Monday, September 14, 2009

Halfhearted Hitchhiking

6 September 2009 - Road to Beiteddine, Chouf Mountains, Lebanon.
Chaz and I decided to leave EcoVillage early Sunday and take a bus to Beiteddine. No bus came so we tried our hands at hitchhiking. [bxA] I felt silly peeling my thumb up slowly out of a lazy fist as the cars swept by, leaving us in a warm windy wake of rejection. It's times like these I miss Alyssa's long blond hair and short tan skirt (though she and I never hitchhiked, for the record.) I'm not sure our thumbs were actually up when a guy in an Audi came to our rescue. Audi Guy had a long career as a banker in the treausry department of a Lebanese bank - said he often provided interbank loans to BofA. He lost his job after Nine Eleven, lamenting that "Bin Laden thought he was hurting America, but ..." and we reflected on all the collateral damage Nine Eleven caused in the Middle East. Audi Guy invited us to see the Cedars and his house in the mountains before dropping us in Beitaddine on his way back to Beirut. Chaz stays on course a lot more diligently than Alyssa and I ever did, so we declined the offer. Audi Guy dropped us 5km away from Beiteddine , where we failed miserably at hitchhiking and finally got a bus about 50 meters from the town.
At one of the churches, we met a French Canadian Lebanese Woman who works in Kurdistan for an oil company (that was in the Houston E&P portfolio) and knows a few Houstonians. She insisted we call her later so she and her friend could drive us back to Beirut. We tried to hitch to Deir al-Qamar, just a few miles from Beiteddine, but ended up in a service taxi . Our poor rejected thumbs! We saw the sights and ate fresh figs from a tree overlooking the valley - Chaz is tall so the figs were plentiful (and sticky).
We were exhausted when we plopped down for an Almaza at a trendy dining spot next to the mosque. From our shady table we could see a pair of travelers on the curbside trying to hitch their way back to Beirut. Meanwhile, I phoned the French Canadian Lebanese Woman and she picked us up in a Land Rover twenty minutes later. That's my kind of hitchhiking.


assie said...

ohh don't you just know if you went along w/ audi guy we would have ended up Romania at an apple farm eating kiwi fruit whilst talking to some randoms then go to the nut shop, the random would buy us nuts, promise to take us to the cedars, then we would end up on the boat, in the v berth at 3am after a visit to the hospital going ... 'what the hell just happenend ??!! we gotta write it all down !!' HAHA