Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2nd, 2010

Part one: “On the wild trails of Mount Lebanon”; (Mar. 2, 2010)

            Pierre Bared walked alone for 22 days on the wild paths of Mount Lebanon crossing it from the upper northern town of Kobayat to the southern town of Marje3youn; he was following the guide book “Le sentier de la montagne Libanaise” that was no help most of the time; actually, the only time that this guide was of help was when he recognized a scenery or a ruin that was shown in the guide and knew that he recovered his direction.  Mostly, when no one was around to ask for direction he had to backtrack and retrace his ways several times after climbing and descending precipices for useless hours. 

            The hardest part of the trip were the monstrous blisters that plagued his feet: Bared must have forgotten to carry with him the appropriate medicines for blisters; worst, he didn’t realize that he should get some training with his boots before undertaking this arduous walk.  Bared liked to taking short smoking breaks after hours of feeling lost to recover his will to resuming the trip. 

            You think Lebanon is a very tiny country until you try to discover its wild mountain region where people are a century behind in their life style: no electricity, no running water, eating from what the land produce, and what the goats deliver in milk. People tell you all kinds of myths; for example, a young man reproduced a story of a small village that was evacuated by its inhabitants because the sky rained stones on the ground that a church and a mosque were built side by side. Many villages were emptied during the civil war when the confession was different from the neighboring villages for fear of reprisals.

            Pierre Bared didn’t offer much of his identity; the photo shows a middle aged man, tall, svelte, with graying beard.  He has three children whose memory extends comforting relaxation during difficult moments when he decides to slide on his behind for rough inclines with no one on sight. Bared feeds on powder milk and cocoa on the trail; he eats solid food when reaching villages or when invited by mostly hospitable families.  His backpack weight 15 kilos; he had to let go of his heavy tent five days later because he realized that he was not using it: in tiny Lebanon you always find a village even in the wildest of regions in a day walk.

            Pierre started the trip at 8:30 am, Friday of June 6, 2008.  Friends drove him to Kebayat. The next town was Akkar Atika (Old Akkar) covering a large area around the plateau of Kamou3a. Then you reach the village of Zabboud surrounded by heavy fogs; a lady of 50 of age invites Pierre for a cup of tea.  He bunked in an unfinished house but the howling winds disrupted his sleep. The next morning, he eats cherries directly from trees; a shepherd fills his empty water bottle.  Pierre washes his face and clothes in a spring.  He discovered a coffee place amid the nowhere and recharged his cellular.  A couple of Lebanese living in Sweden comes in to eat.  Pierre eats many dishes and is surprised that the tab is only $4.

            The destination for his second night is Michmich according to the guide.  People he met had no idea that Michmich exists.  He stumbled on the village of Fnaydek and Pierre declined the nice gesture to be given a lift on a “mobylette” (a bicycle with a tiny motor).  Two men approach him and play the game of security person of the village and asks him questions and then demand his ID; in response, Pierre ask them for their ID (most probably men in these remote villages have no peaces of identifications) and the men laugh it out and leave him in peace.  He sleeps in the municipality house of three rooms and enjoys his first hot shower.

            The next day, Pirre descends a valley for 45 minutes and join a family having breakfast of labneh, eggs, and baking bread on the “tannour”.  Two brothers work in Beirut and return to their village on week ends; they wake at 4 am on Monday to go to work; the third brother is in the army: There are no families in the Akkar district that have no members in the army.  Women refuse to have their photos taken.  The mother prepares a bag of food (zouadeh) for Pierre to eat on his journey.

            Pierre avoids asphalt roads but there are villages that cannot be reached unless you take formal roads. (To be continued)




March 2010

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