On an early Sunday morning, waiting for the second M.E.A flight to Paris, thinking about Lebanon, about the positive things we don’t see and the negative feedbacks we stipulate on a daily basis.
We have a wonderful treasure, that needs a bit of attention. Its 8 a.m, the plane doors close, i grab my laptop, close my eyes and think about the things i would miss about Lebanon and 21 reasons came to my mind that make Lebanon, the most beautiful country in the world:
1) Nothing starts off a Lebanese morning to the soothing melodies of the a living Lebanese Legend, Fayrouz. This tradition has remained constant for 50 yrs, people listening to the same tunes day after day.
2) Early, morning, on a calm Sunday, waking on the echoes of the Mosques and Churches of Beirut. The day starts with kebbe, radish, and all the raw meat food you can think about with the delicious Arak. I can understand eating that at lunch but for breakfast?
Ow, i still have the taste in my mouth, the mouthwatering Mankouche, filled with Cheese, kechek or zaatar. Along with Laban drink, or a 250L.L Bonjus drink. a complete salty breakfast for a few lires, 3000 L.L compared to the sweet and heavy European one.
3) Summer in Lebanon, a medley of musical genres. A breathtaking experience you can have by watching Sting at Baalbek, or Jose Carreras at Beiteddine, Pink Floyd, Phil collins, Mika in Downtown beirut and many others from the international music scene. Want to change, check out CASINO DU LIBAN, shows, colors, dance, magic, Rahbani theatre and finish by a sumptuous dinner and a poker game.
The Lebanese festivals are becoming more and more professional year after year and the competition is raising the standards to another level including Byblos, Baalbek, Beiteddine, Tyr, Tripoli, Batroun and all the local villages.
4) Any club hopper would agree that Beirut is one of the few cities where you can watch a group of girls belly dancing to trendy hip-hop beats, such as skybar or white.
5) Going out, every night, enjoying the Beirut NightLife, from a drink in Gemmayze on the happy hours, to a glass of champagne at the music hall, a grey gooze cocktail underground at the basement and finishing it all with a delicious breakfast at zaatar wou zeit. How do people work in this country?
6) A vibrant Meza or mezeh scattered about a tabletop surrounded by friends whose fingers are dipped in all plates, all 75 of them filled with laughter.
The tradition wants it to start at 1 p.m and never leave the table before 5p.m, eat until you cannot move anymore; meat, Hommos, vegetables and fruits of all kinds.
Arak, cheering, laughing, remembering all days…
Time to go home, everybody is too generous that it finishes by a dispute about who would be paying the bill.
You had a lot to eat, wanted to change and have the best desert on earth.
7) Should it be the north or the south. you can have breakfast at Abdel Rahman el Hallab, in Qasr el Helou at Tripoli, and maybe afternoon desert at the El Baba in Saida. The fresh and tasty baklava complemented by a cup of Arabic Coffee. The golden sweetness bejeweled with pistachio and nuts.
8) The sizzling sound of Falafel with an aroma to entice your every fancy. this tradition sandwich is the best and cheapest thing to eat as you stroll across the city. Falafel Sahioun is one of the few that does it without garlic, a family reproducing the same recipe since decades.
9) From North to South, laughing, discussions, coffee, all cafes are the meeting point of Lebanese waiting to discuss politics. All conversations are based on that, no other country in the world are involved that much with politics: All Lebanese know it all, and every one’s opinion is the best.
10) A Lebanese dusk in springtime transmits the most beautiful fragrance of Jasmine and Orange Blossom in the air. You are blessed when a neighbor has these growing in pots on their balcony.
11) The Beirut airport offers Valet Parking. Enough said!
McDonalds has a delivery service! Wow! Unique country.
12) It’s 3 a.m and you are craving for orange juice, an ice cream cone, or even a Narguileh. Lebanon has it all, its a phone call away. All those things are within reach for free. Even if you need a cigarette pack, don’t worry, just ask the delivery boy to get you a box on his way.
13) A small and beautiful country having more cars that its inhabitants. And we are all pissed from the traffic jams. A single family of 3 has 5 cars. yet, there is a moment of sheer beauty as you watch the face of a frustrated man swearing at those around him gently turn to a grin as you raise your hand to him, smile whole heartedly, and ask him kindly if you may over pass him.
14) Downtown Beirut, the only city center we have where all religions, categories and ranks meet to have the walk of pride.
Proud of this country, this architecture that stood 25 years of war. Souk el Tayyeb, Aswak Beirut, Saifi village, Aishti, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Virgin, Rolex and the chicha cafes are all there to make your day happier.
15) Bored, just visit one of the best events calendar in Lebanon. the country that never sleeps, www.beirutnightlife.com to have it all. more that 10 events daily.
16) While many metropolitan cities do not offer many options for cheap public transportation, Lebanon overflows with buses, service cars, private taxis and coming soon the Boat Taxis and the English Cars. For only a couple of dollars, an old rickety mercedes will take you anywhere you need.
17) Couple of words to know while visiting Lebanon, ITFADAL, BONJOURAK, AHLA WOU SAHLA, YALLA, TAMEM, KIFNA, WALAW. Whenever someone is carrying a bag of fruits, eating potato chips, or whether you compliment them on the beautiful silver ring sitting snugly on their finger, they will always gesture those words. What is mine, is surely yours.
18) Makhlouf, Chez Toni, Bliss House or Jabbour, delicious cocktails of natural fruits: that you will miss wherever you travel.
19) You are English, French or Arabic, Lebanon has it all. Or listen to a lebanese conversation and grab the words you understand (hi Kifak, Ca Va?) or ask anyone to speak your language and you’ll have it done. The Lebanese people speak no less than 3 languages.
20) Ski, Bicycle, Karting, Swimming, Beach, Sun, ATV, Skidoo, Cinema, Bungee Jumping, Caving, Walking, climbing, fishing, hunting, sand playing… Yes, its all in Lebanon, in just one single day.
21) And finally, the Lebanese girls, in full make up 24/7, beautiful, sexy and trendy.
A mix of races providing one of the most beautiful lines on the planet.
Just go grab a drink at a trendy bar like central or any other in the gemayze street and enjoy the creations of God.
Don’t you just miss those things the moment you step out of Lebanon?!?!?!?!?! Or Do you miss other things??!??!?!?!