Sunday, May 1, 2011

Breakfast with Beirut chums

My first little chums -- one ginger and two dark gray
Being in Beirut for work these past two weeks is different from being here on holiday. There’s much less free time to walk the streets, as I usually do, see friends and share my days in this vibrant city with you, my readers, at Mich Café.

Luckily, I am a morning person, and I’ve enjoyed waking up to the sounds of a city. Living on the first floor, these are mostly car honking their horns (a local hobby I imagine); shops lifting their aluminum shutters; passing motorcycles and Vespas; morning greetings by passersby; garbage collection... All different from just the sound of my garden birds tweeting in Dubai.

But this gives a lively feeling and I’m eager to be up and about, part of the street coming to life.

So it’s up for breakfast, which can be manaeesh, knafeh, or my usual toast and Marmite (yes, I brought my jar with me) with coffee on the kitchen balcony.
From the second day here, I could hear meowing. And on the third day, I was greeted by three little kittens in the shabby garden under the balcony as soon as I went out. It’s now a ritual to sit and watch them -- one ginger and two dark gray – playing together or with their mother, feeding, and sleeping.

The four kittens run to greet their mother...
... and play
One of the kittens is hungry...
... the three others soon join for breakfast
Last week though, there was more meowing on the other side of the garden and I had four more tiny morning buddies – one light colored kitten and three in darker tones of gray.

This one has other ideas
If I had time, I could sit and watch them for hours and marvel at the beauty of the animal kingdom. How both mother cats take care and protect the little ones. How when the mother leaves the kittens, maybe to go look for food, the younger batch hides. How when she comes back she meows in a certain way and the four kittens come running and tripping to greet her. How she licks them and then settles down to feed them…

There is an expression in Arabic that says “Kul shi ahsan min bani-adam” or “Everything is better than a human,” and, in the case of these cats, I cannot but agree.
I now look forward to getting up and enjoying some time with my seven tiny new friends before launching into more serious stuff and sometimes wonder which I would rather do. But then again, watching the kittens all day won’t, unfortunately, pay the rent!!!