lunes, 13 de diciembre de 2010

Winter in Beirut

Winter finally arrived to Lebanon this weekend. And it literally went from 26 degrees and sunny on Wednesday to 10 degrees and rainy on Sunday. The rain and thunderstorms have been crazy as well (and with the pre-Christmas shoppers out on the weekend, the traffic has been out of this world).

Fun fact: in Arabic, the word for “rain” sounds like the word “shitty”. So when it is “shitty” out, there’s “shitty” in Lebanon !

In English there’s this expression “It’s raining cats and dogs”, which makes me smile. Imagine the visual! But there is some truth to it in Beirut, since in my part of town, I can hear the street cats’ terrified meows every time lighting strikes.

The sewage system in Lebanon isn’t great to begin with, so during rainy times, it’s beautiful to see small rivers form everywhere in the Achrafieh hills, with some pretty ponds forming spontaneously at the bottom of the street. But unfortunately, you won’t see any fish in those; only a couple of floating bottles is you get lucky.

I thought the garbage hadn’t been collected by mistake (or lack of resources) and this was the cause of this hydraulic mess, but my Lebanese friend confirmed that trash was collected only after the first rain, since it will all be gathered on the sewage at the bottom of the hill anyways. Why the double effort? This is a perfect example of Man and Nature working hand in hand (isn’t that just brilliant?).

Since last weekend, the Lebanese ladies have been showing off their winter outfits, stylish as ever, with an elegance equal to any Parisian’s walking down the Champs Elyses. However it is only 10 degrees here, not -5, so the hats and gloves look a bit out of place. Mind you, in Mexico it isn’t any different. The slightest cold front is an excellent excuse to bring out the fur.

After spending 6 years in Boston, I must say that I sort of welcome this slight change of season. After all, it feels weird to do your Christmas shopping wearing a tank top. So I raise my (premature?) mug of hot cocoa to Beirut’s cool weather.

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