Who dropped a bomb of modern?

As far as Middle Eastern cities go, Beirut is something else.
Hole-in-the-wall cafes, chic bohemian restaurants, first class open-air malls, all-night clubs and parties.
Day to day, I’ve never seen so many people driving Bentleys and Maseratis anywhere in the world.

Coming here is like stepping through the wardrobe into the Land of Narnia.

Finally I get a decent espresso, some air-con, and flip through a magazine.
I’m almost home for a minute.
(After so long away, you actually forget that magazines have a smell.)

But the weather is intense, its not hot, 30-35 deg maybe, but the humidity is out of control.
If your not hiding in air-con, you sweating and sticky in 5 mins, no matter what time of day.

I sleep on the roof and wake up glued to my pillow, its disgusting, and I’m over it.
My favorite camera is dead, and in the heat I really cant be fucked walking around taking pics that I can’t see myself doing anything productive with.

But over the days I shuffle about, not the grand tour of Lebanon I initially envisaged, but enough to see some diversity in the countryside, escape the humidity of Beirut, and leave some ground untouched for next time.

The once glorious Holiday Inn. Riddled with bullet holes and mortar attacks.

Baalbek, considered to be one of the most well preserved Roman Temples in the world.

If you want to see how much of a beating Beirut copped over the years, head to this page and check it out.

There are still so many destroyed buildings beyond the Holiday Inn that I have shown, battered and tattered, waiting for something to happen to them some day.
For the city to bounce back like it has is really impressive, and if your in the Middle East and have the time I definitely recommend crossing the border to visit.
(Make sure your Syrian visa IS Multiple-Entry though, despite what they told you, its probably not)

I would have like to shoot a lot more, but Military presence is the real deal here, tanks and intersections, check points after check points, its difficult to whip out the camera even in stealth mode.

Thats it.


4 Responses to “Beirut”

  1. 1 routinebitinghard August 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    your an oak!

  2. 2 loisron August 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Sorry your favorite camera died and the heat and humidity is getting to you. Much cooler here if you want a change of scenery.Very windy though and 2 metre waves on the bay. Where to next????

  3. 3 phillegitimate August 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I was looking up Lebanese tourism websites a while ago. Found one where all the photos were stolen from other countries. Lebanese lakes that were actually in Croatia, that sort of thing. Baalbek looks like the real deal though.

    And you’ve passed through Bosnia, right? What is it about Holiday Inns and bullet holes?

    Please tell me the food helped compensate for the heat. Please.

    • 4 leavemehere August 29, 2010 at 4:55 am

      I don’t want to crush your Lebanese kitchen fantasies, but the thing is, it didn’t.
      I’ve seriously eaten better Lebanese food in Melbourne.
      Which I was totally bummed about. I too had visions of the best Baba Ganoush that would ever pass my tastebuds.

      Sarajevo Holiday Inn is legit! I’ve got a postcard of it, its so great.
      Complete sucker for post-conflict tourism.

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