Four Days of Adventure in Beirut (II)

A continuation
Friday, April 14, 2006

I awoke this morning with angelic sounds coming from the nearby church of Mirti2lah (Hazmiya), it sounded like an old recording of Fairooze (the leading female singer of Lebanon), but the music sounded live. What a nice way to detoxify the still banging noise in my head from the night before. The alternating voice with chorus worked as magic; it tranquilized me as if a soft lullaby and tempted me to stay longer in bed and meditate. It also made me feel for the first time that I was in Lebanon. Fairooze, the mountains and Lebanon to me signify one being, one entity that has its own special flavor. I learned later that the singer’s name is Jumana Mdawar, and made a mental note to get her CD from virgin.

Today is the Sad Friday. In the US they call it the Good Friday and in Spain and Canada (as far as I know) the Holy Friday. In any case; to me it’s a true relaxing Friday where my meditation started rather early and unexpectedly.

After lingering in bed and meditating for few hours, I had brunch with my other two friends and then we took a cab to Byblos (Jbeil) where we met our Canadian friend Jack. The weather was warm and nice for tanning and wandering around history. Most of the small gift shops were closed and the same church chorus I was listening to this morning was playing in its vicinity as if accompanying me wherever I go. Yellow seas of tiny daisy colonies interrupted by protruding bright red Amapolas* carpeted the area around the ruins.

We entered the museum that was preserved by the Cubic province of Canada, and on one of its open roof tops Magi and I could not resist the tranquil feeling of the place where the eye sight extended for miles ahead, portraying the panoramic view of Beirut atop one of the oldest sucsesive civilizations. The nice music in the background added beauty to our sensations. We found a shaded area and started meditating. Elegance and Jack lingered behind in the museum to discover more history. Jack spotted us as he climbed to a higher roof. And facing us, he took a nice picture of us in deep meditation.

Only twenty minutes passed and the nearby mosque started its Friday preaching (khu6bah) and the coarse voice of the Imam, shouting in the microphone disturbed our peace and tranquility, I urged Maggi to ignore it and just keep her mental elevation. But a family of may be twelve members kept coming back and forth to where we were sitting, their children’s mocking distracted us that we could not continue, so we decided to stop what we were doing and go fetch our friends.

We left the museum and strolled some more around the ruins, by then the old gift and artisan shops were open, so we strolled some more through the old snaked alleys of the old sooque until we felt the Pangs of hunger.

Then atop the almost 6000 bc old ruins at Abi Chmou, Lighthouse Motel and Restaurant we decided to have a snack. The owner greeted us warmly and hospitalized us to some special Easter dishes on the house, he also invited us to a party at the same place at night where a program of Lebanese Debki was supposed to take place, but we had to turn his invitation down since we already had other plans. We had nice Lebanese meza with Almaza (believe me I can go on this diet for months and never get tiered of it). The waiter; Abo George, an adorable older man in his seventies fell in love with our green eyed Magi and he also love Elegance’s dark skin and tall elegant body that he asked her hand for marrige to his son.

We then hailed a taxi back to the flat; the taxi driver had a tape playing in the car that at first I thought was a recording of the regular khutbat eljim3a because of the shouting and ordering style of the Imam, we soon realized that it was a Christian sermon. It did not differ much than that of the fear inducing Moslem diction. And we girls started a conversation about the art of preaching and how religious clerics lacked it. The purpose of the preaching is to grab the hearts and direct them using passion and logic, but unfortunately; this style which is seemingly prevailing around Arab countries is pushing the mass away from religion.

At night we met our friend Jack with another local (Allen) for dinner at Solidere’s Scoozi restaurant. Another Kuwaiti friend also joined us for an after dinner chat. I shared sushi and warm sake with Allen while the rest had pasta. I really don’t know if the sushi was all that great or was it the combination of weather, sake, and the company that gave it that special taste. All I know is that it was the best sushi I ever had.

Then we strolled along to the nearby Buddha Bar for a cozy atmosphere and a couple of drinks. I tried their special drink “Spicy Chocolate Martini” which was a bit sweet for my taste but was not bad at all. The place was not much impressive; it lacked Buddha Bar Music. The music that gave this place its fame. The decor also did not match that of Paris and Dubai. But the young men inside weren’t bad at all 😉

Then we were off to Monot. But to our surprise; Allen drove us right to Shah and left the car for valet parking. We girls glanced each other with a “no way” look. This time we weren’t going to waste our time, so we stayed for a drink as a courtesy to our friends, and then said our goodbyes and split to the nearby Crystal night club.

Crystal was packed; there was nowhere to sit, not even a chair or a table on which to place our bags. And as we were scanning around with our eyes to find a space, the music almost stopped and the DJ shouted through the speakers: “Viva Espania”. A roar of “hola’s” rose from the table we were standing by. We looked behind and in no time my tow Spanish friends got acquainted with a group of almost eight Spaniards. They offered us their seats, not to sit on them, but to stand and dance with them. Totally crazy people; good crazy that is. We had such a great time as if we’ve known them for years. People were dancing all over the tables and seats. And music was just fantastic.

*Shaqaeq al-Nu’man is the name in Arabic I believe
To be continued

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hazolat
    Apr 25, 2006 @ 10:43:00

    Ya Allah 3alaich 😛
    Sounds like you had fun, I guess it’s not the number of days that counts, as much as who you’re with and being yourself. Glad you had fun 🙂


  2. Rampurple
    Apr 25, 2006 @ 14:27:00

    sounds like u did have fun. jbeil is my favorite area… and i actually loved hearing the mosque and church together…


  3. AyyA
    Apr 25, 2006 @ 15:44:00

    Thanks dear, I sure did

    Oh, no, don’t get me wrong, my first impression was amazement at their proximity. And I love the sound of mosques’ athan mixed with church bells. Actually; my favorite hide out in Sarajevo, Bosnia, while I was attending a conference there sometime back, was a plaza in between a mosque and a church. There was nothing like sitting on the park benches and listening to the beautiful voice of elmoathen trailed with church bells. It’s the style of the regular Khateeb of Aljum3a I’m talking about, and we have many of them here.


  4. Rampurple
    Apr 26, 2006 @ 12:56:00

    i do understand what ur talking about… i wake up every friday to a man screaming … i suggest these people pop an xanax pill before they start chanting


  5. AyyA
    Apr 26, 2006 @ 13:25:00

    LOL, 7ilwah.


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