Sneak peek into an estranged world. Cheers!

Archive for November, 2013

Family time

Family reunions, don’t you just hate them sometimes?

I usually enjoy family reunions, seeing all the cousins and family again, sharing stories, and hugs; it always makes you feel good.

Being Lebanese you get used to having a big family, with many cousins, and considering your extended family as part of your close cousins. But being Lebanese also means that most of them don’t live in Lebanon anymore, most travelled to other countries for studies, work, and sometimes for providing a safe-r- environment for their children.

I love family reunions! I’m aware that I just contradicted myself, but I honestly think that there is no way I’ll be able to specify which emotions override the others when it comes to family reunions.

I love seeing my cousins and sharing our different stories, going to parties and crashing at pubs; now yo u won’t know exactly what I’m talking about unless I give you an overview of my family: family = a bunch of extremely different people, many generation gaps, some religious some not, most of them party animals (the kind you’re sometimes ashamed of being seen with publicly, unless you are included in the party animals group). Family = single cousins, married cousins, married with kids cousins, gay cousins, open cousins, and conformist cousins. Family = having all the generations I none area, from the grandparents, to parents, to my generation, to the cousin’s kids’ generation. It is altogether a society of difference living under one family name.

Meet my family! (and good luck with that)

During family reunions you always have different repetitive scenarios: (one way conversations with what I sometimes feel like answering):

1- The older generation: “oh my god how much you’ve grown!” (thanks); did you get into college?!” (you were at my graduation 2 years ago); “how’s work?” “did you get a job? How’s work?” (the usual, it’s work); “you gained a lot of weight! You should start regime/gym” (have you seen yourself?); when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my grandson’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “why aren’t you eating more? Eat! Eat! If you’re not healthy no one will want you” (didn’t you just say I gained weight?)

2- The uncles and aunts: when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my son’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “yalla yalla, hurry up we want to see your kids grow, start making babies” (don’t I need to get married first?); how’s the boyfriend/girlfriend? When will we meet him/her?” (why? To scare her/him off or to judge me more?)

3- The cousins: “yooo, let’s get wasted soon!” (okay); “man I got so wasted last night!” (same here); “dude let’s have coffee sometime and catch up” ; “let’s go partay!”; “did you see cousin X’s new look?”; “guess what happened”; etc.

Now the first scenario is the most annoying, being judged by elder generation is the worst family reunions; it’s an endless one way conversation of complaints about what you’re doing, how you look, where you are in your life, and what you’re planning for the future. Though at the same time I enjoy seeing them all, it’s a connection I never want to sever, whatever the risks.

The second scenario is somewhat fun, but also annoying most of the time, they are the ones that believe they have the right to judge you since their kids are your age, but they are doing much better (at least in their opinion) and expect you to be just like them, act one way around family but do whatever you want when with friends (sorry I prefer to stay the same, which sometimes got me the wrath from some uncles and aunts). Some of them are also fun since you’re now old enough to hang with them, listen to their stories, and share a drink. Watching them get wasted is fun too.

The last/third scenario is usually the most interesting one, getting fresh new stories of fu**-ups, random stuff, interesting reads, and of course a good dose of the family gossips. Unfortunately some of these cousins already have kids, so you’ll have to play baby sitter at times as well.

At the end of the day, I can’t help but love them all, even though I hate them most of the time (hate is not the opposite of love, it’s loathing, so they’re safe for now). But dear family, if you are reading this, you should know I still care, cause you’re the only ones that will never let me down.

Cheers to all families around the world.

T.

Beggars Panorama

Living in Lebanon lately has become more expensive depending on your emotions, on your way of life, and on your degree of pity and self-respect.
Now I’m just talking about car drivers. We spend a certain amount of money on petrol weekly to get to work and back home, but the amount that we always forget to calculate is the one you give to the homeless on your way there and back.

beg2

I’ve added to my weekly consumption 10 000 LL a day, which adds up to 50 000 LL a week, unless you work Saturdays and Sundays as well.

