May 20, 2012

First Things First




Nothing much is happening. Tripoli is in a bit of a clinch; The boys of the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood (with a majority of sunni muslims) got into a scuffle with their next door neighbors, the boys of the Jebel Mohsen neighborhood (with an alawite mulsim majority), or the other way around, depending in which side you are (pro or anti syrian). Trouble between the 2 neighborhoods are common, but ‘since the uprising in Syria began, tensions between the groups in Tripoli have mirrored the ebb and flow of events next door' (source). The army moved in to keep the neighborhood separated, but the Dutch Embassy is mailing me I should ‘prepare to possibly change my travel plans in and around the city of Tripoli.

 Which means I should probably go there and check it out, but summer is in the city, and so we are back to learning how to sail. Remember? Six-pack rastaman is a patient man; He speaks to us in sailor language, and we are clueless as to what he means. “No no, you have to go beam ridge, go beam ridge, you’re in close haul right now, go upwind, go upwind. Tack, tack now!

We want him to speak to us in English, like “push the rudder to the left”, or “sail towards Jimmy’s & Friends,” but he insists he’ll make real sailors out of us yet. He wants us to know how to make eight knots (easy) and bow knots, and how to rig the boat ourselves (‘What this rope for again?’). He tells us to we have to start at the outhaul with the rope. ‘Outhole? What’s an outhole? You never told us about an outhole?’ “Yes,” and he nods patiently, “I told you about the outhaul last week.” Mind you, we’re learning on a laser, a boat with one sail. You’ve got boats with 2 or even 3 sails.

We asked him if he remembered names of students that were worse than us; he had to think very long. Too long. Clearly, he couldn’t think of any names. “It’s better if you come several days in a row,” he says, to make us feel better, but we’re working women; we’ve only got that one day a week.


But heck, we’re going to learn how to sail! I just read this morning that ‘someone with no musical talent can learn to play guitar as an adult’.  And so Tripoli will have to wait. First things first.

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