Alien in Beirut

"Give your daughters difficult names. Give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right." Warsan Shire.

Resident of Beirut, citizen of Ireland, lover of animals, travel, cute places and the craic (having fun).

All content on this page is my own opinion unless stated or sourced otherwise.

I reserve all rights over photos on this blog, unless authorship is expressly attributed to another.

Amazing Lebanese fish lunch by the sea at Manuella - Jounieh for a fixed price of 50,000LL per person, which includes grilled and fried fish of your choosing, calamari, black ink squid and marinated octopus..to name but a few. Shrimp, tajine, mezze and a table full of fresh fruit selection are also in the mix. Definitely going back.

Jounieh

Smile!
It’s Friday!

Smile!

It’s Friday!

I had dinner last night with an Armenian woman in company. Earlier this year, the very first thing this same woman said to my mother when she came to visit  was “haven’t you ever heard of the Armenian genocide”. My mother got all flustered at the time and said “no, I have only heard of Armenia from the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Last night, during the course of dinner a comment was made about the fact that the World Cup is now over and the Armenian woman bounced up and down in the seat beside me saying how happy she was Germany won because they are her team. My mouth dropped open before I had chance to catch myself. I wanted to ask her how she could speak so fervently about the Armenian genocide as an introductory conversation/first sentence to a person she never met before and then declare her equally fervent love for Germany, a country who also committed a genocide in their historical past.  

But I smiled and said nothing, knowing full well that a logical, intellectual conversation was never going to happen with such persons. 

Introducing the uber cool Mar Michael Train Station bar newly opened by the people behind BO18. It is historical, fun and creative. You have to pick your way past the old station, over rail way lines and between long since abandoned carriages to get to the sensitively installed Train Station pop-up bar.

The DJ sets the atmosphere from inside a train carriage, industrial and resalvaged decor enhances the tone, open air bbq serving fresh, tasty bites and a bar constructed around an original water tower, this place is a must visit. 

George Clooney has retaliated against The Daily Mail for publishing a fabricated story about his future mother-in-law which claimed she is opposed to the marriage between her daughter and Clooney for religious reasons. 

Clooney was so enraged he wrote back to the Daily Mail calling them “irresponsible” and “dangerous”. 

Clooney wrote:

"I want to speak to the irresponsibility of Monday’s Daily Mail report. I seldom respond to tabloids, unless it involves someone else and their safety or wellbeing. The Daily Mail has printed a completely fabricated story about my fiancee’s mother opposing our marriage for religious reasons. It says Amal’s mother has been telling ‘half of Beirut’ that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride….

…”First of all, none of the story is factually true. Amal’s mother is not Druze. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage - but none of that is the issue”….

..“But this lie involves larger issues. The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous. We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal.”…

"The Daily Mail, more than any other organisation that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm’s way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence. They must be so very proud."

The tabloid has since apologized to Clooney and retracted the article in question. 

Being 10 hours time difference to your loved ones and almost 8,000 miles makes the distance all the more notable. So, my darling husband shared home photos with me while I was away to lessen the distance.

This particular one below of Teddy kept me smiling for days.

It is hard describe Teddy’s personality without making him sound like dick, because he really is one a lot of the time, but Teddy has enough attitude you could bottle it. Here he is relaxing on my pillow knowing full well that we don’t allow him to yet, he gets so annoyed that P called his name and disturbed his rest you can see this from his face:

image

The animal shelter we rescued Teddy from also picked up my photo and shared it on their website. This cheeky, little shit got almost 500 likes. 

After a full week of work I finally got some down time on July 4th. I never realized what a big celebration it is for Americans. I headed down to Santa Monica Pier as a starting point and wandered from there into the Venice area and along the way I happened upon a July 4th parade. I never even knew there was a parade for the 4th of July.

It was insane, I have never seen so much red, white and blue before and short shorts absolutely everywhere, everyone was waving flags and cheering at nothing specific other than it was simply the 4th of July. As I stood observing everything in my black top and to-the-ankle jeans with little to no enthusiasm for the birthday of this country I felt out of place and a little lonely.

So, I moved away from the celebrations and loudness and made my way into this little solitary park to repose. It was hard to believe I was in LA as I chilled out there among all that green and nature, especially when the largest butterfly I have ever seen fluttered by me. 

I finally picked my way through all the beautiful beach houses in Venice back down to the beach and ocean that stretched for as far as my eye could see.

July 4th was the first time I ever saw (and paddled) in the Pacific Ocean. I even took a selfie for the special moment:

Happy belated birthday, America

Downtime on July 4th.

Photos include a combination of Santa Monica’s famous Pier and the even more famous Baywatch iconic image of the lifeguard lookout station. 

Santa Monica Beach on July 4th. 

49 Hours,

4 Airports,

2 Delayed flights,

1 Hurricane,

sprint through Istanbul airport to catch the Beirut transfer,

lost luggage,

approximately 8,000 miles later…

And I’m home. 

In Lebanon: you may have 5 lanes painted onto the highway but that doesn’t mean jack; it is a free for all, even the barely paved hard shoulder on the far side becomes a lane if there is a 5 minute hold up. Or not. Sometimes the pavement becomes a traffic lane.

In LA: I have to laugh every time we enter the Freeway and the taxi driver tells me traffic is bad. Oh Lebanon, what have you done to my normalcy. Here, they actually have a legitimate lane for car pool. I doubt many Lebanese know what car pool means but for the purposes of clarity it when two or more people living in a similar area and commuting to a likewise similar part of the city agree to share a car to work or school in order to decrease traffic, costs and pollution effects. 

"Ha!" says the Lebanese. 

Yesterday, I ate a new food; a savory roasted Polenta cake with mushrooms, Parmesan and chives. I feel like a hick from the country saying that, oh no wait, I am a hick from the country. 

Here is my really bad photo of a half-eaten Polenta cake: 

Well, in any event, I was excited about trying out a new food. I googled it afterwards to find out what exactly it is, (good old google). Turns out it is traditionally an Italian recipe made from dried corn and depending on what you add to the mix the cake can be made sweet or savory. Anything I read online says it is one of the easiest cakes to make and the amount of recipes available make me want to try it out when I get back home.

I also read that it is a very healthy ingredient base as a polenta cake can be made dairy free and gluten free so all the vegans and healthy people in Beirut should jump on board. 

As I embark on my first business trip to LA knowing that a week full of meetings lies ahead of me I never expected the jet lag to hit me so hard.

Yesterday, my body crumbled to pieces. I arrived late Sunday night and with barely any sleep I came into the office yesterday morning. By 3pm I was shivering with cold (in LA), sick to the stomach and a splitting headache. I went back to my hotel and spent the entire evening and night in bed trying to sleep. I woke at 4 am vomiting the insides of my stomach. It was more than just rest I needed. I was dehydrated and lacking electrolytes, not that I was going to get them at 4 am in the morning.

This morning I went to the nearby pharmacy and stocked up on oral dehydration solution, medications and even water with electrolytes and although my stomach has continued to roar it’s way through all my meetings today I have not yet vomited. Success.  

My sister messaged me earlier and told me “she wants my life”. Ain’t nothing glamorous about night time flights, no sleep, intense work meetings that I, unfortunately, have to lead and a ten hour time difference that my body is struggling to come to terms with. 

I don’t normally mind business trips, but this one, is a killer. I have a week based here in LA so I will probably just be adjusting to the time difference when it is time to return. 

Some more incredible scenes from last night.