June 19, 2006

Dog in Truck; Summer in town

Dog in truck with nose in the air while driving up to the mountains. (See up)
My summer holiday has started (officially it starts on Wednesday, but these last three days are just to finish some loose odds and ends), and this has considerably improved my mood. I can sleep late again, hang around, do nothing and not feel guilty about it and roam around the country without a deadline. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed now. It always is, but when you're flooded with a million-and-one things to do, you don't notice it.

People in Holland (or in most North-Western countries, for that matter) work the entire year to get three weeks off with pay, which they often spend in cultures exhaling exactly this atmosphere, around the Mediterranean. Lebanon is often still associated with war and car bombs. Granted, they are not a thing of the past yet, but even with this, the atmosphere doesn't really change. While reading some blogs this morning, I picked up some stuff to show you what the atmosphere in town is (and apparently always was) like.

"Ouf, zoals ze hier zeggen, het veel later dan ik in gedachten had. Als ik geweten had dat het bijna 5 uur was, had ik die araq (alcoholisch drankje met een alcohol gehalte van 50% of meer. red.) niet meer ingeschonken. We hebben een paar aardige uren doorgebracht in Kayan (cafe, red.). Ons, zijnde Anne, die er nauwelijks bij was, want veel te druk met een ander eigen netwerk, Charles, een matige kunstenaar die een oogje op me heeft en Karin, een Nederlandse die op de trappen naast hem zit en dus verrast werd door mijn Nederlands-zijn.Het was me de avond wel. **** ging wel en de mabarif-shou kwam op de tafel. Dank je Anne, zeker ook voor de rekening. Karin bracht me thuis. Gezellig gelul in een auto. Tot er een raam openging voor het autoraam, dat ons maande om er een einde aan te maken. "

'The driver picked me up from the airport. He asked, "Where you coming from?"I said, "Lebanon. "He said, "Tell me. Is the St. George Hotel still there?"Stunned, I said, "Yes, but it's not been repaired or renovated since the war. Are you Lebanese?"He said, "No, no. I served in the US Navy and was sent to Lebanon in 1958. The whole 6th fleet was there. From the beach, it was battleships, boats, and aircraft carriers as far as the eye could see. We boarded the beach and there were all these women in bikinis all over and guys selling stuff. We didn't see any war going on. All we saw were people enjoying themselves. We couldn't tell who the enemy was. From our view, it didn't seem like there were any." http://inlebanon.blogspot.com/

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