Thursday, June 28, 2007

No 162 km/h but 150 km/h with Audi A8 in Beirut

Crap, am having difficulties to upload the video of me trying to drive 162 km/h in my Audi A8 in east-Beirut (see post below). Anway...it was pretty crowded, so only managed to do 150 km/h. Still, not bad for a busy afternoon in hot Beirut. Inshallah - this video will load today.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

can I comment before you put the video up?
What you're doing is quite awful, and dangerous. We live in a land where people don't follow the rules of law, this is one of the main reasons we remain a third world country. For you to come from Holland and abuse the lack of law is quite despicable. Would you drive in an urban area at that speed there? We have alot of home-grown idiots in this country, we do not need any more of the imported variety.

Harald Doornbos said...

Hello Anonymous, as they always say about a foreign correspondent -you have to adapt a little to the place you live in. And with a polulation of 4 million, one extra idiot really will not make the difference in Lebanon. And last - be happy I only drive fast, instead of flying planes into buildings...
Cheers and take it easy (ya azizi)

Anonymous said...

harald,
I beg to differ, every extra idiot counts,and right now we're drowning in them, so grow up and stop behaving like a teenager who doesn't know the possible consequences of your actions, you're not being "cool" and it doens't make you "interesting" to drive like a maniac, it just makes you, well, yes, another idiot.
What these countless idiots don't think about are the people they take out with them in a car accidents.So keep to the speed limit ya azizi,wether there's someone enforcing it or not.

As for when in Rome do as the Romans, I suggest you just stick to eating tabooleh.

Harald Doornbos said...

Only tabooleh? Aaaah...what about the great fish and meat here? But listen, Arab society is already sooooo damn restrictive with all these thousands of unwritten little, petty social and religious rules, that I don't want to restrict myself even in traffic. Especially since NOBODY else is doing it (Why don't the hadith mention some kind of sentence like: "thou shall not drive like a maniac").
Second - I "drive" almost every day for at least an hour between 1 and 5 km/h (Hamra, Place Sassine ettc). This because some idiot double- or triple parks, some kind of anti-social guy taks for ten minutes to his friend while parking in the middle of the road or because some kind of Hummer-owner wants to wait in the middle of the road for his three meter tall girlfriend (it's the high heels of course). So my actual, average speed in Beirut is, according to dashboard computer, 28 km/h. Not very cool - more like a granny in Holland. So let me have my ten seconds of fun a day. Because, don't worry. The only area where I drive fast is the Mar Michael - Hazmie-highway or the highway to Tripoli.
Last thing: Traffic is for sure a mirror of society. And of course you're in theory right. But I strongly support a military coup in Lebanon. As of that moment I'm ready to listen to rules. But without the military taking over and turning Lebanon forcefully into an Ataturk-style country - I'll be driving mostly extremely slow and very rarely extremely fast. Ciaooo

Anonymous said...

Harald,
You seem to have a little superiority complex, no? Are the "natives" not behaving up to your civilized standards? So sorry!If you don't like it you can always leave ya azizi.Ciaoooooo!

In the meantime, stick to the speed limits so you don't take a few of us out while you're having your midlife crisis and acting like someone half your age.

Harald Doornbos said...

ya, easy, just tell the Westerner he's got a superiority complex and you're done. Booooring but typical. Anyway, this blog is all about reporting from the Middle East; half serious - half humorous and silly. I strongly advice you to stick to the classical bla, bla, bla blogs about the Middle East. I can't help humourless people who take life way to seriously. Live Free or Die Hard.

Anonymous said...

harald,

What's wrong, a little truth hurts?

Live free and die hard as much as you want buddy, as long as you don't take anybody with you.

w. burger said...

Just for the record: I thought there was no official speed limit on the Lebanese highways? That's what I heard and I also don't remember seeing any road signs indicating speed limits last time I visited.

@ Harald: how do you imagine a military coup without plunging the country into another 15-year civil war? Hezbollah is more powerfully armed than the Lebanese army, and then there are those Fatah al-Islam idiots and others... However much I despise the Hezbollah militia and their colleagues, I still think a political solution is needed and is to be preferred over a military coup. Even if a coup would succeed - which it won't in this sectarian country - it would mean that the dream of Lebanon as a free and democratic country would be forever gone. As if there aren't enough dictatorships in the Middle East already.
I agree with you that the Lebanese army should be fortified, but it should be done based on political consensus. Maybe Hezbollah could be persuaded to be absorbed into the regular army, accepting control of the government.

Harald Doornbos said...

To WB: I agree with you that in case of a military coup there is a very large chance the army will split along sectarian lines (in other words - a shi'a soldier will not listen to a sunni officer in case, for instance, a demonstration of shi'a people has to be broken up.)
At the other hand, the way Lebanon is more and more sliding into a Iraq-like-scenario (political stale-mate, bomb attacks, weapons in hands of everybody) is really extremely dangerous.
1. The army is the only institution with credit left among the population.
2. Army could fully control the Lebanese/Syrian border.
3. A temporary military government should allow Hezbollah their weapons and, indeed, force Hezbollah into the Lebanese army and make it very clear to them that provoking Israel is extremely un-patriotic, only serving the agenda of Israel and Iran. In case Hezbollah would fight the Lebanese army, it will be clear with country they really serve.
4. Military government could with immediate effect raise salaries of police, armymen and teachers.
5. Create law and order - not only for the rich.

well, there is much more to a possible military Coup d'Etat in Lebanon. But I strongly believe that - although not very nice in the short run - a military government can save Lebanon in the long run more than a civilian government can. More about this topic later. Cheers, harald

w. burger said...

@ Harald
Well, at least you've given it good consideration, I can see that.
I'm glad to see that you're also taking into account the economic aspects of the current rift in Lebanese society. I am convinced that, aside geopolitics, poverty and corruption is what is fuelling the current deadlock and strife.

I'm looking forward to your piece about a possible coup d'├ętat. Perhaps in that article you can also take two into account two more questions: would a coup be able to put an end to the "Syrial killings"; and are there candidates, i.e. any high-ranking army commanders who would be capable of a coup d'├ętat (including gathering international support for it)?