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August 2023: Harvest & Heatwaves
And the 3rd anniversary of the August 4th Beirut Port Blast
This week is the 3rd anniversary of the August 4th Beirut Port Explosion. It’s on Friday and for many, it’s an insignificant date. Anniversaries can be so personal to the point that they only affect you or they can be a collective day of mourning for an entire nation and anyone who has a fond memory of it. For example, within my own family, the same date in July is a wedding anniversary for one cousin, a father’s death anniversary to four other cousins, and the day my immediate family lost our house in the 2006 war.
I don’t have comforting words to commemorate three years of no answers.
The other day, I was at Libanpost for the third time to pay customs on my 2-year-old-just-fully-paid-off iPhone 12 (don’t ask me why - it’s stupid, infuriating, and still not done because I didn’t have enough LL on me to pay it). Before my number was called, I was watching the counters thinking about this irritating and archaically analog way of doing anything official. After a woman stormed in complaining about the wait, I laughed to myself and a man in line told another guy, “you can’t let things get to you like that, you have to go with the flow here or you’ll go insane.” It is no wonder that so many people have tried their best to bypass interactions with the dawle (State) as much as possible, being self-reliant to the point of lunacy. Nothing is guaranteed by the dawle, you have to secure everything from water to electricity to fuel to cash. I have seen that those who seem the most even keeled are the ones who can focus on their bubble and ignore the happenings outside their self-imposed jurisdiction.
Because the dawle provides even less than they did before the financial collapse in terms of utilities, structure, and support, I understand the desire to hide in a limestone tower and brick the entrance. I see how our paranoia of scarcity has peaked and our bandwidth for anything more is nil. I can see it in my own vigilance when anyone asks something of me. Until proven otherwise, everyone is a swindler or a double-crosser.
Or a double-parker.
Twice this week, after being confined to one air-conditioned room for days, I headed out to work from a cafe. Both times, I ended up back in that room two hours later after going from neighborhood to neighborhood but finding nowhere to park. The double parking along major roads everywhere is an old selfish behavior taken to a new extreme. I’m not referring to the asshole or two that block the path near Pharmacy Gabriel/Mazen or dot the Spears sidewalk of Barbar. Beirut is overloaded with cars, and overflowing with visitors. We have commanded the roads with unlimited entitlement for ages but the way in which we now trap each other with our vehicles gives off a “fuck everyone else” attitude that is next level. Again, it makes me think about how much each of us has put up higher gates around ourselves.
Unexpectedly, what makes me believe this heightened individualism is a temporary side effect of the crises is what happened in the days after August 4th when we mobilized for one another. Then I think about what that felt like. I’m ashamed to say it but sometimes I wish I didn’t go help. I could’ve taken care of myself, stayed in a bubble, and avoided seeing all the carnage up close. I’m reminded of that first week whenever I see an open window, a mirror, or a piece of glass so I think about it all the time.
I couldn’t not be there though and that’s why I think that spirit of community is still here but so are the scars that came with that care. The buildings may look restored but humans need more than paint. We need each other.
I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
Massaya has launched 2 skin-contact wines aged in amphora - one Merwah and one Chardonnay - available at the wineries only
Chateau Kefraya was named #41 in the The World’s 50 Best Vineyards rankings.
Chateau Cana is launching an entry-level red blend this September called Comète Rouge featuring a fun, illustrated label by a popular cartoonist you *probably* know
Umami is experimenting with aging their wines underwater
Rumor has it, this year’s harvest may kick off as soon as this weekend which is about a week to 10 days earlier than usual. There is concern that yield will be low after the storms and hail experienced earlier this year. #climatechange
THE LAST MONTH OF AANAB NEWS
AT LEAST 10 LITTLE LINKS
Young George meets Old George, I love it so much.
The Psychology of Disneyland gives insight into how evil geniuses work when it comes to your experience of a space.
Why Ai matters by Tim Atkin…maybe.
I’ve long felt that living by a body of water makes people happier. Apparently, it’s called thalassotherapy.
“The current trend of a hotter, drier Iraq — and a hotter Middle East — is expected to last for decades, making the once-fertile crescent less and less livable.”
As far as traveler videos go, I don’t usually like the ones that cover Beirut. This one had an interesting premise though. Also, watch How 'Asteroid City' Production Designer Creates the Worlds of Wes Anderson.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
COMING UP NEXT
Because it’s the start of harvest and wineries will be too busy to deal with anyone, August and September will be slow months on Aanab News. However, while they are busy squishing grapes, I’ll be doing my best to cover wine-adjacent topics and finish the new drop coming to the shop Sept 1st!
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