Keif Huluck!? (How are you?)
I just wanted first take the time to thank you all for your kind thoughts and replies. Your response has been very humbling. Thanks for reading!
For the past 21 years of my life, I have searched for the true meaning of my name. Defining it by what I do and who I am, with the special people that I have crossed paths with. I am very thankful for this trip because it has given me the opportunity to explore my roots and discover what it means to be a “Saad”. Now that I am more familiar with my foundation, my determination will be much stronger than it has ever been. I hope my journey has inspired you to explore your roots if you haven’t done so already. I can feel myself becoming very anxious to get back to Austin so I can step back on stage and share my experiences with you all first hand!
May 23rd, 2009
After Adham and Adrianna left, we took it easy, relaxed on our balcony and enjoyed the entire city view of Beruit as the sun quickly set high on the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea. Every set is so unique and gorgeous here, I can’t even begin to describe it in words. This day also marks what would of been my good friend Christina Lacey’s 21st birthday. Her spirit was present and she showed it by painting an incredible sun set for my family.
May 24th, 2009
We went to eat lunch at Nabeh Safa, the coolest and most authentic restaurant I’ve ever been to. Imagine a hint of the Rainforest cafe, located in a Jungleset mountain village, completely covered with leaves and waterfalls flowing throughout the entire restaurant. We had to wear jackets because of the nice breeze from the mountains made it about 50 degrees. To my surprise, we were greeted by the entire Saad family. After about 112 cheeks were kissed, we had a massive feast and let me tell you, the Lebanese know how to eat! We were first given over 50 types of dangerously good appetizers that included kibi, toubouli, hummus, fatoush, mezza, sujak, stuffed graped leaves and more. We were then served the main course, bar b q grilled beef, kefta and chicken with an assortment of sauces and bread. Arak, a liquorish liquor that turns cloudy when you add water was the popular drink of the family and every few minutes a toast was proposed. We were all playing a game of musical chairs to enjoy each others company because the table was so long. They then served grape and apple argelli-(tobacco flavored hookah) to compliment the coffees, tea and fruits. The service was five star and the atmosphere was like nothing I had ever experienced.
We then went shopping at the ABC mall in downtown Beirut. It was filled with expensive cars and a lot of people dressed to impress. People would lite cigarettes in the stores because the mall was open to all elements with no roof. There were also security guards and military men at each entrance with metal detectors and AK 47’s.
Dylan and I found a sony store and logged onto the internet for the first time in weeks. I was so surprised at how weak the internet infrastructure is in this country. Just think, my cell phone in Texas can load faster web pages than computers in Lebanon.
I think this is also why Virgin Record is still breathing, the internet is too slow to share music files!
After, we went to grab some almond and pistachio ice cream at Bliss, a small but popular ice cream shop across the street from American University of Beirut. Tarek, Dylan and I split off and went to Alcazar, a bar on Gemmayzeh street to try their famous flaming Dr. Pepper and flaming Lambourgini drinks. We bonded well and learned more about the Lebanese work force and customs. Tarek works in advertising, marketing and distribution in Lebanon. He and his wife Sarah strongly believe that DrumJam would be an instant hit in Lebanon because the Lebanese love to be entertained. We will definitely stop in Beirut on our next world tour! ;)
May 25th, 2009
Happy Memorial day or should I say Happy South Lebanon Independence Day! Today, the Lebanese celebrate the day Israel left South Lebanon. Many employees were given this day off including my uncle Anwar who took my brother and I out to lunch for some chicken and beef shawarma. Anwar is a powerful man in Lebanon. He works for the Lebanese government and manages the water flow for the country. He explained to us that the reason for the holiday was because of the 1982 Israel invasion of the country. Israel claimed that the invasion was to liberate the country from the Palestinians, however, Anwar believed it was over water control. “Israel’s water supply is so scarce that they wanted to cease Lebanon so they could get access to the rivers for their source of water”. Even though this is a good political reasoning to justify the invasion, I think there are many others reasons for the war. Anwar has lived in Lebanon for 30 years and you could tell it from the many scares this week that have made him a bit jumpy. We asked him if he’s used to expecting the worst and he danced around the subject until he finally said that with or without war, the Lebanese people find a way to live, adapt to the situation and make the best out of life. In 2002, on this day, Israel left South Lebanon until they invaded again in the summer of 2006. The aftermath is still apparent throughout the city, bullet holes in the buildings and bombed bridges and buildings still in ruins. Later in the evening, we noticed a building in Beirut disperse a bunch of smoke. In Texas, I would immediately assume this was just a fire, but in Lebanon I found myself thinking that the building had been bombed. Its crazy how you become what your surrounded by.