Monday, January 30, 2006

Between Lebanon's Heaven and Hell

This picture was taken with my phone while I was trekking yesterday morning.
It was paradise for a while. I was all alone on the mountain. I saw no one I know for hours.
Traces of small animals on the crisp snow, fresh air, the sound of the wind and of my steps, sublime scenery and no nagging girlfriend - I love that Lebanon.

I felt rejuvenated for a few hours and then it was back to the Lebanese version of hell.

Total chaos waited for anyone brave enough to drive his car out of the Warde ski slope parking.
I decided to walk down to the Mzaar hotel at around 2:30 to relax and have something to eat while the traffic jam cleared.

On my way down I heard drivers say that they have been stuck in their cars for more than one and a half hour. One driver was beeping the horn of his station wagon on the beat of the voices of his large family singing in Arabic: "get us out of here! get us out of here!"

It turned out that groups of teenagers started punching one another after their cars were stuck on the icy road leading to the slopes.
They got out of their cars, some wearing t-shirts, and hurled insults to one another's mothers, sisters and manlyhoods. One of them, lanky and frail- looking, jumped in the air, shouting, cussing and brandishing his fist, reminding me of a younger Walid Jumblat.

The police came and ... things got worse. A policeman told a driver - busy getting his kids, their boots and their skis out of the boot of his jeep - to move his car, to no avail. He ordered him to move it. No reaction. He shouted at him to move it. Nothing. He then ... begged him to move it. And the driver answered back: "Are you serious? Do you really think that I am causing the traffic jam?"
The frustrated policeman gave up and stood on the side of the road without interfering for the rest of the afternoon.
I saw him a few hours later in the same place when I walked back up to get my car.

During this time I sat with some friends on the terrace of the Mzaar and it felt like I would have been more relaxed stuck in traffic. Instead I was in the middle of an exhibitionist and voyeur convention. And I couldn't but join the game. The buxom blond with huge lips and bulging breasts. The anti-Syrian politician walking like a star amidst his flock where just one year ago walked the President of the Republic. The bankrupt banker and his corrupt son. The accidental [pirated home movie] star with the jeweler, his wife and her two luscious girlfriends.

After an hour I understood Jean Paul Sartre when he said that hell is the others and I felt like a pervert and I left for the bar.
I had tea and some wine and played a few games of backgammon for another 2 hours until we were told that the traffic was over.
I got my car and I promised myself, like I do every week, that I will stop going to Faraya on Sundays.


Blogger raf* said...

dear z,

thanks for taking me along for a (virtual) tour. it felt good to smell the mountains again.

is it just my imagination or would the road up/down to/from bcharre be less constipated?


02 February, 2006 01:48  

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