I can be stubborn when I want to. Just ask Mom. I decide not to take a tuk-tuk to the travel agency. I need to walk around and learn how to not get lost around Ashok Chowk. I get Meead to go with me.
Anne already gave me directions. Roundabout. The street that is challenging to cross. First right. Third or fourth left. We stop a couple of times on the way to make sure that we’re on the right track.
It takes me an hour with the travel agent to figure out that it’s too expensive to go to Amritsar and Chandrigah for the weekend. I’m kind of worried because it’s already Friday and I have to be at the Global Village in two hours.
We hop in a tuk-tuk for the ride back home. I pack the coffee, the hummus and the Lebanese flag and wear the Indian printed pants that I got from Pink City. No, you will never catch me wearing a Abaya.
I set up the stall with Arwa, a Lebanese from Udaipur. Batoul and Ali show up with a tupperware filled with Baba Ghannouj. Some Indians have never heard of Lebanon and some tell us that they absolutely love Lebanese food. Luckily (for me, not them), the hummus cans remain unopened.
Talal pretends to be Lebanese for the day. The Indians can’t tell that he’a actually from Kuwait. They don’t even notice that our accents are very different. Indian Ali from Babylon wears his Ray-Ban shades and poses by the Lebanese flag. We run out of sweets and the baba ghannouj is a hit.
I run around the village, trying to plan a trip for the weekend. Udaipur? Sure, why not. In an afternoon, we figure out both transportation and accomodation. We’re leaving at 1 AM.
The AIESEC people and the interns move inside for the fashion show. The Egyptians, who outnumber us all, steal the spot light. Kira sings a song on a guitar and I spot a ukulele.
“Evvie! You should sing!”
But Evvie doesn’t want to sing. She says that she doesn’t have her ukulele, she doesn’t have a guitar. I tell her that everything can be arranged. Bhavika and Talal help me. It takes us ten minutes but Evvie finally says ok.
I grab her hand and drag her behind stage. We look for the Swiss girl who has a ukulele and then spend a good deal of time convincing the AIESEC people to find a spot for Evvie.
The second part of the fashion show starts. Many Egyptian models. Two Lebanese. Ali and Batoul.
We move outside. The Global Village is almost over and Evvie is waiting with her ukulele.
She’s the final act.
And she gets to perform on the outdoors stage.
“Hello guys! I’m Evvie and I absolutely have no clue what I’m doing up here. Someone forced me to sing”, she turns to me and continues “thank you Lama… I’m going to be singing Riptide”
We listened to her practice and perfect Riptide at Babylon. My camera is in video mode and Ali is ready to snap pictures. The Babylonians are already cheering for her.
Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
Everyone starts clapping along.
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat ’cause
Talal and Batoul eat their free ice cream on our way back to Babylon. Evvie holds on tight to her ukulele. I’m rushing everyone.
We’re going to Udaipur for the weekend.
You’re gonna sing the words wrong