate.

On the other hand, Israel might be small in geographical size but it is the most industrially and developed country in the Middle East. I'll leave it to you to read more about it here. The point is, Israel is a country with a very high potential in scientific and industrial development. Considering all this and the factor that they have a population of ONLY 7.1 million people, you can clearly see that there are abundant vacant positions that are waiting to be filled.

In the end, the Palestinian worker (especially the ones supporting families) is facing the dilemma of either staying patriotic and wait for the "so-called" donations (that will never arrive) coming from Arabic countries before his family starve to death, or take a peak on the other side and work for the same enemy that his people are fighting against against. It's a tough call. But he may justify it by thinking that he'd be taking the money from the Jews, feeding his family and his people. Yea, that's gotta be a wise decision. Or so he may think.

Israel needs us. They don't have an enough workforce especially in the blue-collar jobs. They'd love to hire Palestinians as waiters, construction workers, plumbers, carpenters and other jobs that they feel they can enslave us whenever possible; And what a miserable state it would …to be a slave in your own country. But whether we like it or not, a reported number of 33,386 were working inside Israel as of March 2004.

Ok, now let's go back to our stand on boycotting. A successful boycotting campaign would result in reduced profits or huge losses (depending on the significance of the impact it had on the operations) to the business. Such a business will absorb these unexpected losses by reducing costs. And what would be the easiest way to reduce costs? Laying off employees. So guess who's going to get nailed after all? Poor Palestinians again.

This is not another conspiracy theory. I have been to Palestine 3 times and to Israel, Tel Aviv to be specific, once (illegally of course. Trust me, driving for half an hour through banana fields is not interesting at all :P). It was the first time in my life that I've seen a western European culture. Clean streets, many green areas, beggars making money by playing music, cars stopping when a pedestrian puts his foot on the street…it was mesmerizingly beautiful. The first thing that came out of my mouth after seeing all this was "I never want them to leave…they take care of it better than we do"

Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we should NOT boycott pro-Israel products. I just want you to think deeply about the impact of boycotting and its significance the next time you decide to take that decision. What would be your call?

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