February 12, 2014

On Beaches in February and Car Mechanics

 

A nice empty beach on a sunny Sunday in February
 
I think it’s official now; we’re going to skip winter this year. I’ve packed my skis again (haven’t worn them this year and probably won’t anymore until January 2015) and went to the beach last Sunday.  And although I love snow, this everlasting fall/spring weather has my appreciation. It’s February, and we’re hanging out on the beach; what could you possibly want more?
I know that the drawbacks of global warming are incredible, ranging from extreme weather to droughts, floods, economic misery, migrations and others catastrophic events, and friends in Ashrafiye have been complaining they’ve had to buy water for the past four weeks since the government is not delivering water anymore, but to be able to hang out on the beach on a February, that’s nice. Think of all these poor suckers in England, the States, or Japan.
 
A river runs onto the beach (Bahr Ibrahim) and into the sea.
 
It’s a strange beach we went to, in the sense that it is a beach where a river runs into the sea, the Ibrahim River, and so you can sit on the beach while at the same time you can sit on the river bank. Somehow there must be an underwater outlet as well, because the amount of water that runs into the sea is not representative for the volume the river holds some 500 meters upstream, but where it all goes, I don’t know.
 

Yes, ecologically not very responsible

My SIL and I drove our right cars onto the beach, very environmentally unfriendly, I know, and had a beach picnic with the kids. Or what’s left of our kids. The older ones have gotten to an age where they disdainfully decline our weekend invitations to exciting places, and rather lie in their beds and rot.
The beach was empty, save for some Syrian workers who went for a swim nearby, four Sri Lankan men who also came for a picnic and a few Syrian couples with children who took a Sunday stroll along the shore. How do you know if someone is Syrian? The veiled ladies dress slightly different from their Lebanese counterparts. Considering that both SIL and I hold a foreign passport, you could say it was a migrant beach J . We live in a segregated society.

 
A girl and her dog

 
And while we lounged in the sun for free, the kids made huts from bamboo sticks lying around, built pebble houses and played ‘tribes that trek across the river’, a game I am unfamiliar with.
 Which gets me to the second part of this post.
 

Building huts,

 
Last week I mistook a Ferrari for a Lamborghini. Okay, this can happen to the best of us. But Sunday’s incident may have given my notion that I know something about cars the final kiss of death.
 
You see, while driving home from the beach, I noticed a ‘kloink’ in my car every time I used the brakes. A metallic ‘kloink’. I was stuck in the Sunday ‘going-back-home-to-Beirut’ traffic jam in Jounieh, and needed to use the brakes a lot, so I kept hearing that ‘kloink, right behind me on the left side of the car. Something was wrong , I knew that much, but I couldn’t quite figure out how I could have managed to damage the brakes while driving on the beach.  I had driven down a steep ramp to get onto the beach, had driven through a thick layer of sand and pebbles, but I couldn’t remember hitting anything.
 
pebble houses,
 
Back home, I announced that someone was going to have to take my car to the garage because there was ‘something wrong with my brakes’. That someone was to be my hubbie, because in this country, any dealings with handymen, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and other repairmen is the domain of the men. Remember the segregated society part?
 
Hubbie was visibly annoyed. How on Earth had I managed to do that? Had I driven through a deep hole (again)? Not stopped at a speed bump? Driven over a metal bar? Not seen that huge boulder? Driven into the sea? Changed from 4Low to 4 High while driving?  No, no, no, no  and no, I had done nothing to damage the car, it had happened all by itself.
 
A deep sigh ensued. “I am going to have a look, I find this very annoying,” he said, and took my car for a spin to check out for himself what it was.
and 'Tribes Trekking the Rivers' (?)
 
His silent demeanor and that nasty smirk on his face, when he came back, should have given me a clue, but I didn’t pay enough attention.

So you want to know what was wrong with your brakes?” he finally asked,
What, you figured it out? Can you fix it?” I asked eagerly.
You remember that fire extinguisher that you have rolling around on the floor of your car?” he said. “That metal one, the one that says ‘kloink’ when it hits something else metallic?”
 
 That's NOT funny.

Barefoot among the garbage of broken glass and hypodermic needles. I hope her mom is willing to deal with the consequences. Oh, I'm her mom.

 

5 comments:

Sandy said...

I love this beach, it is where my father's family is originally from. The Okaibe municipality does a good job of cleaning it before the summer season and considering it's one of the rare public free beaches remaining it is indeed a non-discriminatory place. Also, the long stretches of sand are a nice change form the pebbly coast up north towards Batroun. Back when the railroad was working this was a favorite getaway for Beirut's city inhabitants but the lack of parking spaces now combined with the remaining old railroad track the government decided not to remove (in case they rework the rails apparently in some future plan)make it extremely crowded on summer weekends. Its glory days, from what my Teta tells me, may have passed but it still is quite popular.

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning, how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Lebanon? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Lebanon in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)
Spain

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez



Sietske said...

@ Sandy. Wow, didn't know this beach was so hip!! We should bring it back to its glory days, just like that little port which lies a bot more south, in Bouar.

@ Emilio: Will send you a postcard from Lebanon :)

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