Vans in Lebanon are a very popular and common mean of public transportation that almost each one of us has at least tried it once. Before making the decision of getting in a van, you kind of live with a dilemma and ask yourself endless questions: Cab VS Van? Fastness over comfort? Comfort over fastness? Money over comfort? Comfort over Money? Thus, if you’re the type who would prefer the van instead, below is a list of 5 things you can’t help avoiding in a Lebanese van.
#1. Being pressed like olives and grapes
Let’s face it! Lebanese vans are the greatest crowd-pullers, so if you choose it, you sure didn’t imagine being seated like a boss. Did you?
Lebanese vans drivers tend to unexpectedly break at any moment, any place, and at any speed to pick up a passenger from the street.
If this happens to you, don’t ever tell the driver Weyn baddo ye2’aad? (Where's he gonna sit?) because he’ll sharply look at you and say: “Fi Mahal, Ftahlo El Kerseh!" (There's a place, open the chair for him!).
#2. Getting depressed
Up to this moment, no one still actually knows why some Lebanese vans drivers are so hopelessly romantics, beginning with the quotes they put up around and all the way to the music they play.
Don’t expect him to tune to your favorite radio station or get you connected to the van’s Bluetooth so you can play your favorite songs.
All that he’ll do is making you listen to his top 100 “Drama” hits until you completely break down and remember all your exes.
#3. Being dropped off anywhere but at your desired destination
With all that loud music and Schumacher’s speed, don’t expect the van driver to accurately drop you off at your desired destination even if you’ve already told him. Instead, you’ll be using all your vocal cords to shout: “Tahet El Jeser, Iza Betrid!” (Under the bridge, please!). Don’t worry! You’ll eventually reach the Jeser but probably not the one you wanted.
#4. Meeting with his buddy on the highway
Lebanese vans drivers are so sociable and have their own world of endless connections. Much more than this, if you were lucky enough, the driver might see his buddy -who is also a van driver- riding by on the highway.
The fellows won’t just get enough from the Zammour (car horn), they’ll bump into each other to greet and have their own conversation, "Kifak Ya Zalameh? Wen Mekhtefeh? Kif El Shabeb?"
Pretty much a typical series of Lebanese greetings: "How are you, man? Where have you been hiding? How are the guys?" Yes, they do have their special code: Bros before passengers.
#5. The Caring Passengers
Enough with the drivers. If they’re flawless, this doesn’t mean the passengers will be. Therefore, don’t even try to take a nap because chances are you’ll be sitting next to a very 'caring' stranger who won’t let you.
Forget about personal boundaries, and embrace with an extra dose of patience the personal questions of that stranger. Aren’t we familiar with questions like Wen Nezil? Kel Yom Btekhod El Van? Sheyef hal deniyeh kif sayrah? etc, as if "where you're stopping", "do you take the van every day", and your opinion about how "you see what this world is becoming" really matter to him.
Don’t you even be surprised if, when he’s done from his ciggy, he even asks you whether the smell annoys you!