Oh the wonders of public transport. I've seen some dodgy things in my day: crazy ladies; people who look like they've been smoking crack; the silent, but dangerous looking types. If you ride the bus in Beirut, here's what you're going to get.

The Smoke Machine

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This guy is a chimney. He smokes between one cigarette and one pack a minute, and blows all the smoke in your face. You're troubled by the smell? You have asthma? You're suffocating? He does not care. Try and ask him to stop smoking, and he'll just yell at you. Really. And for your own safety, don't bother saying anything when the smoke machine happens to be the actual bus driver.

The Sleepy Head

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This person is usually going back home (to Tripoli and beyond) from Beirut after an exhausting day at work. S/he's stuck in never-ending traffic, on a bus that might collapse any minute, listening to a 100-year-old song, surrounded by strangers and disgusting smells, so s/he decides to escape it all for awhile and falls asleep. S/he a friendly, quiet type of person until s/he starts snoring or collapses on your shoulder.

The Bookworm

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Whether going to or returning from university, or simply trying to make the best of their rather-long time on the bus, this type of person will not accept to be defeated by his/her unfortunate fortune of being a prisoner of the bus. From reading a good novel to studying for an upcoming exam (and I'm personally guilty of doing that), this person will be in his/her own little world while you stare and wonder: "how in the world can anyone be happy reading on a moving bus?!" (Not that the bus moves much when stuck in so much traffic.)

The Large Family

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Sometimes it's the mother. Sometimes it's the father. And in both cases the number of children can range from one to six, and their age from a few months to a few years. While children can be really sweet and adorable sometimes, they are not always so adorable on the bus. They're usually hungry and bored (aren't we all?) and end up acting like monkeys. While some might find this annoying, it’s way better than a toddler spitting on you or showering you with his "bibroneh" (bottle).

The Scary Guy

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This is the person who gets on the bus and you start thinking of ways to escape in case something bad happens. Like gun shots going off or a bomb exploding. While this person is probably just another angry and tired human being - a.k.a. just like you - you can't but feel threatened by his presence. Especially in a country like ours. With Daesh/IS and all...

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