11.10.06

LeBNAN Meeting in NYC Update

I hesitated at first to post this here, given how grizzly the most recent posts were... But now that Hashem has broken the ice, and by popular demand (i.e. Mirvat's), here is another update on how the LeBNAN (Lebanese Bloggers in North America Network , an off-shoot of this esteemed group) weekend in New York City went.

First, a disclaimer: I am perhaps one of the least qualified individuals to be telling you about the weekend, since I only came for a day and (half) a night. Alternately, you can find Mirvat's account here; she was there from the beginning till the very end, it seems, playing the impeccable hostess with the mostest!

I arrived on Saturday only to find out that the party had started with those available the night before, dragging into the early hours of mornings, with Hashem keeping Mirvat and company up till 5 am with talk of politics. Being the nerd that I am, I proceeded with _z. and Anton Efendi to the inferiority-complex-inducing Zaha Hadid exhibit at the Guggenheim. (_z. has officially been converted to Zaha worshipping, complete with fantasies of being punished like a bad chipboard model.) The politics began even before we got to the restaurant, with Anton explaining his "extremist" views; but there, waiting for him at Byblos, was a princess with a bigger axe to grind! I still don't understand what had happened, or who offended whom, but it seemed to lead to a discussion about deleting comments that, I have to say, was way more amiable that the one we witnessed recently online. If only all conflicts could be resolved so amicably!

Initially, the group was divided almost in half to architects (with a severe allergy to being called "mhandis") and doctors, or wanna-be doctors--I'm sorry, Ghassan, I meant scientists! But then, with the arrival of the late-comers, the doctors seemed to take over, with a highly-disproportionate representation of a certain class from AUB. (It's been years since I've seen some of those faces, from another life it felt; and it was surreal, to say the least, and oddly pleasant and warm... like seeing an old friend!) And every half an hour or so, half of the group would just disappear, sneaking outside to obey the City's (not-so-)recent ban on indoor smoking. (See, I didn't call you hashesheen!) To their chagrin (or luck, depending on how you see it), they missed The Lebanese's highly informed tirade about the Phoenician etymological origins of--you guessed it--Lebanese.

More than 3 hours later, the steadfast of the group made their way downtown to Falucka (after what seemed like a longer " 7adees el-daraj", on the sidewalk, than any I've witnessed in Lebanon!) And just when I was starting to sink into the comfort of old and new faces that have become equally familiar, my coach started threatening to turn into a pumpkin (well, the train wasn't exactly a coach, though it's not too hard to see my car as a pumpkin). Suffice to say, it was nearing midnight, and this Cinderella had to head back to Philly... Parting is such sweet sorrow!

I had it coming... because it seems I missed a "very late night" "hang out" at the "falafel joint" that included a "review session from mutanabbi to arba3 mjenin we bass", as well as "Fairouz, war memories, poetry, cartoon songs....and lots lots of laughs." (Eve, I know how you feel!) It was wonderful, simply wonderful... Wish I could have stayed longer...

PS: I posted 2 photos from the meeting up at our Yahoo! group photos.