Beirut – the people

The very first impression you get when you go anywhere I believe is the people, it’s probably the thing you’re most nervous about. Let’s admit that we’re all human and we all go into any situation with pre-judgments. Whether we actually keep those judgments when going into situations and dealing with people is what differentiates a judgmental person from a non-judgmental person, but to deny having pre-judgments in the first place is absolute BS. I did not really have much in mind except that the Lebanese would probably be flirty and have unusual accents. Also, I thought that they would appear nice and friendly because of their accent but not necessarily genuinely be nice. First day in, I just fell in love. Those people are simply amazing! I have no clue what it’s about, is it because they’ve went through such tough situations what with the war and all the religious and political issues, I have no clue. But absolutely nothing bothers them. As infamous as they are for their driving, it’s fascinating to see just how chilled out people are despite the fact that they are all driving in ways that are considered completely lunatic in any universe. They’d literally be overtaking each other with only a few centimeters from crashing but they’d be smiling at each other and I even saw someone sending a kiss through the air to another guy for letting him pass. I can’t imagine what I’d hear had this happened in Amman, road rage. Something that happened that I just can’t get over is something that happened just outside of AUB. Our Careem ride had arrived and right in front of us a lady had blocked the road with her car and had gotten out to say hello to some friends she ran into whom she obviously hadn’t seen in such a long time. Now obviously, you could get annoyed as hell because of this and want to murder her, which would probably be the case in many places, but what happened was an absolute comical joy to see. Our driver just got his head out the window and said ‘ba3dein bitbawsu o btitsallamu madaamme” (which means you can say hi to each other later) and then the two security guards at the gate were desperately trying to find out which lady out of the entire posse was actually the driver of the car. It was absolutely hilarious. “Madaameee madame meen feekun il shufeiraa?” and the funniest of all was just how little the entire group of women cared, they actually took their sweet time with their greetings and when they saw it was appropriate for them to finish, they broke up and all left. The lady in front of us just apologized with a cutesy smile and all was alright. The thing is, people there are genuinely nice and it’s not about them not having a care in the world, a lot of them have very tough lives but I guess it’s just the way they deal with it all, makes you think, nothing is worth being upset over. Helps you learn a thing or two.

It’s really funny as well, not only can you feel niceness but generosity. You might find this example stupid but if you do shisha, you’ll understand. Let’s say you order argeeleh at any place in Amman and you don’t like it, or you’ve been smoking for a while and your argeeleh is somewhat burnt. Would it be changed? Lol in your wildest dreams maybe, except if you’re paying for another one. In Beirut, the waiters take such good care of your argeeleh that you believe it has a better life than you. The waiters would literally come and keep checking on it every once in a while without you having to ask, they’d change the bowl thingie once every half hour or so (for free) and it’s mandatory. I literally had a waiter almost getting upset with me for insisting that it was fine and that he didn’t need to change it, he went away and came back 5 minutes later and just changed it while telling me he couldn’t handle it anymore it had to be changed. One waiter just smack came and took away my entire argeeleh and replaced it with another. Absolutely insane. So for a start off, what do you think? Is my excitement and love for them justifiable?


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