Second summer

Second summer

There’s a saying in Arabic that between October and November comes the second summer.  I don’t know if we can call it “second” summer this year, because the weather has basically been amazing for the past two months.  The sun is out, the breeze off the sea is cool and we leave our windows and doors open basically 24/7.

In true Lebanese fashion, however, it is still considered “winter.”  Ice cream is no longer available on every corner and the kids are sweating buckets in their undershirts and long sleeved shirts.

It’s perfect beach weather, but the beaches have all closed down until next summer.  Swimming is now only for the men who gather every day to hang out on the rocks, tanning, sleeping and smoking arghile.  Every once in a while their wives and daughters join them for lunch and a smoke, but they stay completely covered and don’t get in the water.

DSC_1066It’s funny to see Christmas decorations up in the stores when we just want to sit outside and barbecue and play… but the rains will be here soon enough and we’ll be wishing for the golden days of Beirut’s second summer.

Ode to the generator

Ode to the generator

It’s hot in Beirut.  Like, 90 degrees today.  I know, oh dear friends in Arizona, that it is much hotter where you are.

BUT, before you tell me that you “walked on the moon” (if you didn’t catch that reference, run to your nearest Blockbuster (are they still in business?) and find a Brian Reagan DVD.  You will laugh your head off, promise.) Then…

…turn off your AC – actually, turn off your electricity completely.  Then walk everywhere you need to go, and remember, there aren’t trees to give you shade.  Just concrete.  Oh yeah, and it’s humid too. tells me 75% humidity.  We are just a few minutes away from the sea, after all.  Apparently if you add those two together it feels like 102 degrees today.  It’s hot.

When we left the house this morning at 7:30 am, the electricity was off.  Got home and have had 4 whole minutes of city power this afternoon.  And I know 4 minutes is more than many people outside of the city are getting.

I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful we are to have a generator in our building.  When city power goes off, our trusty natour turns on the generator.  It’s loud, it’s stinky, it’s burning diesel like crazy, it’s expensive, BUT it allows us to use one appliance.  Which means the hot water heater is turned off (don’t really need it with such hot weather anyways), no laundry is getting done, I’m not drying my hair, and we are all huddling in one room under the one AC unit we can use.  It poses a slight problem during nap time…. who gets the AC?  Isla, who’s core body temperature is 4 degrees higher than the average person?  Or Ruby, who sleeps much better when she’s swaddled?

It doesn’t matter which one of the girls wins the naptime AC lottery (today it’s Isla), Caleb and I are left sweating it out, literally, in another part of the house… counting down the minutes til the girls get up and we can all hang out together in one room again, thanking God that we have a generator to cool down one bedroom at least!!!

Oh, I just realized I meant to write this post as a poem.  I’ll blame it on the part of my brain that is most likely melting as we speak.  :)

The Lebanese Beach Scene

The Lebanese Beach Scene

We’ve officially started our summer program with the girls and today was the first day of our weekly afternoon trip to the beach.

With 11 girls plus Isla and 3 or 4 adults, we can’t afford to go to a private beach.

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…which means we have to find public access to the sea, which is very rare in and around Beirut.

We used to take the girls to Ramlet elBaida.  The jellyfish and hypodermic needles almost scared us away, but the cockroaches in the water were the final straw.  A few years ago we found a nice little spot just off the Corniche.  You had to hike down a rocky hill to get there, but it was perfect for the girls.  No sand, but the formation of the rocks formed a little pool that the girls could swim in.  It was a little protected from the waves and not very deep – perfect for girls who think they are amazing swimmers but actually have no idea what they are doing.  :)  We were usually the only ones there in the afternoons.

So we headed back to our little spot today… it was insane how crowded it was!  There were dozens of families parked on the rocks, and the small swimming area was so full of people you could hardly move at times.  Not sure why it has become so popular… maybe no one else can afford the ridiculously priced beach clubs either?

Either way, we are on the hunt for a new swimming hole… any tips??


Lazy summer days

Lazy summer days

Summer is anything but lazy for us.  It’s actually one of the busiest times of the year.

But, we did have one week in between school ending (both for the girls and the class Caleb was teaching) and the craziness of summer beginning.  That’s not to say papers didn’t need to be graded and prep for the summer program done, but we at least didn’t have anywhere we had to be.

So on our first day of “summer,” we made our annual jaunt down to our all-time favorite place in Beirut… Lazy b.  It’s no longer Lebanon’s best kept secret – it’s actually quite popular now, which means the prices have gone up (23$ per person now – ridiculous!!!) and they are making all sorts of “improvements” – new pools, new restaurants, etc.  I had a coupon from LivingSocial and they actually didn’t make us pay for the kids this time, which was a nice surprise.  And it was still super quiet on Monday morning – we had the beach to ourselves until lunchtime!


Lazy b is one of the few sandy beaches in Lebanon.  And it is one of the only beaches that doesn’t play loud music… although the beach next door had theirs blaring, so it wasn’t as quiet as it has been in years past.

They added a new family pool, which is fun, as previously kids weren’t allowed in the pools.  Never really mattered to us, as we like to park it in the bamboo shelters next to the sand and enjoy the sand and sea… and the shade for the baby.

Some friends went with us, so Isla and one of her best buddies spent the whole day digging holes in the sand, splashing and of course eating, as it is Isla’s favorite past time.  (another argh about this beach – you aren’t supposed to bring your own food in, and they expect you to pay $10 for a cheese sandwich!  boo, Lazy b!)

Ruby is a bit too young for the beach, I think, although she did swim in the pool.  It definitely changes the way we “do the beach” but it was still so nice to take a little breath of fresh, salty air before we dive into the craziness of summer-time!

Just for fun, because a friend told me about a fun way to make collages on the iPod… Isla through the years at Lazy b:


November summer

November summer

The weather in Beirut has been absolutely wonderful!  When we first got here at the end of August it was hot and super humid.  After a few weeks it cooled down a little and has been gorgeous.  We had one week of big rain storms, but other than that it has been warm and sunny.  There’s a saying here that between October and November is a second summer and it’s come true!  It’s in the 70’s right now.  I’m wearing short sleeves and sitting in the apartment with all the windows and doors open.  We’ve heard it will get cold and icky in December, but for now we’re enjoying the Mediterannean weather! :)

posted by: nicolette