Adapter (Electricity Plug) costs 140 USD !!

So I am trying to type this rather quickly. Because the adapter of my Macbook Pro is dead and the battery only has a couple of hours left on it.

I went to a shop in Hamra (because I can walk there) yesterday and asked how much does the adapter cost for the Mac. Two guys were inside the shop. One of them has such a dry face. If I can pay him to smile I would have done that, except I wouldn’t have. The other younger one was trying to be friendly. But laziness and dullness is pretty contagious I think. I asked if he would like to see the laptop or the adapter, to know exactly what I need. Dullface said, “laptop”. friendly said, “Adapter.” But apparently dull is the boss. He ordered friendly to show him the laptop again, not the adapter. I took out the laptop and friednly wanted to take it closer to Dull, who quickly announced: 15-inch. Ok. (My laptop is 17-inch. Just FYI)

He said the adapter will cost 160,000 Lebanese Pounds, which is a little more than 100 USD. I didn’t like the price because I had been at the shop few weeks earlier and they sold me something at a very high price (way higher than apple store in the US). So I weighed my options and said okay. When can I collect it?

He checked his system and said, in a week’s time. I figured I can borrow the adapter from Bayan when I can to charge my laptop and enjoy a week without much online time. I asked if he is sure of the price. He said let me check it and came back with a slightly more expensive one, “140 Dollars.” What?? I usually don’t say much while buying stuff, but this time I told him, “Wait. Don’t order it”.

140 Dollars for an adapter didn’t sound very right to my ears. I went home and checked the price of the piece on Apple store. This is it: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC556LL/B and its price is 80$ with free shipping. This is for consumers not for dealers.

So for this piece of, ahem, artistry to sell at 140$ in Beirut means one of two things: Either the seller is a thief, or our state is a thief. Of course it could be the most likely option that they are both thieves. Earlier this week my brother came home from his middle school with a paper saying his tuition fees for this year (the one about to end) have increased one thousand dollars(!!) Our government increases the prices of things, adds salaries of some employees in the public domain, and leaves its people to suffer. Our government, I am pissed at our government -in case that is not clear yet- still discusses the same issues the government of 1992 used to discuss in its weekly meetings: public debt, electricity problems, high prices, inflation, communication problems, etc…

And today after we returned from our small village in Bekaa, my sister Bayan said that the people have blocked the international Beirut-Damascus road which leads there to express their anger at the rising fuel prices. The people are missing the point. This is our only breathe outside, allow us at least 0’people to take it in a place where we may actually find some real air.

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Lebanese Kids on a Plane

I am not sure what is the problem exactly with Lebanese kids, but I won’t complain much. Mainly because there is a problem with Lebanese adults which nobody can explain.

So I boarded this plane from Beirut to Frankfurt. It is not the first time I fly from Beirut to Europe, but it is the first time things get this bad with kids on the plane. First of all, I was in the middle of a nursery. To my right hand, one seat away, was baby Noah (4.5 months old). In the row in front of me, there were two kids, Salim & Mahmoud (around 7 & 9 years old). Diagonally across from me, one row behind, was a rowdy 3 year old girl. Those who know me a little bit, know how much I love discipline. Not children. But I will take disciplined children anytime.

Noah is a good boy. He played for the biggest time of the journey. He listened to his father reading him a story. He watched the pictures and colors on the story with wide open curious eyes. I was very glad to sit next to a young family like that which started reading to the child at such an early age.

In front of me, however, tension was starting to rise between Salim and Mahmoud. The tension soon developed and transformed to a hand fight. I wasn’t bothered very much because I mostly only had to see flying hands and feet. But when a third kid (a girl) appeared out of nowhere and joined the fight, the hands and feet started kicking the back of the seat in front of me and thus my laptop was getting free bumps. I looked at the father of the kids, he was sitting diagonally across on the row in front of me. And there is no way in hell he didn’t know what was going on at the seat next to him. He was awake and calm. I kept looking at him hoping he would do something about the kids fight. After few minutes, few more hits to my laptop, and now with hair being pulled and necks bent, I took it that I will have to talk to the children myself. I was also starting to worry about the plane falling down because of the kids actions (Ok, maybe not). I looked at them from between the seats and in a very serious tone said, “Hey, stop it. Stop hitting the back of the seat.” The kids were surprised by a stranger asking them to shut it. They stopped for few seconds. Laughed. Then started running in the aisles of the plane. I KID thee not.

