Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum cancels all New Year celebrations in Dubai in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
You can read more here
I want to dedicate this post to Noura. At first I did not want to write “yet another Eid post”, but we all love and support Noura and let’s face it, long distance sucks! So below is a long and detailed account of everything I ate during my stay in Damascus.
I went to Damascus with really one thing in mind: to eat. I missed food. I didn’t care wether or not the food was healthy. It is home made food, with love from my grandma and mom. Except for shawerma of course, but it’s shawermaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
My grandma 7ayati spends most of the day cooking one meal. She goes into the kitchen at around 10 AM and we don’t get to it till 4:30 PM. But trust me when I say it’s the best dish you’d eat in your life! So for the first day I was treated to “shei5 el me7shi” (شيخ المحشي) which I was told was called “ma5shi” (مخشي) by Palestinians (correct me if I am wrong). For dinner we had whatever was in the house – cheese, eggs, shankleesh, and whatever smells weird and has been in the cupboard since last year.
The next day we were invited for breakfast at mom’s friend’s house. Too bad I was fasting because I missed out on “fatteh”. If you know me, this is without a doubt the most sacred meal to me. So not eating fatteh would hopefully be accepted as a sacrifice. But of course, if it were only fatteh. No no. They had to have everything that makes you fart for ages – fool mdammas, fool blaban, makdoos, some weird thing I tried to avoid and could swear was moving, and of course tabbouleh, fattoush o debes and that horrible creation called mtabbal.
But I didn’t eat any of that. I busied myself by taking photos of the food.
Then I told mom to replicate that breakfast for iftar. I couldn’t say which tasted better since I didn’t have a reference, but eating fatteh (which I only eat in Damascus) made me a very happy man.
The next day my dad decided we would eat breakfast outside, much to my resentment. So that meal was totally forgettable and I do not wish to discuss it further. As an apology, my dad took me and sis to the Old City, where I usually spend my time in summers anyway.
I love the Old City. It’s simply a brilliant spot of land. You could literally hear the walls and cobblestones talking to you. Though it was a bit quiet with most stores closed for Eid, بياعين الفستق remained open and I was obliged to take samples until I decided on the best, and I let my sister handle the price negotiations. No one says no to nice sweet girls, and ياما تحت السواهي دواهي (if this is the last post you read from me, I love you all).
At night we walked arround the Qassa3 area, one of the most beautiful spots in Damascus and a festive place. As a Christian community, everyone decorates their homes – interior and exterior – with a wonderful display of lights to celebrate Christmas and New Year. When I was there only a few were up, but I am sure by now everyone there is in FalalalalaLand.
Then I had to invite Qabbani, who was in town, for breakfast. Actually he invited himself but then I invited him after his invitations to feel that I have a word in this LOL! So he came over and he had to eat from MY fatteh el 7aywan, bas mashi bmoon. So for revenge I had mom force him to eat lots of ma3mool and weird Arabic sweets which names I cannot be bothered to remember. They all taste the same to me – mushy sugar and nuts down my esophagus.
Then came the big meal.
وما ادراك ما الكبة
There is absolutely nothing more wonderful than have the whole family eating kibbeh next to the صوبية. And a pot of tea slowly being brewed on it and socks hanging around so they can dry before we wear them to bed.
But it wasn’t tea, it seemed. It was ميرامية. I craved some مته right then but I’m the only one in the family with that acquired taste. So since mom doesn’t approve, it stays out. *sniffles*
I stuffed my suitcase with whatever food I could carry – roughly 6 kilos of food. I consumed half of them within a couple of days in Dubai and saved the rest for a rainy day.
It has been five years now since we have met, in the most unlikely place in the world – the arts and crafts section of a bookstore. But now I understand why you were there. It took all these years to appreciate who you really are.
You listened to me as I spoke of my life. You stood by my side when people accused me of being a terrorist for praying, gay for hugging and naive fore looking for the best in people.
You listened as I ranted on my two crushes. You consoled me when my friends picked up and left or were giving me a hard time.
And now when I look back and browse through your pages, I find that our happy moments are few and far in between. I have been unkind to you when you have been selfless with me.
You have only a few precious pages left, but I will leave you now. I will take all the lessons you have taught me and become the man we both envisioned me to be. And I will come back and tell you about it, so that I finally get to thank you like I should and finally pay my due.
You will always be my favorite journal, and I will be missing you dearly… until the next time we meet.
May 2008 be the new beginning for all of you as well :)
This New Year was awesome, although it didn’t beat last year’s at all. Last year I spent it with my entire family attending my friend’s engagement, AND the house was in the middle of the square where the New Year event was taking place. It was totally awesome.
This year was quieter. My sister went out with her own friends and I went out with mine. Instead of trying to beat traffic and fight for bookings and such, we went for a more subtle way. We went out to the beach, camped in a spot from 5 PM all the way to midnight. Had lots and lots of fun – danced, BBQed, I was made fun of as usual, took some photos.
It was incredibly cold and our bonfire was barely keeping up. It was fun, and the best part is that I spent New Year’s with people I love, not people I don’t know.