The Night Bombs Flew over Metula: Part 2

On this, our third trip, we were heading back to Chebaa. However, my parents decided that, while it was of capital importance to spend some time with my grandparents, it was also important that we enjoy ourselves. This was a vacation after all and unfortunately, there was only so much amusement that a small town like Chebaa could provide. My father therefore planned for us to fly from Montreal to Israel, hire a driver and cross the border into Lebanon, spend about ten days in Chebaa with my grandparents, cross the border back into Israel and spend about a week in Tel-Aviv before flying back home.

We landed in Tel-Aviv on a lovely Friday blessed with sunny warmth after an exhaustive pair of flights. We grabbed our luggage and before we knew it, we were driving towards the Israeli-Lebanese border. After a little over three hours, we entered the small border town of Metula. As we approached the border crossing, my parents and our driver readied themselves for what would surely be a difficult process. My sister and I remained fixated on the view through the rear-view window of our car. It quickly became apparent to the adults in the car that something was wrong. My father and the driver stepped out of the car and spoke to some Israeli soldiers. They returned shortly after with the driver quickly performing a u-turn almost before he had a chance to close the driver side door. My father learned that the border crossing then known as the Good Fence was closed and wouldn’t reopen until Sunday because of the Sabbath. We had no choice but to spend a couple of nights in Metula and were lucky enough to find a pretty decent room in one of the few hotels located in the small town.

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The Night Bombs Flew over Metula: Part 1

Flying thousands of feet in the air, I was wondering what lay ahead of us during this trip back to the motherland. The motherland was Lebanon and we were on our way to visit my paternal grandparents who still lived in a small mountain village located near the Golan Heights. The village was called Chebaa. I was only nine years old and this was already my third time visiting Lebanon. I could not remember much of my first visit to Chebaa as I was only two years old. I do have this one vivid memory of stumbling out unto a sunny terrace overviewing a lush garden and being picked up by my father. As he held me in his arms, he turned to allow us both to survey the land he had known since he was younger than I was then.

During my second visit to Lebanon, we did not drive up the mountain roads to Chebaa. Instead, a childhood friend of my father’s, Muhammad Dib, drove my grandparents down to meet us in Beirut. We stayed in a nice hotel and attended a marriage. I remember enjoying my time in Beirut. For some reason, all the restaurants we would dine in would almost always be located on the banks of a river or a creek, or, better yet, would overlook the Mediterranean Sea. There was something so magical about having a meal with the sound of trickling water or crashing waves complementing the experience. Enjoyment of the food and the company amid such surroundings is undeniably magnified.

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