Proud to be an Indiblogger

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beirut Break



Beirut Break


Beirut the very  name conjures a Mediterranean haven of pleasure and Leisure
Dusky  evenings behind frosted windows  tall  clinking glasses ,Dark coffee in quaint cups  to be gulped on checkered  tables in  pavement cafes ,lazy hookahs their smokes twisting into the roofs ,the horizon with   distant mountains ,the aquamarine sea  , the drifting ships .the nights filled with  dance and song ,


After all was not  Beirut  known as the Paris of the East .


The Lebanese people are fun loving  ,good looking  ,large hearted people ,and to them life is full of fun and warmth .


 It is sad that such people should have been subjected to decades of unrest and civil war ,forced to live in a country split into two ,with snipers firing from the rooftops with bombs blasting and mines bursting .


The green line separated Beirut during  those hardy days of the civil war  into two .


 It was after the nineties when it all ended and their President Rafik Harirri brought some peace to the wounded land ,


Tragedy overtook again in 2005 when a bomb took away this handsome man from the streets in the very centre of Beirut ,


There is a sculpted memorial  in the very spot of the assassination with a bullet ridden bombed out empty building  in its back ground .


 Incidentally the place I stayed the well-known hotel Phoenicia was just facing this spot and I gazed at it from my balcony .


The history of Lebanon unfolded in my eyes there as I reminisced what I had seen from the visit to the well-kept National museum ,


Lebanon has a rich history dating back to the prehistoric,


conquered and ruled over the ages by the sea faring Phoenicians ,Byzantines ,The Romans ,The Greeks ,and later the Ottomans ,and in the present century  the French to  rule them


It was in 1947 that Lebanon was free to its own but the sixties brought unrest and the long civil war from which  the country is slowly waking up to its former glory .


  Religions meshed with cultures leaving deep imprints in the people


Now there is peace and coexistence


 The marks of history are seen in the landscape be it the Roman baaths or the Balbak ruins the magnificent St Georges Cathedral where the monks hid their treasures  in the basement for long during the wars


The Blue mosque its cobalt dome shining  the skyline as Beirut’s  landmark gazing into the yellow staccato baroque European style downtown buildings .


As I strolled along the turquoise  sea lining cornice into this enclosed area  I entered into a world which was unlike any .


The cobbled streets were neat flower lined  the pavements lined with boisterous coffee shops ,youngsters lively and colourful gazing at the upmarket malls fashion shows in ramps, the  live TV shows being recorded ,with children blowing bubbles in the air ,amongst all this all this a detective walked with a huge police dog leashed in a chain which went around sniffing for hidden bombs .he stopped often to pat children on their heads and many went on to caress the big dog’s head .


There were soldiers armed to the teeth gazing at the children playing smiling benevolently but ready to rise in any emergency,


The peace was palpable and there was a sense of calm and happiness everywhere.


I could see a retro wedding car awaiting the bride and groom to come out of the church accompanied by elegant guests.


Almost straight out of a scene from Godfather the Hollywood flick


Beirut is a small city, Lebanon has many other lovely places to visit too and places where there were snowy hills very close to the city but I had a very short stay.


i took an yellow cab to the museum which cost me 15 $ (roughly 1500 Lebanese pounds ) American dollars are accepted everywhere ,public transport is not much to talk about of course one could share taxis or vans which work out cheaper ,best option is to walk as generally climate is reasonably good and walking gives you the pulse of any place .


the Museum is divided into sections of Lebanese history from the prehistoric times to now ,many artefacts statues  line the small but well-kept museum ,nearby is the St Georges cathedral .


I went from here to Hamra the well-known shopping street ,this looked like the Brigade road in Bangalore or Jan path in N Delhi full of shops and restaurants good for people watching of course


 I did just that from a corner cafe as i munched into a crunchy sandwich .


I strolled along the American university hospital to reach the cornice ,I even found a Tamil worker on the way and stopped to talk to him for a while .


The cornice was quite as it was late afternoon but for a few fishing enthusiasts and their long poles


The Yatch club had a good collection of stylish yatches


Finally i reached my hotel to a well-earned rest .


Evening took me to downtown and its wonders and that night all delegates were taken for dinner in a lovely sea side restaurant and we bit into delicious sea food to gentle lapping of waves with salty winds ruffling our hair .


 


 The next evening too we went to a small exclusive restaurant dimly lit serving authentic Lebanese cuisine to the accompaniment of a  very interactive singer with accompaniments ,he made all of us get into the mood of the evening  and this was followed by a mini skirted female singer who was also good in her job .


Though I have taken a lot of the wholesome healthy Lebanese food in the UAE the food here was definitely more tasty and authentic as everything was fresh and tangy .


 After the next day’s meeting I had to return by the night flight


Beirut made an indelible impression on me


 






























I bid farewell to the merry city of Beirut with its  happy good people promising to come back another day .

4 comments:

Dr.Thomas Antony said...

Nice writing..one can feel the Lebanon air while reading through.

How do you prepare the article? I would suggest you type first in word, and do some spelling & grammar check [provided in Word] before copying and pasting it into the blogsite. [It would correct the lone i to I, and style of sentences..]

Also, if you can divide the article into sections with subheadings, I think it will make it more beautiful.

Anyway to post the photos alongside the article? I see them all one below the other below the article.

And how is the expenditure in Beirut? [in case I plan one;-)

All the best!

Bala said...

Great to feel the pulse of Beirut through your words Hariettan. I agree with Dr. Anthony. The thing I like about your writing is there is a constant motion. The reader is taken through a quick path of time to experience your feelings. I kind of feel like you are too rushed to put it all in paper that you forget to do any spell check. In a way I have always felt maybe you don't want to even do that - just to let the words flow as if the mistakes were intentional. Is that the case? Anyway, I am really glad to experience Beirut through your eyes!
Cheers!
Bala

Ahmed Abuzid said...

This is an amazing blog, thank you doctor
Ahmed Abuzied

Ahmed abuzid said...

Great one, I enjoyed it to the maximum

Blog Archive