25.5.06

A Tourist In Lebanon

Most of you who came to the last blogger meeting met my friend Kelly. She’s a Canadian who came to Lebanon for a few days. She emailed her folks and friends about her trip and how much she liked kefraya and Mana’eesh, and as it so happened, I’m on the recipients list. I took her permission to republish some of what she wrote. In fact, she sent the emails from another Lebanese blogger’s internet café (points for guessing who, but keep it to yourself ;) ), enjoy her take on the Lebanese experience...

Yesterday we spent the day walking around. We walked down first to the American University where I promptly lost my debit card in the HSBC ATM. I stuck my card in and immediately the screen reset and the computer rebooted (akh ya libnen). Of course my luck being a Friday by the time we got to the bank they told me I wouldn't be able to get the card back until Monday. Thank God I have some American money with me.

Today was a whirlwind of tourist sights. We went first to Harissa where we took a cable car up to see the church and the Mother of Lebanon statue. It was absolutely stunning. From the top we got a birds eye view of the city and coast below. From there we went to Byblos where we saw yet another ruin. We however decided that swimming would be much more fun than walking around and seeing a bunch of "rocks". (We went to Eddé Sands)

Lebanon, or what I have seen of it so far, is beautiful. So mountainous, I can only describe it like being in the bottom of bowl, surrounded by mountains. I know I received at least a dozen funny looks when I said I was coming to Lebanon (even by the guy at the Beirut airport when I said I was coming for tourism) but I tell you, anyone who has an opportunity to come here should. It has everything one would need on a holiday, even a Second Cup!!!

Yesterday we went to Jeita Grotto. Again winding round the mountains, up and up to find the grotto, described as "one of the most impressive pure limestone caves in the world ". It was simultaneously like being under water and in a cave. You walk in and immediately feel like you've walked onto the set up of Superman. The bottom drops to endless depths and if you look up you fear a spike striking you in the skull. As I was not allowed to take pictures, click this link and you'll see what I mean. www.jeitagrotto.com. The boat ride did feel a little Disney-ish, but it had to be done nonetheless.

The last couple days have been amazing. Monday we drove east to Kefraya, and visited a local winery (www.chateaukefraya.com/kefraya1.html). I know I keep harping on it, and Mustapha just can't understand, but the view is spectacular. It's endless mountains and winding roads. The winery is surrounded by trees, mountains and bursting rose bushes. Being in a valley between two mountain ranges it was however, quite windy.

scenery aside, here's something for all you foodies out there. Mustapha found the way to my heart when he introduced me to Marrouche. A walk up window that sells toasted chicken sandwiches smeared with creamed garlic and filled with garlic smacked homemade pickles! Can you get any better than that? I thought I had found heaven when I was introduced to the man'ouche, a pita like sandwich filled with dripping cheese. But now I can die and go to heaven happy with my garlic smacked sandwich!

Now that I have tantalised your mind and your taste buds, I should sign out to enjoy one last man'ouche before I hit the airport and head home.

8 Comments:

At Thursday, May 25, 2006 9:30:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

I always wondered about why foreigners are so interested in Mankouseh!
Very weird…
And does it only exists in Lebanon?

 
At Thursday, May 25, 2006 10:13:00 PM, Blogger linalone said...

Yap I think so, it exists in the neighborhood, bas not with the same taste.
Mustapha, Hopefully, your friend ma sem3it wala infijar... Kenit ghayarit ra2ya. STill I know people from different nationalities, who really enjoyed their stay in Lebanon.
I've read yesterday somewhere that there's around 50000 visa demand from Iranian tourists and 250000 for chinese....

 
At Friday, May 26, 2006 2:11:00 AM, Blogger hillz said...

wala hay2eta 3amraneh hal sayfiyyeh..
I wonder what may happen that would stop all this touristic attack..
do we need an explosion? naaaah!
watch the NEWS, it is sufficient..
we r really creative in ... saying GOODBYE..

 
At Friday, May 26, 2006 12:37:00 PM, Blogger nour said...

glad to know tourists get that impression [i mean it is true, but she just missed the bad part, good anyway] about Lebanon..

 
At Friday, May 26, 2006 2:05:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

the majority of foreigners i know fell in love with lebanon (when you're visiting, what's not to like aslan?) the question is why does that make most Lebanese very surprised?

 
At Friday, May 26, 2006 8:35:00 PM, Blogger Leilouta said...

What is Mankouseh?

 
At Saturday, May 27, 2006 10:14:00 AM, Blogger Kata said...

It's a Lebanese specialty that every ex-pat dreams of in their time of need. It sells for the price of drugs in foreign countries.
Did you know that in Nice it costs 10 euros for 5 little mankousheh from Khebz al Sultan??? I had to hold up the store the other day...

 
At Monday, May 29, 2006 12:31:00 AM, Blogger francois said...

eve....

"the majority of foreigners i know fell in love with lebanon "

the israeliens used to love lebanon (see sharon in the hotel alexandre or in the al bustan) or the syrians ;)

there s a nice joke about it
god created a green country surrounded by deserts, with mountains, water etc..
one of his angels asked him: but you would make our people jealous.

god replied: dont worry ... lebanese will live here

 

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