June 25, 2008

Hot hot hot

Family on the Mediterranean

Life is so mellow and slow right now. Everyone is looking for a reprieve of the heat. I went for a boat ride today. Wasn’t the only one. We ran into this little family out on the water. I wonder what they think of us, bikini-clad women on a boat. Probably nothing.

It is hot hot hot. Too hot for the beach even. Is this global warming, or am I just getting too old for this heat? Let’s stick to the Global Warming Theory. Although I do remember years that you’d get out of the shower, and while drying up you’d start sweating again. And how about the nights when you’d have no electricity, and thus no AC, and you’d be sleeping naked on the stone floor in order to cool off? I have a friend, who lives in the Aicha Bakar neighborhood, where the buildings are so tightly built that even a soft breeze cannot get through, and he’s telling me how he falls asleep at night. “I sweat and I sweat and I sweat and then I faint, and wake up sweating the next morning.” So it’s always been this hot in summer. Let’s ignore the age factor anyway.

It is too hot to analyze the political situation. Too hot to even care about who blows up who these days. Pro- and anti-government groups are slugging it out in Tripoli it seems. Alawite against sunni muslims. I thought the alawite were part of the sunni muslims. You learn something new every day.
Once, when in LA, I had a LAPD officer telling me that riots always occurred in summer, never in winter. “The heat makes the blood boil of these southern spirits. They get very volatile in summer.’ Well, we are southerners here too, at least in the eyes of the Europeans. We (Dutch) consider the Spanish and the Italians to be passionate (read ‘irrational’) people. (When compared to other cultures, the Dutch are rather reserved, in public, and do not often touch each other or display anger or extreme exuberance. This is why people and cultures who display these "vices", for example those living around the Mediterranean Sea, are regarded by the Dutch as being too emotional. Source)
Another quintessential Lebanese scene; a little neighborhood ‘dikkane’ (shop), selling bread, brooms and lufah (scrubbing sponges). What else do you need in life but to eat, clean and scrub?
It is almost time to escape the heat and make the annual pilgrimage to the motherland.


Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to go home and bask in the sun on the balcony!

Thanks for sharing the diving information; I think tomorrow both boys will be going to the end of Hamra to check things out.


Leila said...

I *love* the bread, brooms and loofah. Hope they're all made from local products, i.e. the straw from Lebanon, woven into brooms in Lebanon, the bread made locally (too much to ask for local wheat), the loofah gourds grown in Lebanon. These items are precious. You cannot find a straw broom in the USA anymore. They're all plastic.

The door on the dekkani is also amazing - that circle pattern in old battered wood. You don't see that workmanship anymore. That is a pre-war door. My village was sacked in '85 and all the doors and windows removed to be used by people who needed them more (one supposes) so although the village has been rehabilitated, and you still see old walls of stone, there are no such doors left. Treasure this place.