Seeing as my 30th birthday present to myself involved the adventurous idea of purchasing a one-way ticket to Lebanon, I was quite content to let it go by without much ado. Whatever!
I am so not the type to ignore a birthday. It's a great day to receive the love I crave ;) And that's exactly what I got. Love in fluffy, sugary heaps. From the very special phonecalls from South Africa (and even the Netherlands!) to SMSes from people I didn't even know had my Lebanese number, to nearly a million personalised Facebook messages. I tell you, this 30-year-old felt like she was celebrating her 21st all over again! And then there was the actual day itself!
Here's how it went:
After opening a card from sista sista at the beginning of the month, I started the birthday off with a gift from godfather uncle (packed into my suitcase) and one from singing mom and waltzing dad (sent with smiley cousin). Very thoughtful indeed! And then off we headed to Beach 183 in Jbeil. Back home, my birthdays usually involve me wearing a little jersey but
here I hardly had to wear anything at all! I swam in the Mediterranean Sea and basked in
the spring sunshine.
The cousins treated me to a farouj lunch of chicken (lots and lots of chicken - fried and roasted, or 'broasted' as they say it here), chips, bread and lots of garlic dip. We sat on a staircase with
a view and dug in!
After a very long nap (this is where the age caught up with me, but we'll say it was the sun), my cousins surprised me with balloons and funky cacti for my new apartment.
And then yoga aunt surprised me with a special chocolate-mousse cake - complete with the kind of fireworks that are usually placed around wedding cakes. It was so yummy that I had the last piece for breakfast the next day (some sweet habits won't change with age).
After the surprise cake-eating gathering, and another awesome voucher gift from tall uncle and his family - to buy things for my new apartment - juggling cousin and I hit Obla-Di, a pub in the Gemmayze area of Beirut. It didn't take much for us to open the dancefloor, and soon everyone around us joined in.
We gathered out-and-about cousin and two of juggling cousin's friends and headed to another Gemmayze hotspot, the swanky Centrale. The restaurant was empty, but the action was all happening in the cylinder you see on the ceiling. Yip, that's the bar!
Meet the DooDoo, a deadly shot of vodka and lemon juice, with the addition of a pickled olive and dash (or more!) of Tabasco sauce. It was downhill from there...
Centrale is the place for very well-made cocktails, so I was told. So there was no choice but to try a delicious caipirinha while out-and-about cousin sipped on a divine mojito.
Me with the boys (I actually don't even know whether the non-cousins knew it
was my birthday!).
Thank goodness for the seating option in the lift. Although we were going down, I'm looking forward to the uphill climb from the big three oh!