Beirut and around - Drive, eat, drive, eat, drive....

After a lot of sleep I felt energized again on Saturday. I first walked into town, stopping by the excavation site of the Roman bath. I really admire the cleverness of the ancient Romans, how they built their baths with floor heating and all.

I also went to have another look at the new shops because I was running out of Summer pants and needed a pair of shorter ones.

Old meets new at the mall:

Then I met up with Sam, the American I had met at the milongas. He came to Beirut for 3 weeks to do business and ended up staying for 5 months because he likes it so much here! He even drives here, something I would not have the courage to do...

But the choices of things to do without a car are limited here so I was glad that he took me for a road trip up North.

We stopped on the way at one of those restaurants by the sea that all have "Beach" in their name. And there actually was a beach even though it was made out of big cobble stones. We had a wonderful lunch there with fresh fish, enjoying the view of the bay.

Our next stop was at a medieval castle called Mussaylha Fort in a valley, built on a big rock. It looked quite impressive, although once we went inside it felt rather small.

Then we drove up to Tripoli where Sam took me to another "castle". It's a restaurant called Le Palace 1881, and they have great pastry. We tried out severeal Western and Lebanese style desserts until we simply couldn't eat any more, we were so stuffed!

On the way back we partly took the old road instead of the highway and saw some of the unfortunate results of modernisation like a big cement plant that ruined the landscape in a formerly nice bay that used to have nice sandy beaches...
We also stopped in Batroun, a village that is apparently well known for its lemonades, so of course we had one.

By the time we arrived back to the nearly constant traffic jams of Jounieh and Beirut it was dark, but not late. We decided that we would go to one of the restaurants that have live music and a dancer, but it was way too early for that since they only start at 11 PM.

So after I changed into evening clothes we strolled up and down Gemmayze, drank something and then got into the car again. We tried to find something in town but one place was totally booked out and the other actually only started at 3:30 AM!

So we headed towards North again to go to a place called Awtar. Unfortunately the directions we had been given were rather unclear. We spent at least half an hour driving back and forth, up and down, asked several people until we finally found it, close to midnight.

The place was quite full already, with about 70% male customers.
The musicians were playing and they had first a male and then a female singer. It was so loud that

it was practically impossible to have a conversation. But the food was absolutely delicious, so we enjoyed that instead.

The dancer came at about 2 AM... Her name was Elissar and she was quite good, I was rather impressed with how fast she could spin! I didn't care too much for her mini skirt costume and all the silicone she had in her breasts... But I guess that's the look of the dancers nowadays.

Here are some short impressions of her show:

We went home at about 3 AM and I just fell into bed to sleep.