Tag Archives: Beirut blog
This past Sunday marked the first time I ever walked along the boardwalk of the Raouche.
Something that I intend to do much more often..
You see everything on the Raouche..
Groups of men beating the drums and dancing the dabke…couples staring longingly into each others eyes…generations of families watching over their little ones as they take a few wobbly steps…boys doing wheelies on their bicycles…men screeching their rollerblades right next to a group of giggling girls…toned athletes getting in their Sunday run…brides waving to no one as they drive by on their rented Mercedes Benz…couples on the verge of breaking up…men getting ready to jump into the polluted waters of the Mediterranean…a group of boys watching as a man swings around the coals of the argileh..men selling inflatable toys…couples taking pictures of each other in front of the iconic Pigeon Rocks..
and me, a girl from Miami..taking it all in..
It really was something…
What’s funny about this picture is its juxtaposition to Riviera Beach Club..only a few meters away, yet what a world of difference..
Probably a common sighting for Lebanese people..but can’t say I’ve ever seen a “cassette only” store before. It stopped me in my tracks as I was meandering from one end of Hamra to the other..
I stood their for a moment..trying to think back to the last time I bought a cassette..when a service taxi swerved passed me, spewing out exhaust by the ton..a poignant reminder than many of the cars in Lebanon date back to the early 1980s..
When it hit me, of course cassette tapes are popular here! Still, you have to admit…you don’t see that every day.
I was talking to a friend of mine about an upcoming wedding she is attending, when I realized that I never wrote about my experience at my first Lebanese wedding..
The wedding was on a Sunday a few weeks ago, and up until Saturday afternoon, I was running around Beirut Souks trying to find a stupid dress..which, as I found out, is the worst place to look 1. when you’re on a budget 2. when you are trying to find something that doesn’t have diamonds, a kaleidoscope of colors, ruffles, or any combination of the three..
I finally settled on a simple, strapless, knee length dress from Zara.. my rationale being “well, I guess I could wear this again,” and felt confident that I would be appropriately dressed for a wedding that was taking place in a chateaux in Jounieh ( a little misguided perhaps?)
..I had asked a few girls at work, and at the pre-wedding parties (what is it about that btw, you go out clubbing every night before your wedding? no such thing as resting up for your wedding photos eh?) and they reassured me that a knee length dress was appropriate for a Lebanese wedding..
LIES I tell you, LIES!!
With my dress purchase out of the way, and ignoring all of the warnings about how extravagant and over-the-top Lebanese weddings are, I decided to spend the entire afternoon, up until an hour and a half before I had to leave for the wedding, hanging out poolside with friends (wheew that was a long sentence)..which, in retrospect, probably wasn’t such a good idea, as I hadn’t done any of the pre-wedding rituals (hair, nails, and makeup)..
I finished getting ready just in time for the arrival of the taxi, welllll not quite…I brought my nail polish along, at the embarrassment of my friend, who had to reassure the taxi driver that the awful smell wasn’t coming from his car, but rather from my nail polish (embarrassing!)..
When we arrived at the chateaux, and I looked to see what the other girls were wearing (cause as we all know, this is what girls do)..I quickly noticed that they were all in full length friggin’ GOWNS, had all had their hair and make up done..and looked as if they were going to the bloody Emmys, or the Oscars!!
“Oh boy,” I thought, “If this is any indication of what is to come, I’m wayyyy underdressed..” aaaand, with my botched nail polish job, and my poofy hair (stupid Beirut humidity), and my scuffed heels..all I could think about was how I wanted to go home and curl up in a ball!
As I sat there, soaking up the ceremony and the setting sun ( i couldn’t understand what was being said as it was all in Arabic), I noticed the people around me giving strange looks to each other..when I asked what it was about, my friend turned to me and said, that the priest had been going on and on about how “this is it, divorce isn’t acceptable, if a divorced woman comes to me and tells me she wants to get married, I tell her there is no hope for her..” and immediately, my thoughts drifted to my parents, and to the parents of many of my friends who are divorced..as I wondered what they would think about such a sermon at a wedding..
After the ceremony, I managed to get myself a drink and some nuts from the Sudanese nut vendor (yeahhh they even had a Sudanese nut vendor!) and posted up in the corner, to get a view of a “Lebanese wedding…” in all of its splendor.. The gowns, the hair, the make up, the calculated movements of the young Lebanese women, the pouting of the lips, the slight arch in the back, the looks over the shoulder..the decorations, the venue, the meticulous attention to every last detail..the breathtaking view from the mountain top..as over done as it was..it was really something..something out of a movie..
As is to be expected, the food was superb..with dishes that spanned the globe..from sushi, to fajitas, from pasta to Lebanese mezze..and the desert,..the dessert!!..there was enough there to put any bakery out of business..but my favorite part had to be the dabkeh., which is the Lebanese traditional dance that seems to get everyone, even the most uptight of women, and the fattest of old men..to the dance floor..there must be something exhilarating about having your closest friends and family all dancing the dabkeh in your honor..
All in all, it was an definitely an experience..even if it was a little much for my taste..but yet another chapter in the fascinating story that is my Lebanese adventure..
What don’t they deliver in Lebanon? And on scooters to boot!
Gotta love it when these magically show up at your office..YUM.
Was watching the BBC before work this morning, yes, I do that sometimes, and I heard an interesting report concerning a mass exodus of female news anchors from Al-Jazeera..
I did some research, and found this report..
According to the Al Hayat newspaper,
No less than five Al-Jazeera female news anchors have handed in their resignations from the popular Arab television station. The reason – “Harassment and criticism of dress and claims of immodesty.”
Sources told the newspaper that the five anchors to resign are Joumana Nammour, Lina Zahr al-Din, Julnar Musa, Luna al-Shibi, and Nofar Afali.
In addition, three more female anchors wrote a protest letter to the network’s management. They include Khadijua Bin Qanna, Eman Banoora, and Lily A-Shili.
According the the report, sources claim that, “The Al-Jazeera anchorwomen are considered the most modestly dressed presenters of all Arab satellite channels,” subtly hinting that other Arab television channels have female presenters that wear more revealing attire.
I did an image search on google to locate some photos of the said anchor women, expecting them to be dressed like the anchor women on the local Lebanese news channels, who look as if they are getting ready for a night of man hunting at Sky Bar or Music Hall..
Instead, I was met with these images..
Umm..ok, so maybe the first two have tattooed eyebrows..but aside from that they all looked pretty conservatively dressed to me..my favorite being Ms. Joumana..what a beauty!
Wonder who, or what, they are going to get to replace these women..and if these women will perhaps found their own news channel!