Accidentally walked in the Beirut Marathon yesterday. A wonderful, festive occasion, that drew 28,000 registered participants! Wow. First and second place in both the long race and the 10 K were taken by Ethiopians (who had travelled here for the event). Among the other ~27,998 were Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and a few cabinet ministers, as well as the ambassadors of the UK, Denmark and Belgium.
Many roads were closed in Beirut for the event. I had tried to go to Meeting up in Broumana, in the hills above Beirut, and had managed this first leg of getting a taxi part way across town to the appropriate bus stop, but after waiting an hour for the bus I gave up. I crossed the street and boarded a bus that normally woud have taken me back to our neighborhood, but yesterday could travel only about half the way. Disembarking at the end of the line I found myself right on the marathon route. In fact my route and theirs was virtually the same; I walked alongside groups of runners and walkers for 45 minutes, passing water sations manned by groups of volunteers, a Scout marching band and other live music along the way. Fun!
Heard of but not seen: a 1 km "Run with Mom" race for toddlers, athletes with disabilities, and veteran runners from many countries.
Yay Beirut--how civilized.
A corruption index recently came out ranking Lebanon at 127 out of 180 countries. Could be worse. The ranking makes it more corrupt than Egypt (98th) and Saudi (50th). Iraq comes in at 175th. The index measures the scale of bribery among offiicials.
Middle school student leaving a classroom: "Goodbye Miss", "Au revoir madame"
- In an email from a hiking group: "Remember to retard your watches by one hour on Saturday"
- On a T-shirt: We are Replay
- And in the hair salon: four ladies ahead of me. I don't mind waiting but am witness to their being blow dried, teased, curled and fluffed, only to be smashed down quite violently moments later as the ladies pulled on tight, elasticized head wraps topped with colorful scarves. A fascinating ritual.