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Hanging out

What is it like to spend few winter days in a relatively unknown village?

BEIRUT | January 07, 2016, 12h41
Par Noha El-Hariri
 Bqaa Safrin Denniyeh

December was one of the hardest months of 2015, I reached a point where I dreamed of having 30-hours days instead of 24 in order to finish all the work due and get the chance to feel the slightest holiday’s spirit. After spending a loud new year’s eve in Beirut, I felt the urge to spend a couple of days in a peaceful calm sanctuary before resuming work. Thankfully my brother and his family live in Bqaa Safrin in Dinnieh, North Lebanon.

I am sure many of you haven’t even heard of this small village but I assure you it’s worthy of every minute. My brother’s house boasts of a very unique location; it sits on a small hill overlooking a major part of the village and surrounded by apple farms. I knew I was tired but I never realized how exhausted I was until I slept 2 hours in the afternoon the day I arrived. It’s that kind of place where you actually notice how different the air we breathe is and all you hear is almost nothing, nothing annoying. I closed my eyes and few moments later I started hearing the sound of the small river flowing near my brother’s house. The way it snows there is different, it’s gentle just as everything else is.

The minute I woke up, I felt I was someone different. I couldn’t be but happy for no specific reason and full of life. My nephews, a 4 years-old and a 2 years-old boys, wanted to go buy some chocolate and chips. I was surprised to see my overprotective brother allowing them to go by themselves, he told me that these rules only apply in the city when visiting our parents’ house. I felt curious and went with them. And there it was that old shop, well more like a big box! It’s that kind of shops where most of the items cost 250 LL J and some items even cost 100LL! I am not sure if all Lebanese share a similar childhood but I actually found that green bag of chips Puffi-something (I tried to google it to get the correct spelling but even Google doesn’t know it :p) and that yummy coconut sprinkled crème enclosed in 2 Gandour plain biscuits. I am not sure if you know the goodies I am referring to, but if you don’t I can’t but feel sorry for you! The owner is an old man in his late sixties or early seventies with the youngest spirit ever asking me, the stranger, all kinds of questions.

On our way back, everyone was asking my nephews who I was. It’s was weird but funny and genuine at the same time. When they knew I was the aunt, everyone was inviting me for a cup of coffee by the fire (sobya, also known as “wje2”). One thing I forgot to mention, I was wearing my heavy and fluffy PJs along with an UGG but no one seemed to care. Minimalist is the word that best describes everything around me: the buildings, the shops, the people…

Beqaa Safrin

The next morning it was time to taste the real non-commercial man2oushe. No one orders 2 or 3 “mne2ish there… all the customers are holding that rounded aluminum tray “sodr” as no family there eats alone; it’s either the neighbors, relatives, hunting buddies or even the shepherd. And better yet, “mne2ish” aren’t what breakfast consists of only. The table is filled with all the traditional morning “balade” food.

I have been here many times in summer, that’s a totally different experience. In summer, it’s more like Mar Mikhael with all the shops on both sides of the road with people wandering. From around 7:00 pm till around 1:00 am, the streets become overcrowded and everyone knows everyone.

I believe it’s the perfect place for those who need and feel like leaving everything behind to rejuvenate all their senses and push their body and mind reset buttons. I am not exaggerating, that’s the ultimate value of this place. Not to mention the infinite green spaces where you can hike, jog, have a picnic…

I am a not “nature” person and I never figured out how people can still live in a tech-less world. I never understood the reason behind those dozens of pages in novels describing the nature. But after returning to Beirut I realized that visiting such places once per month, at least, is a need just like food and water.

#Destination, #VillageofLebanon
Share your opinion
Nehme Lebbos
January 07, 2016, 22h09
Interesting story :)
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