Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Cedric

Back Riding Adventure on a motorcycle from Beirut to Kuneitra in Cornet Chehwan  November 2, 2013

My nephew Cedric bought 10 tickets to listen to opera singer Mona Hallab (a relative of the famous sweet makers Hallab of Tripoli) , in the auditorium of the Russian cultural center in Verdun, Beirut. The event was deep underground, kind of 4 floors under.

I got a lift with Victor and Raymonde.

Cedric understands and translate Italian fluently, but when it comes to opera, he could only translate the finale of one of the lyrics that says “Who gives a fuck

After the recital  of 10 stanza from various Verdi composition, Cedric wanted for his parents to pay a visit to his office in Hamra. Hanane had led us to the center and left us to use Cedric office for a project.

I decided to ride behind Cedric on his new Italian motorbike, two close wheels in the front and one in the back.

Cedric regulated the suspensions for two riders and I donned an oversized helmet. Tightening the helmet was of no use: It plainly floated on my head, bouncing freely down and up, and side to side…

Cedric suggested that I don’t turn my heads sideways or try to be too curious about the scenery and crowd, on account that the turning of my head will spin the bike off balance at turning bends

Sort I have to fix my eyes to a point far away, as if meditating looking at the flame of a candle…

The ride to Hamra was short, but it left as this lingering feeling that the longer ride to Kunetra (about 15 miles away ) is not going to be fun at all.

However, I was curious how it feels for the longer rides: William had back rode for over two hours to Tannourine, and Victor did it once from Beirut.

I figured that if Victor could sustain this Calvary, I should be able to experience it without undue long-term physical problems.

The short ride to Hamra uncovered the 3 main troubles that I will be subjugated to:

1. Neck pain from the oversized helmet: I had this sense that the helmet will not protect my head if we had an accident or fall from the bike. Most probably the helmet will detach before I reach the ground, or this helmet will decapitate me instead of protecting my head.

2. Lower back pain from the multiple bumpers (motabaat) and the bad road of many holes and ditches…  In Lebanon, the 0.3% of the richest who horde 50% of the wealth, think its prestige to have many bumpers in front of their residences. If everyone of these bastards have over two dozen residences, just imagine the numbers of bumpers the motorbike has to surmount, and my body frame to suffer from.  Actually, it is again the helmet that exacerbated the back problems…

3. Constantly holding tightly on the side guards was tantamount of numbing my arm and shoulder muscles: You think that you are holding on something, but in reality it is a faked sensation.  The other problem was the leg muscles…

Cedric said that William had it hard because he rode without a backrest. Cedric had since invested on an additional space for an extra helmet which played the role of a back rest.  I don’t recall having rested my back at any moment: Otherwise I would have fallen down at the bends as Cedric was flying at 80 km per hour

It turned out that the worst of problems is the nasty wind, flowing at high speed from under the helmet shield. This is no shield whatsoever: It is a dangerous semi-shield that exacerbate the flow of the wind and burn your face skin, instead of massaging the muscles of your face.

I had to keep my mouth shut most of the time, tightening my mandibles on the ground that air will still seep through the crevices of my teeth… I figured that the air will reach my lungs on account of this fast wind cooled my ass.

I was apprehensive that we might navigate a dirty stretch with plenty of pebbles and ending up looking like I had suffered from smallpox in my childhood… Actually I did have small pox but no residue remained. This time around, a poked face could turn more enduring…

I was wearing a formal jacket for the concert and just a shirt. I didn’t pay much attention of freezing all over, but I felt the cold spreading all over my body as we reached destination.

Basta, no more back riding on motorbikes for over 2 miles distance.

Note: Monà Hallab soprano in concert “Tribute to Verdi”,  accompanied by pianist Olga Bolun.  Mona was born in Tripoli Lebanon and is currently living in Umbria Italy.  She is studying for her masters in opera from “Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali G. Briccialdi”

She sang from texts of Wolfgang Goethe, Jacopo Vittorelli, Carlo Angiolini, La Traviata, Tommaso Bianchi, Luigi Balestra, Il Trovatore, and Andrea Maffei.
Badeeh Abla's photo.

