World Cup Madness in Beirut

The referee blew the last whistle of the 2014 World Cup and the crowd at the pub on Mar Mikhael street went wild as the German team took the trophy.

As I walked out of the pub, I looked down the street and saw that a few fans had taken to the street honking their cars and waving the German flag while a bunch of other guys were lighting some fireworks in the middle of the road. I told my friend “I’m glad I don’t live in this neighborhood.”

I get on my friend’s bike so he could drop me off at my car and as we ride off we discuss how the street isn’t as crowded as we expected it to be, which lead us to want to check out the other neighborhoods.

We rode past Uruguay street and saw the pubs were definitely a lot more crowded than those at Mar Mikhael and some people were starting to take to the streets with their flags; we continued towards Hamra street only to find ourselves in the midst of what seemed like a parade. Crowds of people were standing along both sides of the road taking pics and recording the convoys of German fans passing through.  For as far as my eyes could see, the entire street was filled with German flags of all sizes, people honking and whistling, guys with derbakke, guys with tabels, ladies zalghetting, and a poor sole cop at an intersection trying to organize the chaos. On one side, the road was blocked and people were dancing dabke, on another side were guys on mobilets with their derbakes and tabels, on the other side was a street lined with cars filled with people sticking out of the window, the sunroof, and even standing on the cars waving their flags.  Fireworks were going on like it was the 4th of July.

As I watched this scene quite dumbstruck, my friend and I were cussing out our battery-dead-smartphones. I really wanted to take pictures and videos of what I was seeing because no matter how much I describe the scenes we saw, my friends abroad would think I’m exaggerating.

We rode down to the sea side, the Raouche and Ain Mreisseh area, and this must be where my jaw hit ground. The amount of people there, all of the hazards, it was just too much to absorb. We managed to whiz by through the majority of traffic, and the military were there trying to control the traffic by dividing them but I’m not sure how long they managed for.

It was here when I remembered something a Lebanese guy told me when he first moved to Kuwait about the Kuwaitis on National & Liberation Day; he mocked them saying how they only take to the streets and parade because they are a frustrated population.  The Kuwaitis take to the street on their National Day and Liberation Day waving their own flag; if that makes them a frustrated population, what would that make the Lebanese population who took to the streets until the wee hours last night waving German flags?

 

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