Showing posts from April, 2010


I stood watching intently, and amused, as she attempted to peel the ripe Sabbar. The juices ran down her fingers to her delicate wrists and bits of the peel covered the place at the table where she stood. She was determined to do it herself. That was part of what I loved about her, her determination, which, at times, bordered on a hard-headed stubbornness. Although she had seen it in the streets of Damascus, she had never eaten the sweet fruit in her life. Here, it was everywhere, a delicacy we took for granted. However, as soon as her lovely hands held one for the first time, I saw the pear in an entirely new light. We had been out walking. I was showing her the area around where I grew up. She marveled at the number of cacti, Sabbara trees, as she called them, that were along the road. They were handsomely laden with their brilliant red or yellow pears. When I told her they were edible, the Saber, as we call them here, she insisted that we pick some and I, enthusiastic to share

Sea Side - A First Novel

Artwork by Joseph Matta I've been on a journey of self discovery for the last nine months. It all started in July 2009 when one of my favorite bloggers and my dearest friend Mariyah posted a simple and beautiful entry. For those of you who are not familiar with Mariyah, she is an exceptionally gifted writer from Damascus, who over the course of twenty six episodes told the story of her parents in the form of an inspiring and heart warming fairy tale. I asked her then if this “ Sea Side ” , as she called it, was going to be another Ghassan & Alexandra . Instead of giving a straight answer she invited me to join her in co-writing a story with the backdrop of the Syrian Coast. How could I ever say no to a beautiful lady like Mariayh? Privately, however, I felt a little awkward. I've never written anything longer than a few pages. I've never written fiction. I've never written with another person. Yet my deepest desire had always been to write a novel someday. M

Quattro Stagioni

Staying at the right hotel is the dividing line between a successful business trip and a memorable experience. When traveling in Europe my temporary residence is often a four-star or, occasionally, a five-star business hotel as close as possible to the venue where my meetings are to take place. I usually follow the advice of my hosts and when they offer to handle the reservation themselves I normally agree. These hotels are quite comfortable and provide efficient around the clock services. They and most of their clientele are sadly soulless though. I'm not always fortunate to run into a Fenella after all. Sigh!!! On my third trip to the Netherlands over the last year I have learned my lesson well enough not to put my fate in the hands of efficient secretaries. Despite the inconvenience of changing accommodations for one night only I find myself opting for this choice more and more. The hell with the business suit and tie, the hygienic room in the middle of nowhere and the b