“Take that dog, pour on kerosine, and burn it”: Order literally obeyed

Raising cows for milk? : May 18, 2010

There are many cases of violence on pets.

For example, many cats lost an eye by youth targeting an eye for pleasure; an owner of a dog felt bored and ordered the attendant of the building to take the dog, pour on kerosine and burn it; the attendant literally obeyed the order.

My nephew and I started the trip to the Bekaa Valley around 7:45 am and we returned by 8:30 pm.

Mother prepared us two sandwiches of jam and cheese; they were returned intact.  About forty minutes drive and Cedric felt ravenous; we stopped at a restaurant in the town Majdal Tarshish and had “mankoushet” of whole wheat grain without sugar.

We took the mountainous road of Dhour el Chouweir-Tarshish- Zahlet.

Cedric was to call Lorice as we reached Chtoura to lead us to the farm land.

The Destination was in Kab Elias, sort of about 7 miles south.  I noted that the main entrance to the famous vineyard (winery) KSARA was located on the highway.

The farm was actually a cow raising industry for milking cows; about 60 heads producing one thousand liters of milk per day for 305 days a year.

A cow is not  productive for two months before it gives birth to aid in the birth process. Milking resumes just after birth by allocating a portion for the calf.

A cow gives birth about 4 times in its lifespan before its milk production is evaluated in the declining trend of less than 25 litres per day.  Increased illness frequency adds to decision of making use of its meat.  A cow is milked twice a day using mechanical equipment; once early morning and again around 4 pm.

A milk and cheese factory picks up the milk production everyday in refrigerated trucks. A calf is not productive for two years, unless sold.

Beside injecting cows with medicines for infection of the mammals, the vagina, pulmonary diseases and four other ailments, cows are not much trouble.  Now, if you integrate the business vertically by establishing wholesale cow feed enterprise and an animal pharmacy shop, then you can secure substantial profit.

Profit can be generated in many other venues:

First, by importing pedigree cows from Holland and selling them in Syria at a large profit margin.  Pedigree sheets come with names of the great grand father and mother cows; heck, we the citizens in Lebanon do not enjoy the honor of such detailed pedigrees as German or Dutch cows. Apparently, Lebanon and Syria forbid commerce in cows; this slight trouble is bypassed by intentional loose borders, along with secondary roads that circumvent stupid non economical regulations.  Original Syrian and Lebanese cows are not considered productive for the milking industry.

A second venue for increasing profit is by renting the space for horses: horses eat the same food and get along with cows.  I failed to ask if raising pigs with cows is a good idea: pigs are excellent in going through leftovers.  I guess collecting manure could be a good source for profit.

I got into thinking:  How about installing in-ground water jets directed toward the mammals as cows are eating before each milking?  Cows will be pleased, the milking would be facilitated with probable long-term increase in milk production, and the consumers will be satisfied with such “healthy” promotional ads.  The main disadvantage is the stench. 

I read that cow industries are major sources of CO2 production that are ruining our environment.  I also read that the Australian government is seriously thinking of destroying the one million wild camels because they generate enormous amount of CO2.

There are not much you can do in a cow farm, if visiting. 

Time drags on and you feel like napping most of the day.  The weather is dry and your eyes are dry and reading becomes a difficult alternative to killing time.  In my case, it turned out to be a busy day: more than 40 people came by for one reason or another; and I had the luxury of listening and communicating with more people than I meet in months.  For example:

A group of American students dropped by at noon; they intended to taste wine at Kefraya vineyard and then head on to visiting Baalbek.  They were from Vermont, Boston, Jersey, Silver Spring (Maryland) and studying at the university of Alexandria in Egypt.  They are enrolled in Semitic courses (mainly Arabic and Hebrew); I failed to investigate further whether they know that Aramaic is the root language for Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac (still spoken by many minorities in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey).

The group of Americans had two more days to tour Lebanon; they intended to visit Byblos and south Lebanon.

They could Not enjoy the public beaches in Egypt because women are practically fully dressed; they had to drive 5 hours west to the coastal town of Marsa Matrouh by Libya’s borders for some privacy.  I asked them if they investigated the availability of nude beaches: it never crossed their mind.

