Oud, emotion and idiocy

Ramis attempting to get his girl, and arranged a concert for her. He invited along an oud player, who cant be less than 50 (everybody loves Rami, its his magic), and another friend of his who sings, and the rest of us to make it less obvious. They played Kurdish songs full of longing for a homeland and Arab classics. The low light caught the cello curves of Ramis face, alight with delight and the girls eyes sparkled. Rami and Ullin joined in the singing during the Arabic songs, Ullin, who’s welsh, pleased with himself. My latest housemate, Maria, is beautiful in an uncomplicated kind of a way and a fairly serious violinist. She laughed with joy and the singer wrote down songs for her during the instrumentals. Sophia recorded all the music, a duet for oud and voice. lighters flared, illuminating people like details in a Caravaggio painting, as they lit ciggerets.

When the musicians decided they’d had enough we put music on. It slowly got less Arab and more dancey. eventually I put on Part Two of the 2 Many Djs Radio Soulwax mix. Syria went crazy and did Dabka to ‘pounding, pounding techno music,’ Ullin and I somehow keeping on doing it for longer than any of the others. the men (including the oud player) took off their jumpers, shirts and big teeshirts  and danced in their under teeshirts. Sophia went crazy. The girl who is definitely not Ramis had a fantastic time, a bit too good. she was dirty dancing with all the men. After a while Rami decided he couldn’t watch her grind everyone but him and sat in his unlit studio  brooding. I took him out cigarettes every now and then. He didn’t want to talk.

Eventually the party decided it was finished, qued up with its USBs, copied the music and left, all apart from the girl, who was pretty drunk. As the Alpha female in the group and the laziest about going home I get Pauls bed after parties and Rami and I sat their, finishing the Arak I’d saved, listening to Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. I love Rami enough to have not even thought ‘I told you so,’ until today, so instead of pointing that out I copied ‘Alice’ for him as we waited for the girl to accept that ‘when the partys over, the partys over.’ When she did I fed her bread and Rami, very tenderly, gathered all her stuff together, put her coat and shoes on and found her a taxi as he went back to his parents. She was getting to the emotional stage and telling Rami hes a gentlemen. I hope he got her into a taxi before she started crying.

Politically the Middle East is an exciting place right now, I’m in ‘Zen Internet’ a lot, seeing if anythings happened. Ullin is the only one of my friends to have said anything about it, he predicts a drop in the number of language students going to Lebanon to renew their visas. He then told me a really funny story about a girl he knew.

Shes into love and peace, while not being that fussed about thinking. To show how she ‘doesn’t hate anyone,’ she always carried Shekels, the currency of the Zionist Entity, in her wallet. Officially as far as Syria and chunks of Lebanon are concerned the Zionist Entity is a kind of malignant tooth fairly that A) doesn’t really exist and B) is the source of all evil. (Martin does an amazing impression, in Arabic, of Assad the elder explaining this. He’s in Lattakia with the Alawat but he’ll have opinions about regional developments). You’re not allowed into either country if you’ve visited Occupied Palestine and  its just not that smart to take Shekels on a picnic, off the beaten track, deep in the Hezbollah controlled Bekka valley. ‘To be fair to her’ she didn’t know that Hezbollah were out on the guerrilla warfare version of marnovers, but they were. They were pretty surprised to see a couple of foreigners with sandwiches and questioned them thinking they might be Israeli operatives. Needless to say the Shekels didn’t endear her to them and they didn’t believe her explanation, but after keeping them for 3 days in a Hezbollah jail they decided she was too stupid to be Mossad and dumped them at the Syrian boarder.

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Author: adventuresinarabic

I'm studying Arabic in Damascus, living through the Arab Spring and blogging about my experiences hear.

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