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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

    Thursday, January 11, 2007  
    - don’t haggle with a Hajj

    Bought a state of the art ‘’brick game’’ (Tetris knockoff) from a street vendor in Beirut this afternoon for all of 3000 Lebanese Lira.
    Even then I tried to haggle, after all the only ‘’overheads’’ he has are the sky, clouds and the sun, but the vendor cut me short with ‘’I’m a Hajj’’ (i.e. he’s not going to rip me off).
    Everything’s Not A Dollar* (just down the road from ‘’Everything’s A Rip-off, around the corner from Everything’s Crap and across the road from Everything’s A Dollar…NOT! ) in Jounieh sells them for 2500 Lira but I was quite happy to pay a 500 Lira Hajj premium at Honest Hajj’s.
    I also bought two books while I was in Beirut – one was fiction presented as fact (The Beirut Spring** –a coffee table book about the so-called Cedar Revolution) and the other was fact presented as fiction (Upton Sinclair’s brilliant but disturbing novel The Jungle, incidentally also for 2500 Lira – pity the nation where el cheapo knockoff electronic games are the same price as literary classics).
    Although a century and a continent apart, these two books have a lot in common – The Beirut Spring is about the movement that canonized and mythologized Rafic Hariri and The Jungle is closer to the reality of life for workers in Lebanon under the Hariri Dynasty (1992-Forever).

    *The name has been changed to protect the guilty - the last place you’ll’ find stuff for a dollar is at so-called dollar shops
    **A souvenir from Lebanon for my brother Guy and his lovely fiancée Jenn who are getting married in Kuching Malaysia next week.

    8:00 pm

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