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Friday, September 24, 2010

Driving in Lebanon

In continuing a trend the original author of the blog is trying to set, I shall manifest other differences between Sweden and Lebanon...
This is a guest post by my good friend Tarek from "Letting Loose: The Lebanese Edition". Plenty more awesome posts where this came from, check it out here
Hey guys! Fadi's slacking off and has asked me to honor his blog with my pearls of wisdom, so here goes! (oh and if you like head over to mine for more wisdom!)


In continuing a trend the original author of the blog is trying to set, I shall manifest other differences between Sweden and Lebanon (other than the fact that we still have no Ikea)!

Take for example the following fact. Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, because life there is just too perfect people get bored and decide to hang themselves. Lebanon will soon have a really high suicide rate of Lebanese commuters attempting to get to/from work and home, etc and to whom the trip to make money or rest at home is more of a life-or-death adventure.

Lebanon has a traffic problem, would be the understatement of the year. Traffic, like many aspects in the country, is simply in a state of organized chaos. You could either die because you've been stuck in traffic for so long that your brain decided to shut down, because you were going so fast that you broke the sound barrier and your ears popped, or because whilst driving on what seems as a flat highway, you collapse into those pot-holes-turned-new-wonder-of-the-world-valley that formed as a result of rain/municipal negligence.

Also there are the assholes on the road. And I am not one of them. Although I have taken arms in my crusade to teach the Lebanese, driver by driver, the laws of driving.

Exhibit 1: I'm driving on a road (so to speak). The driver next to me, like all most of the Lebanese, has no notion of what those white dashes on the asphalt are. I decide to teach him/her by squeezing really tightly to their left and pushing them into their right lane.

I do this on almost a daily basis.

Exhibit 2: I'm at a traffic light.. I see the opposite one turning red while a lunatic is not slowing down... My light turns green and I hit the pedal to the metal and bash his left back door! :) I'm happy, he's not... Hopefully he learnt his lesson to stop at the red light... (and hopefully no one from my insurance company is reading this).

Exhibit 3: You get held up in traffic at a road fork or a two way road with no separator... The line of cars is long... (The Lebanese don't like to stand in lines, but not all cars can drive over the pavement). An SOB, mostly ALWAYS on the phone, will cut from the left side of the road fork or go against traffic on the left side, and try and get to the beginning of the jam. Yours truly, seeing what's happening in the side mirror, will tilt my car slightly to the left, obstructing his/her path and moving slowly with traffic.

Pissed someone off? Most def. Taught them a lesson? I hope so. Gotten a lot some satisfaction out of causing an asshole to get red and thus making me a little bit of an asshole, ABSOLUTELY!

I know, I know... You're thanking me for being such a good civic person whose sole purpose in life is road safety... You're welcome.

Thing is, no matter what I do, I ALWAYS get so pissed off, especially when I'm going to work in the morning when the idiots out there haven't had any sugar or caffeine to slighltly elevate their IQ by a couple of notches... Which is why I realized why Light FM is such a hit in Lebanon. People NEED the soothing-slow-mind-numbingly-boring-I-can-sleep-to-this-music. Imagine going to work surrounded by the devolves listening to the Offspring's Bad Habit (which best describes me!) More people will die.

And the reasons why it's such a mess are the same reasons why our beloved author immigrated to a different continent:

  • Lack of awareness (on so many levels) on how to drive and what the laws are
  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of giving a **** by the higher forces
  • Lack of proper planning
  • The zealous Lebanese snob factor, which even if we had state of the art public transportation (which we don't), would still lead the Lebanese to have cars at a ratio of 1:2 Lebanese. 

Yes, Lebanon has aprox. two million cars whilst its population is around four million. And let me emphasize that around 50% of the Lebanese are <18 and many 20,30,40,50 somethings have followed suit of Fadi and left the country, meaning that almost every adult in the country has a car. And of course we hate the Smart and Peugeot 207... We have to have an H2 and the Q7 and X5s and X6s. Small cars just won't do...

For those who don't know me, my blog's name is letting loose... I think I did a lot of that here! But I thought you Swedes would like some excitement!


September 24, 2010 at 9:04 AM Fadi

I'd just like to point out that "Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates in the world" is actually a MYTH. It's not true. But don't let that ruin the article for you :)


September 24, 2010 at 9:13 AM Chantal Akkary

Nice post....Keep up the good job :)

September 24, 2010 at 12:18 PM Pascal Assaf

Enjoyed the read

September 25, 2010 at 12:34 AM Liliane

Was about to point out the fact that sweden has the highest suicide rate is wrong, once in the past 3 decades, and this changes every year, bass el libneneh mabsouta fiya lal khabriyeh kermel yi2na3 7alo inno being a good civilized country is not good for you

and the author of this post should learn to be more patient, la2anno i was like him w shebo sha3rat rasseh w ekhir shi ma 3allamet 7adan shi, I suggest that he keeps doing what he does (except actually doing an accident on purpose :P) and ENJOY while pissing other people off :D that's what i learned to do, he should ride with me once, its fun

September 25, 2010 at 10:49 AM Lara

Love the collaboration guys! and the post! even though now i'm more reluctant to drive around Tarek!
But i agree people here won't learn, it's in their blood! yet i love when i stop at a red traffic light and the people behind me start honking that i should cross it but in all cases they get stuck behind me! it brings me more satisfaction! Do they stop the next time? of course not!
Keep em coming! Cheers,

September 25, 2010 at 12:03 PM Fadi

Liliane everyone should ride with you at least once in their life :)
As for the Swedish suicide rate myth, I agree, it was probably designed to keep the gullible idiots away (or in Lebanon at least) :P sorry Tarek

Oh and Tarek, remind me never to let you drive me anywhere.

September 27, 2010 at 7:20 PM gingerbeirut

So right about the snob factor. Keep it up, you have a lot of work to do ;-)

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