Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 7, 2008
Its been a long day, and I have no insights (or even funny stories) to share. I’m going to turn off my laptop and open up Said Aburish’s Beirut Spy: International Intrigue at the St. George Hotel Bar. The copy I found looks like it survived several rain showers (its a Beirut-based copy, so its not impossible), but the pages all open and there’s an intriguingly long photo section in the middle.
According to the frontispiece,
Much of the Middle East’s complex post-war history as made and unmade in the St. George Hotel bar. … Said Aburish reveals the intrigues and conspiracies, stretching over a quarter of a century, that shaped contemporary Middle Eastern – and indeed world – politics. The name of the game was reporting, exploiting, manipulating and controlling events, and the intricacy of the plots and counterplots hatched in the bar surpassed any thriller writer’s most improbable invention.
Well, as I type I realize that the description sounds a bit over-wrought – and four gerunds is a long name for any game. But its a cold night in Beirut and I’m looking forward to a little light reading before I turn in.
And meanwhile I’m pondering another mystery (plot? counterplot?) of my own. Silhouette, my favorite milk brand, disappeared from Beirut’s grocery shelves in mid-fall. None of my usual grocery stores were carrying it – and all were suddenly stocking Taanayel, a Bekaa-based dairy. I don’t mind Taanayel, and I do like to buy local, but its packaging is less sophisticated, and I’ve purchased several spoiled containers.
When I returned to Beirut after the holidays, Silhouette was back on every shelf – in massive quantities.
I suspect that the holder of the concession to import Silhouette irritated someone with a connection in the Customs office. Does anyone know why the brand disappeared? I’m certainly not complaining – I’ve stocked up! – but I am curious :).