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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paradise, As Far As The Eye Can See

I kid you not. The title above is the name of a restaurant, 35 km northeast of Tartous. If you think that the owner is out of his mind, think twice. First, you’d better take a look at the imbedded video. I think you will agree that the name is very appropriate.

They were three, a cynic, an historian and a blogger. Their schedules agreed that they were all free for the afternoon. A little bit after 2:00PM, and after an exhilarating 40 minute drive, they reached their destination- Paradise As Far As The Eye Can See (Jannat 3a Mad El-Nazar). It was sweltering hot in Tartous but once they took their seats at the 600 meter (~1970 ft) altitude shivers ran through their backs. They’d better get to the business at hand without hesitation. A great, simple, fresh, delicious Mezza was immediately served along with a full bottle of home-made Arak (the best they’ve had in years).

After a couple of rounds of the magical elixir (made of refreshing aniseed and white grapes) and tiny bites from salads and appetizers, the cynic asked the other two if they’ve read the “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. It turned out that all three of them were just about halfway through. For the next 4 hours (the time it took them to consummate their lunch and their bottle), they discussed the read part of the novel. They all agreed that it doesn’t matter how it ends. They didn’t even consider discussing the fictional part.

The cynic’s line of thought was that indeed not only the church but all “organized” religions had and continue to suppress information and mislead people. The historian wholeheartedly believed that the Knights Templar had hid the Sangreal documents (the Holy Grail) in the dungeon of the old city of Tartous during their lengthy stay there before moving their treasure to France in the early 1300s. He even substantiated his claim with a myriad of sources after his lifelong obsession (and knowledge) of the history of Tartous. The blogger interjected here and there, rightfully claiming that there is absolutely no contradiction between believing in the one and only God while knowing only too well that men of the cloth (of all colors and shapes) have been screwing humanity since the earliest advent of Religion.

Next time this blogger posts, he will write about the holy month of Ramadan in Tartous. This average person, among many others, had never believed that there is any contradiction as far as his spiritual life is concerned.




To reach Paradise, As Far As The Eye Can See, please follow the directions at the end of my post The Little Village of Kamsieh. Once you get there, the easiest way to find the restaurant is to keep asking locals for the next 5 km. Don't worry, you'll get there.

15 comments:

I love Munich said...

The title is indeed appropriate - the area is stunningly beautiful!

As to the last sentence of the clip ... what do you think? ;)

Beautiful clip and - I agree with the statement of "the blogger" regarding "men of the clothes"!

GREAT post - thanks so much!!

abufares said...

Hi Karin

I'm so glad you liked the clip. Wish you were here.
As to the last sentence of the clip, you, of all people, should know...

Ascribo said...

What a nice sight!

I have to admit that I have seen this kind of "paradise" in many places: Wadi Al-Nasara near Homs, Bloudan in a resturant with almost the same view...Not to mention the 750-acre Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

But anyway, nothing is more sweet than one's own home, and no paradise can be enjoyed without REAL mates. As we say in Arabic:
الجنة بلا ناس ما بتنداس

For the "men of the clothes" as you put it, I believe that most of them have done more harm than good throughout history. But it's a more complicated issue, I guess. It is only when people stop thinking and take these mens' words as granted that we get screwd up...A nice book on the topic (a little bit philosophical) is (By Al-Akkad): التفكير فريضة اسلامية

I love Munich said...

I do ... THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Soraya said...

Amazing read as usual abu fares
I really enjoyed it
beautiful clip :)

abufares said...

Hi Ascribo
Thanks for your comment. Of course Syria is full of similar great places.
I will try to locate the book you mentioned or may be rather wait for you to return to help me out with finding it.
All the best.

abufares said...

Hi Om Esoos

You must be coming back anytime soon now.
Have a safe trip and let's hear from you as soon as you're back in base:-)

Gina said...

Hello Abu Fares,

the roots of my forefathers are in Tartous, so I am happy to find your blog and your great stories. Still I remember the smell of cooked stomach when I was a child and visited my aunts. But....I never ate it because of the soft sheep I missed......Well, I am from Europe and in the mall, where we buy our laham, we forget the animal and his death.
I came here today to ask you for a favor. After ten years absence I will visit Tartous with beginning of october. You made me hungry for the paradise, do you think it is easy to find and will be open during ramadan?
By the way, the restaurant in "Golden Sands" is a special place too. Tartousis and the villagers around need their mediteranian.

Thanks to you Abu Fares and the great pleasure.

Gina

Anonymous said...

great.. great.. great..

abufares said...

Hello Gina
Thank you for your visit.
I would have loved to join you (in Paradise) but unfortunately can't do so during Ramadan.
In any case, you are welcome to drop me an email once you are here, we sure can meet over a nice cup of coffee somewhere in Tartous.
As for this restaurant, it's open year round so don't worry, even in Ramadan (for lunch & dinner). The owner/operator's name is Samir. Once you get to Kamsieh (same exit as Rimal Zahabieh but you go east instead of west), stop there anywhere and ask anyone about the restaurant (Jannat 3a Mad Al Nazar). It's not that far and people are always delighted to show visitors how to get to a place. Once you are there, tell Samir that you are a friend of Abu Fares who is a friend of Abu Nibal!
How about that for a Wasta?!
I hope you enjoy your stay and as I've said earlier, I would love to meet with you while you're here.
Take care, thanks again.

abufares said...

Hi Anonymous

Great of you to drop in!
Thank You!

Jon Cox said...

GREAT BLOG!!!! Wonderful work! :o)

abufares said...

Thank you Jon for your visit.
I'm glad you liked it.

Piscean Rubble said...

Oh my GOD!! That reminds me of Greece...took me right back. Could feel, smell, see it all. Sigh.

abufares said...

@Om Anastasio
Thank you for reminding me of this beautiful place.
I will sure go there as soon as possible. It's wonderful in the winter especially when it's raining.