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The completely schizophrenic city of Beirut

by on Apr.10, 2009, under everything

Lebanon is so radically different from anywhere else in the Middle East and pretty surreal.  A small country with only 4 million people, it continues to trudge on despite a 17 year civil war (1975 – 1992), war with Israel in 2006, and tensions with Hezbollah (most recently leading to armed conflict in the north in 2007).  So what does that mean?  A strong military presence, remnants of the civil war, and every Western luxury you could imagine.

After spending 6 weeks in Syria (in a refugee camp no less!), arriving in Beirut feels like I’m in a different universe.  How different is it from Syria?

  • Replace all of the donkeys in the streets of Damascus (there are a lot!)  with Ferraris.
  • Replace hijabs and chadors with Prada and Gucci.
  • Replace mud covered shoes with shiny high heels.
  • Replace sputtering 1975 Fiat taxis with shiny new Mercedes taxis.
  • Replace the rust stains on the walls with bullet holes, which decorate any building over 20 years old.
  • Replace pictures of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, with Hezbollah billboards and pictures of Hassan Nasrallah.
  • Replace warm, undrinkable local beers with microbrews and $20 cocktails.
  • Replace all of the shawerma with….well, shawerma.  Its still a Middle Eastern country, after all.


A beautiful sunset over the Mediterranean from a balcony in Beirut.

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    4 Comments for this entry

    • rajiv

      LOVE that sunset pic. Gorgeous.

    • Bennie

      Ditto–you know my fasciantion with sunset!, so this one is added to my collection-Thanks for the pic.
      Take care

    • Patrick

      Dude what’s a shawerma? hahaha
      sounds like an assyrian song you can take khegah with ;)
      Is the shawerma in Lebnon more expensive than syria? probably

      oh did you go into the Singer store? Do people sing in there? lol
      That would be so funny please get back to me on that one haha

      nice pics as usual and hurry back ur face is missed ;)

    • Emily

      Ano, i love your commentary! The pics were great by themselves but your stories and explanation behind each one makes them even more enjoyable :)

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