Did you ever sit on your balcony doing nothing but listening… listening to the sounds of the streets… enjoying the noise… embracing the chaos… and becoming one with the city…
If you listen carefully… you can actually hear all kinds of sounds on the streets of Lebanon… from the chatter of the birds that have nested in a nearby tree… to the sounds of the innocent little children… to the rowdiness of our proud teenagers just stepping out of the network shop… arguing about who let who be killed in the last game of counter strike… and then entering an endless debate about which high school is better or how the approach to girls is to be made… and then the sound of a cigarette sent flying over to the curve before it utters its last breath. After a while a group of girls pass by and you get to hear what’s on sale, or who badmouthed whom, and how that girl definitely had her nose done.
If you sit long enough, the sounds of the annoying motorcycles, the loud music played in the cars, the car alarms, and the occasional ambulances become your background theme music. And you will find it refreshing when an old lady passing by your building stops underneath your balcony to have a chat with your neighbor, and they start a typical cute play of invitations and polite rejections, even though the two etiquette loving women know it is not ok to visit someone at lunch time.
Walk down the streets and you’ll hear a compliment or two… the proud steps of our high heeled women… a bunch of old men sitting in a coffee shop discussing politics and the recent news updates … the laughter of a group of guys and girls drinking nargileh… a man passing by in the street selling something on his cart and shouting out his promotions … pass by a school at noon and you’ll hear the recess bell and the sound of hundreds of kids flocking into the playground… two blocks away, there’s an Ethiopian housemaid on the balcony shouting down to her passing by friend.
And if you’re really lucky, and it happens to be a Sunday, you will probably get to hear the church bells, along with the prayers from the nearby mosque.