My Lebanese Experience...
Highs: Gorgeous buildings in Beirut; the campus of the American University in Beirut; the food; the
prices; the friendliness of people; watching how much the Lebanese enjoy life; my day at La Guava
beach resort in Rmeileh.
Lows: Tripoli (a bit unfair of me to say since I wasn't in the mood to deal with the chaos at that
moment); the number of men that try to talk to me.
Best Moment: While Byblos was absolutely charming, I loved just 'taking in' Beirut. Whether it
was watching a sunset on the Corniche, eating dinner at some of the great restaurants in the
downtown area or reading on the campus of the American University of Beirut, I loved the relaxed
pace that I got to have while I was here.
Craziest Moment: Walking off and leaving the Fez look-alike on the pier in Byblos as he yelled
out "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" after he tried to kiss me.
Smells: Hookah smoke; street food.
Sounds: A lot of whistles and honking (99.9% sure that this is due to me being a solo female
traveler); chaotic horn-honking in Tripoli.
Sights: People smoking hookahs (called 'negilehs' here) on the Corniche along the water; buildings
that haven't been rebuilt from bombings; some absolutely gorgeous buildings; Place de l'Etoile - a
beautiful square where kids play and people sit at outdoor cafes and restaurants; sun setting over the
Pigeon Rocks; males swimming in the sea (no females); bright blue and turquoise waters up the
northern coast of Lebanon (towards Tripoli); Baalbeck (~ $6); Anjar (~$4); Chateau Ksara; ancient
ruins of Byblos ($4); teleferique to Harissa ($5); Jeita Grotto ($12); police and military guys
everywhere with their huge guns; some of the most beautiful sunsets from the Corniche.
Tastes: Hummus with a pool of chickpeas and olive oil in the middle--delicious!; grape leaves stuffed
with rice; dough that is stuffed with a variety of options (i.e. chicken, spinach, cheese, etc.) and then
baked; different 'mezze' (or small plates).
Purchases: A bowl (that I clearly do not need) from Patchi.
Street Food: Bread that is shaped like a purse; giant beans sprinkled with salt and chili powder
served with sliced lemons; grilled corn on the cob.
Fun Food Finds: White chocolate Twix; Ritz crackers sandwiched with lemon cream (sooo
good--just like those lemon wafers).
Western Companies Out Here: Starbuck's, Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, Radio Shack,
Hard Rock Cafe, TGI Friday's, Subway, Applebee's, Dairy Queen, Domino's, Hardee's.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? Yes. I got a free two month visa at the airport. I don't really know how - they're
supposed to be about $20 for 15 days. But the guy just told me to 'go ahead'...and I'm not one to argue
with Lebanese visa guys...
Type of currency? The Lebanese Lira and, surprisingly, the U.S. Dollar. You can have the option
of pulling out Lebanese Liras, Euros or U.S. Dollars at the ATMs. (Who knew???) One dollar is
equivalent to approximately 1500 Lebanese Lira.
Locally Known As: Beyrouth, Liban
Things Lebanon Is Known For: Pastries; Food; Cedar trees; Great beaches; Ruins.
Religion: 70% Muslim; 30% Christian.
Beirut International Airport: I didn't leave from this airport but I did read that there is a
$35 U.S. departure tax.