Saturday, April 10, 2010

The (Lebanese) eagle has landed

Friday 9 April 2010, 20:15

(Top: getting my passport and visa at the last minute before my flight! Above: Farewell Africa my love (and goodbye to rugby in the background - shew!)

Strange how dreams don’t always go according to the image one has always laid upon them. Here I sit at OR Tambo International Airport at gate A11, waiting to board the plane that will take me towards my Lebanese dream and I’m feeling completely not what I thought I’d feel when this day finally arrived. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still exciting and mindblowing that I’m actually here, but right now all I can really feel is the numbness of emotion after bidding farewell to so many people I dearly love over the past week. It’s like it all hit me simultaneously as I gave the tall guy that final bear hug and big kiss and proceeded to walk the long steel-banister way towards passport control. The 10kg hand luggage didn’t help to make me feel any better. Now I’m resting my feet on those 10kg and thanking my God for the great kindness of two people who allowed my 29kg baggage to board the plane without me having to pay for the extra 9kg to get to my destination. Maybe I should focus on the image of that dream I once had, bring it out into my numb emotion and live it in my in-flight dreams. Good night and God bless South Africa and keep her safe until my return.

Saturday 10 April 2010, 6:15

I woke up as we crossed the Nile River. Breakfast was nothing to write about and I carefully selected only the dry orange and tasteless grapefruit out of the ‘fruitsalad’, along with a hard bun that I spiced up with a bit of cheese spread. Now I’m in the Cairo airport sans Wi-Fi or any other sort of Internet facility with two hours to spare. Thanks to my neck blow-up thingy I slept better than expected on a plane so a bit of last night’s emotion has been snoozed away. Now I’m just so looking forward to seeing Lebanon’s mountains as we come in to land. Let me take a sip of my $5 water and sign off…

Saturday 10 April 2010, 19:50

The sun went down about an hour ago so my late afternoon view (post siesta) of the Mediterranean is washed in black. The dog is drinking from her bowl next to me in the kitchen, the tall uncle is watching the news on TV and I’m working on a story for Monday while the cousins are away for the weekend. Although I felt at home immediately, it was the kousa lunch that sealed the deal. Yum! A great start to a culinary year.

I was so looking forward to catching that airborne glimpse of the Lebanese mountains as we flew in but, alas, I was only jolted to look out the window when we touched ground and I was promptly woken up by my neighbour wishing me ‘hamdilla ha’il salame’ (a long way for saying welcome).

My first Lebanese dream meal: kousa (baby marrow stuffed with rice and mince and boiled in a divine tomato sauce).

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