06.08.2010 37 °C
cell phones are also used differently here. most people in the states will sign a contract with a major provider and get a certain number of minutes and texts a month. not many have prepaid phones. But here, that is basically all there is. everyone has a phone and needs to recharge their phone with a certain number of "units". So their call time is limited.
Now stateside, a call takes minutes for both parties, the caller and receiver. Here, though, only the person calling gets charged. If someone calls you on your cell, you can talk for 1 billion minutes and not get charged. So a popular thing to do to save minutes is called 'missed call'. This is simply calling long enough so the phone rings, but not long enough for them to pick up. This allows you to get their attention and not waste minutes.
For example, my cousin is coming to pick us up to go have lunch. And instead of honking or calling or getting up, she is just going to give me a missed call. She will call and then hang up. And with that I know that she is here and we can go down.
Also, if you know someone else has more minutes or if you are just stingy, you can send a missed call and have them call you back. With that, they would use their minutes and not yours. It's kinda weird and I dont fully understand. I will call someone and they hang up on me, so i call back only to find out that they hung up so I wouldn't have to use my minutes. Oh well, I will get it one day, and then we will be back in the states, so it wont matter.
One more story that has nothing to do with cell phones. Yesterday we were on the road to Damascus! Isn't that cool? Granted it was the road from Beirut to Damascus, not Jerusalem to Damascus, like Paul, but it was still cool. Of course, the street was not named, because there are no street names in Lebanon. Direction are given purely by landmarks. 'Go to the store and turn left then drive about 15 meters and there will be an oak tree on your right take a left there too, and after the 6th house you will take a right and drive until you reach George's bakery.' No street names and curvy mountain roads makes it easy to get lost, so if you are in Lebanon be careful. Or better yet get a taxi.