Sunday, October 14, 2012

Heavy Heart

I can't believe I have to leave Beirut tomorrow morning. It's been a marvellous R&R, full of good friends, good food, good shopping and good times all round. 

I had 24 hours by myself before Ingebjorg arrived, and I got deliciously lost in Achrafieh (the fancy suburb we're staying in) and thankfully also managed to find my way back home to the funky little studio we'd booked. The long awaited Carly/Ingebjorg reunion was delightful and we spent our first day together strolling around Hamra. There's always plenty of interesting grafitti around the place: 
We spent Friday night and Saturday brunch with Oli and Sara and met their adorable little boy, who has the cheekiest little grin. It was great to catch up with them and find out all their news from the past 2+ years. Our old work friends Chadi and Nicole came down from Tripoli on Saturday evening, and we had a stunning sunset to enjoy with our Almazas.
Of course we missed Yassmin terribly at our reunion, so we took a bunch of photos like this to send to her:

Sunday took us to Lazy B, the most relaxing spot in Lebanon, for a day at the beach. The water was warm, the shade was ample and I had a fantastic book to read and I couldn't keep the smile off my face. 
Very smiley. 
On our night out with Chadi and Nicole we'd discovered a place called February 30. It has hands down the funkiest, most original decor I've ever seen. Yes, you are seeing that right - it's a bar stool that's a swing. 
And fire hydrant, moped, cooking pot and water bottle bar stools as well. I'd planned to go back there on my own in the daytime to better photograph the place, but unfortunately my camera died (RIP Canon) so I didn't get the great shots of the upside-down table and chairs mounted on the ceiling, or the coat hanger light bulbs that ran above the bar. 
Ingebjorg and I spent the next couple of days wandering around various neighbourhoods, checking out new bookstores and cafes and generally soaking up all the Beirut has to offer. She sadly left me on Tuesday night, so I've spent the past few days wandering around by myself, working on my novel (it's up to 20,000 words now!) and taking crappy instagram-esque shots with my stupid 'smart' phone. 

Ingebjorg had a friend who is in town for a month studying Arabic and introduced us, and it's been lovely to have a friend to go out to dinner with in the evenings. The dinner for one concept isn't really understood here, so I've been really happy to have her around to save me that embarrassment!

But now, as I sip on an Almaza, it's almost time to say goodbye. There's time for one last pizza at Marguerita's, and one last mojito at Kayan (my new favourite bar in Gemmayze). I didn't do as much shopping as I thought I would, well I've got some excellent birthday and Christmas presents sorted, but I've had such a great time. It doesn't feel like it was over two years ago that I left, and hopefully I won't have to wait that long to come back again.

Thanks Beirut for being the perfect place to reunite, unwind, dress up, dress down, eat, drink and be merry.

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