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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Monday, November 08, 2004  
    Today I conquered the mountain.
    I didn’t climb it like Hilary but walked down it – I walked down to Jounieh.
    It took me an hour.
    Not exactly Mount Everest but the symbolism and significance of my “feat” is important to me - I’d always considered Mount Harisa as some sort of Alcatraz Island, i.e. inescapable on foot, and had demarcated the Manazar Restaurant (about ten minutes walk down the mountain – as far as I go on my walks) as the end of the On Foot World.
    Today I went beyond.
    Here’s the blow-by-blow breakdown.
    -Half an hour to get to the petrol station.
    -Forty-five minutes to get to the manouchie place in Ghadir.
    -Fifty minutes to get to the pharmacy in Ghadir.
    -And the final leg of the marathon – through the city streets to the finish line at Fahed Supermarket (just like the Sydney to Melbourne Marathon ends at the Westifeld shopping centre).
    I’d always though that it would take longer, two hours at least, but it didn’t, so there you go.
    When you walk in the mountains you feel like a giant and the trees are your stilts.
    I caught a taxi back home (there’s no way I’m ever going to walk up the mountain).
    The taxi driver tried on the usual "by God it’s far'' and the money’s not enough routine when we got here.
    My reply to that old chestnut used to be something like “it’s still the same distance away as it was five minutes ago when I told you where I was going and we both agreed on a price – it’s still where it’s always been and where it always will be, they haven’t moved it further away in the past five minutes just to rip you off”, but I didn’t say all that this time but tried something I’ve been using to great effect recently – namely “It’s a matter of principle (I’ve always used that but here comes the clincher…), are we not men? Did we not agree on something? Should we not abide by what we agreed on like men?”
    I haven’t used that one that often yet but the times that I have used it it’s worked perfectly – the killer application for Arab taxi drivers, appeal to their honour as men.
    I recommend it to everyone, except to women.
    Despite what the taxi driver thinks, Mount Harisa is a little bit smaller tonight.

    7:30 pm

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