East of Paris Bookstore

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beirut is Back on the Map

The theme of "Beirut is Back" seemed to pop out everywhere we went in this 24/7 lively city.
Four Seasons Beirut tower
We walked to the Four Seasons Hotel  for lunch and experienced the hair-raising traffic, where traffic lights offer mere suggestions, the luxe shops, the yachts at anchor, and busy student life at the American University with obligatory graffiti. 

Levant: Splendor and Catastrophe on the MediterraneanHaving just read Philip Mansel's Levant: Splendor and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean, which details the histroy of Beirut and two other Mediterranean cities, I had expected to see more of the destruction from the tragic civil war that Lebanon endured from 1975-90.  

Instead we saw luxury high rises along the corniche -- a bit reminiscent of Miami Beach and construction everywhere. 

Then there was the opportunity to buy our much-missed American style coffee at McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts.

 We also enjoyed traditional Turkish coffee at the very grand Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, where we booked spa appointments for a quiet afternoon.

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