February 03, 2013


My son (Proud mom ) doing a front flip

At the risk of snoverdosing you, some more pictures of the snow. A Dutch friend of mine commented on the fact that we seem to lead a jet set life here; and for a moment, I felt embarrassed. The Dutch are an intrinsically Calvinistic society, and enjoying anything beyond the bare basic in life is a basically a sin. 

The slopes are dominated by what we call ‘Hangjongeren’ in Holland (hat tip to Noor); your basic slope bums. They hang around in packs, lay on the snow near the lift and wait for all their Snowboard Republic Buddies to reach the top, and then descend – off piste – in large groups.
But then I thought about walking the 12 flights of stairs because of a power outage, one week without hot showers because of a storm, an internet bill that should buy me a voyage into space, but an internet speed that brings me back to the stone age, mail that never gets here, potholes, no internet banking and I could go on and on, so I feel we compensate the good bits with enough hardship. I haven’t even brought strikes, demonstrations, burning tires, explosions and the occasional bombings into the equation. Granted, we haven’t been bombed for a while in Beirut. But all in all, the good is being outweighed by the bad; we lead balanced lives.

Ms. R, just as she is about to crash

But back to the snow. This has been by far the best ski season ever. Yesterday was an awesome day for skiing; sunny skies, no wind, fresh powder snow, and no lines. Where is everyone?
One of my son's skiing buddies
As the roads in town get more and more congested, the slopes get quieter by the day. I assume it is related to the current economic situation. I can’t say I regret that part. I remember years that you’d be stuck in a 30 kilometer long traffic jam up to Faraya. Or even worse, you’d be stuck in that very last 100 meters of the traffic jam - you could see all those people going up in the chair lift - and you just stood there in front of the parking lot, going nowhere, because some idiot up ahead tried to pass the line and blocked all traffic. 

Lovely end of the day; descending and seeing the lights of Beirut in the distance.

But all that seems to be of the past. Empty roads, empty slopes. I was discussing with a friend the ability to predict the future in the country. Everyone is saying that there is trouble up ahead, and she recounted this story how one summer her mom was supposed to fly in. She had, through certain channels, a direct line to the Syrian government through the head of the Syrian Secret Service in Lebanon. “Don’t bring in your mom this summer,” she was told, by the head itself, “because Lebanon will no longer exist in summer.“  Oh lo and behold, that was a scary message. Mom did not visit that summer. And what happened that summer? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
But I am off track again. The snow was fantastic. We got around the fact that if Ahmad el-Assir wants to visit the slopes of Ferarya he can, and even Saad el-Hariri thinks civil marriage is a go. What more can one ask for?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Touch wood!

Joseph said...

You always take great pics, thanks.

ehden said...

Please keep the peace. I have to attend a cousins wedding in may in zgharta.

Sietske said...

Hi Anonymous; yes, but only on natural ice, not the skating rink.
H; touch wood? I am in need of some change!!
Joseph; glad you enjoy them :)
Ehden: Nothing ever happens in Zgharta!! So no worries. It's problematic though that we cannot flee through Syria anymnore, as we used to do in the 'old' days when the airport would get bombed. Hmmm. Cyprus by boat is an option.

ehden said...

Funny you say that. Only today someone told me to hold off as long as possible, but remember you cant get out through syria. Mind you other friends are already booking their flight for summer