March 18, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Birthday Girl on the slopes of Feraya

Happy Birthday to me! I’ve stopped counting the years; anything above 35 really doesn’t matter anymore. I went up to the mountains with Eddie last night, stayed over with some friends and went skiing early this morning.
Hubbie did send me a ‘happy birthday’ message from Beirut. That was more then I expected after I had so horribly forgotten his birthday last week. But he’s not like me; he doesn’t care, doesn’t hold grudges and he isn’t vengeful. It just is so very complicated: this entire family consists of Pisces. Hubbie, I, brother in-law, sister in-law, mother in-law and father in-law all celebrate their birthdays within 21 days of each other. We start unwrapping end of February and do not stop until the end of March.
Anyway, I spend my birthday up in the mountains above Beirut. It was a bit foggy at first, so we didn’t put any sunscreen. It did get sunny later; as a result the skin on my front head is as tight as a drum right now, burned to a crisp. I read somewhere some time ago that if you are over a certain age, you should never expose your skin to the full sunlight anymore, wear hats, and use a total sunblock. But what is the fun of it all?

Kids in the truck after skiing; Rand, Michael, Adrian & Deya

Not much is going on in Beirut these days. There is some kind of national dialogue going on between the different political parties, without much success, the president is still president although they are quite actively trying to get him out of office, a third UN report still has not pointed out exactly who murdered former PM Rafic Hariri, and bird flu has now officially reached Israel. If it is in Israel, it most definitely is present in Syria and Lebanon too. Someone at work made the joke yesterday that Syria is such a shitty country that even birds do not want to drop dead there so they made an effort to blow out their last breath in the next country, hence the dead turkeys in Israel. It would have been more appropriate if the turkeys had died in Turkey. That is not very nice to say, I don’t think you can blame the Syrians for all the mess the Lebanese are in.
I am really interested on how the Lebanese are going to react to this bird flu thing. It is a very cosmopolitan society, but in some things people can be rather ignorant.
I remember a couple of years ago when Lebanon experienced a partial solar eclipse. The government has somehow gotten the word out that it was really dangerous to look into the sun during a solar eclipse. I don’t know who got it further than that, but the result was that the entire Lebanese population believed that even being out in the sun during the entire hour in which the solar eclipse took place was mortally dangerous. I have never seen Beirut as quiet as that. Not a soul out on the street for a good hour! We were the only ones on the balcony trying to see this partial eclipse through the negatives strip of an exposed film roll. I thought that was pretty ignorant.
Half of my family has already stopped eating chicken meat. I continue to eat chicken almost daily. So if this blog suddenly stops, you know what happened.
The weather has been off and on, and the parking situation on the Corniche has now officially gotten so bad that I am actually contemplating to walk the 6 blocks to work.

And on a final note, an addition as to why I like living in Beirut. Although this is a very cosmopolitan town, people here still have a very village like mentality. That’s why I just got a call from the local supermarket here around the corner, congratulating me with my birthday. “It says on your customer card that it is your birthday today, so we would like to congratulate you with your birthday.” Go see Albert Heijn do that (A supermarket chain in Holland).