DAY 12 LEBANON OCTOBER 31ST 2011

Monday October 31st 2011

We are living in Bkheshtey in the Aley district (means high place) and was previously known as the bride of the summer in the area of Mount Lebanon. It is truly beautiful. Visited the lady next door named Yvonne yesterday. What an incredible lady. She is 91 years old, so smart and so cute. Other neighbors came in to see who was visiting. Her house keeper/health care aid is Sophia. She is from Sri Lanka. Great girl. Tonight she visited us again. I like her. She offered to clean out the house for us. My biggest concern is staying warm. Last night my face felt so cold I could not sleep. At least we have power tonight. I came on at 6pm . Should have it till at least midnight then off till 6am. Then on from noon to 6pm. No power then tomorrow night. Guess I will get used to it. We have been invited to a wedding as guests of Talal’s tomorrow night. He is doing  a wedding zeffet and he letting us video and check it out. I am so hyped.      

Today we visited Aley with Talal as escort. This is where Walid grew up. Had a wonderful lunch at Tarbouch. We visited some old haunts of Walid’s in the center of town. We ran into several peole he used to know including an old school teacher and the owner of the fruit store remembered him. We were given the best fruit ever. We visited Samir Khoury at his lovely home. This is Riad’s brother. I know him from Fall River. We then went to where Walid’s house was.

So sad. Area completely devistated. Nice places partially rebuilt next to those empty demolished buildings. All of Lebanon is like this but here in Aley seemed to be worse. They really got hit hard during the latter part of the war. We ran into people he grew up with. Still there! No where to go. It is home. So sad! They look like homeless people with vacant expressions. Walid was so shocked. These people grew up as neighbor hood kids. You could see the quality that is now a forgotten dream. They thought I was Amal. Really hit Walid hard. He looked like he had been punched in the stomach and the air was pushed out of him. He wishes he had not seen it. I wish he had not also. Now I know why my cousins did not want me to go to my grandmothers old house in Westcliff. Just remember it as it was.

 

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LEBANON 2011 DAY 11

Sunday October 30th 2011

Margo got the small theater that belongs to the El Medina Theater to book the entertainment. Good for her. Great news. She is such a hard worker. This was last night.

Khaled called us down for breakfast. We sat and chatted with him and the Maitre-De. Very nice, helpful people. Selim Assaf, Walid’s cousin picked us up at noon in his Hummer with his son Carl. So nice! Took a beautiful ride in the Hummer to his Mom’s house. This house in Wadi Sharur was Walid’s grandmothers and he spent a lot of his childhood there. Had a wonderful lunch with the entire family. Walid’s Aunt, Selim’s Mom, his wife and children. Plus his brother Raghib, wife and children and his sister and family. This house belonged to Assaf side of the family. The houses is upgraded beautifully. The Aunt lives on the first floor and Raghib and family live on the 2nd and 3rd floor. He runs the AC company with his brother.  Great family all the way around. Made us feel very welcome.  Pretty neighborhood. Houses all stone. Only regret is my camera was packed. Want to go back. Lovely people. Can see why Walid loved it so much. Rained lightly here and a little bit cooler than the city.

We then drove to to his grandmother’s house on his mother’s side of the family. This Melecki’s house.  Located on Mount Lebanon. Another house Walid spent so much time in. This house has had no guests in four years. No one lives here now. Very quaint. All stone. Nice large rooms. We arrived at exactly 6pm. Only know this as the entire area went black as we pulled in the driveway. It was much colder here than in Beirut. Thank God I brought sweaters and socks for both of us. This place  is so village and so old Lebanon. It’s name is Bkshtay. Guess it means dragon. The house is now just a summer house for family. I realize I could live here just fine. Four rooms is enough for us. There are only the two of us. Who needs eight rooms in CA with patios enclosed and gazebos etc. Just more to clean. Needs some work. Think the roof needs repair and there is war damage on a couple of outside walls. Talal is coming up tomorrow. He is taking us out to see the sights near Aley. We left a bag in Selim’s car. Talal will get it for us. It was all the costumes etc that I purchased plus passports. We need them for sure. My error I should have done a last check. I was concerned about us finding our way around the house. Should have known better than to trust the men. Sent Selim and  Walid to buy candles at the corner store. Reminds me of West Wareham. The only corner store! We lit candles and found the gas for the stove. We needed heat. The store owner’s son came up at 7pm to make sure we had all we needed. Now, how wonderful is that. He does not even know us though his father remembered Walid. We have heat, a stove, electricity (sometimes) and water. So much for the comforts of home. The power came on sometime during the night and scared us half to death. The TV, the radio and lights came on. We had gone to bed and it was really cold. By daylight we will sort it all out.