A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

the playground camel

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 19, 2008

When my parents come to visit me, wherever I am, they have learned one thing: they must bring their walking shoes.

I like to walk – actually, they like to walk too, but I really like to walk. When they came to Beirut, I met them at their hotel in Achrafieh (the Albergo: chosen not for the sectarian quality of its surroundings but for the narrowness of its streets. I didn’t want them staying at the Phoenicia and getting run over if they ventured out unsupervised without me.) and walked them to downtown. From downtown, I walked them to AUB. And the next day, I walked them from their hotel down to Gemmayzeh, and then around and back up to the ABC Mall.

So you will be unsurprised to learn that their trips to New York are equally athletic adventures.

Yesterday afternoon, our walk was organized around an artists’ studio open house held in an older, industrial part of Brooklyn. We had a wonderful time – the art didn’t all inspire us, but we loved seeing all the creativity at play and work in the area, and we enjoyed the chance to wander through the old industrial buildings that now house dozens of artists’ workspaces.

As we walked from one cluster of studios to another, we passed a neighborhood park. It had all the standard elements: young men playing soccer in a mix of languages, old men sitting on the park benches, and small children playing on the playground.

And, somewhat less usually, it had a camel:

There was no reason for this park to have a concrete camel: there was no exotic-animals-rendered-in-concrete theme, for example.

And this was no spring camel, as evidenced by the beating that his face had taken:

When we noticed the camel, we did what any group of Iowans who have been to the Middle East (and the camel tents at the Iowa State Fair) would do: we hopped on and took pictures.

So if you’re on H’s and my ecumenical greeting card list, you know what photograph you’ll be receiving this year: the two of us perched atop a Brooklyn camel :).


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