A man from Batroun named Josef drives me up to Al Arz today.
Josef offers me a cigarette and I politely accept. Then while speeding along sharp uphill bends, he reaches out to the back seat to dig out a packet of cigarettes from a carton and insists I take it. Later, he suddenly stops by the side of the road, steps out of the car to pick a perfect red apple from a tree for me, and I eat it as quickly as possible because I remember my friend telling me that his grandpa commented about how long I take to politely eat a peach! I dig in my bag for a ziploc bag to keep the apple core and Josef exclaims, “No, in Lebanon, just throw”, while gesturing to the open window. Later he stops again to pick a “white apple” (golden apple) for me.
Overtaking on roads here is like playing chicken. I’ve gotten used to not having a heart attack. But now imagine speeding around a sharp bend uphill close to the edge of a cliff, while overtaking a large truck. The amazing thing is, with the view and the wind in your face, you don’t care. Plus, as mad as people drive here, you know you’re in safe hands.
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