Dylan Does Lebanon

Don’t think twice, it’s alright.
Have you ever listened to Bob Dylan in your left ear while the Call to prayer was sounding resonant in your right? Such is the life of mélange I live here. Some Minnesota, some Lebanon, some East some West. Yesterday for lunch I had a qofta, and for dinner, a fajita. Some East, some West, such is life at the crossroads.

All Along the Watchtower.
I am getting used to monumental pictures of Nasrallah, Hariri (and son), 80’s era tanks outside our University, and frequent passport checks. Such is the life here for me, and for every Beiruti. Soldiers and Security forces permeate daily life. Yesterday, was LAU’s graduation for the class of 2007, a ceremony held here on campus. At the south gate of the school, there were close to 20 soldiers with fingers at-the-ready. The shake-down trying to get in took twice as long as all big events are marred by fears of “fireworks”.

Tangled up in Blue
It’s July 4th, Independence day back home, and being mostly Americans here, we feel the need to celebrate somehow. I was talking to one of the students who was hear last year, and he was telling me how they had a party just off campus with a student they had befriended, Stars and Stripes hanging from the balcony, singing drunkenly out into the Lebanese night…until they were shouted down by locals, and, as is usually the case with rowdy college parties, the landlord stepped in, only this time it was to say, “are you trying to get my building burned down?”

So that won’t be happening this year, although I did suggest eating Watermelon as a good option, because after all, watermelon is red, white, and green, the Lebanese colors. That’s very similar to the American red, white, and…

Pledging My Time
My Arabic skills are improving vastly, both in the 3ammiya (Lebanese colloquial) and in the FusHa (Classical) since I’ve adopted the flashcard system. Because we learn so much new vocabulary in class, having flashcards on hand to quickly scrawl down a word, and then practice it later while roaming the Hamra neighborhood really helps, although it makes me look incredibly awkward in the street. But whatever, I’m not trying to impress anyone. This trip is all business. *winks*

Shelter From the Storm
This weekend, our group of students is going to be heading up north to the famed “Cedars of Lebanon” or in arabic Al-Arz. From what I’ve heard, this is one of the most fun trips we take, the hikes are grueling but rewarding, and the journey there isn’t too long or hard. I’m expecting not to see too many Cedars, because largely they have been mostly cut down. I find this odd- you see the Lebanese flag everywhere around Beirut, with the Cedar smack on the middle yet the country is strewn with trash. The Lebanese are clearly overwhelmingly proud of their country, culture, and history, but in the same breath, they choose to discard their coffee cup next to the garbage can instead of in it. There is so much of it down on the Corniche (kind of a boardwalk along the Mediterranean), that it almost sickens me.
Anyways, this trip should produce some stunning pictures, so keep checking my flickr account (link at the bottom of the page).

à bientôt à tout le monde
(I’m allowed to use French here too, you know.)

Colin

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1 Response to “Dylan Does Lebanon”


  1. 1 nadine April 19, 2008 at 8:56 am

    thats massively cool


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