January 03, 2013

Austerity


I can see it on the slopes; we’re finally tightening our belts.

Empty slopes

There’s this fable that somewhere in 60’s, the Lebanese government commissioned a group of international economists to study our economy, and to come up with a set of guidelines as how to improve it. The economists – after a number of months of careful study – came up with the following suggestion; ‘we have no idea how this economy works, all we can say is that it works quite well. Our suggestion is to leave it alone.”
And indeed, when the 2009 global recession hit the US full-force, it sort of bypassed Lebanon. We hardly felt a thing. Then when the economy in Europe started to falter, nothing happened here either. At one point in time, I thought it would bypass us all, that we were somehow immune to it.

My son (who wishes to remain anonymous)

But some 6 months ago, somewhere around June I think, things – at last – started to go wrong here as well. I am not an economist, but I get little signals left and right that we are slowly starting to tighten the belts. I start hearing it among friends. They’ve got to be careful with money. The New Years parties were celebrated among friends, not in fancy hotels and clubs.  No trips to Paris or New York over the Christmas holiday, people were celebrating it with family at home. 

Feraya/Wardeh today at 14:00
And I can see it on the ski slopes. Empty. Not a soul in sight (almost). Where in the past we had line-ups of some 60 people or more, there are no lines at all. I can park right at the door, do not need to wait to get my lift ticket, and can do 4 runs in an hour instead of 2.  
Skiing is not a cheap hobby. Once you know how to, and you have your own gear, it only costs you $20 for half a day ($3 for the parking, 17$ for the lift pass).

If not,  you need to drive up (9,000 LBP on gas), park your car (5,000), rent gear (between 15 and 20,000), get a lift ticket (cheapest option is half a weekday at Wardeh orJonction, 25,000 ) and get an instructor at a minimum of $30 an hour. That is another story.

Family
As a result, I have had empty slopes the past few days. I am not complaining. But I think things are going to change in the months to come. Austerity is the word. It has finally caught up with us.

@ visnja; Byblos? No snow there. You’re going to have to wait a while. But I’ll keep it in mind!

1 comment:

forabetterlebanon said...

Even supermarket trollies on the 24th were half empty this year.

Nevertheless, my best wishes for a very happy new year !