Four Days of Adventure in Beirut (I)

As usual when I’m on vacation I try to write my diaries, of which some I post and some I keep to myself. This time I decided to post, so if you do not like diaries especially the spicy ones, then refrain from reading right here and just enjoy the sceneries in the pictures I posted of Al Jumaiza, because these posts I write as a memoir to myself.
Thursday, April13, 2006

Today was a busy day; Elegance, Maggi and I arrived around two PM at Alhareeri Airport and went directly to my friend’s apartment, changed and hit the road to get some fresh air. Had a snack in Qahwat Qzaz ( ahwit Azaz in Lebanese slang); one of the oldest coffee shops in Al Jumaiza (Ashrafiah), and then we walked for about an hour through the oldest streets and alleys of Beirut. The weather was cool and the sun was shining bright on our bare shoulders. A perfect chance to get that special radiant tan, and to prepare our skin gradually for the harsh summer sun.

For dinner we met some local friends and they took us to an Armenian restaurant called Manoging (Ashrafiah) (I think this is the correct spelling, if not; please correct me). The construction and decoration of the restaurant grabbed my attention the minute I entered the restaurant. Rooms leading into each other through arched doors and forming semi-private quarters and corners. We were ushered to a quarter where a table stood by a window overlooking other tables situated in the open area of the restaurant, but on a half story, lower floor level. An architecture that added a subtle feeling of having the required privacy in public. Artisan chandeliers of different sizes and colors, extended from the middle of carved circular grooves in the ceiling, and from the center of the arch decorating the outline of each window. Each light shadow enhancing the other by breaking the monotonous pattern reflected on the walls, and creating their unique silhouette against the colorful lights of the background. Traditional tiled floors of earthy colors blended with shades of royal red carpets extending in and out of each arched opening. The walls were of natural, randomly broken concrete bricks with yellow paste added serenity to the place and gave the sense of hospitable homey surrounding, and I immediately felt relaxed.
The food was simply delicious. We were six people and every dish came in six small portions. I asked if this was their Easter specialty and the answer was no, this was their tradition round the year. Too bad I could not remember the names of the dishes I had, but every dish was yummy.

After dinner our friends took us to Rue Monot (Ashrafieh); an area filled with pubs and night clubs. We wanted to check out as many clubs as we could and so decided to have only one drink in each. Our plan did not work because the second bar we went to was Shah. And apparently it was the favorite on our local friends’ list, they seemed enjoying the live Arabic music and so we stayed. The place was packed and jumping with adults of all ages. A whole family; the father, the mother and their two daughters were dancing up and down the table beside us. Actually it would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the stereotype, overworn style songs like ya bint elsutan and so on. The singer’s voice was too loud in the microphone and way too annoying, we decided to leave early with a sense of guilt toward our friends, but knowing that they’d have to wake up early for work the next day, we convinced ourselves that we did them a favor. The banging on the head stayed with us all night. But we knew that we girls had to do our own exploring from then on, after all we only had three more days in Beirut and we weren’t going to waste them.

To be continued…

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rampurple
    Apr 23, 2006 @ 18:13:00

    live lebanese music does that… too much too handle.. i avoid live performances as much as possible.. i mean half an hour singing is one thing… but an all nighter is horrible

    i like the pics u took…

    Reply

  2. AyyA
    Apr 23, 2006 @ 21:41:00

    Rampurple

    I like live Lebanese Music when the voice is nice and the speakers are nicely distributed. But the singer at Shah that night did not even have a nice voice and the speakers were right behind our table.
    Stay toned for noise detoxification method coming up in the next post with my best pictures of Beirut.
    Welcome to my humble quarters 🙂

    Reply

  3. aziz
    Apr 23, 2006 @ 22:45:00

    didnt have time to read..but i liked the pic’s

    Reply

  4. Talisman
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 04:03:00

    Who cares about food,restaurant walls and all that crap..Tell us about the cheap morrocan and iraqi whores are they still in monot st

    Reply

  5. Hazolat
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 11:40:00

    Sounds like a great lil’ trip. Too wild for my taste tho (you wild thang you :-P) Could have elaborated on the Lebanese food, never been there and have always heard how wonderful it was. Your descriptions to your surroundings was lovely.

    Reply

  6. AyyA
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 14:48:00

    aziz
    No need to read, the pics say it all 🙂

    Talisman
    I wouldn’t know about the Moroccan and the Iraqi whatever, but I can assure you that I can say a lot about Lebanese men 😉

    Hazolat
    Oh, that was too wild????
    Well, you have to read the rest of the memoir then 😉
    Lebanese food in Lebanon is not different than that in any Lebanese restaurant in Kuwait, but the ones in Lebanon are fresher and the way it is prepared is slightly different which makes a big difference. Like for example you hardly can tell if there is Burgol in Tabooli in a good restaurant in Lebanon while all you eat even in the best Kuwaiti Lebanese restaurant is burgol soaked in lemon and sprinkled with parsley. Ya3ni; More like home made dishes made with ingredients taken from the backdoor garden.

    Reply

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