The travel bug

Note : I wrote this more than a month ago. I don't understand how I could not have published it right away. May be the bug blinded me. Now read on...

Travel and food are my two great obsessions right now. And they will be, until doomsday. May be 20 years from now, I will set out on a world tour with A. We will travel at our own pace with no discreet plans. We will stay at a given place however long we want to, take in the culture and food, and move on when we have seen them all. Ah, sounds like the perfect thing to do. At least I have something to look forward to. And we have 20 yrs to save up on all the cash. You know, may be I will write about my travel from each place I visit and get my books published. And may be, someone will want to make shows out of it. Kiki's Odyssey or something.Now, I am in reverie, no doubt. Or maybe someone is planting this idea in me. Oh no! Somebody kill me or I'll never wake up! Crazy Inception. Alright, jokes apart.

The main reason for this post on travel and food is my conversation with K last evening. K is visiting her home country, Lebanon, for a family reunion. It so happens that A and I have an addiction for Lebanese food. We absolutely love the shawarma, hummus, muhammara, toum, zara, dolmades, falafel, baba ganouj, batinjaan and baklava. The way they infuse rose water and date syrup in their food is fascinating. So far, we are quite sated with Mediterranean Kitchen, but, traveling to the land of toum to experience the food and culture is not a bad idea, no? Yes, some day when the situation is more peaceful.
So, my conversation with K went something like this:

Me: So, it is a reunion, correct? Will you be staying with your parents?
K: Yes. I will be at my parents' place. My brothers will be flying in from Connecticut, Germany and Dubai with their families.
Me: oh nice....which place in Lebanon?
K: It is north east of Beirut....in the mountains. It used to be our vacation home when we were growing up. We lived in the city back then.But in the early 90s when the war erupted, we moved to this more rural area as it was very safe.(Laughs) We were brought up in a rural area.
Me: Interesting....is it safe now?
K: Yeah, it's much calmer now. No bombings and all. Beirut is a lot better.
Me: Hmmmm....
K: It is very nice in the summers.....the beaches are awesome (Now, I absolutely MUST visit)...you can swim!
Me(wistfully): So, will you be eating shawarmas all day?
K(laughing): Yeah, I love the food too. I can get you some when I get back...oh but, we are not allowed to carry it on the flight....
Me: Nah...I was just kidding...
K:The first thing I like about Lebanon is the Baklava - the rose water and pistachio sprinkled ones...ummm can't wait.
Me(listening wide mouthed)
K: The second thing I like is Jellab - a drink made of date syrup with pine nuts floating on top.....great for hot summers.....
Me: We had that at a restaurant in Miami....awesome!
K: The third thing I like is the cool summer nights....there are plenty of sidewalk cafes and you can sit there for hours eating all the delicious food and chatting up with friends and family.....i really look forward to doing all that again.....
Me: Sounds like a dream vacation....we want to travel to the middle east too....Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon...and Greece and Turkey in the mediterranean.
K: Sure...let me know when you are going and I can also travel at that time and show you around.
Me: Thank you, that's nice of you......So, do you speak Arabic at home?
K: My mother is German. So, we speak a mix of German, Arabic and English. Sometimes, French too!
Me: How interesting....you know so many languages...
K: Yeah, but these days I can express myself better in English than any other language.....so I speak English with them...You know, I compare the Lebanese people to the Southern Californians.....
Me: Really? How so?
K: They give more importance to how they look, their clothes, flashy cars....each one races to look more prettier than the other....
Me: And they really look beautiful, don't they?
K: Yeah....there is this street where people keep walking up and down just gazing at others....staring, more like. Some people drive very slowly in there shiny cars just so others can see them and in turn, they look at other people who are flashyly dressed.....I don't know if I can call it people watching....because it is not a casual act, but more deliberate..."people staring" may be...
Me: Ha ha ha....

The good news is I am down with the travel bug. And I am sure no one can yank me out of it...not even Dr.House!

2 comments:

bhardwajme said...

Traveling is so fun.
I am waiting for my journey also.
By the way you write very well.

Shaan said...

Thanks....where r u traveling to?

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