Beirut about town, a sunset on the water, and a tattoo.
Beirut Travel Blog› entry 4 of 20 › view all entries
We woke up later than planned because our wake-up call didnâ€™t come. Rob called for our breakfast and then hit the shower. While I was getting ready the food came and we have a small breakfast. We were going to have croissants, but the hotelâ€™s oven broke so they couldnâ€™t bake them. We discussed the day, made the plan, and were off. Just after we got out into Solidere (Downtown) we saw a shop selling souvenirs and postcards. We decided it was better to buy them early and send them since we were planning on day tours. Post cards in hand we headed to the Place des Martyrs. This is a statue in next to Solidere. When we approached the statue we noticed it had bullet holes and one of the statues was missing half an arm. We werenâ€™t sure if this was intentional or due to bombings.
After that we headed out to find the Saifi village. This was listed in Lonely Planet as a place where the craftsmen of the region gathered to work and sell their goods. Rob got a little turned around and we wondered around for while. When we finally found the area we stumbled on a cute cafĂ©. Balima is a cafĂ© and furniture store. You actually get to try out the furniture while you eat. The furniture is on the menu between the food selections.
After eating we looked around the Saifi village. Since it was Sunday most things were closed.
While at Virgin we talked with some guys about taxis. There are regular taxis and service cars. Service cars will pick up other people along the way so it is cheaper.
After beating some of the heat of the day we were on the street again and hungry for a snack. We went Linaâ€™s on Hamra. It is a chain restaurant, but the food was good and ingredients fresh. The milkshakes were excellent. It was obvious that the locals from the neighborhood hung out here...always a good sign.
After food it was off to the Rawsheh Rock (Pigeon Rocks), one of the only natural features in Beirut.
A man asked if we wanted to go out in a boat to the caves. At first we werenâ€™t sure. Rob went back and asked about the price and details. The next thing I know we are climbing down the hill to the water. Rob had negotiated a 20 minute ride in 5 caves for $20, not bad! Along the way, people were smiling and friendly....saying hello. We got in the boat and headed for the big rock. The water was a little choppy, but the views of the sunset and cliffs were fantastic.
When we got back and were taking a last gaze at the views a family started talking to us. They were very friendly and spoke good English. The youngest, a six year old boy named Rashid, was very pleased with himself.
We dropped our stuff in the room and opted for an easy dinner at Arabika again. We tried a mesa made of eggplant. It was alright but a little heavy on the smoky flavor for me. The Homos (humus) was very good and the smoothest I have ever seen. Deserts were excellent again. After dinner we walked the neighborhood and look in some shops. We found a jewelry store/ Internet cafĂ© named Momento next to a Dunkin Dounuts. Great find for the neighborhood since the other one listed in Lonely Planet was closed. On the way back to the room Rob got a henna tattoo on his arm. It was done by a really charming your art student that had designed the tattoo herself. It's a good thing he has big arms, because he picked a big tat. Once it was finished he couldnâ€™t touch it for at least 30 minutes. We headed back to the room and Rob read more of "A Little History of the World" to me. This is a great book, easy read, and reminds you about the major events in human history. It's a page turner. This was a great end to another interesting day.