A few weeks ago it was Byblos public beach. I tried to make it all the way up to Batroun but traffic was killer (thanks carpet factory, for catching on fire and blocking the only highway). The free beach there is decent, small but nice, and surrounded by fancy shmancy private beaches.
That’s one thing I will never understand or accept the requirement to pay to go to the beach. I can understand paying for parking or using the lounge things, but to access the sand? It’s almost evil. And it’s not even as if the beaches in Lebanon are world-class, because the beach I went to every week it was warm enough in summer in Florida was way nicer. Maybe I’m just spoiled…
Anyways, not counting the awful traffic that doubled the one-hour minibus ride, my first beach trip in Lebanon was a success. Being on a beach just makes everything in life better. I also got a chance to test out the new henna I got in Istanbul, finally! I was a little rusty at first but then it all came back with the ease I have of being able to draw pretty things on people.
The next weekend was a private (ugh. AKA expensive.) beach in Tyre (Sur). It was really beautiful and they had lounges so we didn’t have to lay in the sand. As much as I love beaches, I kind of hate sand. If I can avoid it getting all over me, I will. Sand in my stuff, in my hair, all over my skin is no bueno.
After hanging out at the beach for most of the day, we walked through Tyre to the famous Hippodrome, apparently the most well preserved hippodrome in the world. It was really cool, walking through the ancient necropolis, finding a couple tombs with bones (!!) in them. Through the triumphal arch and into the arena, just a small section of seating is left standing after thousands of years of wear and tear, war, and natural disasters, but it is enough to see how epic the stadium was back in its heyday.
The van ride back was actually kind of eventful. Not only did we see a gigantic pelican being teased by some guy on the side of the road, a collection of old-school horse carriages on the side of the road, and the famous Saida pile of trash, but we got caught up for a while in traffic resulting from burning tire roadblock. That was fun…except it wasn’t. I don’t understand people’s obsession here with making a statement by blocking traffic, its just annoying rather than effectively conveying a message.
Oceana was next, thanks to a coupon I found online for half off the normal (expensive) entry fee. In Damour, it’s a short 20-30 minute ride from Cola on a normal day. The beach itself it nestled in a banana plantation about 10 minutes walking from the highway and looks pretty fabulous. All slinky black and white with a pool that had a bar inside it, it was definitely luxurious. The sun was hot and strong that day, and only frequent dips in the cool pool and a strong breeze kept us from roasting alive. The sound system there was fantastic, I could easily tell why they had big parties there at night, but seriously, 3pm on a Saturday is a little early to start bumping the club beats full blast.
The next weekend I made it over to one of the private beaches in Byblos, Bay 183, thanks to another half-off coupon. It was pretty decent, a couple cool pools and some good food but the service kind of sucked. I guess you can’t have the best of everything. I was just enjoying my time out of the polluted Beiruti air with the fresh sea breeze (one of the reasons beaches are one of my favorite places in the world) when the smell of paint thinner invaded my nose. And stayed there. For the next two hours until we left. Looks like I can’t even get fresh air at a beach here…Oh well, it was good while it lasted.
There’s still a few more I want to explore, I would be more than happy spending the rest of my time here with the sun, sand, and salty water as my companions. And that’s how it will be.