April 09, 2011

There is Something about Beirut

And so we’ve arrived at post #1,000.

I started blogging some 6 years ago (6 years and 12 days, to be exact), because there was something in the air in Beirut. There was this hint of change; a fresh breath of air was weaving itself through the neighborhoods of the city. The moment felt historical, and I thought, this is it, I am in the middle of an incredible moment, I need to record that. What did they call it? The Beirut Spring? Or the Cedar Spring? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway.

We all know the rest; some 6 years later, and the momentum of change has long gone. We have come to a grinding halt, and not just recently. In some instances we’re even going backwards. I blame all politicians and parties involved.

But it doesn’t really matter, because blogging turned out to be much fun.

In times when I would have rather lounged on the couch and wile my weekends away in front of the TV, I was forced to go out and explore, because my gosh, what on earth was I going to write about? What would people think, that I have nothing better to do than lounge on that couch in front of the TV?
There were times when I would go out on errands without a camera in my pocket, and I’d be worried that I might encounter that quintessential Lebanese scene, like a family of five on the scooter, and miss taking a picture of it for the blog.
And then there were the frustrations, the long line-ups in the supermarket after a nasty political speech, the bureaucracy, and the ignorance, but blogging turned nuisances into blogable moments.
Two Dutch Babes, growing up in Beirut, eating ice-cream, and complaining how mean their Arabic teachers are (Hamra Hooligans would probably be a more appropriate term).

Through their comments, I met lots of homesick Lebanese (and other people), all pining for Beirut, but forced to far-away horizons, because Beirut is brutal. Making a decent living in this place is difficult, very very difficult. Those that live here always complain about the chaos, and the traffic, the corruption and the people (me included), but if you’d give all those that live abroad the option to make a decent living here in Beirut or in their adoptive country, they’d all choose here.

There is something about Beirut.

And I can’t put my finger on it. Beirut inspires. She drains your energy, but makes you feel alive. To live in this place, you constantly need to use all your senses. It is a city of incredible tragedy, a perpetual Titanic, always on the verge of sinking, but not quite. It’s a little sleazy. You know that behind this chic and sophisticated façade is a shabby interior, a little run-down, sordid, with a hint of former glory, long gone. Beirut often reminds me of an old Hollywood actress who – way past her prime – still pretends she’s topping the Billboards. And I like her that way.

And so I keep on blogging, because this blog is not about me, but about Beirut (and surrounding areas). I am glad my children grow up in this city. Later in life, where ever they go, they can say, with distinction; “I grew up in Beirut.” For me, that’s a badge of honor.

And that, dear readers, was it for post # 1000. This is as good as it gets.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!!
Sietske,That was perfect.
Froma home-sick Lebanese: thank you :)

Alain said...

i think like everyone who lived in this city, i hate it as much as i love it...
i can t stand it yet i can't stop myself from coming back time after time after time...
I miss Beirut :)))

htj said...

Sietske,

Your 1000’s post. What an outstanding achievement for an exceptional blog. I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and this was, by far, one of your best.

I hope you’re celebrating with a great bottle of champagne. You certainly deserve it.

Here’s to You.
... and Thank You.

Patrick said...

Congrats on the first thousand!

Looking forward to the next thousand and hoping they will be as entertaining, informative and fun!

poshlemon said...

Please keep blogging :) I am not someone to frequently leave comments but I definitely look forward for new posts on your blog. Love it!

And thanks for loving Beirut this much.

Anonymous said...

... or like a wife whom you adore, but you always end up arguing with her... Nice blog ... a bit of fresh air for those of us who are far far away...

Bob.S said...

There is everything about beirut... That is why all of us lebanese who live abroad long for the day that reunites us with our hometown..
You have an outstanding blog and i'm glad you enjoy it as much as we do :D

joseph said...

Mabrouk on the blog and 1,000th post.

And thank you for all the posts that mentioned/had pictures of Tannourine and the Laqlouq!

Mich said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your 1000th post! Mabrouk and I wish for many, many more.
Yes, Beirut is all that you mention and a wonderful place to blog. There's a post on every corner...
I yearn to come back and hope to make it soon :-)

Mich said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your 1000th post! Mabrouk and I wish for many, many more.
Yes, Beirut is all that you mention and a wonderful place to blog. There's a post on every corner...
I yearn to come back and hope to make it soon :-)

visnja said...

Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marillionlb said...

Mabrook and thank you for 6 years (and 12 days) of sharing.

Raffi said...

Congratulations Sietske. You have fans and people talking about you and your blog outside the blogosphere too :)

Keep it up!

Francine said...

Century post is wonderful!
Looking forward to the next batch!
What about a book with excerpts?

Danielle said...

Doesn't get better than this. Seitske,,your blog is one of the few that gets me excited and keeps me coming back for more. I truly admire your sense of adventure, and relish reading about them too!..

And talk about babes! Your children are gorgeous! Keep on keeping on!! You're doing a fantastic job!

Sietske said...

Thank you all, for your lovely words. Very flattering, my ego is slowly inflating :)
Alain, and HTJ (you got me curious, what does it stand for), and Patrick (Pepsi Can Patrick, or is this another one?) and Poshlemon and Bob (saw your blog!) and Joseph (is that the one in Australia?) and Mich (pining for Beirut :) and Visnja (curious about your name too) and Marillion (still remember our dinner, lovely saucages!!) and Raffi (you have a blog too, right? Didn't you once have a Dutch soccer team over, if I remember correctly?) and Francine (Dutch!!) and of zourse Danielle (who's more famous than I am!) and all those that send me congratulations over the e-mail and facebook. And all the anonymouses. It has been a joy writing for you!
Wait till you see the next post, boy! Did I ever enjoy writing that one! It was a hoot. But I guess you'll have to wait .....
Sietske

Anita said...

Congratulations Sietske!
You still write more (and better) than I do ;-)

But then, I don't think there is that much to explore in Lelystad. And besides my phobia still keep me from trying.

I enjoy your posts, up to the next 1000!

Sami said...

Here is an idea for you! I think will all your blog posts about outings in Lebanon (biking in Bekaa, Picnic by the beach in Sour, secret beach locations) you can actually make a small (but very cool!) travel guide. And I bet most Lebanese don`t know half of these locations!
(I only ask for 50% of the revenues :p)