In mostly rural Vermont, you dig 160 feet and you reach fresh water wells. I said “The Amazon and Congo virgin equatorial forests will vanish but Vermont will remain intact”

I chatted with students at the Lebanese university in Fanar: they were not happy with the crowded learning environment of 300 students filling amphitheaters.  Most of these professors teach in private universities and they do field questions in restricted classroom sizes but not in public universities.

I learned also that private “foyers” or dormitories are also crowded: 11 girls in a single apartment with 4 bathrooms. Those university students who are not from the district of Metn believe that Fanar is in Beirut.  That is why it is preferable to name the coastal towns as belonging to Greater Beirut and save the humiliation that many districts are subjected to for being ignored by university students.

A relative to the owner of the farm came by and talked politics; especially on municipal election in Kab Elias.  Kab Elias is the vastest town in the Bekaa Valley and has 55 thousand inhabitant with only 10,000 registered to vote of which 5,000 voted.  He lost the election but considered himself a winner compared to the $2 million spent by the contending list of candidates.

I learned about the Beta dog organization that receives donations from foreign organizations to caring for the 300 dogs in the shelter at Mansourieh. French ex-actress Brigitte Bardot had donated 8,000 Euro last month.

Anyone interested in owning a dog has to undergo strict interviews and expect to be inspected twice a year for the dog comfort environment.

There are many cases of violence on pets.

For example, many cats lost an eye by youth targeting an eye for pleasure; an owner of a dog felt bored and ordered the attendant of the building to take the dog, pour on kerosine and burn it; the attendant literally obeyed the order.

Another dog owner got fed up with his barking dog living in the restricted balcony: he carried the dog and threw it over the balcony (problem solved).

A rich person had 7 dogs and donated money to charities but would not care for the dog.  One dog died in the the arms of the volunteer as the owner was on a vacation trip.

I got into talking with George; he is finishing his dissertation in Toulouse (France); he developed a software for handicapped individuals who can barely move a single finger.  A trackball is to be used and the QWERTY keyboard is displayed on the screen.  The handicapped person will point to a couple of characters and then a list of option names will be displayed to choose from.  George validated speed and accuracy of the software by experimenting with three subjects.  I blurted out that three candidates is not enough.  During the day, George was eating potatoes chips from a bowl and then, when he was satisfied he passed the bowl around and skipped me.

Gaby told me that you dig 6 meters and you obtain fresh water wells in Kab Elias.  Fruit gardens of peaches (about 8,000 sq.meters each) are flooded for an entire day. Given the number of gardens in that particular sector each garden is flooded every 20 days.  Gaby said: “Peaches of Kab Elias are the best in the world”.  We don’t get to enjoy Kab Elias peaches because refrigerated 8 and 16 wheeler wait to transport the harvest directly to Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan.  I have eaten great tasting peaches in Lebanon; maybe they are not grown in Kab Elias; otherwise, I would die happy here and now.

I learned from Nada that her cousin Izi spend 6 months a year among tribal primitive people and six months in Lebanon.  Izi draw the daily life and  primitive people but she does not take pictures or even publish her diary for the benefit of us all: Izi is financed by her rich uncle and thus, has no compunction for sharing her knowledge.  Nada said that Izi has already toured the world.  Nada is to run the private museum in Jal El Deeb within two months that her rich uncle (brother of her grand father), living in Lauzane (Switzerland), is financing.

It seems that youth are very poor in tiny Lebanon geography.  No one of the subjects from the Middle Bekaa Valley district ever heard of Kesrowan.

Cedric had the hardest task of the day: He sat for 8 hours interviewing volunteered candidates for the experiment in a hot tent and sitting on a thin cushion.  He barely had two short breaks to have a quick lunch and then a cup of orange juice.  He ended up with a terrible back-pain.  I would suggest that the jury be reminded that the main controlling variable in the experiment was the ultimate discomfort that subjects were subjected to in order to extracting valuable confessions.

Going tangent has two advantages: first, novels that occasionally go tangent add spices and meat to the skeleton of mostly deja-vue stories; and second, going tangent is the trademark or main criteria of fun loving cultures.




May 2023

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