Monday, January 14, 2008

There and Back.

Him: How was Lebanon?
Me: slow. Everything runs on slow-motion.
Him: Yeah I heard.
Me: it’s ridiculous. You couldn’t get anything done if you didn’t calculate at least two to three hours of your day.
Him: A lot of traffic?
Me: A lot of everything… and mostly, of nothing.

I used to think that the malaise that overtook me, every time I came back home was related to change. I, by default, did not like anything that has to do with change, and I hated the natural fact that nothing remained as I once knew it; hence my everlasting nostalgia.

I think I was missing the point. It actually appears that no matter how long you stayed away, everything in
Beirut remains the way you left it.

This city freezes time.

It is impossible how time stands still in this country.
My world, as I know it, comes to a total and sudden halt every time I fly back home.
I flatline...
And when I wake up, it is already time to go.

I have been in
Beirut since the 21st of December. I haven’t been blogging and I haven’t been reading other blogs. I didn’t check my emails, didn’t log on facebook and didn’t send Christmas greetings.

I left
Montreal in a hurry since my preparations were left to last minute (as always), and I didn’t even have the chance to leave a word out on urban_memories that I was leaving.

Beirut looks smaller and much denser than I remembered it to be. Despite the good weather we had most of the days; Beirut seemed to be sad and gloomy.

A lot of Green has been sprouting nonchalantly here and there all over the city, which is something I really appreciated.

more details will come...

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At 12:28 PM, Blogger poshlemon said...


everytime I went back to Lebanon, I felt things haven't changed. But this time I feel that things have changed, and so have I.

As soon as I got there, I started complaining about how chaotic things are and how in London things are better... London this, London that. But as a matter of fact, no matter how much I comlained, deep down inside of me I was thrilled to be back home...

At 12:44 PM, Blogger _z. said...

I was very happy too. don't get me wrong. and I never complain about chaos.. I love chaos, I miss it so much sometimes...
it's just that slow motion was very evident this time.

I didn't do much anyway. most of my time was spent with dad at the hospital. so I stayed indoors most of the time.

At 1:41 AM, Anonymous leb girl in leb said...

We've been in this shitty situation since 2005 but this year with the presidential elections, it is the worst time ever. People are putting on hold EVERYTHING, literally EVEYTHING, and awaiting the savior!! I am not sure if this explains the slow motion you are talking about _z.
Hope your dad is feeling better.

At 1:44 AM, Blogger _z. said...

The presidential elections among many other things leb girl. Politics, I think, is the catalyst. The tentacles extend long and deep.

it was very annoying this time.

dad is stable. thank you.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger laila said...

welcome back, glad you missed today's action :)

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous nado said...

wlek ahla b ha taleh ahlaaaaaaa...

nawaret ya helou.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous nadyn said...

sad and gloomy !!!!!
really sorry to say this, but this exactly how i found beirut the last time i was there (2 month ago) and i got upset, because the nice, dreamy image i had in my head got confronted to the bitter reality !!!!
i wish i still have the old image

At 11:27 PM, Blogger _z. said...

thanks... I am glad I did too.


unfortunately, the nice dreamy image exists only in your head!
nostalgic hallucination.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger shoesthatfit said...

all the discomfort and impatience aside, wasn't it nice to just step out of the rat race and just breathe? or did the slow pace overwhelm.

good to hear your dad has stabalised : )

At 8:11 AM, Blogger _z. said...

Oh it was fine.
But I mean you couldn't just relax and breathe when you're anxious and you wand to get things done. you're there for a few days and there are certain things that you need to do... time is limited.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger poshlemon said...


I came in here late so I just read about your dad. Glad to know he's better now :)

At 1:22 PM, Blogger _z. said...

thank you posh... you're never too late... at least you are better than I am at keeping up...


At 8:21 PM, Blogger Coco said...

Awwal shi, wishing your dad a fast and healthy recovery.

Teneh shi, welcome back and thanks for posting. I missed you :)

Telit shi, shou wassalak la ta7t el camion? Was this picture taken in one of the traffic jams you found yourself stuck in?

Ba3den, is it because you wanted things to happen fast this time that you felt the slow motion? I mean, is the country not like this even when we're there for fun with no need to deal with time sensitive issues? Just wondering outloud. I guess I will find out for myself very soon.... bass mazbout, you did say that "This city freezes time".

It's all interesting though. We don't feel the long distances and fast-paced lifestyle that we live here (outside Lebanon) until we jump into something different :)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Mirvat said...

we are so much alike!

At 10:58 AM, Blogger _z. said...

thanks, missed you too. Yes this picture was taken on one of those crazy raining days we had, and stuck in traffic...
I think the city was exceptionally slow this Christmas. at least this time it was very obvious.

I know we are... I have always said it.


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