Chapter 42 – Let He Who Is Most Intoxicated Cast the First Stone
On my first night in Lebanon, I began the evening by going out to a CouchSurfing event at a bar in the Gemmayze district of the capital that I’d been invited to by a British dude named Azhar who I’d met at the hostel earlier in the day. Due to conflicting plans which involved the possibility of him getting pussy, Azhar said he didn’t know if he’d personally be at said event but guaranteed there’d be people drinking, socializing and watching some “football” match I could give less of a shit about. Although the third facet of the proposed night on the town did nothing to get my dick hard, the first two had been enough to sufficiently tickle my fancy which is exactly why I ended up attending said event.
After doing several sets of every-other-daily push-ups that I foolishly expected to keep my severely self-abused body in shape while traveling, I walked over to this bar whose name I can’t recall due to the aggressive consumption that commenced upon my arrival. Drinking about three beers to everyone else’s one, I got hammered in no time while migrating around the bar from group to group of unfamiliar faces, talking out my ass and feeling very little love and appreciation from all who I encountered. About an hour before last call, however, that all changed when I met three thirty-something-year-old Egyptian dudes who’d been smoking cigs out in the street right in front of the bar that invited me to come sit with them once back on the inside.
After talking over a few drinks, the lights came on and the flow of liquor tapered before eventually coming to a complete halt. Like everyone else, I vacated the bar but unlike most patrons who opted to call it a night, I hopped into a rental car with the three Egyptians and went along to continue the sloppy drunkfest at an undetermined late night venue.
How we found it, I’m not exactly sure, but the locale of choice turned out to be some sort of Arabic karaoke bar which by all means had been more conservative than the anything-goes Chinese KTV’s I’d experienced where wealthy businessmen don’t allow you to be without a microphone, a beer, a cigarette or a xiaojie for the entirety of your time partying with them. I don’t remember much from the time spent at this establishment but what I do recall of it is aggressively dancing bang-my-crotch-on-random-chicks, Night at the Roxbury style and being looked upon with disgust when I took the stage, put the microphone down by my dick and started masturbating it at everyone in the crowd.
Sensing a bit of hostility towards their little white buddy, the Egyptians felt it was time to blow that pop stand and took me along to finish ourselves off in a part of the city known as Hamra where we drank a couple rounds of blue-ass mixed drinks until the place closed around four in the a.m.
Even though they had a flight to catch in a few hours, the Egyptians had all intention of making sure I got back to my hostel safe and sound. The only problem was that, aside from knowing it was somewhere in Gemmayze, both they and I had no idea where the place was located.
“Yo man,” I mumbled, “don’t fuckin’ miss your flight because of me. Just let me off here, man. I’ll find my way back.”
“I don’t know, Tim. You’re pretty fucked up and you don’t know the language. You sure you’ll be able to find it?”
“Yeah dude, don’t worry about me. I know what I’m doin’.”
After exchanging emails and saying goodbye to the guys I endearingly referred to throughout the evening as “Egyptian terrorist fags,” I eventually stepped out the car onto a street I didn’t recognize in a Middle Eastern city I barely knew anything about. As is my usual go-to move while wasted during the wee hours, I began wandering aimlessly through the bullet hole ravaged corridors of the Lebanese capital.
Following a brief staggering session, some shitty-ass generic looking Jeep pulled up next to me on the side of whatever street I’d been on. In the auto had been a pair of shady-looking Arab dudes in their thirties – one behind the wheel and the other in the backseat. From the open windows, both of them had been steadily waving me over while speaking to me in their native tongue. In spite of the fact that one of the first lessons my parents had ever taught me was to never get into a car with strangers, I hopped right into the passenger seat of the sketch-mobile and looked over at the driver.
“Ho-tool?” he said. “Ho-tool?”
“Hotel?” I asked to make sure I’d been hearing him right.
“Ho-tool,” he repeated in agreement.
“Saifi Urban Gardens.”
He didn’t understand what I said.
“My hotel is called Saifi Urban Gardens.”
He still didn’t catch it.
To overcome the language barrier, I pulled out the hostel’s business card the guy at the front desk had given me at check-in which conveniently had the address of the place written out in Arabic. The guy looked at it for a second, showed it to his silent partner in the backseat and muttered something in towelhead talk before nodding his head at me.
“Okay,” he scoffed then lit up a cig and shifted his ride into gear. “Saifi. Okay.”
After our initial exchange, the guy turned up the Middle Eastern music on the radio and puffed his butt in silence. A few minutes into the ride, the dude who sat in the back reached forward and stuck a warm, half-empty energy drink in my face.
“Got any booze in it?” I asked while grabbing it from him.
He shrugged at the inquiry and I gave his drink a sniff. Much to my dismay, the potentially buzz-prolonging elixir turned out to be completely boozeless and I sent back his way, unsipped.
