Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lebanon Days 3 and 4--abridged


Our Lady of Lebanon
We did indeed return from Lebanon (on a flight overrun with extraordinarily loud children left to fend for themselves while the parents sat rows away....but that's another story)--so I'll quickly give the low down on the rest of our trip.

We had dinner in a beautiful mountain town (Bromana) in the outskirts of Beirut with Lebanese friends.  The food was delicious and there was way way too much.  Some of the new entries were raw chicken livers with some lard and garlic (I didn't test this one, but Manuel said it was great).  An interesting tasting cactus fruit which we later found out makes you constipated and of course, to wash it all down we had some Arak.  Arak tastes much like Pastis and is very refreshing.  The couple we were with, by the way, was the epitome of Lebanese tolerance--he is Druze, she is half-Christian, half-Muslim...very interesting take on things.

The following day we travelled to the Jeita Grotto (in the running to be one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world).  We couldn't take pictures but it's an ancient cave discovered by a priest.  The upper chamber is beautiful with it's stalagmites and stalagtites.  The lower chamber is still in water and requires a short boat ride.  Very cool (quite literally) and a break from the ruins.

phoenician ruins of byblos
We then went to Harissa, home of Our Lady of Lebanon statue and a pilgrimage site for Christians.    From there we moved further north to Byblos.  Byblos seems like the kind of historical, laid-back seaside village I could spend some time in...

That night we explored a little bit of downtown Beirut and had dinner at La Plage.  The traffic in Beirut is pretty impressive.  One of the things that cracked us up is seeing the valet parker at KFC.  I guess parking is so difficult that no one will go to Kentucky Fried Chicken if they don't have a valet parker. ...  I hear all my American friends scratching their heads and saying, "hello, what about a drive-thru".  Ironically we didn't see any of those.

Place de l'Etoile, Beirut
All the Lebanese from the stranger that walked us a few blocks to a bookstore we couldn't find, to my Arabic teacher who spent some of her precious weekend with family showing us the downtown area were charming, friendly and welcoming.

No comments:

Post a Comment