We all travel. We all cross path with different types of people at the airport. Its a nice thing to witness diversity at its best especially in a small closed space such as the airport, specifically the waiting area of the gate.
My last travel, outbound as well as inbound, waiting for the boarding time surrounded with fellow Lebanese citizens, made me cringe to the point that I was grateful to be leaving all 10452km2 behind and dread the comeback by glimpsing what is awaiting me.
Leaving behind civilization, I stumble with a heavy heart to the waiting area of the MEA flight bound to Beirut. Always one of the first to get to the gate, I find a seat and mind my business reading a book while waiting time to pass by. For those who travel often or have lived abroad, reading a book while waiting the bus, the train or anything really, is a very common behavior. However, as always I cannot not be tempted in looking around, and as always the typical characters pop, further emphasizing the traits of the Lebanese fellowman (that are so dear to my heart!).
Here are few of the typical Lebanese traveler:
- The chatter: He is always on the phone talking loudly to, I’m assuming, a bored listener waiting for his arrival at the other end of the line. The conversation always starts with “Hey man, ana bel mattar natter el tiyara. Eh bi London, elet be7kik shway. Chu bro…..” . I am not exaggerating many times I have faced this PoloXTodsXHermesBelt wearing ‘jagal’ at the gate. I have no clue what he is trying to prove as he is departing towards a city where clone-like men await him.
- The casual nonchalant: She takes the casual airport outfit too seriously. Instead of throwing a sweatpants and some nikes, she strolls into the waiting area wearing her VS leggings with matching top, sunglasses headband(ed) on her head, a LV carry-on, naturally made up and a pout of boredom that goes with it.
- The rebellious teen: she has been living abroad all her life and is traveling for summer vacations. One look and you know that she is thrilled to be heading back home to meet those annoying and loud relatives. To further stress her stand against the travel arrangements and create shock effect, she has dyed her hair a pinkish/violet shade and has electric blue nail polish on her bitten nails. A must accessory that goes with her ; the iPod!
- The family returning home from vacay: first glimpse and u know that their vacation was a success. The father is still wearing his shorts, fanny pack and sandals (that in my opinion should have been banned a long time ago). The mother is chatting with her friend (another couple is always tagged along these outings) still in shock of yesterday’s cheap dinner at a high end restaurant. The children are asking over and over again when are the gates to be open and if they can sit by the window (not aware of the shotgun concept yet!).
- The loner: You always have this type sitting by himself minding his business, playing with his phone, plugged to his ears, intently scrutinizing his surrounding. Assuming he is a student, returning for summer vacation. I wish everyone on board were as simple and calm as this person.
- The social: This is my nightmarish type of traveller. He enters the waiting area all smiles and eager to board the plane. He does not sit and his fidgeting would give anyone a major headache. He reminds me of a kid unsure if he should ask the teacher to go to the bathroom or wait recess. To make things worse, this is the type that ends up chatting me up. What a delight especially when I hear the broken english words coming out of his mouth. One sharp cold answer to his question leads him to ask the hostess when the doors will open while I unconsciously pray I won’t be having to bare him in the seat next to me.
You gotta give it to the Lebanese to be unique in their traveling gear. If you do not believe, then I politely suggest you fucking take a plane and witness it all with your own set of eyes.
ps: I do not want to go further into detail of the chaos that ensues in the airplane before and after take off. That’s an altogether issue by itself.