Beirut - Walking around

After all the driving on Monday I thought it would be a good change to be more on my feet on Tuesday.

First I walked about 10 minutes to take a dance lesson. Yes, my hotel is really conveniently located!
I had booked classes with Helena Cremona, my teacher here. I like her lively style of dancing and it always makes me smile when she shows me the steps of the choreography. I had sent her a piece of music that I like and she made a dance for me of which I learned the first part.

On the way back I first stopped at a hairdresser to get a hair wash and blow dry. It's really cheap here, not worth doing it myself! And it looks better when a professional does it anyway :-)

Then I had a shwarma sandwich while sitting at a little table by the street. I like this neighbourhood. Most buildings have seen better times, it's true. But the area somehow has a nice feeling to it, almost like a village. There are little shops all along the streets where you can buy EVERYTHING you might need: picture frames, mobile phones, coffins, brooms, food, washing mashines, medicine, there's even a tent maker. You can get your hair done or your car fixed...

After a short break at the hotel I walked into town, passing by all the trendy new bars and restaurant in this part of Beirut which is called Gemmayze. I tried to walk in the shadow as much as possible because it was very hot in the sun.

Unfortunately I got some blisters on the left foot. So when I arrived downtown, all I wanted was to put on different shoes! Always a good excuse to buy new ones:-)
I got flat sandals with a big black flower on them, covered with crystals. It definitely was a good choice. Together with the rest of my styling I apparently looked very Lebanese, all the shop assistants spoke to me in Arabic!

The standard greeting here is Bonjour / Bonsoir. From there, I just try whatever I feel like, either French or English. Many people here speak both. Sometimes they even change between the two from one sentence to the next.

Anyway, I went to many shops - also because I had to check out the new souks, which are basically a shopping mall with mostly Western brands, some of them rather expensive.

I found another nice pair of shoes there that were on sale, yay! Everything there was shiny, pretty and new. Beirut has so many faces, you really can't just take one picture and say THIS is what it looks like!

This was also obvious when I continued walking towards Hamra street. I passed by an area that is mostly still under construction.

Hamra is a classical shopping street that also has affordable brands and many different shops.
By then I had been walking for hours, it was getting dark and after a short rest in a cafe I decided to go back to the hotel to get ready for the evening.

Zaher picked me up and after some more driving around we went to the milonga. It wasn't very crowded, maybe 20 people there.
But I found a new addition to my Tango Hall of Fame. An American called Sam who has been dancing "all his life" and it shows. He made me feel like the queen of tango!
I didn't dance much otherwise, but I had Zaher to talk to as well. Gotta keep all the guys happy...