After the horrible weather of last week, this weekend has been lovely – sunny, no wind, and crisp cool air. And what better way to enjoy such weather than a nice walk on the Corniche?
Beirut’s corniche has recently been renovated. Before our extended return to Australia the pavement was horribly pot-holed, covered in litter and bits of discarded gutted fish, and generally an unpleasant place to walk. (Though in true Beirut fashion it didn’t matter what condition it was in, people would still walk along it all weekend because there’s nowhere else in Beirut that you can walk without being run over!)
Now it’s got new pavers, new light poles (without lightglobes – a minor problem), new palm trees and new railing. Of course it’s a mystery who paid for all this, as the government’s been paralysed and bankrupt for some time. A typical Lebanese mystery!
Hooley dooley, it is seriously cold over here at the moment. For the past couple of days it’s been stormy with gusting winds, thunderstorms (thunder is never welcome when you’ve had two car bombings within a month!), mega amounts of rain and frequent hail storms. Snow is falling as low as 500 metres altitude, which over here is the outer suburbs of Beirut. In fact, on my way to work this morning I was overtaken by a car with big clumps of snow on top of its roof and boot.
Kind of surreal in a mediterranean coastal city.
I had Mitchie in the car this afternoon and there was a steady downpour of sleet (is it correct to say that it was “sleeting”??) which was very pretty as it accumulated on our bonnet, but I was sure glad we were in the nice warm car and not on foot. This sort of weather is especially unpleasant in Beirut, as the few drains that there are tend to be blocked, so the roads turn into rivers. It is impossible to walk around and not be drenched up to the knees – and remember that I’ve got long legs!
Of course at this point it will be very obvious to many readers that we’re Australians and still completely overwhelmed by a marginally cold climate. One of these days we’ll have a posting to a genuinely cold country and will think nothing of driving to work through metre-deep snow drifts.
So how do you celebrate Australia Day in Lebanon? Afterall, over 20,000 people in this country hold Australian citizenship.
Well for us it’s a pretty low key day. We’re off to City Mall for a bit of a shop around the remainder of the post-Christmas sales (still lots of goodies are 50 percent off), then perhaps around to Matt and Tash’s place for Oz Day drinks this arvo. Otherwise there’s not much happening in our patch. No National Day function this year, given the political and security uncertainty (talk to any Lebanese about what’s going on and they’ll roll their eyes about “the situation”). Probably just as well, as yesterday’s car bombing in Hazmieh might have resulted in a last minute cancellation.
What are you up to?
Here’s a few photos from the Christmas period. Little guy’s grown a bit during his time in Australia. Still likes cake though…
And of course like all two year olds he always likes to play on the floor – cold hard tiles or not. Mummy reckons that Mitchell and Daddy play a bit too roughly. Especially when she finds herself being headbutted by the little guy when they’re playing on the bed. Let me tell you, he’s got a hard noggin.
As you can see, we’re in the process of substantially updating (and slimming down) our sherlex.com website. All the old stuff is still available for the time being, at http://www.sherlex.com/sitebackup/ But in the coming week or two I’ll be migrating photos etc over to this blogsite.
So why the change? To be honest, the old site was pretty dull, and it was a fairly involved process to make updates. Now that I’ve installed wordpress on our server it will be heaps easier to add blogs – which hopefully means we’ll update more often!
That’s it for now. Watch this space and soon it’ll be filling up with photos and stories of our life here in Lebanon.