Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mona Hallab

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.




May 2023

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