I arrived back from Lebanon last week after spending 14 days there and its taken quite some time to get my feet back on the ground (thus the significant time lapse between posts). I was last in Beirut in August and the things I see there still continue to amaze me.
A Reflection on my Latest Trip to Lebanon
- A guy was fined for smoking in the Arrival area at the airport. A step forward for Lebanon. At the same time, General Security officers are in the men’s room puffing away and extinguishing their buds in the sink. Seven steps back for Lebanon.
- Some newly paved roads in Metn equipped with freshly painted lanes. Hurray! People drive with the belief that the white lines on the road must line up with their hood ornament. Boo!
- Large and highly diverse crowds of people at Harissa. Good for them! Foreigners required to pay 1000LL to use the toilets. I kid you not!
- Traffic – pretty much the same way I left it back in 2003. It’s beyond me how an 11km journey requires over 90 minutes. Also, the need to be ahead of the person in front of you completely baffles me. For instance, is it necessary to transform a three-lane road into 17 lanes when stuck in gridlock? Or when in bumper-to-bumper traffic, is it really necessary to prevent the car next to you from changing lanes?
- Lebanon is expensive – I have no idea how people live there. I spent the equivalent of what I would spend in Dubai over 45 days in the two weeks I was in Beirut. And that’s without the late night clubbing and over-priced drinks (with a 3 month old baby you’re entertainment choices are quite limited).
And despite all that – I can’t wait till I’m back there again.