Beirut Travel Blog› entry 562 of 658 › view all entries
When i left home in 2006 i really hadn't envisaged that my trip would last so long, but today marked my third birthday whilst been on the road. Another chalk mark on the blackboard of life and another tantalising step closer to thirty. I'm sure most people don't feel their age, and i am no different, i just can't comprehend that i am now 29 years old! The thing is i don't act it and i am told that i don't look it, so maybe my birth certificate is wrong? I prefer to adhere to the saying that “You are only as old as the woman you feel”, so thank goodness Julia is only 24. Maybe Michael Jackson also sticks to this policy, as a preventative method to his nose and other body parts falling off, although you would have to replace the word woman with boy.
Last year i had spent my birthday in Taipei, and it seemed hard to believe that so much time had passed since then. I'm sure i will be sat somewhere in one years time, puzzled at the fact that Beirut seemed like yesterday and not 365 days ago! I always remember my Dad telling me “The older you get, the faster that time goes”, and from my perspective this is one of the most accurately annoying pieces of advice that he has ever given me.
The plan for the day was to go to the Chouf Mountains, so we had a large breakfast of cereal, omelet, some home made Lebanese breads with fillings and tea, which we hoped would give us plenty of energy for all the walking that was scheduled. Sadly no sooner had we left the door than the heavens opened and we were drenched before we made it to the end of the street, so retreated back to Ahmad's apartment, like a couple of drowned rats.
I was in no mood to spend my birthday wet and cold, so i made the decision that i would rather spend the day relaxing indoors, as we hadn't had the chance to do this since Aleppo. Luckily their was Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool on the TV and i must confess that this had been part of my reason for wanting to stay at home! I also followed Leeds United via the internet and i was delighted that we won 1-0 against Swindon Town. The rest of the time Julia and I played backgammon and we both won once race to five, so honours were even and both our prides were still in tact :)
In the evening Ahmad kindly volunteered to cook dinner for us and made Lasagna and a traditional Lebanese dish consisting of meatballs in a sauce with rice. Dessert came in the shape of two scrumptious cakes, one made of chocolate and éclairs and the other from cream and fruit. It would be fair to say that i was full to bursting by the time i had finished!
Actually, the reason why we had two birthday cakes was because by some stroke of luck, it was also Yunata's (the maid) 20th birthday today, although her passport says she is 25. Supposedly Indonesians fake their documents to make them look older, so as they can leave the country to work from a younger age. I am quite disconcerted that people can tamper with such important documents so easily. But on the plus side, it should be quite easy to disappear somewhere, once i have robbed a bank to fund my next trip ;)
With food out of the way, Ahmad offered to drive us around the town to see what Beirut's famous nightlife was all about. As Julia is no longer drinking, Ahmad doesn't drink and I'm only having the odd drink here and there, i decided that i didn't really want to go to and bar and be the only one drinking. On top of this i was surprised that the price of a beer was somewhere between $6 and $8, which is way more than i pay in England.
In the end we just drove down the main strip of wine bars and in all truth i found them thoroughly unappealing. I expected a more vibrant atmosphere, which may have persuaded me into leaping from the car and diving into the nearest watering hole, but i didn't see any such place, so we headed back home to watch a Lebanese film, before calling it a night. Maybe not the most exciting of birthdays, but one i enjoyed nevertheless.