Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


It Is Important to Know Beirute

Wanderlino Arruda

On the day after I went to the Beirute restaurant, in Brasilia, the majority of my collegues at work, insistently reminded me to tell them one of the three versions that I made up to tell the story of our adventure that lasted until the beginning of early morning. It seemed to be a report of success, so big it was the impatience that they showed for the happenings , and mainly for the descriptions of the characters, all of them seeming to be taken from some surrealist work of fiction. It is that the Beirute, at first sight, is a different place from any other in the whole world, a type of stage set from a Pasolini film, so diverse are the physical and psychological make up, a human fauna to leave any good Christian with his hair on end, even the less curious.

Cristina, my collegue, had told me that I would love the Beirute, be it as a painter or a color hunter, or even a character researcher for future literary adventures. Besides this, why not study the components of our own table that would alos have to be different from the rest, and perhaps be the focus of observations from the rest of the local fauna. It is not always that side by side can be found Jorge Fensterseifer, Kalunga, Iasbeck, Ludgero, Cristina herself and I, individually or together perhaps even more bizarre than the others. Jorge, around three hundred pounds, Kalunga and Ludgero, extremely bearded and unruly Iasbeck, hair looking much like it had never seen a comb in its life…Cristina, a tall girl with her 1.80m. of beauty and grace, and I nearly bald, all of us together, forming a group far from normal. I think that is why the other clients were gaping at us so much!

But why is Beirute considered to be so different from other restaurants? By the environment that is, it is certainly not a bad place to eat, because everything there is in good order and the restaurant itself has a family atmosphere, with the presence of mothers and their children, of gracious, romantic young ladies, the intellectuals in their butterfly ties, and long sleeved shirts, and respectable gentlemen, until where respect can be closely observed, with table so close to each other. Beirute, I believe, should probably be the most democratic place in the world, a free territory on block 109, where each person lives moments of happiness and discontracao, a tenderness that only a close friend can offer. The Arabian food, the quibes, the slices of bread, the patês, stupidly cold beer, all mkixing to form a very pleasant atmosphere. A world apart!

I have been back there many times, and I have never lost the interest for its exotic enchantments. As it was so pleasant when Nivaldo Voigt, manager of the Bank of Brazil agency in Manaus, Vera, of S. Miguel do Iguaçu, Ivone, of the Freguesia do Ó, and I! How wonderful it was to take Olimpia and Ana Irlanda there after such a vast advertising campaign, choosing an Arabian dish with a very complicated name, which we thought would certainly be an exotic Libanese specialty, but what the waiter brought us at last was a very Brazilian shish kabob!
I never will tire of Beirute, and, if possible, always after ten in the evening.
It is after ten that the really exotic fauna come out of hiding, making Beirute fascinating and more relaxed.

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