We are staying with our friend Ghada on top of a mountain. I am writing this on the terrace of her parent’s house looking out over rocks, trees and, in the distance, the sea. Around us the countryside is like the Languedoc, we went for a walk and for the first time in months I felt a terribly longing for Sainte Cecile.
This is such a complicated, beautiful, chaotic, busy, wonderful, tragic place. I am beginning to really love it. I suppose the closest thing I have seen to it is southern Italy. But very different. On our first day we drove through Beirut on the way to the mountains. “The only problem is,” concluded Leo, “is they got bullet holes everywhere.”
It is incredible that a country that is so clearly Mediterranean and so familiar was at war for a large part of my life.
Leo is getting slightly bored without the ferals who, when I spoke to my mother yesterday, were singing arias outside her house dressed in her finest evening dresses. My father maintains they have learnt Dante and Jacques Prevert off by heart. They will come back extremely cultured young ladies. But he has taken a shine to Ghada’s cousin Zena, pictured here.
Meanwhile we are all just enjoying being outside, breathing the fresh Lebanese air….and chatting to pretty Lebanese girls.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009
It does indeed look a very beautiful place.
However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of Lebanon without thinking of Brian Keenan and John Mc Carthy.
You’ll have to keep a close eye on Leo when he gets older, and keep something to hand to swat away the girls!
Enjoy the break.
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