Saturday, July 25, 2009

The streets of Beirut

In the streets of Beirut, lives unfold real-life before your eyes.
In the streets of Beirut, political parties ask for attention with billboards covering entire buildings. Flags express the prominance of the Lebanese Forces or Hezbollah in Christian or Muslim areas.
In the streets of Beirut, images of muslim saints or Islamic leaders, statues of Hail Mary and images of Jezus Christ remind the habitants of the religion in their neighborhood on every corner.
The streets of Beirut are always under construction, repairing damage sustained during one of the many wars or blocking traffic for months or years to create a new road or intersection.
In the streets of Beirut, cars, scooters and pedestrians compete for their part of the road in the chaotic traffic haphazardly directed by traffic-lights and police officers, emitting dark clouds of exhaust that cover the city in a grey mist.
In the streets of Beirut, taxi-drivers are always looking for passengers, honking at every pedestrian they see.
In the streets of Beirut, street peddlers sell food, drinks and all kinds of things. Kids and youngsters are walking along the cars in traffic jams under the sun offering chewing gum, goldfish or sunscreens for behind the windshields of SUV's trying to squeeze through the crowded streets. Kaak (a kind of bread), coffee and fruit sellers push their carts and announce their presence with their voice or by hitting two pieces of metal against each other.
In the streets of Beirut, old men play backgammon in front of coffee-shops and grocery-store owners doze off at their door waiting for customers. Kebab, falafel and menoushi-shops attract crowds of customers during lunchtime and anywhere between 8 and 2 at night, quickly filling scores of thin breads with vegetables and meat or fried chick-peas, or baking fresh bread with thyme/lemon spread.
In the streets of Beirut, minarets of the mosques play the call for prayer five times a day, filling the Islamic neighborhoods with sacred singing.
In the streets of Beirut, those who can't or don't want to drink beer in the fancy bars and clubs gather on the corner, sitting on scooters, streetcurbs and fences, smoking arguile, playing music and chatting.
The streets of Beirut are filled with loud explosions and flashes of light, especially at night in residential areas, where kids and youth entertain themselves with all kinds of fireworks.
In the streets of Beirut, soldiers sit on plastic chairs or armored vehicles keeping a watchful eye with their rifle resting on their lap.
The streets of Beirut are always alive, with noise, smells and sights that excite or tire ears and eyes.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Chloe said...

This is really beautiful, Bram!


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