Monday, June 12, 2006

Notes on a very bizarre May journey..

Paris, hit and.. stand!!!
I wasn't wearing anything especially objectionable nor especially attractive ( a white semi-fitted t-shirt and a red knee-high skirt)
I wasn't looking angry, happy, I might even have had no specific expression on my face..
I wasn't doing anything any certain race/gender/religion/crazy person might find objectionable..
I was just walking in the very crowded
paris pompidou center area, on a nice Parisian afternoon, when a very short thirty-something woman jumped towards me (yes, she didn't run, she jumped in a superman manner), kicked my left leg with all the power God gave her, then stood ominously, staring at me. Ready to strike again.

I, horrified yet having all my survival instincts kicking in..
Suppressed my famous high-pitch scream,
didn't move an inch,
then very very slowly looked at other people without even moving my head…

nobody helped.

A few long, long, eternal minutes later an African-American family of four jumped in for my rescue (their sweet accent can't be mistaken for another).. oh those heroes!
they spread around me, circled me, one on every side. I bet people watching thought they were my own personal bodyguards :-)

For me, what they did means they must've been my family in a previous life.

I didn't even thank them. I just started crying the minute I was out of immediate danger and walked away… walked and didn't stop, didn't even look back, for blocks and blocks and blocks, till I reached my hotel on the other side of the city, went to my room, and slept in my clothes and shoes with my cellular phone/credit cards in my pocket till the next day.

Talk about being traumatized!

NYC, shokran
If you ever go to New York City you MUST stay (or brunch) at this hotel..

Jumeirah Hotel on central park south (which I keep on referring to as Park lane, because it reminds me of London's park lane)

First time I stumbled upon this place I met this guy in the weirdest way.. he held the door for me. And even though it didn't meet a single Arab in NYC I unexplainably didn't say "thanks" or "merci" but just said "shokran"!
to which he replied "3afwan"!!
We both looked shocked at first, then had the biggest smiles on our faces.. it turned out he's Emiratee.

Well, this ain't the only reason I fell in love with this hotel. But rather cause during an-all-business trip to NYC, It became my "me-time" place. It had all I needed to be transformed from "angry-over-worked-Eve" to "happy-Eve" (well, just at morning hours, to be more precise); rich cappuccinos, some Arabic newspapers, and very luxurious surroundings in a not-so-luxurious city.

Seattle, 2nd floor elevator
We had only met each other four days ago.. but I realized, when I unexpectedly gave him the warmest, longest hug good-bye while we both quietly stood waiting for the elevator after what I thought was our last dinner together on my last night in Seattle, that though we seem to be going in opposite directions; him two floors down to the lobby, I two floors up to my room, that we were both treading the same path; two un-Saudi Saudis in Seattle..

Coming to this conclusion gave me a much needed dose of feeling safe, as I knew I made a friend for life, and I knew God does listen to a worried mom's prayers to send her little girl helpful strangers when caring-close-ones are all on other continents.

We had only met each other four days ago.. a friend called him from Saudi with an-all-familiar-message to any Arabic-over-sees student: hey, a friend-of-a-friend is coming to Seattle, for the first time, and doesn't know a single soul out there, take care of her.

he did.

Beirut, "Saudi fuck-ups welcomed here"
One of the things I love about Libnen –and I'm sure many Saudi's agree- is that the minute I land in Beirut rafe2 el7arere airport 9/11, with all it's horrendous effects on me the normal-everyday-Saudi that had nothing to do with it, is no more.

Furthermore, as far as a Saudi is concerned, in libnen, it is as if time stopped decades ago.
which I didn't really notice before till I came to Beirut from JFK New York City (via Frankfurt), On a united airlines flight!.

A half Lebanese friend once told me " Libnen, Every Saudi is literally treated as royalty. You guys all have diplomatic immunity here. It is kind of as if the oil boom has just happened yesterday. To us, no Saudi is an unemployed, deeply in debt, and here to waist what little dollars they sold their car for. It is still the seventies here" ..

Some might say that we -Saudi's- feel our best in Beirut because we love being treated like royalty, which does have some truth to it since we do perceive ourselves as being all royalty. and it serves our sick qabale background to be treated as royalty; thus better than other nations (especially madane nations). But I see it differently, to me yes, we Saudi's feel our best out of all the cities of the world in Beirut. even, sadly but very true more than we do in our own country. because Beirut gives hope to a hopeless Saudi. Beirut, like a loving mother of a spoiled out of job fifty-something son who wasted the last penny of his inheritance on zilch, it –beirut- still sees us as promising as we were in the seventies, and it still treats us as the average joe/3bdul when the rest of the world , justifiably, looks at us as either the not-so-average-usama or the delusional Casanova-wanna-be.

But why, why does libnen treat Saudi's with this undeserved respect? I think althou the surface reason might seem to be cause of our much needed dollars…. I do differ. I think it has more to it than that. In my opinion, it might have to do with the fact that libnen a country so promising yet ever failing all expectations of all other countries knows exactly how it feels to be a fuck-up. And that even a fuck-up needs to be cut some slack.

So, thank you libnen for being a place where a Saudi, who is entitled to respect from time to time, still gets it.

Posted by SaudiEve at 12:14 AM


  1. Blogger simpleplan posted at 9:42 AM, June 12, 2006  
    for technical reasons that are beyond me, i for one continue to be able to access your blog, even though i'm doing so from Jeddah and without a satellite connection. ever since i stumbled upon the local blogging scene (which took me by surprise about a month ago) i've been an avid reader of your blog and thoroughly enjoy it... keep up the good work eve!
  2. Blogger raf* posted at 12:53 PM, June 12, 2006  
    dear eve,

    couldn't comment last night ... blogger congestion, me thinks.

    your paris experience was bizarre, your nyc experience made feel home-sick, your seattle experience made me think "yup, that sounds very much like seattle", and your beirut experience made me think "hey, i KNOW that corner!".

