What do we do over dinner in Beirut? We share our latest tarantula pictures! What? You don’t do things like that? What's wrong with you?
The switch between summer and fall always brings about an enormous amount of tarantulas in Beirut and surroundings. Well, enormous may be a bit of an overstatement, but they do pop up quite a bit.
I always thought tarantulas were supposed to live in rainforests or in arid deserts regions, but they thrive quite well in Beirut city as well. And in fall they come out in force. Someone told me it means that the rains are coming soon.
And they are scary. Big and hairy and creepily slow. And I mean big! As big as the palm of your hand and a bit beyond that too. There’s this urban legend that after a nuclear war, the only organisms surviving would be cockroaches. Why does it have to be roaches? Why not spiders?
I’ve had them in my mountain house, friends have had them in their apartments in Beirut, (sitting and waiting on towels in the bathroom, for example), I see them (lying belly-up) on the street while walking to work in the morning and I’ve had them crawling around on the carpet at work. It takes some time figuring out what is moving about on a beige carpet until you're practically on top of it with your nose. If only I could have recorded that scream! Once I saw one crossing the street near AUB, and for a moment I thought it was a toad, that’s how big it was!
So grossed out I am with these critters, that I have this sinister habit of having to look at them. I am not the only one. My Beirut friends and I share our findings on FB, always resulting in a plethora of comments.
And so yesterday, over dinner, out came the smart phones and the latest discoveries were shared. And then came the stories . . . .