My habib's birthday deserved a four day celebration. We didn't organise any party or anything similar, unlike we used to do in Lebanon (somehow, the lack of a balcony and of the Mediterranean Sea breeze takes the charm out of it...), so I woke him up at 5am on his birthday with Las Mañanitas and a special book he'd been wanting for a long time, then took him to choose his next gift, then took him for dinner at Beijing's first ever restaurant with authentic Mexican food, and simply tried to accommodate his every whim no-questions-asked four days (now, how many of you get THAT for your birthday?).
But, rituals ARE an important part of every celebration and relationship, so we also went to have a drink at one of our favourite places in Beijing: Green Tea House. What can I say, we love the place: an extremely stylish, minimalist zen-style decor restaurant-bar, tea-infused creative cuisine, an elegant atmosphere and attentive service; an elongated white dining room with a single long, slender black table, flanked by black chairs with uberlong elegant backs stretching way up, and more private areas next to the windows where you recline or sit with legs crossed to relax and dine. AND... champagne with gold leaf at the bar, which barely sits 6 people. a 6 person bar? champagne? gold leaf? I know, sounds snobbish, but it's one of those places we've chosen to dress up for, go, sit surrounded by a nicely designed space, look into the eyes of the person you're sharing your life with, share a glass (or two) of champagne in long glasses with sparkles of gold floating in, and simply... share.
And, my habib still had a wild night out with friends at the usual night-club, and next day a delicious (and slightly TOO abundant) Middle-eastern lunch, with the tastes of fattoush, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanouj, kaak with sumac, Beirut, Aleppo, sunsets by the sea and old mosques. In a way, excluding his book and tennis shoes, the whole celebration was as much a gift for him as for me.
Until next time. Peace.