Monday September 22: I still had some packing to do. Basically I spent most of the day packing. I also spent a lot of time taking cooking instructions and notes from my Mum. AND.....I cooked 'bazilla' - peas. It looked easy (no laughing please :p). I mean come on ... most Lebanese cooking of 'yakhni' is as follows: cook some meat using oil until they are well-done, then cook some chopped onions until they change to the desired color, the add the 'kizibra' (no idea what that translates to in english) along with some garlic and then finally add whatever thing you are cooking with some tomato sauce, a lot of water, and some salt and pepper. Once the water boils, turn the heat down and leave it between an hour and two hours. Then it is ready to be served with rice.Then came Iftar time 6:30 pm. My mum had made and/or bought several traditional Lebanese mezze dishes (AMAZING food): 'warak 3enab b zeit' (= vine leaves), kebbe (some sort of meat that needs a lot of processing), hommos b theni (chick peas), rkakat (cheese spring rolls), fattoush (lebanese salad), etc ... so I was enjoying the mezzi so much I didn't even touch the bazilla I made. My cousin had also come to have dinner with us and say good bye to me. Then we sat with her a bit and I continued packing a bit. Then my two best friends Noura and Souha came and also my uncle (father's side) and his children came. I also called my grandmother (father's side) and my grandfather (mother's side) and my uncle (mother's side). Then my friends left and our neighbors next door came in. My Mum started complaining that I had so much weight in the bags and my cousin joined in and they started saying that I won't use some of the stuff I was taking or wear most of the clothes I was taking. At 11 pm my Mum and I left to drop my cousin off. My Mum made me buy some biscuits and crackers to take with me because she was afraid that I would arrive to my dorm room late in the evening and that all the food stores would be closed. Then we went home. But at that time I was really worried about my luggage weight and so I decided to empty some things from the bag so I removed some liquids which I thought I can buy from the UK and I removed some t-shirts and my Mum made me remove three purses.
A lot of my friends SMSed me goodbye messages and some called and asked me how I was feeling. I explained to them that I didn't have any particular feeling becuase I didn't have the time to feel anything - I was just running on the program. I was so busy running errands and packing my bags and saying my goodbyes that I hadn't started yet to feel any particular emotions.
Eventually we went to sleep at 2:30 a.m. and we had to wake up two hours later at 4:30 a.m. because I had to be in the airport at 5:00 a.m.
Thomas Friedman at the Saudi regime lobby
4 hours ago