Six Reasons Summer in Lebanon Can Be God-Awful

“Summertime is always the best of what might be,” wrote Charles Bowden, American author and journalist. F. Scott Fitzgerald postulated that life begins “over again with the summer.” And William Shakespeare, in one of his sonnets, attempted to compare woman’s beauty to “a summer’s day.”

Clearly, they’d never experienced summer in Lebanon. Sure, it’s the season of reunions, as relatives and friends pour in from overseas. The air is laced with love, weddings dotting every hour of every day and every week. And nature’s finest fruit – watermelon, cherries, and peaches – offer themselves liberally unto us.

But that’s where the fun and frolic end. Here are six reasons why I can’t stand summers around these Mediterranean parts.



The family pool at one of Byblos' famous beach resorts




The heat. It gets ridiculously hot in Lebanon, from the seashore to the mountainside, in city dwellings to remote village abodes. For more than four months, the air is thick with humidity, and antiperspirant sticks can't fend it off. Just accept that you’ll have disgusting sweat stains around your armpits, and that you’ll need to shower morning and night to fight the filth.


Traffic gridlock. You thought once schools let out for the summer, traffic would ease up. No more buses, no more parents shuttling their kids back and forth to every school-related function. But no. Summers are far worse for traffic, as the influx of tourists and expats creates impossible impasses at all hours of the day. Even in the middle of the night, you’re bound to hit pockets of traffic along major highways connecting north and south Lebanon.


Everything is busy. With the floods of visitors inundating our tiny 10,452 square kilometers of space, every establishment throbs with noisy life. Restaurants are fully booked around the clock. Malls are teeming with folks escaping the heat, friends reuniting over coffee, and customers hunting after ungratifying summer sales. And beach resorts are anything but soothing and tranquil. It’s all about high decibels and jam-packed venues.


Reduced business hours. Banks close an hour or two earlier than usual. Some restaurants slice out lunch from their daily mealtime offering. Even churches eliminate several mass times, as parishioners retreat to the seaside and mountain escapes.


Electricity outages. Why would blackouts vary according to the season? In March, 10 amps of moteur-generated electricity in Jal el Dib ran us LBP 100,000 ($67). Fast forward to June, when our bill multiplied nearly three-fold to a whopping LBP 280,000 ($187). Further, there’s a dearth of water in the summer when supposedly, municipalities sell their precious supplies to beach resorts and leave residents to rely on despicable cisterns.


Wedding season. Possibly the most loathsome of summer fixtures is the wedding. It’s already a scorcher, and your makeup is guaranteed to melt off, but couples inexplicably hustle to lock in summer dates for their weddings – go figure! Wedding venues up their rates in the peak summer season, because why not exploit the high demand? Male guests have to suit up in sweat-conducive tuxes. Female guests have to secure brand new gowns for each soiree because social media would give them away otherwise. And don’t forget the visit to the hair salon and esthetician to get wedding-ready. Should I whisper the words liste de mariage in your ear? If you receive a few wedding invitations in one month, expect to be penniless days after you cash out your paycheck. At least you’ll have an excuse to avoid pricey beach resorts!


What's your beef with summers in Lebanon? Chime in!


Comments

  1. The Heat: It's the humidity along the coast and the Mountain range facing the sea. But there are plenty of Mountain areas beyond that range that offer pleasant conditions throughout the Summer months. Off course, the sun gets stronger the higher the altitude. But in the shade, under a tree, it is quite pleasant in those areas.

    Traffic Gridlock: As anywhere in World in Summer. A weekend excursion to the beaches will be encountered by heavy return traffic. However, nothing like during Winter storms when you can literally sit dead stuck on the spot for hours.

    Everything is Busy: What's wrong with that? There are plenty of quiet of places to choose from to go out to. You make it sound like there is no variety of choice. That's BS.

    Reduced Business Hours: What a Drama!? Compare that to the 21 days most companies close during Summer in Europe.

    Electricity Outages: Yes. That is definitely a cruel issue for 70-75% of the Population considering the war ended over 25 years ago.

    Weddings: Considering that every "large" family in Lebanon have relatives and close friends living abroad, holding an all-inclusive wedding is logically best planned during the Summer. The larger they are the better chances you have of not attending them without it getting noticed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great summary of summer in Lebanon!

    Another thing that’s worth noting is this: The coastline of our “pearl of the middle east” extends some 225 kilometers. What do you think the percentage of that area is available to the public and considered common space? 100%, 50% or <10%?

    Our cronyistic, nepotic politicians have made such a mess of our maritime properties where beachfront encroachments have become the norm and public access the exception.

    https://www.localiban.org/article5553.html

    ReplyDelete

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