It happens that after a long day at work one needs to unplug, especially that it’s Saturday and the following day is off. Most people my age prefer to meet their friends at a cafe or a diner to inhale the fumes of everyone else’s Hubble bubble including their own. The option wasn’t possible to me yesterday because it was too cold, which means I’d suffocate in no time indoor.
I was tempted to go to a facebook event I was invited to which venue was at Nawfal palace. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before how much I love Nawfal palace. Its unique architecture & location in the heart of the city, Nawfal palace is a solid part of my childhood memories, too (I’ll elaborate in an another post).
Recently a youthful group from Tripoli brought “Nawfal Palace” back to life and by doing so they also revived the cultural aspect of the city. They call themselves “Friends of Nawfal Palace”. The group has organized many cultural events from photo exhibitions to releasing books to poetry readings and yesterday’s event was entitled “Naghamat Sharqiya”. I got too excited when I knew that the singer, Maen Zakaria was a Fayhaa Choir member which automatically means a golden voice.
The only problem that I thought I had that afternoon was to adjust the times and attend two intersecting events, for the second was the announcing of winners of the Tripoli Carfree city photo competition that I took part of. The first event was at 5 and the latter was at 6 which meant I couldn’t stay till the end of “Naghamat Sharqiyya”.
We arrived a bit late because of the marvelous bumpy road and traffic leading to Al Tal. Luckily, the event was just about to start. I saw many familiar faces but didn’t have the time for any chat and I barley said hello to them. Maen Zakaria’s voice was enchanting and a young musician accompanied him on the 3oud “Ibrahim Rajab”. I looked around me at the audience they were just a handful. What a shame really, with classy art and real talent both artists -under the age of 30- are unknown and unrecognized in their own society.
I forced myself to leave at 6:15, this way we get to skip all the speeches that would of course be going on and on as to thank the organizers, etc etc… The plan was to walk from Nawfal palace to Al Rabita and on the way out Hiba and I felt a wave of sudden hunger as the wind carries the smell of french fries and tickled our nostrils. The source was from “Al Soufi” quick sandwich just nearby. We agreed that we’d go back just before returning home and grab a bite.
The plan has worked perfectly fine and by the time we arrived at Al Rabita, the speeches were over. We watched a film about the event and then drums roll: We proudly announce the winners!!!
I didn’t win of course, but I thought I might and that’s the main reason I went there. We went back to Hiba’s car (Nour, Farah and I) heading to Soufi Sandwiches. To be honest, they smelled much better than they tasted and it took me forever to finish it. We ate in the car and we were wondering why were people staring at us? Was it because of the awkward way we were eating those sandwiches?
How do we go to El Mina, now? Asked Hiba. Go to El Nour square, then to Maarad and hit the road by the sea. And so she did. She headed to where the highlight of the evening took place. We were suddenly stopped by a masked man wearing black who gestured and implied to Hiba to turn away and change directions. Alarmed and panicked, she miraculously did make a quick turn and we were all terribly frightened. There was an increasing number of motorcycles going there, some of the riders were armed and they all wore black. We were hoping we can get home before the bullets’ shower starts as it it customary in my city to hear that horrific sound in celebrations as well as in moments like this.
Once we got relatively away we all burst in hysterical laughs. Now it all makes sense. People who were staring at us were definitely trying to figure out how crazy we are. When I got home and checked the news I knew what it was all about, why the masked guy shut the road and made us turn back.
To the city with the highest number of pits that would fill up in winter, the city which youth is distracted and divided, the city that all its citizens claim they love, I say: what a night! Who needs to go around the world when you can live all these contradicting experiences in less than 3 hours?