Journal - Napló
|Posted on December 20, 2009 at 4:55 PM|
Life at the office, as I have referred to it in earlier blogs, meant my life here in Tripoli. When Peter was here, the office was our basecamp. It was a cool place to stay with two wonderful couches, a computer with access to internet, a water dispenser, a door that could be locked and view that was ever present through the all glass outer walls. After the lockable door, then perhaps the air conditioner was the item appreciated the most at the time we spent here together, now however it has not been used for almost a months. With impeccable timing, it broke down just as the weather was getting so cool that we didn't need it any more. More than anything else, what made the spirit of the office what it was, was Daniel. The one and only Jehovah's Witness El-Simsaar real estate sneaker would wake us up from our respective couches with some new edible treat. Although the office is still the same physically as it was when Peter was here, it is certainly no longer the same. Even more central to the feeling of being "in the office" than the above mentioned, was Peter. Since he is no longer here, the atmosphere has cooled down in tune with the advancing wintertime. I have to say that I miss him and the adventures of the road, but I am still sure that it was right to stay.
Since I came back from our trip in Syria together, some things have changed in the office for the better. Not that electricity 24/7 is a substitute for good companionship, but it is sweet none the less. After having grown accustomed to having power only once in a while. That is for instance on between s 06:00 and 10:00, then off between 10:00 and 14:00, then on again until 18:00 and off until 22:00. Then, having constant power is a luxury you don't forget to appreciate. Actually, when I returned from Syria there was no power at all. The main line to the office had broke somehow and I was invited to stay with Talal until we got it fixed. Then in the course of the first week after I got back, we connected to some main cables on the floor above to get power when everybody has power, and we had the local "generator power provider" to connect the to the building. Now I simply have to flip a switch every four or whatnot hours to connect to a different power source. It is nothing and I mean nothing short of sweet!
Since I came back, I have been eating dinner with Talal and his family almost every day. Some times we eat at his house here in town, some times we go to his sister outside of town to eat there. I have to say that the food I am having the absolute pleasure of sharing with them, is reason enough to be working here. It is absolutely delicious. Once we were at his sisters house and had finished dinner, I went out to play with the kids. The game was like this. You have two teams, some balls and some flat rocks. The more people you have, the more balls you need. We were eight, so we had two balls, basketballs. When the game starts you have the two teams facing each other on two lines. The one team builds a tower of the flat rocks on their line. Then the game starts when one from the other team throws a ball at this tower, trying to knock over the tower. If they manage, then the game starts. The team standing behind the tower will now use the ball that was thrown at the tower, and other balls if they are many, to try to tag the other team. Those that get tagged, they go to prison. If they manage to tag everybody, then they win the round and get to be the "tower knocking team". What the other team is trying to do, is to rebuild the tower they just knocked over without being tagged. If they manage this, then they get a point. Whichever team has the most point at the end of play, wins. Also, if an untagged person from the "tower knocking team" manages to touch people in prison, then they go free.
Just to explain the picture below. I was with Daniel walking back to his car when I see that the wheels on his car has been locked because he got a ticket. Knowing Daniel I expected some kind of funny reaction from him, so I was quick to get the camera ready.
We had some days with really stormy weather. On the morning after the first stormy night, I meet Talal and hear what happened to him that night. He has some people working on a stone wall at a construction site outside of town who sleep in a hut on the site. As the weather was getting worse that night, he decided that he had to get them and find a better place for them to sleep that night. When he comes up there he sees that the now five meter high wall has started to show signs of weakness from the heavy rains. He inspects it closely walking close to the base of the wall. Then he gets all the workers and drives off. When he came back ten minutes later to get some of their stuff, the wall had caved out onto the site where they had all been standing ten minutes earlier. That same night, I woke up while sleeping in the office from the sound of running water. As I got out of my sleeping bag to inspect more closely, I found that water was literally running down the walls. I got my headlamp and started walking up to see if I could find where the water was coming from. When I got to the 9th floor I found that there was water gushing in through one window as if it was a waterfall. Somehow, much of the water collecting on the roof was finding it's way in through this window. It was buckets and buckets pouring in on the floor. I made a quick fix and managed to divert most of the water out, but since there were many open windows in the building that I couldn't get to, the water kept running down the walls the whole night. The next morning, I bought plastic and tape, found keys to many of the empty offices in the building and went through them closing windows and closing those that didn't have glass with the plastic. Still, even though it was less, the water found it's way in the next stormy night as well. After the storm however, comes the calm.
One night me and Peter came back from Beirut after the shop that had the keys to the office was closed. We slept up here on these lovely semi sort of kind of insulating things.
Soon it will be skiing time in Lebanon. Just check those beautiful snow covered mountain tops!