Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Aisthi’s August/ September issue is out, and it seems I’ve been ‘promoted’ to contributing editor without even knowing. In this issue I have two of the stories I mentioned in previous blogs: the South African interior designer Inge Moore, principal at HBA London, who came to create the new look of the Phoenicia Hotel’s Amethyste pool lounge; and the five restaurants I ‘was forced’ to dine at for a feature on outdoor summer dining in Lebanon. Then, seeing as this issue of the mag has a Latin American theme, there’s also a feature of mine on South Border Gallery in Gemmayzeh, which specializes in art from South America.
After spending two years competing with rugby for ex man’s attention every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, I developed a dislike for the game – although maybe this has more to do with preferring a walk on the beach over a dark, rowdy pub. But, sitting here in the peaceful, smoke-free village home, I found myself ditching my computer and joining Dad in front of the TV to cheer for the Bokke as they went on to beat the Wallabies in an epic 44-31 game that had Dad shouting at the screen, causing fat neighbour to pretend to check up on the garden.
Come to think of it, fat neighbour’s body shape isn’t very different from the likes of Guthro Steenkamp. We may just have a found a rugby player in the making. With his penchant for sitting on a seat, he’d make a great reserve.
Today Ata told me that Jeddo learned this from her father, who used to take raw mkanak with him on hunting trips in Mexico and cook them in this easy way when alcohol was the easiest agent. Men! Any excuse to make food boozy!
Many natural surrounds have been reduced to garbage dumping grounds, and unfortunately it’s not rare to see people throwing papers, tins and bottles out of their cars. Just this week in Beirut, I came across a meticulously groomed Lebanese lady about my age, stepping out of her uber-expensive car, tossing a tissue purposefully onto the pavement. Incredulous and highly upset, I sarcastically asked her, ‘Mafi zbeleh?’ (Isn’t there a dustbin?). ‘Eh, fi,’ (Yes, there is) she said in an even more sarcastic response. And that’s the mentality of educated people.
Old, traditional stone houses are being destroyed, leaving very few original structures to tell the Lebanese tale of old. In the village this is not as evident as in Beirut, where old buldings are being torn down to make way for ridiculous highrises that leave no room for the mystical imagination of once admired Arab, Ottoman and French architecture. Other buildings, such as this one, are just being allowed to decompose into a mass of forgotten rocks.
Due to the increased traffic on Lebanon’s roads, a lot of shortcuts are being built through the mountains to reduce traffic flow on the bigger highways. This means a lot of trees are being chopped down to make way for these double lanes, leaving a streak of ugly, fallen sand underneath. I asked about this and apparently it would be too costly to construct walls to hold the falling sand before constructing the roads, and so this is never done here, as the cost of these roads is already not fully paid for by the government and so other funds often need to be raised from international donors and local municipalities.