I can't actually believe the amount of things I packed into my Friday, that I actually have to show it to you in pictures to prove it! I started off with interviewing a Cuban cigar importer in Downtown. I got lost. But, just as the dear old Table Mountain guided my routes in Cape Town, so the big Hariri mosque shows me the way in town.
From there I walked halfway and then caught a bus to Starbucks on Sassine Square, where I had the best frappe since Cyprus while interviewing two student gals who are fashion designers for their own label Royal Threads in between completing psychology degrees. Check out their cute wedges:
Then it was another bus and a walk to Beirut's Verdun suburb, where I passed this billboard. If your name appears on it, it means I was thinking of you when I took this pic.
In Verdun, I interviewed one of the nicest girls I've met in Lebanon. Her name's Roula Ghalayini and she's the creative force behind her handbag brand Poupee Couture (www.poupeecouture.com). She's my age and has made the greatest success out of something that started out with making a bag for herself out of looking for something that could easily be transformed from a day bag to something for the evening. The interview could have gone on forever because it felt like chatting to a friend rather than a 'job'.
This bag is something she created to resemble a Tetris game. It has a chain, but she recommends people only connect it to one side of the bag so that it hangs diagonally and looks like a bag in motion. Don't you love the mix of satin and metal?! This designer lady has even had a supermodel wear one of her bags to LA Fashion Week!
This one is a quirky Arab take on the popular Little Miss brand. It reads 'Little Miss Sahira' (party animal). So in love with it!
Feeling all inspired by these young entrepreneurs in the fashion world (and a lot less homesick than when the day started off with World Cup soccer fever splashed all over Facebook), I headed home to shed a proud tear while watching the opening ceremony, nicely spoilt by the sound of - nope, not vuvuzelas - Arabic and French commentating the whole way through! But before I sat down to watch, I put on my gear...
And then I headed to a rooftop restaurant to watch the opening game between South Africa and Mexico, which kept on cutting out because of the Arabic transmission. And they couldn't change to the French channel because all public spaces are forced to show the games on the Arabic channel, Al Jazeera Sport, during the World Cup. Thankfully I got to see Tshabalala score his goal. What a moment!
From there, I headed to Beirut Art Center for a talk by world-acclaimed Palestinian British artist Mona Hatoum relating to her first solo exhibition in Lebanon at the Center after a five-week residency there. I liked her cannon-ball-sized worry beads the most, although I must say that the pieces made out of her own hair (collected under her bed in shoe boxes for six years!) were rather intriguing too!
The night ended with a drink and late-night manoushe at an outdoor arguile joint while unexpectedly catching the second half of the France Uruguay game.
Did anyone ever say you can only do three things in a day? They didn't? Oh well. I proved no one wrong.