Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Shawan

“Trekking syndrome”

Note:  This is the edited version with further details of the previous post “Promised Paradise way on Nahr Ibrahim (Lebanon)”

My body is aching from yesterday horrendous adventure. In the last three weeks, my nephew has been trekking sections of Nahr Ibrahim (Abraham River, in the district of Byblos) in company of the wonderful and non complaining dog Misha.  Last Friday, my nephew blundered in my earshot that he is going trekking on Saturday.  I invited myself to be part of the trekking party.  My nephew didn’t respond: he was hoping that I am jesting most probably.  The next day I got my tiny backpack ready for the adventure; my nephew was pretty much lukewarm confronted with this readiness on my part; he might have serious reservations (you might read my post on trekking in Sad Shabrouh for preliminary reasons.)

Obviously, I am wearing my swimming trunk: It is a matter of trekking by a river bed but my nephew warned me that we will have to “wade” in sections of the river.  In my mind, wading means being submerged to the waist at best; I didn’t take into account reasonable factors such as slipping or falling into deep holes.

We left around 12:30 pm and quickly the mobiles brought news of a jammed highway which means most of the members will be late a couple of hours to the meeting place.  The Armenians in Lebanon were demonstrating/“celebrating” the holocaust they suffered by the Turks around 1915 and on.  William, Hanan, Misha, and I parked on the road of Nahr Ibrahim and ventured to the river shores. William, Hanan, and Misha decided to push forward in the jungle; I opted to dip my feet in the cool water.  Half an hour later a group of five showed up; among them Clown Me Sabine and her Mexican assistant Gabie.  I told Gabie: “Ahora, me lise Jorge Amado, el Brazilian de Bahia”:  I am currently reading the French version of “Navigation de cabotage” (navigating along the coastal ports of seas or rivers.)

The new comers promptly clowned lizards on the river rocks for 20 minutes; then, feeling degraded by lizard behavior they raised their adventurous spirit by one notch: They started to move from one rock to another very cautiously.  The mobiles brought news that the larger body of the trekking party is heading toward destination; the lonely small village of Shwan in the bottom of the river valley.  Thus, William, Hanan, Misha showed up and we got on the move.  We met two men carrying towels where we parked: they are to simply descend a few stairs, reach the river, take a swim and leave.

The party was of around 20 members in 5 cars.  We parked in the lowest valley village I know.  It was a road to damnation fit for barely one car but you had to backtrack for miles to let the opposite cars pass you by.  To my surprise, we were not to head straight to the river but along a long detour of 45 minutes walk: This is called “trekking syndrome” to first base.

We reached a section on the river to cross; it is about only ten meters; it is not a roaring Amazon by any stretch of the imagination. Big George hopped leisurely to the other side; he is wearing just a swimming trunk and a tiny backpack.  I was encouraged to be among the first strong hearted members of the trekking party, as is usually the case.  I tied my old pair of khaki sneaker around my neck and raised my jeans to the knees; that should do the trick. The first few steps got me face down; I am all wet and thus nothing mattered anymore.  I hurried my “wading” exercise and fell down several times before I reached destination.  I am bruised, physically and emotionally.

The few cigarettes I had in my shirt pocket are ruined; I decided to remove the cigarettes from the wet box to dry out the cigarettes; I gently picked one cigarette from the box; the filter part easily separated from the body of the cigarette; it was the same case for the other cigarettes one by one; I had the pleasure of a discovery: the process of manufacturing local made cigarettes is basically gluing the filter part to the finished cigarette.

I undressed completely save my swimming trunk.  A few members were aligning a tree trunk to permit female members crossing the river safely.  Someone said to wait for my nephew since usually he brings a rope for that purpose. I cursed my hastiness only to realize that my nephew wanted to make this adventure a Seal or Marine exercise: you have got to feel the pain!

George was in the middle of the river playing the school or scout guard in case of emergencies.  Suddenly, George exclaimed “I feel cold.” George remedy to warming up was to run like Tarzan to the promised paradise. It goes without saying that I was the first to follow George.  I was not running at all: my wet sneakers weighted 20 pounds.  Then, I saw George hiding behind a bush up a mount like Tarzan; I was climbing to rejoin him when he pre-empted me: “Don’t climb. I lost my way” Now George climbed a high rock in the river watching for any arriving company.  I ended “wading” my way by the river side to paradise land.. I am glad to report that “bodily navigation of cabotage” by river side made much sense to me.  A few members of the party advanced me using a secret path to a meeting location.  I said: “Better not stop. Let us move on to the Promised Land.”  Karim said: We have reached destination!”  That was a major letdown.  Apparently, the goal was to reach a puny and sickly waterfall.

George hopped behind the Nahr Ibrahim “Water fall”, climbed a rock and sat like Buddha.  I lacked the energy to remove my sneaker and Jean (weighting 50 pounds), then climb a slippery stupid rock and emulate Buddha.  I was the first to vacate Nahr Ibrahim Paradise and got lost on my way back; I got entangled by lichen and other sorts of nasty prickly branches.  I am back to “wading” by the river side. I realized that both my sneakers’ soles are floating free; held miserable by the tip of the shoes.  I was no longer fooling myself: a military helicopter should land and take me home.

I reached first “base” wetter than a disgruntled cat. One of soles had vanished in the river. I didn’t wait and immediately re-crossed the Rubicon wading using my favorite technique known around the world as “Adonis49 super efficient wading technique” to be emulated by Marines and Seals.  I reached second base and harangued the dozen members who smartly refused to cross the ridiculous ten-meter wide section to get going and follow the leader: I wanted to locate a sunny spot to dry my clothes.  A smart girl reminded me that the sun is no longer in vigor and barely could warm an ant.  Nothing could assassinate my plan: I have got to be first back to the parked car. On second base there was a dying bonfire left by two dozens of foreign youths we met previously.  A plastic bottle was still sending fumes; someone said: “You are burning toxic materials”.  Oh, I forgot to mention that most members of the party are lovers of ecology and of the strictest kinds; many are by far more vegetarians than cows.

I lost my way again and waited for a member to show me the correct secret path. My nephew picked up the second sole and volunteered to relieve me of my weightless backpack: any pound less is a great boost to my morale. The last 100 yards to destination was the most voluptuous and rewarding trip stretch ever.

When we arrived home my nephew placed my sole-less sneakers on my room threshold along with one sole.  I asked him: “Why did you do that?”  I thought that I left my useless sneakers where we were parked as a warning to trekkers in the village of Shwan to cancel their project.  Devilish William refused to leave any material evidences that might discourage trekkers in those damned vicinities.  I made the last effort to visit my sister just to tell her “I think it is a miracle that I am back”.  My sleeping sister could not but chuckle and interject: “You are supposed to know better than anyone what a trekking project means to William.”  This trekking was a well planned project to inflict most pains and humiliation but I turned out to be a leader on my way back; and second to leaders most of the adventure.


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October 2020
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