Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Operation nocturnal gasoline theft

The Lebanese love to drive big cars-- Hummers, Jeeps, GMCs. Principally if you own a car, you never walk anywhere, much like in the US. With the fuel shortage, fights have been breaking out at gas stations all around town; it only takes one person to try his luck by skipping the line and making a mad dash for the pump while dozens of people are waiting for hours in the hot sun. Then the fists fly.

Late last night I was riding home in a servis (collective cab) through Ras Beirut. We drove past a gas station, which has been roped off and closed for days; five or six men had cracked open the pump, and were siphoning gasoline in the dark. A man in a black suit was coordinating this, and our cab driver immediately backed into the station to fill his tank. There was a lot of hissing and whispering, as every car and van that passed followed suit, backing into the station, striking a deal with the man in the suit, and then hastily driving off. The cab driver explained that the man in the suit was a Hariri guy. Business must not be going well, if they have to resort to robbing gas stations.

2 comments:

Oberon Brown said...

I've always suspected Hariri's fortune had something to do with oil...
EB, could you tell us where exactly is that gas station? I would kill for gasoline right now...

EDB said...

Sorry, Oberon,
I'm afraid not. I would fear for my life. I'm sure other people will follow suit. Just drive around in the middle of the night (if you have a drop of gasoline left) and find the action. Good luck.