Arriving in the Lebanon right after staying in Cyprus for a couple of days, is like going to Paris after a weekend stay in the suburbs. These two countries are worlds apart when it comes to glitter and riches. Not that we ever even tested the night life but the bit that we saw was enough to want me to come back. Not that Beirut is a beautiful city. By all means, no, definitely not. All the new buildings effuse as much charm as any newly built skyline in China.
Maybe that’s unfair, the architecture is a bit better. But it’s definitely bland, boring, and monochrome. But it’s the rest of the city and the country which wants me to get back there and that soon. So let’s hope that these demonstrations bear fruit in the near future and we can all move on. In any case, this wonderland of diversity and very dashing guys has a lot to teach. So here is what I learned in Lebanon. Yours, Pollybert
1.) Even when you receive a confirmation for your airport pick-up, it doesn’t mean that someone will wait for you.
2.) Be prepared that eventually the taxi driver you get, since the pickup didn’t work, will cheat you. By a lot. The usual price is 25,- USD from the airport to downtown. Don’t pay more!
3.) Most traffic lights blink yellow so that the traffic regulates itself
4.) Looking at the wires in Beirut, it is a miracle that electricity is working at all.
5.) The best olive oil comes from trees which grow at 2.300 meters above sea level. At least this is what our driver told us. The oil tastes good (I brought a bottle home) but not great. Maybe because there is too much residue left during the extracting process.
6.) The cedar trees have been put under protection already in the mid 19th century. Also cedars grow only 2cm per year. So whenever you see a really tall tree, just imagine what stories it could tell.
7.) There is a gym in even the smallest village. Plus a lot of signs along the way so that you won’t miss it.
8.) Coffee is served without water. But the coffee is very good and there is little acidity in it, so no need for water.
9.) Book, if possible, a non smoking hotel. If that is not available go for a non-smoking room. Definitely asked for it if you don’t like stale, cold smoke in your room.
10.) The best public transport is the ‘service’. Any taxi or car with a red license plate can be flagged down. Ask for’ service‘ and get a lift for 2k LBP (which is 1.20 EUR). Tickets for the metro a more expensive in Vienna. The driver can pick up other people along the way. It works phenomenally! If you don’t say anything you are charged the taxi fare -> see #2.
11.) Guys in Lebanon are really good looking. Even my very critical friend approved of them and appreciated my lingering in ‚our bar‘ to cast appreciating glances over them.
12.) The Lebanon food was the best I had in a long time from an overall perspective. The problem was my vegetarian friend who was afraid of any and all fresh dishes. So there was never any sharing. And I couldn’t order more than three starters myself without looking like a Gourmand.
13.) All gondolas we entered came from the Austrian company Doppelmayr. Knowing that I was sitting in a quality product made me enjoy the journey even more.
14.) The Soul of Lebanon is in Canada. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But about 10 million Lebanese live outside the country while 3 million live in Lebanon.
15.) All over the world people have the same problems. Like this one.
16.) The Lebanon surprised me with its historic sites, the good looking people and its amazing food. I will definitely come back.