Saturday, 27 August 2016


Here's part 2 of my blog on my time in Lebanon, covering the last couple of days of the visit.

Any avid reader of this shit will know that I'm a huge McDonalds fan. Eating the illusive Chicken Big Mac has been a genuine life goal for as long as I can remember. I heard they had them in that part of the world, and then when I sorted out my trip to Lebanon it dawned on me that I was actually going to have it.

When I ordered it I couldn't believe it was real. It was actually just in front of me. Like when you book gig tickets and you're finally at the gig.

I ate it, and it was perfect. Everything I wanted it to be and more. It just tasted like a dream. I cannot wait to have another.

Also, shout out the McArabia Chicken. A fantastic accompaniment to a blinding McDonalds.

This is what most of Beirut looks like. Way less built up than down town, the part I was in in the first part of my blog. These photos don't do justice to how sunny it actually was, the sky was clearer than it looks here.

free the dons

an advert for some guns haha

This is one of my favourite photographs I took during my time there.

The following evening we went out on a bike ride with Ace and Michelle. Ace is the DJ in the club Tilley works at and Michelle is his wife. We did this 'Beirut By Bike' thing where you rent bikes and kind of go along this certain route, down the shoreline. It was insane, so many other people doing it weaving in and out of you on their bikes. People everywhere. It was kind of cool. Alllll the way along this stretch of pavement people were posted up with their shisha pipes just people watching and smoking.

Later that evening Ace took us to an authentic Lebanese restaurant. He's Lebanese himself, so he knows the food well! We ordered for us, all the traditional national dishes.

It was meze, similar to what I'd always eat at the Turkish spot, but so different. I was keen to try it because I go to a Lebanese place in Leicester, but it's not really a restaurant, it's a bit more of a fast food place.

We ate so much. We all ate so much and yet we ordered that much we took more away than what we actually ate! I couldn't fit it all in the picture. There was so much nice food, I wouldn't even know where to start telling you about it. It was perfect.

While we ate they dressed the next table along and eventually we moved over. They'd laid out a huge fruit platter for dessert. I look back at these pictures and I feel like I really lived it for a few days haha. 

After the food we went for a couple of drinks and then Ace drove us up into the mountains. We overlooked this cliff where you could see the whole of Beirut. It was so nice, you could see all the lights downtown, and where we just were, and the airport. It was too dark for me to get photos, but it was some view.

We then cruised around in the mountains. Ace was giving us a brief history lesson about Beirut and Lebanon in the 90s, taking us to abandoned buildings. Lebanese are spiritual and superstitious people by nature and he said many believe these buildings are haunted and that. They were horrible. Huuuuge buildings reduced to just a shell from the bombings. They were all in the middle of nowhere too, pitch black, in the dead of the night. It was a special night.

On my last day me and Tilley went to Harîssa, Jounieh, a town about 10 miles from Beirut. We took a cable car up 1,800ft to visit The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon.

The view on the way up was craaazyy

The actual statue was a massive Virgin Mary with spiral stairs leading up to it. It was a cool time of year to visit the shrine. Over the weekend Muslims and Christians from all over the country gather in pilgrimage at the statue.

Lebanon's beautiful, man. Seriously, if ever you get the chance to go, just go. Seeing how people live out there it's no different to when I've been to other rural countries, not this war torn, car bombing hot spot everyone in the UK thinks it is. I found peoples patronising warning messages offensive, when I'd seen a lot of the country anyway and knew people that lived nice lives out there. Patronising warning messages from people who had never been, mind haha. Is that not the essence of travel? to go and see new shit you've never seen before?

I think one common theme I've come to realise whenever I travel anywhere is my favourite places tend to be the places people are proud to be from. New York, Bali, Poland all had this in common, and I'd add Lebanon to the list. I think that's part of what made it such a wonderful little trip, everyone who I saw wanted to talk about Lebanon. In four days I feel like I found out so much about the food, the culture, the history and the attitude of how people live there. The country itself is green and lush in places, but then also introverted and 2nd world in others. You'd see what looked to be Paris, the Yorkshire Dales and Syria all in a 5 minute drive.

Also the people I met out there really did there best to fill my trip with so much fun. Everyone was so lovely and even though I was out there meeting a lot of new friends, I felt so at home and welcome. I really did not want to leave. I don't do so well meeting new people these days. I've grown into a miserable, introverted, opinionated, bitter man so I tend to just steer clear of the situation haha. I've met a few people like me over the years and I tend to stick with that lot. But the people I met out there in Lebanon really feel like genuine friends, even though we only spent a few days together. Their hospitality and efforts made my trip what it was, and due to a mad rush to the airport after realising we'd got my flight time wrong I never got the chance to thank them! I'm sure I'll see them again.

I felt all relaxed and peaceful after Lebanon. That was robbed from me between the little shits who sat behind me on my flight (see last weeks Wasteman Of The Week) and this old bloke, using the very simple, basic self scanning passport terminal but fucking it up and holding everyone up. These literally could not be more simple to use.

Thanks for reading!

No comments: