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Showing posts from July, 2006

The Blue Max

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As I was growing up in the 70’s, the once-a-week excursion to the movies was a special treat. Tartous didn’t offer much in terms of entertainment then (or even now), especially in the winter. My friends and I would arrange to meet near the theater after or during school hours. We would go in raucously and act like the asshole teenagers we were. Besides watching the movies, making everybody else in the theater uncomfortable was our cruel delight. So it came about one day that a movie came to town. It was titled “ The Blue Max ”, 1966. From word of mouth, we heard that Ursula Andress had her voluptuous body on display, and that her tits “almost” showed. Well of course her towel scene became an all-time classic and is a pinnacle in the delicate art of teasing. More importantly though, The Blue Max is probably one of the greatest aviation movies in the history of film making and it features some spectacular arial combat sequences. Little did I know, however, that this movie would chang

Words of Questionable Substance

More often than not, I find myself at a loss of a word. That doesn’t prevent me from exercising what I shine at, the ability to bullshit in time of mental draught. Come to think of it, I’m really not a thinker at all. I just pretend to be verbalizing an important bit of discourse when I have no idea what the hell I’m going to say next. Take for instance this very post. I’m plowing through it with no clear purpose yet. I honestly have nothing to say. I could scratch my head or another dear part of me and state that life without real friends isn’t worth living. I could then build on it and write an acceptable piece, which might even prove to the liking of a few of you. Or, I could embark on a perpendicular route and affirm that we’re basically alone and would continue to be so until the day we die. This track would put me on a lengthy course of a dissertation in bullshit. How about indulging you, and myself, in a philosophical debate on pleasure and pain! An extremely tasteless bad joke

I'll Be Back

I was never a person who gets turned on by politics. I've looked over my blog and found that ever since the recent tragic events have started in Lebanon, I have been incapable of "personally" saying anything meaningful. As thus, I have opted to totally delete the posts which I have not written myself. This is My blog and I wouldn't want the atrocities committed against my people to affect how I think and what I write. I wouldn't want despair to invade this little personal space of mine. There are other blogs out there which deal with this miserable and dirty aspect of humanity, objectively and subjectively. The overwhelming feeling that I have an enemy (Israel and the US Government and NOT the American People ) is part of who I am, and I am neither embarrassed or afraid to let it be known. I won't loose this feeling nor withdraw this statement until there is an " honorable and just peace " in the Middle East. When the light at the end of the tunn

أضعف الإيمان - اصمتوا

في هذه الظروف الصعبة، وفيما يستشهد أهلنا واخوتنا واولادنا في لبنان، وفيما تقوم آلة الحرب الاسرائيلية بتدميرمنظم ومقصود لوطن بأكمله، أطلب من جميع الأخوة العرب عموماً ومن السوريين خصوصاً الصلاة من أجل لبنان. كما أطلب من جميع المتفزلكين السياسيين، من كان منهم مختبأًً في بلده أو متشدقاً من خلف البحار أن يمارسوا أضعف الايمان وهو الصمت والتعاطف من القلب. من أراد تغيير نظاماً فهذا ليس وقته، ومن أراد أكل الهوى فلينتظر حتى تنته المعركة على الأقل. اعفونا من آرائكم أيها المنظرون السياسيون البارعون. إن المشكلة إن بعضكم قد صدق نفسه وصار له أتباع ربما، ولكن كل هذا الهراء ليس وقته. إذا كنتم لا تؤمنوا بالله حتى تتقوه، اتقوا ضميركم وانسانيتكم واصمتوا. وإذا ما زلتم تصرون ان الحق على حزب الله لأنه البادئ، والبادئ أظلم، سلمنا معكم وربما بقليل من فشة الخلق أننا اعدتينا على أولاد الحرام مرة واحدة على الأقل. الله يحميك يا لبنان والله يقصف عمرك يا اسرائيل

The Menshieh of Tartous

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The museum of Tartous is bounded on its eastern side by a large garden of over 2000 square meters. I’ve checked with some of the city’s elderly and was told that as far as their memory served this area has always been a Café in a garden and it has always been called Al-Menshieh . The cadastral plan prepared by the French during their occupation of Syria in the 1920’s illustrates the presence of several trees (they are still there) and a garden. I have found an old b&w photo of the Menshieh dating to the mid 1940’s and it shows that even then it was used as a Café. The Menshieh is owned by the City of Tartous (Al-Baladieh). Several entrepreneurs have rented and invested in the place from the 1940’s until 1983. Then, in their infinite wisdom and for some totally ridiculous reason, the Department of Antiquity and the City of Tartous conspired and closed it down. The Menshieh remained closed for 20 years and fell victim to neglect and idiocy. The Tartoussis were furious but who gives

A One Hour Itinerary [Tartous - Al-Sawda & Back]

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If I had one free hour on my hand and if the weather was suitable to ride, a possible itinerary is to leave Tartous from the north and head toward Al-Sawda , 12 km to the northeast. I ride by the Free Zone and continue straight on the old Tartous-Lattakia road. 3 km out, I reach a railroad crossing and a bridge over Nahr Al-Hsein (نهر الحصين). http://static.flickr.com/78/178923960_c9e792fabe_o.jpg I stay on the old road until I arrive at the Dweir Taha sign and start my climb to the right. I stop on the side of the road anywhere and take a look back toward Tartous and may be have a cold beer. http://static.flickr.com/51/178923579_2122794f45_o.jpg Time to move on again, so I continue my ascend till I reach Dweir Taha on a picturesque scenic road. I stop at the east end of the village, dismount and enjoy the unrestricted view in all directions. http://static.flickr.com/67/178923402_cfc7145c8c_o.jpg The cement factory is an out of place monstrosity in this otherwise serene backd

The Tourists Are Coming

I encounter people who consider me a cynic on a daily basis. They think that I live in the past, unable to accept the tide of progress. So what, they argue, you lost the damn olive trees but we have dozens of cellular towers instead. You cannot go swimming wherever you please anymore, they tell me, but we’re going to have a couple of new marinas and five-star hotels. No point in reminiscing about a sandy beach stretching till eternity since we have the “Cornishe” where the sons and daughters of the wealthy can cruise and parade their latest model cars to the salutations of the police. Tartous was a stupid place “boring and humid” and now it’s on the right path to join the rest of the civilized world. The tourists are coming, they insist. They fault me because I want us to remain trapped in a time warp. Wake up, they yell in my ear, smell the roses, be happy, the tourists are coming, the tourists are coming... I love progress, an essential for the coming tourists, and I’m not only talk

From Jambe To Tartous

Exactly 3 years ago, Rose arrived in Tartous coming from Jambe. I met her at the Kadmous bus station and took her home. She was a little girl of 22, very shy, very quiet. She had trusted her luck and left her home and family in search for a job. Her fate took her all the way from Jambe in Indonesia to Tartous in Syria. She walked in our place a little intimidated yet very proud. Traveling all this distance to work for three years for an unknown employer is not a task which can be taken lightly by a man or a woman. In addition, she spoke little Arabic. We asked her to rest for the day but she wouldn’t have any of it. I swear that she’s been working for 3 years without ever complaining. We would tell her to stop and take it easy for a while but she wouldn’t listen. Only when the kids begged her to she would put invented work aside and play with them. We have moved from one apartment to another and Rose carried most of the burden of moving. She left the first place sparkling clean and kep