Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 75, Lebanon

Wow, those 5 UNESCO sites in Syria were totally awesome, don't you agree?
We are now flying over Beirut in Lebanon

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are.

If you're gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut's Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you're in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there's no tomorrow.

If you're standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it's a city of bitter memories
and a dark past.

If you're with Beirut's Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if
you're with its handful of Jews, it's about hiding your true identity. Here you'll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal.

If you're in one of Beirut's southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and
displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations.
For some, it's a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you'll swear it can't be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you'll find that you've never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its freq
uent volatility.

We are actually going to Tyre, 81km from Beirut.
I think that all of us are really interested in the long and colourful history of this part of the world....

Suffering dreadfully during the civil war and from Israeli incursions, Tyre remains full of soldiers!
Oops, I think that we will have to fly over Tyre....

Did you know that according to legend, purple dye was invented in Tyre?

This great Phoenician city ruled the seas and founded prosperous colonies such as Cadiz and Carthage, but its historical role declined at the end of the Crusades.

Oh, look, there is the monumental arch and other important archaeological remains, from Roman times, ...this is a UNESCO world heritage site.....

Our next destination......Israel.....let's hope that we can actually stop over...and that it will not be a war zone!!

No comments: