Okay. It's finally time I admit it.
Beirut is almost a world class city.
Beirut is no New York, Paris, London, Istanbul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Moscow. But it beats Rome, Singapore, Dubai, Houston, and so many others.
Beirut in the rain is gorgeous; with tinges of Rio de Janeiro on the Mediterranean.
The restaurant scene is getting significantly better incredibly quickly with the arrival of Lutecia in Saifi Village and L'O in Gemmayze. Those stand next to that grand Armenian establishment Mayrig in Gemmayze.
We've got classical architecture, 60s architecture, Soviet-style architecture, and now some of the best modern architects in the world building on our soil.
Our city is vivacious. I love the bustle of West Beirut: the men carrying large objects through the streets, the cars parked on the sidewalk, all the little shops selling manaqeesh and meghli. I love the staid grandeur of Sassine and Tayouni.
The bustle can be a bit too loud at times, but a trip to the mountains always restores inner peace. When the sense of boredom becomes too fierce, there's always a pub awaiting your arrival. Worst comes to worse, Marrouche is open all night long, and there's always people hanging around there.
So, I definitely have to say, I (heart) Beirut. But I'm not sure how much I (heart) Lebanon. It's really hard to (heart) my village in the same way someone (hearts) New York.
Lebanon fills me with anger as much as it makes me happy. Happiness comes with a return to Rafiq Hariri Airport and a trip into the city. Happiness is swinging by a friend's beautiful place in Rabieh. Happiness is found in watching the sociological experiment that is the Lebanese beach. Happiness is found on a plate at Le Chef.
But Lebanon? Hmmm... I'll have to think about it.