Dreams of Beirut

My love for Beirut-much like my love for everything in my life- has strange roots. It is a city that has been in my dreams for over a decade.

sunset over Beirut and Rouche Rocks

2006

The year I started studying at a French speaking University.

The year I started studying Arabic.

The year the war broke out in Lebanon.

corniche around Zaitunay Bay

I remember the television on that day in July, in the University residence where I lived. I watched along with my Lebanese friend as the airport in Beirut was being bombed and destroyed. It was a surreal moment.

I had already decided previously that Beirut-the “Paris of the East”- was the perfect city for me. The famous arial photo of Beirut by Yann Arthus-Bertrand was the screen saver on my computer and no doubt a quote by the famous Lebanese writer and poet, Kahlil Gibran, was my MSN name. My love for Beirut was fuelled by stories from Lebanese and Arab speaking friends who had been there. I loved the Arabic language, I loved the food, I loved every single Lebanese person that I had met.

Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut

I remember clearly on that day in July coming to the realization that a Canadian could never understand what it feels like to grow up in a city like Beirut. A city where the future of the next 24 hours was never certain.

But it was the very circumstances of living in a city like this that gives the people their unique character.

Nijmeh Square in downtown Beirut

I have never met a people so resigned to the disappointments of life.

I have never met a people so ready to party.

view on the sea from the corniche

ย Time moved on

Every year was a year I could have went, but didn’t.

Wars broke out.

in Lebanon and surrounding areas.

Violence.

And the city still stood.

Waiting for me to come.

Beirut Souks

There is a beautiful quote about Beirut by Lebanese-American writer Rabih Alameddine in his book “An Unnecessary Woman.” He writes:

โ€œBeirut is the Elizabeth Taylor of cities: insane, beautiful, falling apart, aging, and forever drama laden. She’ll also marry any infatuated suitor who promises to make her life more comfortable, no matter how inappropriate he is.โ€

A city waiting to be saved.

What woman can’t relate?

Riviera Hotel Beirut

I am happy I am here.

Walking through the streets, I feel everything I wanted to feel and more.

I love the new shiny skyscrapers standing tall beside the shaken rubble,

and the almost lost, yet still standing torn up apartment buildings.

The city is broken and beautiful and still standing so strong.

Much like me.

baklava at Taj Al Moulouk

Oh and the Baklava.

The Baklava is delicious.

 

8 comments on “Dreams of Beirut”

  1. Imran Reply

    Before your Instagram story I would never have considered Beirut a destination for my next family holiday. But the beauty of this city shines through your photos and your posts and I’m seriously considering to take my wife and two daughters there, maybe even in the next few weeks.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to these hidden wonders.

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