Tuesday, August 08, 2006

From Shayna:

a couple days after i evacuated beirut and returned to the states, a friend left me a voicemail:
"welcome back, shayna. i'm glad you're safe. i want to hear your story but also, please tell me,
what were the good things about beirut?"

this is a reply to him and a shout-out to all y'all!

(in no particular order)
kissing three times on the cheek.
asking how are you four times in three languages.
talking loudly in a concert at aub assembly hall and being shushed even more loudly.
90-minute attention spans at any concert
going to "the beach": al-rawda, hotel riviera, al manar, white beach, pearl beach, oceana, guava
being (nearly) sideswiped by cars in the sidestreets of achrafieh and taberis, every single friggin day
catching a service and then catching up with a friend who happens to be sitting in the backseat, three days after i arrived in beirut
watching neighbors grab midnight snacks from the kitchen refrigerator
meeting a friend at dunkin donuts, downtown
manouche with kichek
why "missed call" is a verb
and kayan
or barometre
catching a ride to catch a ride to catch a ride with a friend (of a friend)
july's blossoms in the streets, the smell of lilacs near aub
serenity in baabda
the smell of the jasmine trees drifts by fountains adorning castles in the mountains, and above them, the moon
welcome to nowhereistan!
would you like some coffee?

once i was welcomed into lebanon by a border guard stationed in masnaa at the beirut-damascus highway: "you're from the states? why do you want to be in our godforsaken country?"

for all the reasons above, which you may understand more if you've traveled or lived in beirut.

and for those who haven't yet had the opportunity,
because beirut is a city that sweeps you up into an embrace that tingles and toys with you. because beirutis know precisely why you're visiting or living there before you've figured it out. which gives you more to figure out. if you can. because you can always play in beirut and sometimes you can work. because beirut is charmed and those who live there are charming.

yalla, bye!


Blogger Baraka said...


I've heard so many amazing stories about Beirut & I hope to go there someday.

1:18 PM  
Blogger petetow said...

It is a beautiful place, the last time I was there I sat on some garden seating watching the people pass by and realising that this not as far from our world as we may think, we have problems too, maybe they are not aired on world TV but we still have them.

7:00 AM  
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