A little summary of everything N.O.B. learned and understood in LEBANON, after almost two months of intense living around there.
Religious differences are still present and impactful: city areas, schools, marriages are still divided and categorised because of that.
There is no public transportation. However, no one is left waiting. Communal taxes and vans are easily accessible. This easiness is definitely something Western Countries should learn from…
There is a whole lot of foreigners.
Lebanese people generally speak at least three languages: Arabic, French and English.
The food is quite addictive, even though we do not hear anything about it in good old Italy.
They love cats and dogs. Deeply. More on that, the dogs that you meet on the street are very calm and well behaved.
7. The majority of Lebanese people lives abroad. The new generations study abroad as well, if they can afford it, with the goal of coming back and helping their families. The majority of them, however, won’t come back.
8. In the last years the Government decided to “welcome” a lot of refugees from Syria without acknowledging them. They are given the humbles and worstly paid jobs (Does this story ring a bell?) and have no rights whatsoever: they can get fired at any given time, have no holidays nor retirement funds nor health insurance.
9. The country is fairly small but you can find everything you could wish for: sea, hills, mountains and a lot of history.
10. There is a profound respect for clients. It’s not because of an imposition but because Lebanese people are extremely humble and feel that way.
11. Lebanese people absolutely adore Barcelona.
12. Whether you travel alone or not, be ready to fall in love at every corner. Lebanon is the first place where N.O.B. lived where men are more beautiful than women.
13. Welcome to the Middle East. Alcohol is forbidden… well not really. There is a very bad relationship with alcoholic beverages and it’s something they still have to work on.
14. The majority of the Lebanese women who can afford it, even the young ones, undergo plastic surgery. Most men work abroad and those women need to get married to one of the remaining ones.
15. Medium-size cars do not exist. It’s a society based on how people and things look like, a car park like never before if you will. Walking is something foreign and they do not know how to react to people walking long distances.
16. If you go to grab a bite somewhere, you’ll probably end up getting a free sample of another delicacy.
17. People smile and wave, when they see you.
18. Welcoming Syrian refugees created a whole new wave of silent yet unimaginable racism.
19. The majority of those beautiful houses built while Lebanon was a French colony are now being taken down in order to create space for anonymous skyscrapers.
20. Socialising is extremely easy in Lebanon. It’s also considered normal, you know?
21. Lebanese people think they drive like Italians. N.O.B. tried to tell them that they’re way more creative. No one would eat and talk on the phone at the same time, while driving a motorbike, in Italy.
22. The Government’s corruption is a true issue, there. (Again: ring a bell?)
23. Italians usually do not chose Lebanon as a touristy spot and, according to N.O.B., they’re missing out .
24. There is high energy in Lebanon and people get the impression that good things can happen to them and that they can reach their goals.
25. For at least three hours a day there is a power cut. Internet is, well, as slow as you can imagine.
26. Redheads are quite rare and Lebanese people simply adore them.
27. Music is everywhere and it’s quite loud, almost as people were trying to cover the noises of the past.
28. Many people do not really understand the importance of that small document called passport. For Lebanese people it’s difficult to get a visa to exit their country and they have a validity that should be taken into account as well.
29. People from Lebanon and from Syria are extremely clever. Their brain moves so fast that N.O.B. was left speechless more than once.
30. At 2:00 AM you can meet children selling flowers or cigarettes on the street.
31. Lebanese people dream about Europe and they believe it to be a paradise full of smiling, nice, altruistic and caring people.
32. Every single person N.O.B. met there (men, women, gay, straight, young, old) wants to go back because it’s a country full of generous smiling people.
Again, it’s just a short summary and there is so much more that should be written. It’s just the start: N.O.B. would have exploded if she did not have written those first words down.
Oh, before we forget: technology tends to fry or melt, when in Lebanon. Do not forget it and, please, be careful.
If you want to learn more about positive energy and incredible things happening just in Lebanon, take a look at this article.