It's Beittedine, not Betadine

Beirut Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 32 › view all entries
View of the Chouf Mountains.

 

Early Start

I woke at about 4:30am due to my body clock being on Colombo time (2.5 hours earlier).  I messed around until about 7am and took a sustaining breakfast of fuul at a nearby cafe ... the Lebanese version here is different from the Yemeni.  For a start, the broadbeans are mixed with chickpeas ... and it is more flavourful due to the spices, lemon and lots of garlic.  Also the beans are whole rather than mashed.

Beittedine and its Festival

I took a bus to Beittedine about an hour south-east in the Chouf Mountains.  Using public transport gave me a better taste of Lebanon because the last two times (with two and four people respectively), we had the economy of scale of using a taxi everywhere.

Beittedine with the setup for the Festival.
  The downside was that the bus dropped me out-of-town from Beittedine and I had to walk in.  Ggrrr!  But it was much cheaper than a shared-taxi.

Beittedine is a castle built by an Ottoman-appointed governor about 200 years ago.  It was an impressive residence but disappointment set in when I realised that I’d miss the Beittedine Festival ... and it was also its 25th anniversary.

The Beittedine Festival brings together an eclectic mix of musical performances over July/August each year ... both Arab (eg. Fairuz and Om Kalthum) and non-Arab (eg. Elton John, Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo).  As for Shakira ... she’s both!

Actually I could go to a performance by Pink Martini tonight but I had never heard of them before.  The only performance that I knew was Il Divo, but I should be in Hama, Syria on the day of their performance.

... not Betadine.
 

I made a brief stop at the picturesque village of Deir al Qamr on the way back.  How?  Err ... I hitched.  A van of army guys picked me up but they were moonlighting as a shared-taxi service at the same time, so there was a small payment due at the end of the short ride.

Mass Poisoning by Carbon Monoxide

From Deir al Qamr, I took a shared taxi back to Beirut.  All was uneventful until when we approached Beirut.  The traffic on the southern motorway was chocka!  I don’t know why!?  It was like someone had spread a vicious rumour that the southern neighbour was having a bad hair day and it was best to evacuate to the north!

It got worse when we got into a long tunnel underneath Beirut International Airport.

Some of the performances this year.
  Imagine if a few drivers passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning and further choked the tunnel ... it would have a domino effect ... we’d all die in the tunnel together, no?

Soccer Fever Knows No Bounds!

I hopped off the taxi in the Beirut Central District re-development area to find that it has expanded substantially since my previous visit.  There’s now a souk-style mall in addition to the reconstructed shops and cafes.  Very impressive!

Once it had cooled down in the the evening (it is about 32 degC and a bit humid), I took a 1.5 hour walk (each way) to Manara Lighthouse where there is a an outdoor restaurant by the sea.  One can watch the waves lapping against the rocks or big jets doing their final approach into the airport.

In the main courtyard of Beittedine.
 

It became apparent that Germany had defeated Argentina in the World Cup.  Cars and bikes with people hanging off them were waving the German flag and chanting "Allemania" (Arabic for Germany).  It wasn't just an excuse to party ... soccer-fever knows no boundaries ... there was a woman all dressed in black with a black headscarf with two German flags painted on her cheeks!

Toilet Hygiene 101 for Men

While at Manara Palace I needed to use the loo ... the urinal ... it was interesting to note that each one was equipped with a hand held mini-shower nozzle (called a hand bidet in some countries when installed next to a toilet bowl).  I believe it is to enable people to wash afterwards as it is a religious requirement!

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
View of the Chouf Mountains.
View of the Chouf Mountains.
Beittedine with the setup for the …
Beittedine with the setup for the…
... not Betadine.
... not Betadine.
Some of the performances this year.
Some of the performances this year.
In the main courtyard of Beittedin…
In the main courtyard of Beittedi…
In the main courtyard of Beittedin…
In the main courtyard of Beittedi…
In the main courtyard of Beittedin…
In the main courtyard of Beittedi…
A trickle fountain prevents eavesd…
A trickle fountain prevents eaves…
One of the halls.
One of the halls.
Nice chandelier.
Nice chandelier.
Ceiling in the hammam.
Ceiling in the hammam.
The only time Ill get a view from…
The only time I'll get a view fro…
At Deir al Qamar; pretty village. …
At Deir al Qamar; pretty village.…
At Deir al Qamar; pretty village. …
At Deir al Qamar; pretty village.…
Standstill under the airport runwa…
Standstill under the airport runw…
Pending restoration at Beiruts Ce…
Pending restoration at Beirut's C…
New mall (souk) since my last visi…
New mall (souk) since my last vis…
The Beirut Central District (BCD) …
The Beirut Central District (BCD)…
The Beirut Central District (BCD) …
The Beirut Central District (BCD)…
The former Holiday Inn still lies …
The former Holiday Inn still lies…
Fishing on the Corniche.
Fishing on the Corniche.
On the Corniche.
On the Corniche.
Fishing on the Corniche.
Fishing on the Corniche.
On the Corniche.  Handbag bread.  …
On the Corniche. Handbag bread. …
On the Corniche.
On the Corniche.
Beach club ... as theyre called. …
Beach club ... as they're called.…
Celebrating the German victory.
Celebrating the German victory.
Celebrating the German victory.
Celebrating the German victory.
Soccer fever knows no boundaries.
Soccer fever knows no boundaries.
Soccer fever knows no boundaries.
Soccer fever knows no boundaries.
Soccer fever knows no boundaries; …
Soccer fever knows no boundaries;…
Fishing at Manara Lighthouse.
Fishing at Manara Lighthouse.
Fishing at Manara Lighthouse.
Fishing at Manara Lighthouse.
Restaurant at Manara Lighthouse.
Restaurant at Manara Lighthouse.
Restaurant at Manara Lighthouse.
Restaurant at Manara Lighthouse.
The celebration went on for about …
The celebration went on for about…
At Luna Park; hop on to see the sl…
At Luna Park; hop on to see the s…
The changing face of downtown Beir…
The changing face of downtown Bei…
Beirut
photo by: vulindlela