Thursday, March 16, 2006


Back to the great athletes of the winter Olympics that I mentioned in a previous Blog entitled “Lebanese winter sports”, but this time with more than amazement…this time with great respect, admiration, and life inspiration.

I will only try to write about my own feeling that I may not be able to transmit to you unless you see what I have seen, and think about your life the same way I did about mine. What did I see? People skiing on one leg… people I wouldn’t call handicapped or disabled, people I would rather call gifted. Determined to live a normal, and even better than normal life. When I saw those one-legged skiers speeding and racing down the slopes making those tight and dangerous turns, and at the same level of performance as any other “physically normal” Olympic skier, I started thinking how strong and determined those people are and how much they love and apreciate life. I also understood that my perception of life was too shallow. I take my everyday’s life for granted. I am passive, I receive what life brings to me, take the same train everyday, walk the same road that others have walked before me, live as if there will always be a tomorrow, and as if my life could only be the way it is. I have never looked beyond what my eyes can see, never jumped beyond the horizon, and never challenged my mind and body to a higher level or an extreme. I don’t know how far I could go, and what is worse is that I don’t know how to go further than what I'm currently living or even for what purpose. But I know that there is a miracle maker inside of me, I just have to find a reason and a way to bring him to life.

Try to think about it, it will definitely be easier for you to overcome whatever you thought were obstacles, you will see life much easier, and much more interesting. Think about how you could change, improve, innovate… and check out the lyrics of this French song "Chante Comme si tu devais mourir demain" by Michel Fugain posted by Nobilis Tobilis a Blogger, and friend of mine.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lebanese Winter sports

The Olympic season is just great! all sorts of winter sports competitions, competitors from all around the world, medals to win, records to break...from the extreme sky jumps, and body challenging races to the graceful and artistic ice just can't stop watching and admiring. Yes those people are so perfectly trained, and so perfectly shaped, that these sports seem easy to them as riding a bicycle is to us. I'm a fairly good skier, but my skiing skills are just nothing compared to those perfectly styled, graceful and powerful at the same time, gliding “creatures”. I wish I could practice and train to improve my skills and style. Hey! Why can’t I? Let me answer that.

Skiing in Lebanon is a sport of luxury. I personally cannot afford skiing more than twice or three times a year, because a single skiing day can cost as much as lets say… 20 lunches in my university’s cafeteria. What a business!!! There are definitely more than 3 thousand people who go skiing every month in Faraya the most popular skiing region. A single skiing day's expenditures per person may vary from 20$ to 68$ depending on the slopes you want to ski on, and on whether you want to ski for a day or half a day and on whether you want to eat and drink or not. To all readers, the following numbers are not exact, and may not be correct; these are my personal estimation, deduced from the number of people that I see in Faraya every time I go skiing. The prices are correct though. So imagine the amount of money that this industry’s owners are making! Well they paid a lot of money to start this business: The land, the preparation of the land, the “télésieges” and their fuel and maintenance, the snow compressing trucks, the employees, the building that includes a cafeteria the ticket booths the red cross room and the ski rental shop… well you know some of the expenses are a one time fixed expenses, like the building, the land, the “télésieges”, the compressor trucks… and then comes the continuous fuel, maintenance and human resources expenses. If we consider that the number of people spending 20$/day is as much as the people spending 68$/day, the average day expenditure would be 44$. So imagine 3000 people paying 44$ every month, that would mean 132,000$ per month. Lets take away 1000$ for every employee (10 employees) and 10,000$ for maintenance, and 10,000$ for fuel, which are all exaggerated numbers, we will be left with 102,000$. And take out the taxes, we will be left with around 90,000 or 80,000$ per month!!! This is an amount of money that may take me 22 years to make if we consider that I am saving 300$/month.

Now lets imagine that this is a non-profit industry, meaning that they should only make enough money to pay for the employees, maintenance and fuel= 30,000$. How much would a ticket cost? If the same 3000 people went skiing in a month, the ticket’s price would be 10$. In that case, I would definitely be able to ski at least 10 times a year, and perhaps practice enough to join the winter sports Olympics; One of the many dreams that will never come true. I think I’ll just keep-on playing basketball for free with my neighbors in the neighborhood’s court.