With the past wars Lebanon has been trough, the amount of homeless people increased greatly, leaving hundreds of children, women, and men roaming the streets, around traffic lights, waiting for any amount that might be handed to them by drivers. I stumbled upon this article which explains the daily panorama I get on my way to work:
“Whilst navigating the major roads in the urbanized cities of Lebanon, one cannot help but come across one or more youngsters spread out randomly throughout these cities, grouped particularly near traffic lights – where cars come to a stop. The children appear to follow a rehearsed routine: knock on car windows, look the passengers in the eyes and hold out their hands to either sell small merchandises or as a silent plea for money. It is noticeable that strangers, upon witnessing this phenomenon, would either regard it with a wary eye (suggesting that they are somewhat used to the instances of poverty) or are simply shocked at this wretched, silent cry for help.”

beg3

I would add the people’s reactions when they try not to make eye contact, close their windows and sometimes even shout at the children so they could be left alone. If you have a big heart and can’t help but fall for their pleas, then you might need to increase your daily revenue.

Now here is where the trick starts, few of these beggars are actually homeless children, being forced to beg their way into surviving, while others are part of organized crime where their parents might abuse them and force them to work; and others are orphans taken in by a “PIMP” and forced to work the streets like prostitutes, begging for money.

Unfortunately seeing the difference between the two might be tough, seeing that the illusion is perfect. My way of differentiating them is proposing to give them food and water instead of money, those faking it will refuse the food, and go off swearing; while others will look at you in utter idolization and thank you from the bottom of their heart, stuffing their face with whatever food you have provided them with.

Most of the children working for their parents or organized crimes are unfortunately not able to go back into shelter without having collected a certain amount of money, so if you see a couple of children refuse food, but keep trying to beg with an obvious fear in their eyes late at night, I usually provide them with a bit of change but also food, that they will not be able to provide their executioner with, and still survive the year.

Many articles were written about beggars, one, which I don’t seem to find any more, is about a woman begging with a child asleep in her arms. The woman that wrote the article tried to approach this beggar, asking to carry the child to let the beggar be able to eat properly. The woman strongly refused, and after extensive research the writer found out the reason behind the woman’s refusal; there are many cases, and here are a few: the child is drugged, with alcohol or actual hard drugs to keep him asleep or from crying; the child is dead, and the woman is waiting for the organization she begs for to provide her with a new one; the child is paralysed from physical abuse to stay stable.

beg

I know what you might be thinking right now, how could a person be so inhumane? simple; their humanity was lost in wars, in home abuse, and daily fights with society and life.

Here are a few further reading you might be interested in reading, they explain what the Lebanese community is trying to do, unfortunately nothing is 100% effective, especially with the war in Syria adding up to the number of homeless and beggars in Lebanese streets.



Quite the eye opener, extremely morose, yet 100% true.

T.

Identity Week: It’s in the Cards

Amazing story that may one day destroy women vs. men stereotypes.
Quite funny as well.

Standing in the Shallows

Identity Week: It's in the Cards

Just a couple of days ago, a Facebook friend put out a general question: What was the first CD you bought?

I answered honestly: “Soundtrack to The Little Mermaid.”

His response: “Your Man Card has been deducted by 2 points.”

He was joking, of course, and even leavened his words with the admission that he bought the Aladdin soundtrack when it came out.

Of course I didn’t feel like my masculinity was genuinely being insulted. In fact, I responded once more: “Meh,” I wrote. “Man Cards aren’t worth the frilly pink paper they’re printed on.”

And I meant it.

A Man Card, if you don’t know (or do know and just want to hear my own brilliantly concise definition), is a theoretical document that jokingly certifies your manhood and can be revoked if other men feel you’re not being manly enough. In their opinion. I’m not sure when it…

View original post 775 more words

Independence who?

It’s quite interesting the way politics relate to color coding in Lebanon.

Having a certain color car, scarf, clothes, or glasses even might be a sign to the political party you follow; but why limit ourselves?

Imagine you are an extremely colorful person, you like flashy colors and wear them daily, how would you feel walking in to work in the morning having the security guard look at your yellow scarf and say: “you’re wearing yellow? I didn’t know people from bcharre (aka. Red color followers) wear that color around”.

