June 28, 2010

Sunday Picnic in Baskinta

Somewhere around Mount Sannine

This Sunday got me in the neighborhood of Baskinta. Never saw a place in Lebanon so green in summer. Oakforests all around. The weather has been unusual though, with several showers in June – something that is not supposed to happen according to climate graphs, but I think this place seems to have enough ground water to keep it green, since it’s right around Mount Saninne. Mount Sannine (Arabic: جبل صنين‎) is a mountain in the Mount Lebanon range.

Geological site and water resources; Surveys undertaken by hydro-geologists have revealed that the aquifer had several advantages: (…) it consisted of alternate strata of basalt, sandstone and fine sand (…). Third, the source basin flowed beneath the limestone formations of mount Sannine (2.300 meters) as well as those of Kanate Bakiche (1.800 meters) (source)

On Mount Sannine

I saw beautiful properties; old stone houses with arches, and orchards around them and rose bushes, all dilapidated and abandoned. I always get inspired by this, wouldn’t it be wonderful to retire here when you’re 65, raise chickens and goats and bake your own bread? Things don’t quite work around here that way though.
picnic in an apple orchard

The other day I saw a fantastic mountain house (I am not talking of Baskinta now, in case you misunderstood), with an inner court yard; a perfect fixer-upper project. When I mentioned it to hubbie, he asked me the specifics.
Ohhhh,” I thought, ‘I caught him on the right moment, he’s in a buying mood.’ And I mentioned the name of the village.
No way,” he replied, “they’ll never sell to us.”

The hooligans in an apple tree (H and cousin N)

Us? What do you mean, 'they won't sell to us'? Are we notorious or something, a severely dysfunctional family that no self-respecting citizen would want as a neighbor? Do my kids run wild, do we drink all night, play loud music and dance naked on the tables? Are we the ‘there goes the neighborhood’ kind?

Oak forests all around

No, Siets, our kind. Our religion. That’s a hard-core village you’re talking about. Even if you find someone who would be willing to sell to us, then in case of a conflict, you’ll always find yourself on the short end. And if ever we return to the events of the civil war, you can kiss your property goodbye. Not a risk-free investment. You’ve got to find something in a mixed village (as in mixed religion).”

Picking cherries

There is some truth to this. The mountain house we own currently had to be bought through a secretary in my husband's company (who is of the 'right' religion), who then sold it to us. Not because the owner didn't want to sell to 'us', but because of the backlash he feared from his surroundings if he would sell to 'us'. And that IS in a mixed village.
Back to the drawing board, I guess, with my retirement plans. That sort of limits the possibilities quite a bit – ‘a mixed village’ - but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

Every girl should have a pair; cherry earrings

We found a picnic spot in an isolated apple orchard. The apples weren’t ready yet, but in the cherry orchards next door they were picking the last bit of the cherries; the cherry season is almost running to an end.

Something you should do regularly; blow the seeds of a dandelion (or thistle), and make a wish.

While researching Baskinta on the Internet (long live the Internet, definitely my choice for best invention after fire and stone tools), I found this odd bit of information: It was also the capital city of the Syriac Christian state of Marada.  The Marada apparently were ‘a group of autonomous communities living on Mount Lebanon during the Middle Ages’ (source). A civil war militia named itself after them.
And that's enough information. I've got one beautiful picture, but somehow blogger has decided it won't let me upload anymore, so I guess that's it for the day.

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