- Bars like Dany's where the walls are covered in grafitti, all the men have beards and basically everyone defines themself as an 'ism - (mainly socialism and communism)
- 3 floors of El Dorado on sale
- Being able to watch a film like "The Time That Remains" at a multiplex cinema
- Wifi access everywhere
- Men with beautiful brown eyes
- Florists who give you a free rose just for complimenting their arrangements
- Lolly shops that sell fizzy cola bottles
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
You can read about it here
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Instead, my day was spent cursing the IT department. We haven't had an internet connection at work for 2 days now. Not having access to emails is actually a wonderful thing, but unfortunately, the finance department can't access their system without the internet, which means I can't get any work done, especially the final report for ECHO that was due last week (which was already delayed by my finance dude being off sick). So I've spent the time planning my work for the next six months, updating matrices, playing a bit of solitaire, and listening to Abdullah (the sanitation worker) try to convince me that both Canberra (or Kinabarra as he called it) and Sydney are both the capital of Australia.
In celebration of Australia Day, it was initially planned to have a screening of Priscilla, but it doesn't look like that's going to be possible tonight, so we're heading out to dinner at my favourite restaurant in Al Mina instead.
Who loves Vegemite in green and gold??
Friday, January 22, 2010
What was it? You ask. It was a google search on how to tell if a cat is male or female...which then became a google image search and trying to hold Twitchy in a way to verify such a thing.
In announcing the news to our colleague, Ingebjorg summed it up succinctly: "Our daughter has balls!"
We took our sandwiches and crossed the road to sit by the harbour and watch the fishermen mending their nets. It's days like these that I love living in Tripoli.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
A strong sense of hummus
January 14, 2010 — Beirut
Writer: Carole Corm
Forget military threats and terrorist attacks, Lebanese and Israelis have a new battle on their plates: hummus. The latest episode took place last Friday.
For over two years now there has been growing frustration in Lebanon over what is seen as Israel’s appropriation of such an important national dish as hummus (the succulent chickpea purée that’s topped with olive oil). Fadi Abboud, head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, has said that he wants to sue Israel for “stealing” hummus from the Lebanese. Israel he said, was marketing hummus – as well as tabbouleh and falafel – as their own inventions, causing the Lebanese to lose millions of dollars in potential revenue...
...For many enthusiasts, hummus says something about the Lebanese, and helps present them as sophisticated foodies who like to eat and enjoy life rather than launch jihad. (This claim prompted some Arab critics to see the hand of the “Christian Lebanese” behind the whole hummus affair.)
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I came up with a little song while I was walking, in the cheesy 70's style reminiscent of "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb...I call it "Giving up never felt so good"
Giving up never felt so good
Though I didn't study as hard as I could
Wanted to learn, wanted to improve
But never managed to find the groove
Giving up never felt so good
Thought I do better, I thought I could
Made me feel stupid, made my brain wrench
So instead, I'm gonna learn French
Monday, January 18, 2010
Featuring delicious stuffed zuchinni,
and my favourite Palestinian dish, Maklubeh
Friday, January 15, 2010
Yep, there are now some columns
and lots of reo rods!
We were pretty happy to see what was going on
When it's finished, those living above the first floor will have a great view; to the west, the Mediterranean...
to the east, snow capped mountains...
We then cruised up to package 7 (I think) where some of the antiquities have been moved to, to allow the archeologist more time to process them.
It was so great to get out of my container!
- cash allows aid agencies to procure the goods that are actually needed
- cash ensures that these procured goods are appropriate to the diet, environment and culture of the community
- there are no transportation costs involved with cash (which in the case of goods can be more than the donation is worth)
- cash can be transferred almost instantaneously, thereby not using up warehouse space or logistics staff time
- using cash in emergencies supports the local economy (this of course has a down side as the market can rapidly inflate...)
- your cash donation allows aid agencies to operate. While we'd all love to think that 100% of our donation goes into buying rice or tarps or medicines, some of your money may be used to purchase oil for generators or to set up a telecoms system for the agency...things that are absolutely necessary for agencies to actually get out there and distribute the rice or tarps or medicines etc.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Anise's sister, Twitchy (named by me to accurately reflect her disposition) seems to be a smart kitten. Where before, she bolted at the sight of us I think she's realised that Anise isn't coming back, and that her meal ticket (literally) is gone. So Twitchy took a big step yesterday, and let us all pat her. We were amazed and impressed that she could put her fear behind her, knowing that if we love her, we'll feed her. (That's not true, of course we would feed them anyway!)
Ingebjorg has taken it a step further. I got an IM from Yassmin telling me to get over to their office quickly. I hurried over, and found Twitchy sitting on Ingebjorg's lap...in one day, Ingebjorg has coaxed her from total aversion to lap sitting. She's a kitten whisperer that one! We can't replace Anise, but we can appreciate the affection from Twitchy.