Now I’m still hopefully hoping that we Lebanese haven’t sunk that deep in stereotyping and color-coding people depending on what we wear, the area we are from and/or our choices; but still I see that everyday; and the worst part I think is having different flags for each party and color within the same country: I rarely see any Lebanese flags on cars and home balconies lately, it’s all just a blur of colors with politician flags, as if each was a country by itself.

Independence day is getting closer, and I’m not sure what to expect to see; a rainbow of colors smashing at each other in the air, or more cedars and red flowing in the wind as we all unite for the peace of this tiny piece of earth we call home?

One thing I’ve learnt and I am positive about, living in this country since I was born, is that you will never know what to expect. It’s simple fact, the same as being born and eventually dying. But the thing is, you never know when and how this will happen.  

On another note I quite enjoy the color coding of parties in a certain way: the jokes the Lebanese people come up with. One of my closest friends is a red-head, and as we all know orange is the color of Aoun party; N the red-head is studying medicine planning to be a doctor (hakim in Arabic) which is the color red following the Hakim party (aka Geagea).
So imagine people being able to make up a joke on that saying: “oh I feel bad for his parents, they raised him to be orange but he ended up being a hakim!” and laughing about for hours (for those not familiar with Lebanese politics one of the biggest problems in the past used to come from fights between the two neighboring parties).  

So today I’m wearing green socks, with an orange shirt, blue undies, and a yellow scarf: what will that mean? Will it make sense if I try to decipher my love of colors to political signs or should I just go around my business and flash as many colors as possible to confuse narrow-minded people?

It is sometimes a hustle, and I even enjoy the confusion at times, but that’s not going to stop me from doing what I want, after all it is my looks and my body we are talking about, wearing a color doesn’t mean that the party owns me, it simply means I love colors.

I also wanted to point out one other thing: you are all familiar with the rainbow that unites all genders as well as sexual orientations and lifestyles, it’s all about tolerance, wearing a rainbow on independence day could be a different sign to show the unity of one country under one emblem as well as the unity and acceptance of people’s choices without hating them, judging, or trying to make them conform to your ideals.

It is, after all “a free country”, why can’t we have free choices, but keep them private without the need to exhibit them in hatred?

So dear Lebanese, who will you be on independence day? You and your country as a whole, or a follower of a country inside another?

T.

Too much fun

So I heard this interesting story a couple of days ago that involves my brother-in-law M in London (yes M I’m finally writing a post about you). Now the story itself is quite simple and can be related in a couple of lines, but knowing my over-thinking brain, I will go deeper and analyse this story.

M and his wife L live in London, M goes to work on a daily basis from one side to the other of London on his bicycle, which is quite a long ride. So to enjoy the drive there, he, as most people do, plug their earphones in under their helmets and get on their busy day.
Heading to work a couple of days ago M got pulled over by a cop that asked him to remove his earphones, when asking why, the cop bluntly replied: “it looks like you’re having too much fun”. I didn’t see that one coming to tell you honestly, but hey the cop might have a point, listening to music might disrupt your road driving focus and cause you to have an accident.

Now I’ve been to London, and I’ve seen bikers have their own driving lane, as well as their own green lights, though that doesn’t make it any safer, since car drivers tend to take all the space they are given and end up mirror-butting cyclists. Personally, I found being a pedestrian in London even more dangerous than being a cyclist, but hey that’s just me.

So I thought through the cop’s logic and agreed that to a certain extend his reason for pulling M over should have been: because you’re not focused on the road so much and might be a danger to yourself and others. Now I’m not sure how dangerous that actually is in London; but it definitely is in Lebanon, where there are no cyclist traffic lights or lanes, and where pedestrians still don’t understand the fact that stop lights apply to them as well.

