My sense of direction has never been something one can depend on. It's the thing that once got a varsity friend and I stuck in the mud in the middle of Bloemfontein's Tempe military base - in the middle of the night. But I've found that by walking one gathers more information about one's surroundings, making it easier to recognise landmarks and use them to steer you in various directions. Well that's how it's been up until now. I'm lost in Beirut.
Some roads only have numbers instead of names, every block has the same-looking construction site, all the sounds are the same (people shouting from balconies, hooting, drilling, motorbike revving), there's a cafe on every road (and they all look the same), and when you do start to recognise something, you're distracted from taking it in because the taxi passing by won't stop hooting to ask you if you want a lift.
Every route seems tangled into the next, and I keep finding myself in the middle of this twisted knot of pavement bins cooking up two months worth of garbage. Needless to say, my attempt to find two of laughing mother's aunts - who live very close to me, and who I have very good directions to get to - resulted in a very wrangled non-event. So instead of sipping rose water and trying to wave off food offerings, I looked up and found some fascinating buildings and fell in love with my Achrafieh neighbourhood.