Archive for August, 2009

Poolside(d) and Miss Guided…

August 30, 2009

Back in Beirut after a wonderful past few days going back and forth from there to two mountain villages, the first being Anjar and the other Barouk. More to come on them in future posts…

However, to keep things in chronological order, I shall mention last week’s beach (Well, more like poolside resort ;-)) outing with my friend Naila, who’s here from yet another fabulous city: London! We had a great time catching up at the Riviera Hotel’s Beach Lounge, and dining at their restaurant after having our fill of sun ‘n’ swim. We had their linguine with white clam sauce and kicked things off with a grilled shrimp appetizer–OMG, if you love seafood, this is the place to be!

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Riviera 3

As for Miss Guided, that’s the title of my friend Anissa Rafeh’s book all about “How to step into the Lebanese glam lane.” It’s a tounge-in-cheek, quick and fun read, and I’m not surprised at how popular it’s been in Lebanon–and beyond. I’m so glad I got to catch up with Anissa over some yummy desserts at Casper & Gambini’s and let her know that soon before coming here, I was at a gathering of Lebanese American University (LAU) alums in NYC, who told me that I must get a copy while I’m here because it’s so cute! They weren’t kiddin’ and it’s too bad it isn’t available in the States–at least, not yet…

miss guided

Well, all for now but stay tuned for more adventures…

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,

Joyce

(Photo of book courtesy of http://www.tpbooksonline.com)

Bite me!

August 24, 2009

Kitschy pics from top to bottom: Cigarettes ‘n’ Cookies–A Match Made in Heaven?, A random cockatoo, and Bite me 😉

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Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,

Joyce

Aley, etc.

August 24, 2009

Went to Aley and drove through Bhamdoun yesterday which, according to the Ministry of Tourism’s “Allo Tourist Guide,” are “two of the country’s most famous summer retreats.” Aley also happens to be the Druze village where my grandfather on my mom’s side was from and it was a relief to finally visit his and my grandmother’s resting place there–the Mounzer family’s resting place, actually, as the Druze have mausoleums arranged by their respective family names. I’m so glad I got to share this visit with my cousin Hanaa, as we miss having our grandparents on either side. I always tell folks that if they’ve still got their grandparents around, they should be grateful 🙂

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At another point in the day, we stopped by Patisserie Chehayeb Bahige (+96 1 05 555379) for a popular, sweet breakfast in Lebanon known as “knafeh bi jibn.” Sorta looks like a bagel, doesn’t it? Well, instead of me describing it, feast your eyes on this:

aley chehayeb 2

I also got to meet and reconnect with some more relatives, which was great and on the way back down captured this photo of the old “souk,” or storefronts.

old souk aley

As for today, I FINALLY got my hair did! (Back in Beirut at Lofiel Hair & Beauty [+96 1 01 800881] thanks to a tip from a “very knowledgeable about these kinds of things” friend of mine, who also happens to be an author–more details about her and her book to come…) That’s like one of the first things you have to do when you come to Lebanon and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that there are at least 10 hair salons per capita–no pun intended :-p

Other fun things today included a visit to Marrouche (+96 1 01 743199), which is only the home of the best chicken sandwich ever, and I even cooked a bit for the family by making my sorta famous pasta salad with a yogurt, mint and garlic sauce! And of course, I spotted even more kitschy things walking along Hamra et al Streets… (See next post, as I ran out of space on this one :-p) 

marrouche

marrouche 2

Finally, I really wanted to leave you with a short video of a verticle conveyor belt of bread in a bakery window (Yes, it’s true!), but WordPress ain’t cooperating with me on that one either for some reason… You’ll just have to take my word for it, I guess.

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,

Joyce

MEA rules and first week all filled up!

August 22, 2009

Flew Swiss Air to Geneva, which was just “Eh” and quite disappointing, actually. But then in Geneva, connected to Middle East Airlines (MEA)–what a difference! The flight attendants were super hospitable and helpful, plus I was lucky enough that the plane wasn’t full so I could actually lie down across a row of four seats! (This is heaven after struggling to sleep sitting in an uncomforatble, cramped seat for about eight hours :-p) The menu was 10x better as well.

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As for my itinerary for the week ahead, after checking in with family and friends by phone this morning, I won’t have a free minute–and I couldn’t be happier about that 🙂 Already, I’ve caught up with my Uncle Mounzer, Aunt Sanaa and Cousin Hanaa, whom I’m staying with in Beirut, and just now we hung out with another uncle (Marwan) of mine. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful relatives and it’s so nice to see everyone again after all this time…

Hanaa and I ventured out a bit this afternoon and I inhaled the Beirut air as if it were the fragrance of a sweet flower. Some folks would laugh at me, but there’s just something about the combination of history and car/vespa exhaust etc. that make it so nostalgic for me. Perhaps it’s because it was the first scent that greeted me when I visited this country for the first time–18 years ago already! In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a beautiful Hallmark store that wasn’t there before and some cheeky graffiti (an advert for http://rambojagal.com/) as well.    

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All for now; until the next post…

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,

Joyce

Yalla, lezgo!

August 20, 2009

mirandaSo, I haven’t been to Lebanon in about five years. Pretty excited to see how it’s changed, my relatives, etc. And the food, oh the food! And drink. (Can y’all say Mirinda?!)

Anyway, can’t wait to share some tidbits of my trip with you and hope you may consider visiting Lebanon someday yourself!

So, “Yalla, lezgo!” (For those who don’t know Engrabic or Arablish–a hyrbrid of the English and Arabic languages–this translates to “C’mon, let’s go!”)

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,

Joyce

(Photo courtesy of http://www.mirindaarabia.com/