A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

signs of difference

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 16, 2008

This sign made me laugh when I noticed it last weekend:

The Middle East, or at least the Jordan-Syria-Lebanon parts of it that I know best, would not survive without horn honking.

Honks are used to communicate all kinds of messages, from “I’m coming up on your left” to “this taxi is free”, from “I’ll slow down so you can cross” to “I’d like to order a coffee”, and from “you and you are triple-parked in front of me and I’d like to leave” to “I’m heading through this blind one-way intersection the wrong way”. These aren’t angry honks – they’re conversational.

Its much quieter in our new neighborhood than it was in Beirut, but there’s much less communication on the streets. And the only honks we hear are angry ones, from drivers impatient at having to wait behind a taxi or truck.

Patience, in Lebanon and the US, is a virtue. Impatient drivers deserve the $350 fine 🙂 .


2 Responses to “signs of difference”

  1. Hi Diamond!

    If they give $350 fines in Beirut for honking, there will be a revolution! In my days, some horns were customized to sound like a cow or a cavalry trumpet…or a Ford T euh euh

  2. Loool Kheireddine – a revolution, or at least enough revenues to fund a new power plant.

    Too funny about the customized horns! I’m surprised the trend hasn’t continued – after all, so many people (in Lebanon and elsewhere) put great thought into choosing a ringtone for their mobiles. I would think there might be a market for car horn options – but maybe car horns are standardized for legal/safety reasons.

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