So as you could see from my last little update I am in Beirut. I kind of skipped Syria in the blogs but I will get back to it i promise. Yesterday I went on a little trip outside of the city, Lebanon is such a small country that basically the whole thing could be a day or half day trip. I first went to Jeitta Grotto, which is a set of two cave/ caverns that are about half hour (less) from Beirut. You go down this road into the mountain valley that is just so lush and green, such a change from central syria and Jordan. The moutnains where full of trees and then you go through a tunnel and all of the sudden your in a disney land like football field sized (maybe less) cave, with stalagtites (?) and stalagmites everywhere. The should the date for the size of them and only the last few inches was the birth of christ and the bottom was when agriculture begin. It was amazing to walk up and up and just see this huge cavern and from the top you could see down into the lower cavern, which is full of water. When we got down to that one, we got in a boat which takes you to the back, with everything lit up you see all the impressiveness of the cave and the water that is basically as clear as glass and icy. After seeing the caves and really being impressed (i’m pretty hooked on caves now, I might try to see some in the north too) we then bartered with a taxi driver who was probably at least 75, he knew he was basically our only ride back to civilization so he obviously threw out a high price. He was funny because everytime we said no and walked away, he would then come running saying “ok ok” as if he was going to lower it, but then would say the same price again. Later that day we went to Byblos, arguably one of the oldest continually inhabitated cities in the world. On the way their I saw a sign that said “Tannous Car Expo” which made me smile. Byblos was fun to just walk around in and rest, we went for a swim in the sea, saw the harbor, which was one of the most important for thousands of years but is only about 200 feet across, with a bar in front were famous people like Marlin Brando used to have a drink during Beiruts high time.
Today I rented a bike with a friend from Holland who is four months into a 2 year trip around the world. For about $10 you could rent a bike all day which is cheap considering everything else in Beirut is not. We biked the whole thing, cruising down streets dogding cars and having a blast in the process. We saw pidgeon rock, bought a melon and cruised to the corniche where we cut it up, ate it, and then jumped into the Med for a little swim to wash it off. The water was beautiful and clear, luckily all the trash was on the rocks not in the water (only slight sarcasm). We circled the American University where my grandparents taught, saw the students walking around, Rue Bliss street sign, an identical one of which is in my room somewhere that my dad took as a kid. We then went up and saw the Green line, the part that seperate Muslim and Christian beirut. Although bullet holes riddle the cities buildings, the ones on the side streets here, are just torn up, abandoned, falling apart, burnt, blown up, its crazy, then with all the new buildings up around them. I was talking to some guys my age as we got breakfast (zatar on pita, and a cheese on pita grilled, delicious) they where asking a little about us and telling us about the million dollar night life that i’m not going to check out, and then he asked if we had gotten into a fight here. I asked if there were a lot and the other said “not really, bt when they fight, they really fight.” This is a strange city.
Oh and its filled with Ferraris and Porsches and also the old Range Rover Classic which is a family favorite.