the kazdoura concept
I should begin this post by introducing the "kazdoura", shouldn't I?
The kazdoura is a local lebanese appellation to what is known as the stroll, or the promenade. And a stroll or a promenade are usually taken in parks, or in places with at least one square meter of greenery. And I expect you expect me to say, that our kazdouras are never [or hardly ever] practiced in a place with trees. Which I am saying right now. They are almost never practiced in a place with trees. Or in a park. Which is a term and a concept, and I am saying this with much sadness, that is completely foreign to my fellow Lebaneesies.
The reason why I bring up the word "kazdoura" today, is not because I went on one. It's because I went brisk-walking on the corniche, Beirut's number one destination for a kazdoura, and I observed life and its movements and people as they walked their kazdouras. Of course, on a nice spring night, when the sun has gone and the wind has become fresh, the practice of the kazdoura on the corniche always reaches its peak. Nothing is more beautiful than a night walk, with a few dying palm trees as an excuse for greenery overlooking the sea on one side, and with the wonderful traffic jam and car exhaust of Beirut on the other.
I went brisk-walking [yes, not walking at my normal turtle pace] with my mom, so my body can exert its revenge on the chocolate cravings of the night before. The conclusion that I came to reach, is that our corniche is the last place on earth for anyone willing to exercise during rush hour [kazdoura hour is more likely.]
The crowds are so big that you cannot walk without feeling that you are Theseus walking to reach a non-existent Minotaur. That you're walking in a labyrinth, that is. Between the kids running between your feet, the large groups and the big families, those who bike and those who skate [ferociously,] those who walk their dog, the "kaak" vendor, and the "foul" vendor [I'm not going to say fava bean vendor; he's a foul vendor!] , and the orange juice stall [and many more], your itinerary becomes quite limited if you ask me. Everyone peacefully occupies his or her own space on the corniche. By peacefully occupying a space on the corniche, I mean stands in the way.
So I thought it was a challenging walk, if you like. Until I decided that if you wanted to go exercising on the corniche, you cannot come when people have the time to practice their kazdoura rights. With my short description of the people who stood in my way while I walked, bear in mind that I feel nothing but respect [and a slight indifference] to them. After all, this public space is as mine as it is theirs, and nobody's arguing with that.
Until we meet again, dear readers, I leave you to go on a nightly kazdoura and to encounter a few dreams of my own.