You see on the daily people listening to music and messaging run into objects, and you can even find video compilations of them that will make you laugh you socks off, and I will join you in laughter most definitely http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl0JojWH1rQ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjLkXzHXvWs; unfortunately we only see the funny, non-dangerous ones being reposted all over the internet, and forget about the poor souls that got run over because of these devices, one in particular is clear in my mind: Talal Amer Qassem, died at age 18 while crossing the road on Raouche, Beirut in front of Al Ajami. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2010/Oct-20/60493-car-runs-over-and-kills-ic-student-walking-to-school.ashx#axzz2kbt2nqq5.

Talal had his iPod plugged in, he looked over before crossing the first road, decided to change song halfway through, and crossed the last bit without checking for cars first. His music was on so loud that he didn’t hear the car coming, nor the tires screeching, and the honks. That ended his life.

So looking back at the cop that pulled over M, I kind of understand where he’s coming from, but I think a simple: “please keep an ear unplugged and focus on the road” would have been better than: “it looks like you’re having too much fun”.

Keep your senses responsive when walking, cycling, biking, and driving. It might save you.T.

My motorcycle diaries -3-

Part 3: Obsession satisfied:

Being the nerd that the youngest sibling was known for, with her obsession being so close to her grasp, she went off reading books and researching, trying to perfect her knowledge in motorcycles.

If you ever go back to her school, you will see on the lending sheets her name on each mechanical book that has anything and everything to do with motocross bikes, from the pictures to the detailed explanations of the rotors.
She worked hard, figured which parts were missing in her new-found toy, and assessed what she needed to fix it.

Being a smart-ass for the most, but leaning mostly on help from Bob (I.H); by the age of 10 the young girl had a working motocross, an authentic Honda XR80R, 1984.

Unfortunately being a smartass (as previously mentioned) and being over excited with her new-found toy, she decided to give it a test drive right after she got it running, causing her to fall in the first ditch next to the house due to the fact that she had forgotten to add foot breaks. Lesson learnt!

By age 11, Father’s youngest was roaming around the off-roads of the Cedars, trying on new tricks, trying to stabilize herself , learning the hard way how to drive a shift-gear engine, following the murmurs of the bike (up till today she never checked the rpm, she bases get driving with the use of sound and feel) and trusting her guts.

At age 12, she had met her new best friend H, with whom she will from then on share all her bike rides, teach her how to drive, and sometimes how to clean the bike after a muddy ride.

And this is when the first accident took place, it wasn’t a crash per-say, but imagine a twelve year old girl driving a cross bike off-road with an eleven year old girl holding on from the back; anything going wrong would be scary. But it wasn’t that bad, they had stopped on a dirt road, checking out some ATV riders rolling by them when one of them scared H off, being as young as they were, the girls didn’t know that you should never grab a driver from his shoulders, but always from his waist: so they toppled sideways. Being in tiny shorts, heavy helmets and as skinny as young hyper girls could be, their injuries on the gravel were worse than the fall itself. But they got over it quickly, and moved on to drive around again.

At age 13, the young girl decided to push herself and see how far her limits were, having her breaks break, driving into trees and bushes while attempting jumps and stunts (unfortunately riding tracks didn’t exist in Lebanon, so she had to do with natural settings and creating new roads), and, for the life of me I still can’t remember why, she decided to go for a stroll on an actual road.
Roads in the cedars are small, and most of the time empty; so she wasn’t scared of heading out.

Then there was a big crash sound, tires screeching, the motocross falling to the ground and the young girl flying (literarily) then skidding on the pavement; Echoes of voices screaming, lights flashing, the feeling of nausea as well as an indescribable feeling of ecstasy from the flight.  

The little girl was on the ground, face up to the clouds, numb. She survived, with a fractured neck bone, a couple of bruised ribs, a head injury, and numb knees. “Please don’t let me be paralyzed” was the first thing that came to her mind before drifting back into confusion.

Four months later she was finally able to overcome her fears of the bike, Mother had always told her, “if you fall, get back up again or else you’ll stay on the ground forever”. So she did, she fixed her bike, and rode it again as soon as she was able to use her body freely once again; unfortunately still leaving her till today with weak knees.

At age 16 her elder brother decided to buy a small bike to learn on, so he got a Yamaha TDR 150cc, which his younger sister was able to use later to teach friends how to drive.

