Monday, December 28, 2009

bring ya duckets by the dozens

UUUPPPDAAAATE!

So I've been really lazy and haven't updated in fooooorever. So much shit has happened since the last post, I don't really know where to start.

First off, my Arabic is slowly improving, I'm beginning to read faster but my understanding of classical Arabic is still very minimal. But inshallah (hopefully; literally: god willing) I'll be good to go by the time I return to the states, which by the way, has been pushed back to August 10th. Leaving Lebanon on the 7th and spending 3 days in Cairo then New MOTHERLOVING Jersey. I can't believe I missed all that snow btw, I think the coldest it got in Beirut was maaaaaybe 45. I saw a picture of E$ on the book of faces drinking a golden delicious 40 in some heavy snowfall, made me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Its a shame Lebanon has no 40's, its exactly what is missing from this country.

Even though I'm having a crazy time here, I wish I could teleport or use a portkey, or floo powder, fuck it, I'd even take a broom cause I do miss home sometimes, but in a nostalgic way. At the same time, there is just this feeling I get walking the streets of Hamra, or driving on the autostrade at 4 am with the white stripes or bobby d blaring through the speakers, or sitting on the wall at the marina in Jbeil kickin back some almazas and watching the waves come in, or people watching on campus here at AUB, or stepping outside every morning to a view of the sea, or eating/cooking bangin grub, or smoking the best goddamn hookah I have ever had in Kaslik; all with people that I never in a million years would have imagined meeting here.

It feels like home sweet home. Its so strange how my life here is so similar to my life back in the states, yet at the same time very different (I know descriptive right?) but at this point I can't come up with the right words to describe it. All I can say for sure is that poop IS funny, and always will be funny.

Anyways, second semester started about a month ago, things are running fairly smoothly. Been going to a lot of places recently. When Tom was here we went to Baalbeck where there is an ancient Roman temple called Heliopolis (the city of the sun), it's also where a lot of drugs/guns come from in Lebanon (allegedly).

This is a digital copy of a picture from my dad's 35mm (Thanks pops).

Then later in the week we headed out for Damascus, the capital of Syria. On the way there I was drifting in and out of sleep but apparently while crossing over the mountains we couldn't see more than a meter in any direction. So we get to the border and are told by the (micro) bus driver to go down to duty free and sketchily buy cigarettes for him because there is a two carton limit per person. Now he can smuggle them back into Lebanon and sell them for a profit, or use them to bribe border guards, woooot! So then we waited about 3 hours for Tom's visa to be approved and we finally made it to Damascus, found the cheapest hotel took a nap and hit the town. Damascus was ballin. The souks (open-air shopping bazzar type thing) are awesome you can find anything you want there, food, textiles, leather, spices, cheap toys, playstation rip-offs, delicious ice cream, and it is all built around the most amazing mosque I've ever seen (pictures will be posted at a later time, waiting for them to be developed). This mosque is massive, It was completed in the year 715 and houses the alleged tomb of John the Baptist (he has many alleged final resting places) and the tomb of the great Salah ad-din (Saladin). We then headed out to the christian quarter and hit up some bars and what not, mingled with the locals, etc. On the last day I bought an oud and we headed back to Beirut. Damascus in a nutshell was cleaner, relatively cheaper, had nicer people, and was more authentic than Beirut; obviously I don't know how I would feel about living there, but just visiting for 3 days was awesome.


This past Sunday was probably the most fun I've had in Lebanon to date, got about two hours of sleep Saturday night woke up early and headed up to Faraya (with some friends) located high up in the mountains of Lebanon, and went snowboarding for the first time in 3 years. Surprisingly, I was way better than I used to be (I only fell three times) and we chilled all day on the slopes just admiring the sheer beauty of these snowy mountains. Even Bob Ross, the king of painting landscapes, couldn't have captured what this looked like. I do look like the offspring of a tomato and a panda bear cause I didn't apply any sunblock and I was wearing sunglasses all day, but its all good baby babay.

I'm starting to bore myself so its about that time eh chaps? I'm gonna try to write on this thing more often so keep a look out if you like what you're reading!


Naptime...the best time of the day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

tis' the season

Word on the street is that it's december, but I don't believe it one bit cause it hasn't been below 55 degrees and I hear that it really doesn't get much colder. This is my first time being away from home during the holiday season (Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years). It feels weird, I didn't have turkey on thanksgiving, and no birthday punches on my birthday. Dustin and his friend Dan were here for a week of debauchery which totally screwed up my sleep cycle. But it was well worth it. It really doesn't feel like the holidays, its not cold, there's no snow (in beirut at least), no christmas carols on the radio all day. They did start putting up lights though. I guess as much as christmas has become a commercialized, consumerist, holiday (in the western world at least) it still gives you "that warm fuzzy feeling" on the inside. Maybe this christmas will be a challenge to get in the holiday spirit without all the advertising and non stop christmas music.

Here's a little clip I'm sure you guys all know:


So, I finally got a chance to go to the Beqaa Valley this past weekend on a geology field trip and it was amazing.
It actually reminded of NJ a lot. Colored leaves falling off the trees, big open fields with rolling hills, and trash as far as the eye can see. There are a lot of farms and big villas as well.





video


And here are some random videos from youtube, which by the way is illegal in Turkey. Democracy my ass.




Thanks to dustin and dan for introducing me to kasta they are sick.

Here is a new show on MTV called "jersey shore" I'm sure it's already the new True Blood by now but here's a trailer just in case