Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back in Beirut

Following the discovery of natural gas off the coast in international waters between Lebanon and Israel, the Israeli government is reportedly drafting a law that would impose Israeli control over the Lebanese offshore gas fields. "The government is dealing with the discovery of the natural gas fields in the Mediterranean as an Israeli discovery that no one else has a right over." an Israeli newspaper said."The executive committee in the government and Knesset are working on reaching a law that would not leave room for any Lebanese rights."


World Cup! Sales of country flags have been pretty big business here. And when your team wins, amid the fireworks and blasts of firecrackers you grab that flag, jump into a car, and cruise the city for an hour or two, waving the flag, perhaps as you stand out the sunroof, and screaming, car honking. It is actually a joyously fun time.


A new Dunkin Donuts has opened during the three weeks I was gone. Right on Hamra Street, with a large outdoor seating area--practically full !


Shop sign I may have posted before but made me smile anew: Nails & Roots

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ben's grad and other wonderments

A memorable, fulfilling trip to the US it was. On the occasion of Ben’s graduation from UCLA, we flew to LA, Tom taking leave from ACS which was still in session, Cam jetting in from a great work experience in an ecovillage in Hawaii. We had only a week together, we four, plus doting Aunt Margaret from San Francisco and Ben’s terrific LA uncles who had looked after him and included him in their lives for all his four years at UCLA. Ben was the focus of the week. The extent of his remarkable achievements during his undergrad career just blew everyone away. Tom and I attended four, count 'em four, ceremonies over the week: Phi Beta Kappa, Honors, College of Letters and Sciences, and Poli Sci Department, having missed a fifth ceremony a week or two earlier for Outstanding Graduating Seniors. The boy was so heavily decorated in his cap and gown that his Uncle Mac remarked that he lacked only a bit of leopard skin to totally look the part of some African dictator… The best was the blue and gold cord on the shoulder, for the Humanitarian Award (only one of four in the whole school!). The boy graduated summa cum laude, and with highest departmental honors. Wow wow wow.

It was a jam packed time, with hours on the freeways shuttling between the uncles who graciously housed us, UCLA, and countless stores, shopping to fulfill the long list of items on our annual “USA list” as well to replace much of Cam’s clothing destroyed by months of farm work. (I think we bought 7 pairs of shoes that week, 14 pairs of socks, and 8 pairs of pants…). It was good time with family. At the end of the week T returned to Beirut and ACS, Cam went with Aunt Margaret to San Francisco for a few days before heading to Brooklyn and his new school, Ben went off to Syria to study Arabic for a month and K went to Washington to see friends (and shop some more).

K’s time in the US brought a heartening renewal of friendships: Leslie, Billie, Tanya, Laura, Kristina, Soosan, Jan, Amy, Thong, Jill, Somchith, Valerie, Kathryn, Susan, Carolyn—all dear hearts and strong women, still connected hamdillah, despite time and, especially, distance. The scenery, the quiet and the [relatively] fresh air were great treats as well. Nourishment!