Saud Abu Ramadan

I usually check my e-mail every morning before I do anything, and yesterday there were two e-mails I was surprised to see. The first was from an old friend of mine, Jonathan Ferziger, who used to be my boss when he was the bureau chief of United Press International in Jerusalem–now he works for Bloomberg in Tel Aviv. Jonathan wrote that he was impressed when he read my diary in Slate magazine on the Internet and he is very happy for me. The other e-mail was from my friend Paul Shindman, who replaced Jonathan before the UPI bureau in Jerusalem was closed down. Paul had his first baby girl about two months ago, and he sent me her photo. Oh my Lord … she is so cute. Paul also read my Slate diary and said that he was very impressed, too.

After I had a very long week working so hard and writing about politics, I decided to give myself a holiday. I turned my pager, cell phone, and home telephones off. I told my wife, Beesan, and our three kids that I wanted to cook them a tasty breakfast. I love cooking when I have nothing in my mind worrying me, in particular when I’m not on a deadline.

I went to the kitchen and decided I would make hummus feta (a traditional Gaza food that people eat on holidays at breakfast). Hummus is cooked and milled chickpeas mixed with lemon, garlic, salt, and tahini (sesame juice). To make the hummus feta, I mixed the hummus with soft feta kept in water for a while.

When the food was ready, an idea came to my mind. I thought of taking everyone to Gaza beach and having our breakfast there. I told my wife and kids about the idea, and they cheered. I was very glad to see them happy. I asked my wife to make us some tea while we got dressed.

I used to be a heavy smoker, but I quit smoking five years ago. Nowadays, on some occasions, I smoke a sheesha, or water pipe. It uses a very light kind of tobacco that has the taste of apples. I decided to take our water pipe with us.

We arrived at Gaza beach. The weather was so beautiful. Very few families came to the beach to have their breakfast. I parked my blue Subaru car near the beach and I spread a blanket on the ground. We put out the food and the tea and started eating. The hummus feta was delicious, and my wife told me I was a good cook.

After we finished eating, the kids went to play on the beach, running away from the soft waves. I had my tea and took my water pipe out and put the tobacco in. Then I took a burning coal and put it on the apple tobacco and inhaled the smoke. It is very tasty and light: One can’t feel the smoke going in or coming out–one can only taste the apple flavor. While I was smoking, I saw Sara, one of my twin daughters, sitting on the sand holding her foot and crying. Immediately, I went to look at her foot and saw that it was bleeding. I carried her to the car and decided to return home. At home, I had a look at the wound, and I concluded that it didn’t need a doctor. I cleared the cut on her foot, and covered it with a bandage.

Despite what happened to Sara, I can say that I had a pleasant day with my family after a long week of work.