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Dangerously short skirts; expensive cars; fine-dining restaurants; a bustling Corniche; and a basket full of angry politicians and followers… welcome to Beirut.
October 21, 2009 4:45 by Dana El Baltaji
But while the city boasts an impressive list of fine-dining restaurants, you shouldn’t miss out on indulging on grilled corn on the Corniche, or a manakeesh at Faisal - a bakery with branches throughout Beirut, including Bliss Street – or a plate of mlokhia and rice at Le Chef in Gemayzeh. Aside from tasty treats, a visit to Beirut’s low-key eateries gives visitors a chance to experience one of the residents’ favorite past-times: arguing.
Most Beirutis, have something to argue about. In fact, this is a city where everyone has an opinion about everything, and is keen on letting you – and anyone else within earshot – hear it. Everyone’s a politician, a social expert and problem solver, and is eager to let others, especially foreigners, know his or her side of the story.
And there are many, many sides of the story.
A word of advice: don’t talk politics. Not all Beirutis can handle a frank political discussion.
Otherwise, you’ll find the Lebanese wonderfully warm and hospitable. It isn’t uncommon for foreigners to visit Gemayzeh, an up-and-coming neighborhood, and strike up friendships with random Beirutis of all ages and religious backgrounds.
The street, which boasts over 30 bars including Dragon Fly and restaurant/bar Bread, lures crowds from all over the city. And true to Beirut’s form, it attracts a number of high-pitched, scantily-clad Lebanese women who strut along Gemayzeh’s once-quiet streets in stilettos made for suicidal catwalk models.
And swaggering alongside Beirut’s hotties are their misguided stallions, who think no one will notice a carefully crafted comb-over, and that the more money they spend, the more posh they are. It’s a trend that guarantees the success of over-the-top venues such as Crystal in Ashrafieh and Sky Bar located on the roof of a waterfront exhibition center called BIEL.