Tag Archives: Lebanese blog
Was it only three months ago that I was suffering from a severe case of Taxiphobia?
You see, the thing is, I’ve been driving myself around South Florida for the past 7 years, and can honestly say that I know it like the back of my hand. From South Beach, to Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines to Brickell, and Dania Beach to Doral – I’ve been there and everywhere…and sometimes, all in the same day.
Before coming to Lebanon, the only time I’ve ever taken a taxi is when I would go to South Beach, park on tenth and hail a cab to take me to 17th, cause I couldn’t be bothered to walk seven blocks in my heels..Two minutes, in a straight line, with a guy who speaks English..not a bid deal.
I get to Lebanon, and LITERALLY from one day to the next, I’m taking 20 minute taxicab rides in a country I know nothing about, with drivers I can barely communicate with, and having to use a currency that I still haven’t figured out yet (math was never my strong point)..So yes, I was flipping out..and for good reason..
My “taxicab stream of consciousness”..
“Why are they taking this way? We didn’t take this way yesterday..Where are we going? Where is he taking me? Should I say something? Is he really going to make this U-turn with 10 oncoming cars coming straight at us? WHAT is he thinking? Why is it taking so long..Are we really passing through Army check points? Is he sleeping? Is he TEXTING? What is he saying on the walkie talkie of his? WHO is Markazieh? I CAN’T believe I thought Trinidad was bad!!”
If nothing else, not having my car has been a valuable lesson in patience and trust, as I quickly realized that I always arrived where I needed to be, safe and sound…So one day I decided,..HALLAS! (which means enough in Arabic)..and made a conscious decision to just LET GO. For those of you who know me, this is no easy task..as I’m easily the most impatient and controlling person I know..
For the first time in seven years, I started to enjoy being driven around, feeling the cool breeze blow through my hair, as I observed life going on around me..Sensing this, it wasn’t long before the drivers started to open up to me about their lives in Lebanon, as it turns out…most of them do speak English.. (side note: I only use a taxi service called Taxi Paris, so I often see the same drivers multiple times in a week)..
Some started to tell me about how they work a second job to be able to pay for their wive’s trips to the salon, while others would tell me how they hope to, one day, afford to get married, and yet others would give me impromptu history lessons on how life has changed since the wars and since the efforts of Rafic Harriri..all this to say, I think I’m cured..and I’m lucky to be learning so much.
- “Want to ride in fast car loud music?” – sent via text
- “You don’t work out like a Lebanese girl” – while on treadmill
- “Wasn’t Miami built on coke?” – in response to hearing that I’m from Miami
Nothing can forgive bad game.
So, after three months in Lebanon I’ve come to the conclusion that there are only two industries in Lebanon:
1. IT/Web Design
I don’t even have to ask people “what they do” anymore, I already know the answer:
“I’m a freelance Graphic Designer.”
“I’m an Art Director”
I can seriously count on one hand the people that I’ve met who work in other fields.
1. A professor of communication at AUB (but he teaches the advertisers and the graphic designers)
2. A banker (but he was probably lying, I met him at the gym)
3. A car importer (he was probably lying too, I also met him at the gym)
oh, and how can I forget
4. the self proclaimed entrepreneur (this just means unemployed)
Yep, that still leaves just two industries…
So, sorry to tell you, but if you aren’t in either of these two fields, and you live in Lebanon, there is no hope for you. Book your ticket to Dubai… NOW.
Good thing I work in one of them.
We decided to opt for something different this weekend..a visit to a local winery called Massaya..
Before getting to the winery, we stopped off at a place famous for their labneh..I had two labneh sandwiches and Turkish coffee, even before we got to the winery – I didn’t realize I had an organic feast waiting for me!
After arriving at the winery, we walked through the grape fields until we came upon a wooden cottage that looked like it belonged somewhere in Kentucky, not in Lebanon! Ahhh! What a breath of fresh air just being there was..The restaurant at Massaya winery is only open on Sundays for lunch, and sits only 50-60 people, we were lucky to have gotten a reservation.
What proceeded was a two and a half hour meal fit for kings: six courses, open wine bar, and an intimate experience with people that I’m lucky to know..