The Modern Magic Lamp

post 88/365



While Aladdin had to go through a booby-trapped magic cave to get his oil lamp that would grant him his wishes, in Lebanon a simple phone call would have done. I really mean it, name it and you’ve got it. Everything in Lebanon, absolutely everything is only a phone call away. There is no need to sweet talk a genie, a simple “allo, please biddeh itlob delivery” (please I would like to order a delivery) would do.

No matter the time of day, the day of the week, you are bound to find someone that will grant you your heart’s demands. It is truly an incredible phenomenon. The streets of Beirut are crammed with men on their scooters holding a huge sort of backpack trying to get to their 15 mins max target delivery. The range of what you can order to the comfort of your own home would sound surreal to anyone living in any other country. From a whole Lebanese mezza, to a proper set up dinner on your dinner table complete with proper cutlery and serving plates, medicine, a minimal order like a Man’oushe and Laban a3yran, ice cream, arghile (shisha), a pack of cigarettes, coffee, fruits and vegetables, ice, alcohol, even the butcher will send you your own meat done to your liking.

Having lived abroad for 10 years, where the mere fact of forgetting to buy something would traumatize me for days, I can’t but say that nothing brings me more pleasure then this. In a country where stress is part of our daily routine, this manages to bring us a certain pleasure only understandable to those who live here.

This Sunday night as we put the kids to sleep, we realized that we didn’t pass by our local DVD store (another Lebanese phenomenon). Not to worry, I told my husband. “allo, Nabil net, please bide…” to which I got a short reply “yalla madame, ribi3 si3a wo bikoun 3indek” (in 15 mins he will be at yours). As I hung up the phone I couldn’t but stand up straight, put my hand on my head, in a military style stance and sing “koulouna lil watan” (our national anthem).  It’s moment like these where I truly livelovelebanon!

It is with utter joy and pride that I narrate my delivery stories to my friends. This doesn’t only extend to things and food, no, no… plumbers, hairdressers, manicurist, someone that comes to your home to take your blood test so you don’t have to wait at the hospital for your turn, car mechanic… Really challenge me!

Wait for the cherry on top… you can even ask the delivery guy from another shop if he could pass by on his way let’s say and bring you something that can’t be delivered to your own home. That’s what we call here “a3sfourein bi hajar” (2 birds with a stone).

God bless Lebanon, land of the delivery!


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