Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blogging Marathon Chapter 1



Visual acuity is not a must while driving in Lebanon. Even by night.

At least according to hubby who’s definitely far away from a 20/20 with his Keratoconus (curious minds, redirect here) and a reference on bad eyesight.

Indeed, most of the times, bad vision can come in handy:

Drivers in Lebanon, if you wish to keep your sanity, turn a blind eye. Or eyes. You know what, don’t even look at all. Close your eyes if you must!

Drastic? I beg to differ considering the amount of stress-induced illnesses you’re bound to develop should keep your eyes on the road! I will dare to venture in the serious world of probabilities and assert that statistically, the risks of developing a heart condition and die due to the insanity you see on the roads are way higher than those of crashing and dying while driving with your eyes closed.

It seems the government and I see eye to eye (pun intended) on this matter: ONLY IN LEBANON, is it absolutely not necessary to maintain proper lighting at night on our very well-designed and already extremely safe roads (dear innocent non-Lebanese reader, I’m being sarcastic).

Road lanterns are for decorative purposes all year long; and once every four years, they serve as stands for our delightful politicians to stick their elections campaign posters. Various artists of the oh-so-very-entertaining entertainment industry do benefit from the space in between elections, true.

Considering his driving conditions, it is understandable hubby developed back and neck pains. No, his car is fine. The seat is very comfortable. It’s just that his head is out the window 90% of the times, cursing at other drivers, so does it really matter everything in the car is up to international standards of safety and comfort?

DICO PERSO : The Lebanese Way

What lacks any standard whatsoever however, are the driving skills of apparently everyone on the road!

And very quickly, even the most law-abiding visitors promptly acquire the survival skills of “Lebanese driving ways”, hubby included (he’s such a great driver abroad; he just goes mad when we’re back home)!

This unique style is based on the Lebanese “truth” that being smart means getting away with as much illegal activities (what others would call “crimes”) as possible.

Breaking the law is basically OK as long as you don’t get caught. Once you get caught, people will mock and scorn you, as they should you might say. Yes, except that they will not sneer at your law-breaking endeavors; instead they will ridicule your lack of what they’d call street-smartness.

Bottom line: Be smart and show off your intelligence by breaking the law without getting caught.

By the way, following laws will also get you ridiculed and labeled as stupid because if you choose to abide by the rules it simply means you’re too dumb to find a way around them (!)

And this logic applies on the road.
Never-mind safety.
Drive like a crazy rally pilot on crack and you’ll be crowned King of the Wheel.

“This is how we drive here”

Hubby is from Elissar, a small town in Metn which is basically made of a collection of little towns connected by internal twisted mountain streets, and with a large main road cutting through the whole area. Every time we decide to visit his parents, we end up fighting on the way.

No people, don’t be quick to judge. We don’t fight because I don’t enjoy spending time with my in-laws; far from it. They’re a wonderful and very kind family.

We fight simply because I can’t seem to get used to the Metn driving style.

In theory, the main road is designed in such a way as to safely and comfortably fit two lanes, one in each direction (i.e. up and down the mountain). The road is not a straight line, obviously, and somehow, drivers find it OK to overtake each other even if they can’t properly see the cars coming the other way. Moreover, drivers find it OK to overtake each other even if another car is already overtaking the car in front of them!

Get it?

Allow me to demonstrate:
(People with actual Adobe skills, please forgive me!)

It’s OK and very natural for two cars to overtake the same car, at once:
  • Car 1 is on its track
  • While Car 2 is overtaking it
  • And suddenly Car 3 decides to overtake both of them at once because waiting a few seconds is just not an option
  • In other words, three lanes of cars going in one direction, and no space at all for Car 4 coming the other way

It’s a wonder we don’t see a hundred accidents on the roads every day!

Hubby has been driving up and down this road for about 17 years so he knows it by heart. Believe me when I say that’s an understatement; he could literally go through it with his eyes closed. He knows every single turn, every single bump and every single hole!
(This goes to show how well maintained our infrastructures are)

So when I go nuts every time cars around us do crazy stuff, hubby just answers with his favorite motto: “this is how we drive here”.

Tune in for Blogging Marathon Chapter 2 tomorrow

Finally, a review of my fav’ categories ;)

& Don’t forget to check the visual posts ;)

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