UPDATE: The taxi driver isn’t the only one with fond memories of that visit.
Denise Hartman, an American former resident of Beirut, kindly emailed me after reading this to tell me that she met George Hamilton and the late actor Sean Flynn at a record shop in Beirut and that ‘’they were very kind to an awestruck teenager’’.
I didn’t carry an umbrella because it wasn’t raining when I set out and because, during a rainstorm, an umbrella is of little if any use with the rain coming in from all around you – left right and centre and maybe even from above.
It’s also my experience that an umbrella might be of use in the city, where you’re protected from the howling rain by buildings etc, but up in the mountains it’s just not going to cut it.
An umbrella in the mountains? – don’t make me laugh!
Besides, athletes don’t carry umbrellas and racing bikes don’t have brakes.
When I got over the initial horror, it felt quite liberating to be out in the open in the rain and snow without any protection.
Anyway, even getting caught in the rain on this holy mountain is a serendipitous blessing – an impromptu ‘’baptism’’.
Nothing happens entirely by coincidence in this land of miracles and believers.