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Beirut: Part Two

You can’t but help compare a city with all the others you have experienced and though Beirut (interesting as it was) falls very far down on the list of places I would like to live, it has a number of qualities I far prefer to my own city of Edmonton.

U-turn madness in Lebanon

I have many times rued the incompetence of drivers in the River City and a few days in Beirut convinces me they may have the best drivers in the world (before this I would have said Bangkok (or perhaps the ex-KGB appearing Warsaw cab drivers)).

In Beirut, lines on the road are mere suggestions and every time there are two lanes marked there are at least three lanes of cars. They jockey in and out like schools of fish, each giving way more than in my city and yet each pushy. (In Bangkok they behaved the same except they stayed in the lines.) Driving down a one lane back alley is done at great speed but since everyone gets it, it works. The roads are for cars and the drivers actually use their wits as opposed to the numb nuts in my city.

The following is from India but quite similar….

And once you have been there even as a passenger, at least for me, it affected my driving. At least, and this is one thing I really liked about that city, the rules were less self evident. For instance, a few of us were visiting the ruins at Byblo and when we came back out through the gate, a couple of us ended up on the wrong path and found we were on the back side of the entry gate. Two feet from the ticket taker table was a hut with a concrete roof. On the roof two men were working with a sledge hammer and a jack hammer to demolish it. Were it here, we would have been asked to go back and around for reasons of safety. Here we were just ushered through.

Contrast that with my recent walk down a river valley path where some city idiot had placed two signs warning of ice and water on the path. It was the sort of path (in the valley, gravel, amidst trees and creek) that it would have been odd if that was not the case. The only person the sign would help would be a blind person, and it wouldn’t have helped much because it was not in braille. It was a sign by and for idiots.

Beirut was such a welcome change from that.

I even enjoyed the fact that I (a non-smoker) had to have a smoking room (the only kind of room there was). Open the window (yes, they even allow that in hotel rooms) and in no time, fresh air. I take that over our antiseptic intolerant and increasingly petty society we are hell bent on building here.

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