By age 21, she bought her first big bike, fully built and unused, it was a Suzuki 200 Djebel Cruiser; now of course she had to meddle around in it so she removed heavy useless parts that don’t need to be used on the Cedar’s off-road, and kept driving it till her 24th birthday.

That little girl was me.

Today I have already sold the Suzuki as well as the TDR; I doubt I’ll have the guts to get rid of my baby the Honda XR80R, the fact that I had been fixing the rear suspension at the time of the accident saved my life, it threw me off in the air instead of crashing face-first into the car.

Now planning to buy with the amount collected my dream bike: the KTM enduro1, 125cc.

– End of story-

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

T.

My motorcycle diaries -2-

Part 2: The thrill:

Mother’s office was developing into a stable company, so she decided to hire a runner boy. I.H (let’s call him Bob) fit the job perfectly, coming from a small family from the south, and being the only male in the family, it was up to him to keep the household going.

Bob started working at Mother’s office at the young age of 17, running errands for the office, sending mails and making sure everything was in order.
He soon became “l’homme a tout faire” (the guy whose job isn’t specific to one chore, but caring for the office as well as helping Mother out in the household), taking the kids to their doctors appointments when the parents were too busy keeping their businesses running.

Bob had a motocross; the four siblings would ride behind him to skip traffic jams, making sure they got to school or their appointments on time, but always taking one at a time.

But Bob was also crazy; he saw the streets of Beirut like an off-road trail, cars as bushes and wild animals, pavement jumps as rocks, and pedestrians as trees. He would swerve in between them as if trying to win a race against his opponents, being the other bikers, and sometimes cars.

The youngest daughter of Father loved riding behind Bob; never afraid, never complaining, but with pure awesome ecstasy running through her veins. Her passion for motorcycles kept growing inside her, feeding her bloodstream, compiling in her brain. She was becoming an addict at the age of 8.

Yet no one paid much attention to what was happening once again, Father kept going to work for long periods of time while Mother was juggling her business with home keeping. The little girl was her siblings’ toy. When you look at a young girl in Lebanon, even watching her passions explode over mechanics such as motorcycles, you never worry or tend to think maybe this is what she wants; why? Because she’s a child, and a girl, it’s as simple as that.

She unfortunately doesn’t recall much of the feelings and ideas that were going through her brain during those first two parts, she was too young to recall much anyways, but she clearly remembers a haunting fascination that can be seen her my collections of small bikes (thanks to kinder surprise) and a lego bike she built at the age of 9.

image

Part two ended abruptly with a new-found project: her aunt’s motocross that had been stolen during the war was finally returned to its owners; in very bad shape, but still partly standing. Her aunt not being able to drive anymore due to an injury was forced to let it go, and leave it to her sister’s bidding, which made it end up in the little girl’s arms with the phrase: “you’re obsessed with taking things apart and rebuilding them, you fix it and it’s yours”.

And so the hardship began!

– End of part two –

T.

My motorcycle diaries -1-

Here is a simple story that shows a young girl’s growing obsession toward a beautiful mechanic: motorcycles.

Part 1: Discovering motorcycles:

Since before being born Father had a motorbike that he used to use to go to work, leisure, and short trips around the country. It was his means of travel, and his love.
Father has four children, by the time the youngest was 4 years old, he would take all four of them with him for rides around the city, it was a time of thrilling adventures, a year after the Lebanese civil war ended on 13th October 1990.

Before that time father would only use it for work, to be able to reach his office without trouble from car-blocks, burning tires and closed/blocked roads, and generate a regular income to his household, making sure they were always fully equipped with food, shelter and medicinal equipment.

His motorcycle had become a mean of safe travel. Until the war ended when he started enjoying the ride more for what it is than just a mean to an end. So he used to take his kids all riding with him; His eldest daughter right behind him with his eldest son (stronger) holding on to both from behind. His younger son right in front of him and his youngest daughter in the front, grabbing on to the steering like a child tied in a safety chair.

Having the front row view, the wind lashing, the whole opened panorama of roads in front of her; her obsession started developing, her need for adrenaline started pumping; but she was just a child, a four year old little girl being carried around, laughing at the world. Little did she know what was growing in her brain.