Aside from a few casual phrases imparted between Arabs Number 1 & 2 as they seemingly drove around in a great big circle, for the following two hours we sat and said nothing while the radio continued to blare belly-dancing music at a level of volume growing more and more intolerable for my increasing sobriety. During this time, I took notice that on the side of certain highways there’d been porta-potty-sized roadside police stands every mile or so where uniformed officers with AKs in hand had been posted up, watching traffic go by.
Sometime around six, as the sun’s rays had already begun to peek out over the horizon, shedding shame-inducing light into my bloodshot eyes, I decided I’d had enough of the charade and demanded that the motherfucker at the wheel let me out his piece of shit car that very instant. Assuming they wouldn’t understand my words alone, I ensured the message got across by compounding it with angry hand gestures and a nasty-ass mean-mug to let ‘em know I meant business.
Heeding my request, the car skidded to a stop on the side of a highway whereupon I got out, slammed the door and started walking in the direction the car had been driving. As I made my way along the side of the road, I vaguely recognized my surroundings to be the same I’d seen during the taxi ride I’d taken the day before to the hostel from the airport. I knew I was reasonably close to my bed but still wasn’t exactly sure where to go. That said, finding my way back hadn’t been my number one priority at the moment.
Slowly creeping along next to me the way they had when they picked me up, these not-so-helpful gents began demanding money for their services. In return, I threw up the double middle finger and suggested that they go fuck themselves. Not taking too kindly to my response, the free-lance time-wasters sped off down the highway where they attempted to discreetly pull their vehicle behind some traffic sign on the side of the road. They then got out of the car and I think that they were hoping I wouldn’t have seen them pull over where they did so they could jump me, but I’m not a hundred percent sure of what their intentions may have been.
So, even though I’d been aware of their presence up ahead, I wasn’t wise enough to just walk away in the opposite direction. Instead, I picked up a baseball sized rock, cautiously approached their planned point of ambush and made it known that I could see exactly where they stood. After their hiding spot had been blown, in typical Middle Eastern fashion, without even knowing exactly why we’re fighting, we proceeded to start chucking rocks and cussing each other out in our respective languages on the side of this Lebanese expressway.
Figuring I wasn’t gonna get past those assholes without getting bludgeoned, I retreated in the opposite direction with a just-in-case rock in hand as my two adversaries not-so-aggressively followed after me and continued to toss stones in my general direction. Call it a pussy move, but as I shuffled away from the battle I came across one of the aforementioned roadside police units and decided to try and recruit them onto my team.
Although the officers initially appeared to think I’d been coming at them as I staggered up with said rock in hand and a psychotic, sleep-deprived drunken look on my face, I quickly made it clear that assaulting them wasn’t my intention and that the fucksticks down the road had been trying to treat me like a Pakistani woman who ignores her family’s marriage arrangements and instead elopes for love. To investigate the matter, one of the officers started walking towards the enemy with his AK ready for action which, without a word, had been enough to end the dispute and send the men on their way.
After thanking the officers with a heartfelt series of shukran’s, I wandered off the expressway, saw a few landmarks I recognized and made it back to the hostel around quarter to seven whereupon I sent out a hastily written email to the Egyptians letting them know what happened to me after we’d parted ways. Even though it felt good to finally be back and safe in bed, at eight o’clock I was due to get picked up to go visit the ruins of Baalbek on a non-refundable tour that I’d already paid eighty dollars for. With all intention of getting up and getting my money’s worth, I set the alarm on my iPod for forty minutes later, passed out, rolled over on top of the iPod so I couldn’t hear it going off and didn’t wake up until sometime in the late afternoon.
A couple emails from the Egyptians I got in response to the story:
“Dear Stupid American Homo,
2) Sorry for ditching you, we thought we were close to where you were staying.
Obviously we should have accounted for the fact that ur an American retard who gets
in the car with anyone.
3) Next day morning we bumped into the German dude who was with us that night,
I asked him to try to check up on you.
I still feel bad that shit happened to you.
Will make it up by reading ur shitty book.
Definitely hit us up when ur in Egypt.
Awesome Egyptian George”
And the second one…
“Yo American JackAss,
We actually wanted to know if you were safe home or what happened to you. In the morning we randomly bumped into the German guy from the bar and asked him to check on you.
I was reading this to the guys while we’re on the plane coming back to Egypt and the cabin crew came up to us, asking to lower down our laughter voice. Shit, this IS funny man!!
It was fun hanging with you, you are a crazy motherfucker. And yeah it is extremely stupid to get into a car with two stranger Arabs at 5 am in the morning!!
Anyways, try to stay alive and call when in Egypt.
Andrew the ‘Egyptian terrorist’ (doesn’t match the name though)”