Monday, November 20, 2006

Bridges and BBQ

The weather in Lebanon has been absolutely beautiful these last few days. The forecast is for this weather to continue at least till the end of the month. It’s unbelievable that we’re now over halfway through November and the weather is so mild.

In Brummana daytime temperatures are reaching 17º, night time temperatures not falling below 13º. On the coast they’re about 5º higher on both counts.

On Sunday Linda and I went down to Lori and Simon’s house in Fghal. This was the first time we’d gone there since the war in July. With us came Kina, Mike, Paul and Naimy. November is normally when Simon sets up his “kirke” to distil Arak. This year we had the added bonus with the weather being warm enough to have a barbeque outdoors.

Fghal is about 300m above sea level just south of Batroun. The fastest route to Fghal is along the coastal highway, this gave us a chance to survey the damage to all four bridges that were bombed by the Israelis during the summer war, and check out the progress made in rebuilding them.

The first bridge we come across is the Maamaltein bridge just north of Home City. I did not manage to take pictures of the repair work there. Only the south bound carriageway was bombed on this bridge, so heading north there’s no detour, and traffic flowed smoothly. On the southbound carriageway an asphalt bypass has been built.

The next bridge is the Casino bridge. Again, only the south bound carriageway was bombed on this bridge, however, traffic is directed both ways on the north bound carriageway and there was quite a traffic jam there.

The Casino Bridge soon after it was bombed on 4th August 2006

Casino Bridge on 19th November 2006

The next bridge is the Halat, or Fidar, bridge just before Jbeil (Byblos). This bridge was completely destroyed. However, an asphalt bypass had been laid, which goes down to the river bed and back up, making it pretty steep.

Halat or Fidar Bridge when it was bombed on 4th August 2006

Halat (Fidar) Bridge on 19th November 2006

The fourth bridge that was bombed along this highway is the Madfoun bridge. The turnoff to Fghal is just before that bridge, however, one can have a panoramic view of that bridge from the road up to Fghal.

Madfoun Bridge soon after it was bombed on 4th August 2006

Madfoun Bridge on 19th November 2006

On to the Arak, Simon managed to distill 7 gallons, which is pretty good going. Of course, sampling of last year’s vintage is also part of the tradition.

Simon's kirke for distilling Arak

Once the BBQ lit up the smell of cooking chicken and steak soon wafted into the air. One would assume that this would be the last BBQ this year, however, you never know with this unusual weather.

BBQ in November?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's good to see the rebuilding and I'm so glad you guys were able to travel to visit family again.

The barbeque AND arak all looked mighty tasty. Salut!