Sunday – nearly all the shops are shut. Walk down the Corniche – the road just outside the apt block I’m staying in. Loads of people out – jogging, power walking or just chatting in groups. People set up on the side-walk and on the ‘beach’ (rocks) with plastic chairs, shisha and tea.
Fishermen – boys and men out going for a swim – I want to join but there are no females out there, I’m by myself and I don’t have a swimming costume. Man in camo fatigues with a small fluffy dog. Maureen tells me dogs are new thing as they are considered dirty in Islam. It is now a status symbol to have them.
Two of the areas I walk through are Al Hamra and Ras Beirut. Find me some Arabic kahwa – strong black coffee. It’s muggy and even begins to spit a little – I’m sorry Beirut for bringing British weather. See 2 starbucks, a mac donalds and a crispy crème. Sad. Shops, cafes, everyone speaks english and french although I try a couple words and phrases – shokran, a7wa, laa, na3am.
Internet café – all Beiruti young guys but don’t feel threatened in the least. The odd yell and victory chant (yes it sounds the same the world over) has me looking around to see the whole place is playing what looks like world of warcraft. Yes they are each sitting at their station waging virtual war against each other.
Concert at AUB in the evening – invited by Maureen. So tired having wondered about in circles on own, but really enjoyEinw Symphonie-Cantate(Mendelssohn).
Food: Manoosheh bil jabna wa zatar and dinner lots of things – shwarma, hommos, eggplant but not babaganoush, balloon pitta. And Arak, mmmm. Now all I need to do is remember all the words for this and find someone to go smoke a Narjilah with me.