Approaching Beirut.

Beirut, Paris of the East.

Beirut, mother of laws.
Beirut, the city that can be Rio, Miami and 1943 Stalingrad all within the same block.

Beirut, the filthy.

Beirut, the ironic (another French legacy I suspect).

Beirut, you’ve got the worst traffic I’ve ever seen, but also some of the best sunsets.

Beirut, I can’t say I’ve understood you, I can’t even deny that I sometimes wished I was somewhere else, and I’m so damn glad I’m not hearing your car horns anymore, but I’m also grateful for having seen you.
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17 Responses to Approaching Beirut.

  1. lexklein says:

    You incite my envy more and more with each trip! I know Beirut will exasperate and maybe even scare me, but I so badly want to go. I hope you’ll be writing more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      It’s definitely a place that left me feeling enriched. It’s got a lot of vitality, it felt reasonably safe and, if it wasn’t for the traffic, it’d even be great to walk around. I’ll definitely write more about it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. equinoxio21 says:

    Quite a seemingly accurate definition of Beyrouth. 🙂
    I was there once, only briefly, before the war. My parents loved it. And we always had many Lebanese friends. Yes, it could be Rio. 🙂
    Ciao, ciao

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      I thought you might’ve been there! It’s a city with so much potential, and if they all went pedestrian I might return tomorrow… More to come.

      Liked by 1 person

      • equinoxio21 says:

        Pedestrian? Hmmm. In the 80’s I had many meetings in Europe: UK, Germany, Italy, Spain. And they all mostly amounted to a few hours meetings, and endless time spent in traffic jams. One day in Germany I visualized the entire continent stuck in a traffic jam. 30 years ago. Hasn’t improved much I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      • awtytravels says:

        You think? I think now we’ve got more public transportation options, but yeah, in some places it’s as bad as it was back then. Just have to land in London at night, and see the sea of red lights over the M25…

        Liked by 1 person

      • equinoxio21 says:

        There are fast trains in many places in Europe. Actually, meetings in Brussels were great: I just had to take the train in Gare du Nord. Easy. But London? Still nightmarish I think. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • awtytravels says:

        Oh, I agree about London!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D. Riso says:

    Not many travelers can make me feel envy anymore, but you’re one of them, Fabrizio. Pandemonium and the threat of danger still appeals to me. How long did you stay there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      We did 4 days, a long weekend, and in fairness could’ve done with 3, or 3 and a day out. I had my eyes set on a vineyard tour but a departure at OMG AM the following day forced us to change our mind…

      Like

  4. Bama says:

    Beirut… a city I’ve been dreaming to go but I know I won’t be able to go there anytime soon as Indonesians require a special permit from the Lebanese interior ministry in addition to a visa to enter the country. For the time being I should be happy to travel vicariously through people’s stories, including yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. James says:

    My brother was in Beirut a few years ago on a solo trip and he loved it. Part of that was down to an abiding interest in Lebanon since his university days (even going so far as learning Lebanese Arabic and finding a Lebanese flatmate), plus the fact that he’d been keeping track of urban developments in and around Beirut so it all felt very familiar. He also commented on how diverse the city was – on the seafront promenade near Pigeon Rocks he saw some women dressed fashionably for the hot weather and others in full-length black chadors. One minute you’d hear church bells ringing and the next it would be the Islamic call to prayer. The traffic may be terrible in Beirut but just wait till you come to Jakarta – the biggest city on the planet without a metro system (at 10 million people). I had an ex-coworker from Manila and she said the situation is even worse than in the Philippine capital.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hi James thanks for your comment! Yes, your brother is really right, he captured what had also hit me fairly well. I’ve to say that what struck me of Beirut’s traffic was its relentlessness. I’ve been to places like Lima, where traffic can be huge, and Iran, where it has sort of no rules whatsoever, but here it was both; and no matter how small the road, it was chock-a-block.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I want to hear more, I want to hear more! “I can’t say I’ve understood you…but I’m also grateful for having seen you” encapsulates my feelings about so many destinations. I think often about my inability to present a more rounded version of places, something you do so very respectfully and attentively.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hi there BT, thanks for the nice words! I think that, ever since I tried stopping to ‘understand’ a place, I’ve enjoyed them more. I mean, I’ve lived 7 years in London and I can’t say I know it or understand it, how can I “get” a country after a week?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave Ply says:

    Seems like around here, “middle eastern food” usually means Lebanese. I suspect that’s another multifaceted trait Beirut might have.

    Liked by 1 person

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