Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swimming with Saudis

6 September 2009 – Somewhere near EcoVillage - Dmit Valley, Chouf Mountains, Lebanon


After breakfast Chaz, French NGO Girl, and I went with the Singer and her friend for a walk away from EcoVillage. We stumbled upon a make-shift tree house in the woods [bxA] that was filled with Lebanese guys. There was a guy with a rifle guarding the entrance. Charles asked to no one in particular, “is this a militia?” as they invited us into their, um, makeshift campsite tree house place. They offered to show us a hidden lagoon just down the way.




One of the guys said proudly about the beautiful, secluded lagoon, “yeah, no one comes down here.” The Singer said gently to no one, “is that because you have guns?” Charles and I weren’t in swimsuits, but we improvised with the help of the Singer’s Friend who loaned me her bathing suit top. After a while, a group of the Treehouse Guys’ Saudi friends arrived at the lagoon. There were a few men, two fully covered women and some kids. The kids kind of got in the water with us but kept getting out. Eventually one of the Treehouse Guys kindly asked us to get out of the lagoon because the Saudi kids couldn’t swim with The Singer and me in the water. Ouch. All of a sudden I felt like a slutty half-naked American tourist. To make matters worse, I then had to stride out of the lagoon in my pink and white panties & mismatched bathing suit top, while the Saudi women graciously pretended not to be appalled. The Treehouse Guys were apologetic and said we could come back at night when the Saudis were gone.

4 comments:

Fiona said...

What a great experience! Always humbling to find that which we consider normal is far from the norm for many others in the world. I used to love watching Westerners stomp through stores and homes with their shoes on in Thailand while horrifying everyone in sight. We've all done something like that around the world. But people like you will only do it once and that's what sets you apart from the tourists.

kas said...

For a second I thought this was your tent, glad I read on....I thought have you lost your mind. By the way I saw this whole blog about washing your hair with baking soda and going shampoo free for life. Might be a good tip for whoever is staying there.

Anonymous said...

Then we went to the lagoon...there was a big rock on the other side of the lagoon...we( the lebanese guys) staterd to jump over the rock into the water...after that the women u mistaked for saudi came with a girl and 2 little boys and 2 younger boys..right?? Remember...so enough evidence...let me set some facts straight...the tree house u saw is a modest tree house that was built for one purpose...sleeping for a few nights in the summer...so it have to be modest...it's no castle we know that :)...also the women isn't saudi...why did u think that...i only asked u to leave because the lagoon is private and intended for families and locals this is why the people over the ecovillage didn't take u there (not because of the guns tell that to the singer :D)...so when the family arrived i asked gently to leave and come back later...it wasn't because of ur clothes or anything else...it's only because it was a little bite crowded over at the lagoon...anw sorry again for the inconvience :) i hope that u really enjoyed ur stay in our little but pretty country.....please do spread a good word about us....peace :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ali...i came across ur blog and i couldnt leave it without setting some of the fact's straight... i know it's been over 3 years now...but do you believe me if i tell u that i'm the guy how offered to take u to the lagoon???
Let me give u some evidence:)...in the first pic next to the ladder there was 2 guys starting a little fire (to make some coffee) also under the ladder there was a sleeping guy..one of ur friends climbed a few steps over the ladder right??? Remember???then the girl who gave u her top at the lagoon spoke a little bit of arabic with us..btw the guy u saw holding a over under shotgun isn't militia...how gave u this idea???he is a bird hunter he had a black and white pointer dog with him for cying out loud :) Then we went to the lagoon...there was a big rock on the other side of the lagoon...we( the lebanese guys) staterd to jump over the rock into the water...after that the women u mistaked for saudi came with a girl and 2 little boys and 2 younger boys..right?? Remember...so enough evidence...let me set some facts straight...the tree house u saw is a modest tree house that was built for one purpose...sleeping for a few nights in the summer...so it have to be modest...it's no castle we know that :)...also the women isn't saudi...why did u think that...i only asked u to leave because the lagoon is private and intended for families and locals this is why the people over the ecovillage didn't take u there (not because of the guns tell that to the singer :D)...so when the family arrived i asked gently to leave and come back later...it wasn't because of ur clothes or anything else...it's only because it was a little bite crowded over at the lagoon...anw sorry again for the inconvience :) i hope that u really enjoyed ur stay in our little but pretty country.....please do spread a good word about us....peace :)