Unfortunately soon after, Father had an accident with a car crashing into him from behind, destroying the bike to pieces but safeguarding his life. So his wife enquired and begged him to give up his passion for bikes, now that the war is over and roads have been opened, he could switch and only drive cars. Which he agreed to, for the safety of his life, and that of his children.

But Father kept on watching bike shows on TV, little did he know that his youngest toddler was watching with him in amazement, eyes sparkling and imagination on full speed.

This was how she discovered the amazing world of motocross bikers, the thrill of the adrenaline, and this is when she started having a passion for the tests ahead.

– End of part one-

T.

Celluon, good or bad?

I personally didn’t try this new technology, but I’ve done quite some extensive research about it when I first heard word that a laser projection keyboard exists. Oh boy! Technological advancements do happen real fast!

So for those who don’t know of or never heard of Celluon’s Epic, here is a short overview: (www.celluon.com)

image

I know what you’re thinking right now: when can I buy it? How much does it cost? I want one! Awesome innovation! But heed some warnings, the product is unfortunately not 100% effective.
You can read about its liability in Gizmag’s review: http://www.gizmag.com/celluon-epic-laser-keyboard-review/28342/ where the product’s advantages and disadvantages are clearly pointed out by someone that has tried the product himself.

So why talk about a product that’s not so efficient and perfect?

It scares me! Yes I’m being serious; it scares me to the bones.

Why? Because imagine what such a product would do in Lebanon. We already have multiple car accidents due to people messaging while driving; imagine them being able to project a keyboard to make it “easier” for them to focus on the driving instead of focusing on a tiny touch keyboard on their phones. Do you think that will help focus their driving more or mess it up more (if that’s even still possible)?

I’m not saying it doesn’t have good features; it can help elder people or crowds with bad eyesight to be able to use it. It will also help you and others keep your phone/tablet or pc on-screen keyboards clean from oil, food products etc by typing on a table or a sheet of paper with no direct contact, as well as help you type faster for long essays, conversations or work related mails.

Watch: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g0qARDGJj1w&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dg0qARDGJj1w to see how the product works exactly.

In a small statistic I was able to conduct on 40 people (random ages, sex, race, background) 12 agreed that this product will probably endanger the Lebanese community drivers even more, whereas the rest thought it would definitely be safer. 37 would definitely buy it even though it is not 100% effective while 2 said they would wait for the next/better version of the product to be released, and only 1 said it would be useless since he/she doesn’t use their phone to type that much.

Now I know it’s a small statistic, but the fact that more than half of the people interviewed saw no danger in using a projection keyboard while driving worries me.
I am aware that other countries have a strict policy of no messaging and talking on the phone while driving, so the danger is futile for them, but in Lebanon, with our policies (review my previous posts: “I see civilized people!” And “I also like to live dangerously”), it could increase the toll of accidents by quite a high (hopefully not) percentage.

So what do you think? Good technology or Bad idea?

T.

I also like to live dangerously!

You always hear of adrenaline junkies (including myself) going off routine to find the thrill of danger and add it to their daily life. I believe I have found the ultimate day-to-day way of getting your dose of adrenaline without going off track in your habits.

Try driving in Lebanon!

To drive in this country you need to have certain traits or else I doubt you’ll survive:
– At least the patience of a hundred men.
– The attention to details of fifty OCD people.
– Never trust other cars, trucks, busses, or motorcyclists.
– Always make sure your eye-sight covers even small areas between parked cars.
– Quick and accurate reaction skills.
– Always full attention on the road as well as your surroundings.

You’ll probably think this is too much (but trust me it’s still not enough) just to be able to drive in a country where street lights exist and cops are present; unfortunately every time I head to work, home or anywhere else, I get a dose of adrenaline, even in traffic (more like especially sometimes).

So why the patience of a hundred men? You’ll have people crossing the road randomly, expecting you to stop your full speed, even on highways, even in the dead of night (yes yes). So you being a self righteous person you are will stop, slow down, and make sure you don’t run them over. You also get your daily dummies (it’s not entirely their fault, I’m not sure they are aware) that decide to cross the road as soon as your light turns green. FYI lights include pedestrians too!

