KaleidoKleio

Monday, February 27, 2006

Beirut

I just spent the most wonderful five days in Beirut. It was an extremely short trip, but it felt like much longer than it actually was. I saw a lot of close friends and family from home, including Raine, Rampurple, nibaq, and others, as well as some friends from Beirut. I got to do a little bit of everything, and it was a beautiful week.

Because it was National Day weekend in Kuwait, the city was, of course, crawling with Kuwaitis. But the good thing is you only see them in certain places (i.e. Phoenicia and downtown) and they never go to the really cool places, which is good. Besides, nobody ever thinks I’m Kuwaiti – even in Kuwait most of the time people assume I’m not – and so unless someone knows me personally they don’t give me a second “look” (besides which, most people I know don’t even recognize me these days because of my hair!). It was funny, every single person I came into contact with at the airport there, both upon arrival and departure, would take my passport, see that it’s Kuwaiti, look back up at me surprised and immediately say that they never would have guessed I was Kuwaiti. The guy at passport control when I arrived asked if I was originally Lebanese and I said no but that my grandmother is and he said he knew he saw a Lebanese vein in me. ;)

I absolutely love Beirut. It is my favourite Arab city, and Lebanon is the only Arab country, along with Kuwait, that I would seriously consider living in. Something about the place makes me feel at home there. I have been to Lebanon many times, and usually always go with someone who is from there, and so I get to see a side of Beirut that most visitors don't get to see - the local side. I obviously have a close personal affinity to Lebanon, other than just my own family connection, and it makes me happy that through that connection it'll always be a part of me.

All in all, a wonderful trip, and a refreshing break.

9 Comments:

  • YAY!!! good for you :) Glad you had fun. A much deserved break :) And to top it all off, you met up with Rampurple and Nibaq! NICE!!! SO what did you think of Is7aq?

    By Blogger Jazz Central, at 2/28/2006 9:49 am  

  • ...AND RAINE, JAZZ CENTRAL - HELLO?!!
    Hahahaha!

    Kleio - I agree about Beirut... Maybe we should all move there are become professors at AUB!

    By Blogger Raine, at 2/28/2006 3:51 pm  

  • JC: Is7aq was very quiet, but we did get him to dance up on the bar. Did he have a good time? What did he think of ME?

    Raine: It is totally an option!! ;)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/28/2006 5:21 pm  

  • Yup I agree Beirut does have something about it that is quite enticing...Certainly by the standards of this region, it can't be beat.

    I can't put my finger on it exactly but it's probably the vibe I get from the place, the atmosphere, and that in turn is a function of the people and their attitude to life and enjoyment.

    It's not without its problems though - the place is chaotic, excessively built up, expensive, highly sectarian (or was), and the driving makes Kuwait look like a walk in the park. But for all that, nobody can deny the country has charm.

    People rave on about Dubai but no amount of cloning can turn that disneyland in the desert to anything resembling the mediterranean dolce vita.

    I think if Lebanon could sort out its economy and employment, not to mention the odd car bomb, we'd all be over there eating mezze and smoking sheesha to a sunset over the Bay Rock Cafe...

    By Anonymous guzman el bueno, at 2/28/2006 8:03 pm  

  • Guzman!! :) Yes, in so many ways, Lebanon has got it so totally right. Unfortunately, the country and people have been the victims of a host of really shitty circumstances. But you're right - the beautiful and fun-loving attitude that the people have about life is something you can feel in the atmosphere there, and is something that you don't really find in most places in the world. I hope that Lebanon can make it out of its current economic and political situation and continue to show the rest of the region how it's done!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 3/02/2006 5:42 am  

  • Lots of people are raving about Liban but I've never been! :o(

    Inshallah I will go when JC can!

    By Blogger The Stallion, at 3/04/2006 8:03 am  

  • Go in the summer. P and I are going for like two weeks. I thought JC was gonna go then too. I think rampurple is gonna be there at the same time too. :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 3/04/2006 7:30 pm  

  • glad u enjoyed it... surprised no one attacked u yet about u calling liban arab... and yup we all will be there... i will grab stallion by the shirt along with me

    By Blogger Rampurple, at 3/12/2006 8:03 pm  

  • That's funny you should mention that because I'm currently in the process of writing a paper on Arab nationalism (top-down Arab nationalism vs. popular nationalism) in the immediate post-WWI years in the region that was then called "Syria" (including Lebanon, etc) and your comment is so relevant to what I'm writing about! So, yeah... :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 3/13/2006 3:03 am  

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