Welcome to Lebanon. A country with a capital which is is now fast-developing into the place to be seen – again. Beirut: a manic, noisy hub full of nouveau swish bars and restaurants with prices to match and war-marked dilapidated shells of buildings next to spanking new skyscrapers and harbours full of the latest yachts.
The old and new aspects of Beirut can be encapsulated in the never-ending supply of taxi drivers that pester you wherever you happen to be: old time-wethered Mercedes whose drivers haggle for the best price alongside a modern fleet of meter-controlled cars with working seat belts.
The place to be seen, in a city to be seen, is the Corniche which runs for 5 kilometres along the coast line from St George’s Bay, past the American University and all the way up to what is known as Pigeon Rocks. Joggers in their latest active wear, dog-walkers, cyclists, those out for a stroll and street sellers all come together along this seaside promenade which creates a unique experience within the city: a place to go on foot, where you can walk without fear of being run down by traffic. It also provides some lovely views out over the Mediterranean.
We hiked up to Pigeon Rocks in the commercial neighbourhood of Raouche and spent the afternoon getting slowly sun-burned and taking pictures. However, the main activity for locals seems to be being seen and generally hanging out and drinking coffee, a very relaxed past-time in a city that never sleeps. If you can’t beat ’em …
More to come very soon….