March 22, 2014

Driving Miss Daisy

School's out (for the week)

Spring has started, like clockwork. The impromptu rains of last week allowed people for three days on the ski slope, and then our winter, slightly belayed, was over again. When I picked up my daughter from school, we took the long route home, and walked along the seaside. I had that holiday feeling, which sometimes suddenly overcomes you, when living in Beirut. This realization that you live in a place that other people visit on their vacation.
Thus unusual trio of walkers caught our attention. Two men in black, one in front and one in the back - complete with shades and the ear piece - accompanied this lady while she went for a walk on the Corniche.

That is of course until you find out that some 25 people died during fighting in Tripoli this week. 25? 25! Wow! When did that happen? That’s what you get when you don’t listen to the news. 25 dead sounds to me like a full scale war out there. I ask the old aunt living in our house whether her friend in Tripoli is noticing this. “She’s not home right now,” is the reply. “She was visiting her parents in the mountains, and couldn’t go back because of snipers in the area.” I guess that’s a good thing. Sort of. It’s gone beyond gunfire however; now they’re shelling each other with mortars.  It’s odd how life goes on as if nothing is going on, some 80 kilometers south of Tripoli.

Time to sit outside in the sun

I had to teach my son today how to get the mecanique done for his car. The mecanique is the annual car quality check, a bit like the Dutch APK.  It requires a visit to the mecanique place, of course. I had done it earlier this month, but on a weekday, and quite early, so there weren’t that many people in the place. They’ve got like 20 assembly lines, so that process goes quite quickly. I had also totally forgotten about the positive discrimination in this place. When I do my mecanique, I enter the line for women. There’s usually only about 4 of them in front of me. Which is like a ratio of 1 : 250 to the men’s line.
But this morning, there were like a 2,000 men; they were lining up halfway down the parking lot. Holy moly!  And my son does not get to stand in the line for the women;  that was going to be a 8 hour job just getting to the front desk getting you number checked. And so we abandoned that plan and drove back home.
Sunset over the AUB beach (Corniche)
‘Driving Miss Daisy, ’ that’s what my son calls it when I get into his car. I object to the G-forces his driving style exerts on my neck, and apparently I inhale too sharply every time he passes too closely by another car. He stops too late, drives too fast, and honks too quickly and too long. At least, that’s what I think. I do hear – somewhere in the background – an echo of my father, when he would sit beside me in the passenger seat. Life comes full circle at one point, I guess.
The Corniche in the evening


Anonymous said...

If his driving resembles his skiing, I would check the insurance policies rapido. Y.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love your posts. Couldn't better put the life in this crazy place in words. More!!!!

Elie Touma said...

I got accustomed to checking your posts each Monday morning. Beautiful photos and lovely comments about Beirut and Lebanon. Keep it up. Thanks for a wonderful experience that you are sharing with us.

Sietske said...

Dear anonymous and Elie Touma,
you guys make my day (and week) ! Thank you so much!

@ Y, his dad takes care of the insurance policies, I do not get involved in that ;)

Becky Gregory said...

The photographs are lovely. Thank you for sharing.
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