Why the attention to detail of 50 OCD people? That’s easy, make sure no one is wavering around while driving, and make sure that no cars are parked sideways; the person in front of you might not have tail-lights that work, or decide to stop suddenly without giving directions.
For some reason the Lebanese crowd doesn’t believe in the use of a turn signal before switching lanes or turning either side.  My father’s favorite joke to that is: “my light signal is on because I’m gonna make a turn, not because I think I’m a Christmas tree!”; people around here tend to ignore that sometimes. Or you have the case where they will put the signal on 1 second before turning: that’s not the way it works! But they still expect you to stop and make way for them, even on highways.

Never trust others: I think this part is obvious, not everyone has the same driving ethics and skills as you, not everyone is focused on their driving either (messaging, calling, kissing their significant other, too drunk or high, reading a book – believe it!- or having a deep conversation with someone else in the car. You even find those who put their toddlers on their lap to “teach them how to drive”).
This morning for example I was driving behind this motorcyclist that suddenly decided to sneeze then make a U-turn in the middle of a 3 line road; I had to stop fast, to make sure not to hit him, as well as make sure I don’t stop too fast so the driver behind me doesn’t crash into me (they might be still asleep, unfocused or any of the previously mentioned above -6 am, I kind-of understand it).

Over-seeing gaps between parked cars, if I try to recall the number of times I’ve had to stop dead because of children peeking out from between those cars, people deciding to suddenly cross, and/or people moving backwards into the street in full conversation without looking I believe I would’ve probably killed more than 100 people in my life till now (and I’m only 25 so that’s quite a lot).
Pedestrians in Lebanon tend to forget that we drivers own the road most of the times, and it is their job to keep off of it; even when I’m a pedestrian I make sure I keep off the car lanes; unfortunately, it is sometimes impossible, seeing that people tend to park their cars on the pavement as well as motorcyclists driving on it; so moving to the car lane is sometimes the only way you’ll be able to get through (though that doesn’t mean that you have the right to walk in the middle of the street and stop traffic altogether!).

Quick and accurate reaction skills, well I think the reasons for that are quite obvious. With all the action happening on the Lebanese roads you’ll need them to make sure you get home safely, survive many heart attacks, and make sure you don’t leave bloody trails behind you.

Finally your attention will need to be fully focused on the road. All of it, at every second, even in traffic when you have that woman that decides to push her baby stroller out of the curb into the street and you barely get time to notice it before swerving away but still making sure you don’t crash into the car next to you.
You need to make sure the person driving behind you is attentive to your driving not messaging so he’ll have time to stop before crashing into you.
And of course the surrounding cars need to all be in your point of view; why? Simple: heading home from work a couple of days ago I was on the leftmost lane, behind a line of cars, all going 70 km/h; when I see in my rear-view mirror a car speeding behind me about to cross me from the right side. I usually don’t mind that but we were getting to the end of the tunnel where another lane enters the right one with no clear view. So of course a cab driver sneaked in just as the wild golf was next to me, causing him to swerve in my direction (without bothering to slow down I must add) having me swerve towards the wall in between nearly crashing into it, while hitting the breaks.
Guy’s reaction? Swearing at me for not stopping and letting him through, cab driver’s reaction? Ignorance is bliss and kept strolling away, my reaction? Minor heart attack with a 10 minute break before full recovery. Those people are the scariest in my experience, so always, always, under any circumstances, keep an eye out for wild drivers surrounding you, you never know what they might do and how they will react to be able to get there 1 minute earlier.

We Lebanese do not have a notion of patience, as well as we tend to always be in a hurry (why? I don’t know, we just always are).

This makes up altogether for a fun and adrenaline junky exciting game to go through in our everyday life.
So dear fans of adrenaline, if you are able to drive in Lebanon without getting killed, you’ll get your adrenaline dose, lots of action and adventure, while doing everyday chores.

Who’s in for a trial?

T.

Tag Cloud