The bus from Tripoli to Bcharré rose from sea-level, snaking its way up the winding mountain road. As the altitude increased, snow started to cover the road, and the bus was slipping increasingly sideways at each hairpin turn. The driver took great pleasure turning around to me to declare that he was crazy. “Majnoon”, in Arabic. I took the opinion that I’m sure he didn’t want to die, taking us all with him, and so immersed myself back in my book. (Yup, Fisk.)
I had wanted to come up to Bcharré to hike a little in the Qadisha Valley, famed to be some of the best in Lebanon. The snow put an end to that idea. My back-up plan was to visit the museum of Khalil Gibran — a Lebanese poet — but it was closed. A day instead trudging around in the snow, trying to remind myself that I was, in fact, in Lebanon. Arabic script and snow seemed like an odd mix.
It took me until I got back to Beirut to feel my feet again. I hadn’t planned on snow when packing for the Middle East.