An email was sent around this morning stating that all UNRWA installations should fly their flags at half mast and that a minute of silence was to be observed for our colleagues lost in Haiti, including a former UNRWA employee. All the staff gathered in the carpark at midday and stood in silence. The true impact of these disasters always takes a couple of days to sink in, particularly if you have no attachment to the country or anyone living there. The scale of devastation is becoming more and more apparent, and it will take a lot of very hard work by the local community and the aid workers who will be going in (or already there) and a long time for Haiti to recover from this.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
RIP little Anise. We'll miss your lap warming, soccer skills and loud purring. You were the one who inspired us to look after your siblings - you were the bridge. You will be missed.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Oh I tricked you last night didn't I?!! I didn't really have the words to explain to you what happened last night, but the thing was, I got home at 7pm after my Arabic class to find the metal door that we share with the beauty parlour closed. Now, Dima, the proprietor of said parlour doesn't usually leave before 7pm so that's why the metal door keys were inside our house, hanging up, as we thought we'd be home at a reasonable hour, and that she'd still be working.
My first thought to tackling this problem was climbing out the stairwell window, climbing up on an air-conditioner and then hoisting myself up over our balcony, like I did that time when Julie was here. But Shwarma Man, I was wearing nice clothes yesterday, and I didn't fancy them getting all destroyed by that adventure.
Then it struck me. You're related to Dima! You have the same last name!! I think you're her uncle right? So that's why I came down to your shop, to get her phone number. But you were so clever, Shwarma Man, you spotted me and immediately pulled out a small piece of round bread and started separating it and asking me if I wanted beef or chicken. Lucky I'd just learned how to say "I don't need" huh! So thanks for giving me Dima's phone number. Unfortunately, she was very far away, but at least she promised to leave the metal door open if she leaves before 7pm.
The problem was solved by a quick call to our landlord, who sent his son over with the spare key on a very small scooter that looked even smaller under his considerable heft. He struggled to find the right key for quite some time, and thought that if it didn't work one way vertically, that perhaps if he turned it 180 degrees it might work. I guess he doesn't understand keys and locks too well.
So that was my adventure last night Shwarma Man. Thanks for your help!
Friday, January 8, 2010
I seriously love you! Perhaps when you are old....like 40. You could change your direction to Animal welfare, god knows the world of the animal kingdom need more people like you. <3
I was quite touched and it brought a huge smile to my face. So a special shout-out to Kim for making my day! :-)
That wasn't the first photo attempt though. Atrice being Atrice, the sound of the zoom on my camera scared him off the chair...
My most exciting news is this, I can now count to ten (quite quickly) in Arabic (with a Lebanese accent). Ready?
khmase (that's one of those gutteral sounds)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
May I present the Old Men series...
Unfortunately for me, there are people in the world who aren't very good spellers. The whole point of Travel Tails, is that they are TALES about TAILS. Alas, some people in the world who want to share their travel TALES have taken the addresses for Travel TAILS. Pffffft. Anway, you can find my stories at The Travel Tails.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
1st place: Palestine
2nd place: World hunger
3rd place is shared between the US and DRC:
5th place: Copenhagen
7th place: shared between Sudan and the international community
9th place: Somalia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan
I've spent this year working on the top two place getters. I whole heartedly agree with Peter's conclusion:
"Let's hope that 2010 will mean a fresh start for a better year. A year we, humanity as a whole can be proud of.
I know, I will be an optimist until the day I die..."
Oh, it's been too long!! I wanted to tell you about the shwarma I got in Cairo...it was awful. For starters, the man didn't even have garlic sauce! Can you imagine??? And then, to make matters worse, he put the meat into a bread roll, like a hot dog roll!! I know, crazy right? It was really terrible, I felt quite sick afterwards, and wished that you were there to make me an awesome shwarma.
Thanks for being there tonight Shwarma Man.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
I headed down to Beirut last night to spend NYE with Ahmed. We went to some random party, which was absolutely hilarious. The guy hosting it was very young, and it honestly felt like he was 16 and his parents had gone away for the weekend so he was throwing a party. Ahmed knew a couple of people, who were nice guys, but the rest of the guys there (mainly Americans) all seemed pretty jerky. But we rang in the new year there, and promptly headed out the door to Dany's - a dive bar in Hamra, which is usually packed. While there was quite a bit of room inside, the party sooned spilled out onto the street and the atmosphere was fun. We got home about 3am and followed up this morning by a fantastic greasy breakfast (bacon!!!!).
As a general rule I don't make resolutions any more, I'm more of the attitude if you want to change something about yourself, you should just do it, not wait around until a new year to try to do so. Of course there are many things that I hope to improve this year, and I can only look forward to all the new challenges and adventures 2010 will bring.
Happy New Year to you all!