These kids were just another inspiration and reminder for me of how civilized and great the Lebanese people are. This family (clearly residing in Germany) is surely an excellent way to make the Europeans view us in a very positive image. At one point later, the hostess had to come yell at the children herself, and still the father didn’t bother saying anything. Maaleish, I thought to myself. You cannot blame the kids if their parents are like this. Little Noah, on the other hand, will never be running in the aisle of a plane. I know that. Not because kids don’t do it. They do. I’ve seen blond kids do it. But their parents were civilized enough to know what is decent and what isn’t. And for Noah, they are teaching it to him before he even starts to teeth.

..he pulled out a weapon and fired..

Just like that. On the main road. In Quraytem. In the afternoon. From the window of his car. I saw a gun slowly get out of the window. I knew it was going to shoot. I prayed for Allah not to make me see someone fall to the ground with a gunshot. And I hoped we won’t get killed with a stray bullet. I probably wished he didn’t fire. But he did.

I have to start this story from the beginning. Fact is, I was expressing my happiness out loud yesterday about me being outside the country on April 13th, the anniversary of the Civil War. I simply would rather not be around to witness people celebrate the end of a war that pretty much still lives inside many hearts and bodies. But things didn’t go as simply as I wanted them to.

Today, I left LAU at 3 o’clock and headed to Jiddo’s house for a family lunch. Since Teta passed away in November, these gatherings at her house became less frequent and often planned, rather than spontaneous. And they terribly lack her presence, which I know Jiddo feels. I stole a look at his face today and saw tears in his eyes. So I took a chance and asked how is he doing. He smiled. Our gathering at his/her house makes him happy. But it also makes him miss her badly. Just like we miss our lovers when we are happy and want them to be there to share it, and to enjoy it to the maximum. He misses her.

We had a good meal and then I was offered a ride by my aunt. So I gratefully took it. The ride from Raouche to Labban is no more than 5 minutes by car. You go up towards the Saudi Embassy then to Quraytem, near the Hariri Palace, and then take a left down to Labban. That’s it. But today’s ride suddenly became very long because of this guy who fired a gun from the car in front of us.

There was this Porsche Cayanne driving really slowly ahead. We were all starting to beg the driver to move it. My aunt was almost pushing his car with the front bumper of the GMC she drives. I noticed the Porsche had license plates with four numbers only. Someone with lots of money. Someone who likes to show off and let people know they have lots of money. We almost gave up. I told my aunt this man has the right to drive however he want. “He’s driving a Cayanne!” But I didn’t know he also had the right to do other things.

The Porsche drove past the Hariri Palace. It slowed down even more. And suddenly from the driver’s window, a pistol came out. It wasn’t steady first, it was shaky, as if searching for a prey. Then it steadied and BANG. What spans a couple of lines here almost ended my life in that car. I have never seen anybody shooting a pistol in real life. Not as far as I remember. I’ve seen men in our family shoot hunting guns. But those are for hunting animals, not killing people. The sight of a real pistol sticking out the window of a car in the middle of Beirut, in Qoraytem particularly (supposedly a heavily protected area), was shattering. I don’t want to see people killing each other. I hate whatever motive that makes any human being pull out a gun at any creature. I simply can’t live with it. Yet, here is a guy pulling out a weapon and firing it right in front of everybody on the street.

The gunshot was almost unheard. The target was a pigeon, that escaped. The driver is insane. I am still alive at the time of typing this. But that was really scary. And the worse part? No one did anything when that gun was out searching for a prey. Life froze.