  3. Anonymous imad posted at 1:29 PM, June 12, 2006  
    I'm having a hard time believing your paris story!
    It's just too mysterious. You left out your thoughts on it.
  4. Blogger Devilish posted at 4:53 PM, June 12, 2006  
    Salamat ! Didn’t the Paris lady speak to u !? that’s one weird incident !
  5. Blogger Fedo posted at 8:27 PM, June 12, 2006  
    First off, el7amdillah 3assalama. :D I\'m glad you had fun, though I wouldn\'t have recommended going to Paris at all. You should\'ve passed by Texas instead. :P I just might end up going to that Jumeirah Hotel in NYC you mentioned.
  6. Anonymous sunrunner posted at 8:50 PM, June 12, 2006  
    I was assaulted in a similar manner about 10 years ago in L.A. Woman knocked me flat on my ass. Turned out that she was completely psychotic and off her meds. She was seeing "something" but it sure as hell wasn't me.

    It is very traumatizing, but maybe not quite as traumatic as living inside the skin of someone who could/would do such a thing, for whatever reason!
  7. Anonymous thornbirds posted at 12:08 AM, June 13, 2006  
    I know my comment has nothing to do with ur post..but ive been reading thru ur earlier posts..oct '05 the angel..u have an amazing talent of putting down feelings as they are..i wish i could say what i felt as clearly as u would take away alot of sadness...thanku for putting a smile on my face,reading ur poems..
  8. Blogger SaudiEve posted at 11:14 PM, June 13, 2006  
    "i for one continue to be able to access your blog"
    Reviewing my blog stats, I can tell you: you are not alone.

    I know exactly how you felt discovering "the local blogging scene". " took me by surprise" is an understatement! I remember reading Farooha's blog for the first time I kept on going back and forth to her profile just to check that she was indeed Saudi (i had thought Saudi females are NOT that outspoken)..

    Thank you for being "an avid reader". as long as you keep on reading, I'll keep on blogging.

    sweetest one you know who you are :-)
    Hey! I was starting to worry when you didn't comment last night. I even thought those OCSkebab guys blocked me in levantine as well (who knows! Them being official and all)

    " You left out your thoughts on it " .. you know what! Yes I did!
    In fact, I can honestly say: I have no thoughts/feelings regarding this bizarre incident. As a matter of fact I didn't even tell a soul about. Not a lover, a friend, co-worker, or family.. I didn't even think about it after that day.. until I started writing this post. (I wonder what a psychiatrist would make of that!)

    Thank you. And no, she didn't speak.. (to be honest, even if she did speak.. I don't think I'd remember.. it's like when someone is in a car crash; somethings –even irrelevant little details- you remember in a haunting and clear manner, others are a total blackout)

    Allah yselmak.
    And don't forget to brunch at the "Botanica Café"

    Yes, " It is very traumatizing". And thank you for sharing that.
    Hmmm.. is it strange that it was a woman and not a man in both incidents? ,peculiar!
    I think the Paris-woman was the exact replica of your L.A.-woman, "psychotic and off her meds".

    Glad you liked any of my "angel-posts". Nice to have you.
  9. Blogger Briconcella posted at 12:03 AM, June 14, 2006  
    Sorry you had such a bad experience in Paris. There are lunatics every where, and I hope the crowd around you was not just made of indifferent, lame French people. (A french person)
  10. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 2:03 PM, June 15, 2006  
    So there was an arab at the "Jumeira" hotel in NYC? Wow!
    Please dont be shocked if you bump into mickey mouse when in Dysneyland....
    And sorry to tell you honey, but the respect you get in Lebanon is down to the dollars you bring into the country. And it is not respect, you should hear what they all say behind your back about all of you. Real contempt there.
    Sorry to burst your bubble, welcome to the real world.
  11. Blogger NewMe posted at 4:25 PM, June 15, 2006  
    Saudi Eve back and blogging now the world is balanced again ;)

    interesting entry, i thought my May was the highlight of all and i found out someone else was enjoying the month as well...

    now i am back to reality and you are not...

    stay away as much as you can, but keep blogging we are listening!!!

    Cheers :)
  12. Blogger Princess posted at 1:30 PM, June 16, 2006  
    ummm omfg meskeena 3ala that freak in paris!! why did she do this to u!!! and well im glad ur having fun(not including the paris thing) and that jumairah hotel place looks amazing!!
  13. Anonymous Ryan posted at 9:55 PM, June 19, 2006  
    I think this is great. Now why did that French chick kick you? I would have kicked her ass. lol Take care.
  14. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 9:52 AM, June 25, 2006  
    Welcome back Eve, it's great to have you back!!

    Are you serious about the Paris incident?! I'm trying to find an excuse, but nothing! What a sick crazy bitch!
  15. Blogger zeinab posted at 11:21 PM, July 12, 2006  
    eve. ure my new egyptian, and im in love with beirut, because in it I see everything Cairo could've been. So it's interesting how you describe it as fucking up, because it did didn't it. We all did. But i'm still in love! (the first time i landed in matar rafee2 el 7ariry al dewaly, i told my friend : I think I'm going to cheat on Cairo and have an affair with Beirut.) Salam.

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