Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mtein

Part 5. “On the wild trails of Mount Lebanon”: To Hrajel: (Mar. 8, 2010)

          The next target town for Pierre Bared is Hrajel; the path is visible; a rare case.  He follows an irrigation canal for one kilometer; he arrives at a fork: the right path should lead to Hrajel but he prefers to investigate the left path toward the mountain; an army helicopter is over him.  Hills succeeded to hills for four hours but the objective is not behind any of them and Pierre is losing hope; he starts thinking about his three children for comfort. The water bottle is empty.  He is in the real “jurd” high altitude arid lands; then he reaches a plain with hunting bullet casings scattered all over.

          Pierre observes a giant cross on a mountain and walks toward it in 20 minutes.  He can see Hrajel from this top.  On descending the mountain he meets people drinking the national drink “arak” on a terrace; they appear to be next generation cultivators because their hands are not badly calloused: Syrian helpers work the land.  They invite Pierre to join and they roast a giant piece of meat for him and prepare him a cup of arak.  First thing first, Pierre needs to have water badly.  The “keskoun” (to your health) fuses from every corner of the table.

          Pierre resumes his walk and meets an artisan linking to the main electrical cable (system D) for energy-consuming tasks.  Pierre crosses the Faraya highway and heads toward the town of Fakra.  Two harsh hours of ascent before descending to the small town of Bekaatet Kenaan; he had to ask for directions several times.  Pierre sits in the shadow of a church; he tries to revive a dying bird.  The trail leads to a dry river bed that he takes.

Pierre  has to climb many rocks in the river bed and bypass carcasses of trucks, cars, and mounds of detritus. An hour later, Pierre realizes there is no path on the left bank; he tries the right bank for half an hour and retraces his steps. He had to try creating a path through heavily densed thorny plants. At this crucial moment his cellular rings; a certain Chamoun arriving from the USA wants to join Pierre for the remaining section of his trip. Chamoun got wind of the adventure from the guide-book association; they decided to meet in the town of Falougha in a couple of days.

          Pierre is thinking that if any harms occur to him in this location then no one will find him.  Within 45 minutes he is in front of a newly renovated convent.  Pierre traverses the convent land and comes face to face with a Syrian worker cutting trees for coal for the convent.  The next village is Wadi El Karm with red tiles, arcades, and no cement for home construction.  Pierre sit amid adolescent boys by a shop.  One of them throws his soda can on the street.  Pierre resumes his trip to Baskinta.

          He heads toward a convent hoping for night facility; a monk is having dinner outside with two women; the monk adamantly refuses Pierre to sleeping over. On his way, an older woman sells Pierre a bag of chips and an orange juice; then the woman owner arrives and gives him a plate of tabouli for free. Lebanon is the country of contrast; you walk a couple of miles and customs change. Two women are having their evening walk; one is wearing jeans and the other a veil.

          Pierre stops for a hamburger and soda and then spends the night on the terrace of a vacant building.  On the 14th day, Mtein is the target town.  Pierre passes chicken farm.  A grape-vine is climbing three floors of a building to the roof.  Welcoming gestures are deteriorating: we are far away from friendly north mountain chain with ancestral traditions.

          Quitting the asphalt road of Baskinta Pierre is confronted with a stone fabric; Syrian workers sleep in open air.  A 65 years old woman is filling a 20 liters gallon from a tiny spring; Pierre carries the gallon to her car: the new VIP owner of the nearby villa diverted the water pipe to his unoccupied residence.  Within 30 minutes he arrives at Bteghrine.  At noon, Pierre takes a pause and a guy borrows a cigarette; the discussion reverts quickly to politics: the political figure of the region has bought the allegiance everyone.

          The next town is Mrouj; an hour walk.  Pierre eats “lahem bi ajeen” and yogurt on the terrace of a bakery; he recharges his cellular.  Around 2 pm, Pierre locates a relatively clean place in the forest to have an hour nap.  On the way, a woman is cutting parsley; she halted him a moment and emerges with a sandwich for Pierre.

          From Mtein Pierre arrives at Mchikla; two young men are having lunch and smoking narguileh under a nut-tree; they invite Pierre “tfadal”; Pierre asks directions to Bzebdine.




June 2023

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