A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

El rancho libanés

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 4, 2008

Sometimes, serendipity reaches out and hugs you just when life seemed to be getting truly ordinary. Yesterday, a chance encounter with a bit of Dubai PR absolutely made my day – and made me long for my next trip to Lebanon.

Here’s how it began:

The rugged outdoor and colorful life-style of a real cowboy is often glorified in movies and books, and can been seen re-enacted today in many areas of the United States.

Um, yes, although why is a piece from Dubai mentioning this? I wondered.

One would be hard pressed to image however, this authentic reenactment of the Bronco Busters of the wild west, to be located in the east, especially the middle east.

Very true, I thought. Is Dubai creating a Wild West Island?

International travelers can now get a glimpse of good ol’ country boy quintessential living, with real ranch hands and cowboys just outside of sunny Beirut, Lebanon.

HOW ON EARTH DID I MISS THIS PLACE? I thought, eyebrows raised.

The ranch is called, appropriately enough, “El Rancho”, and its website is ElRanchoLebanon.com.

The site, which features animated details like flying geese and a tumbleweed, as well as a soundtrack that seems to feature Woody Guthrie, welcomes visitors with:

For an authentic TexMex experience, set off on a dude ranch escape at El Rancho! Located in the magnificent Ghodras Hill in Keserwan, just forty minutes away from the heart of Beirut and few kilometers up the Casino du Liban,  El Rancho is the ideal place for family vacations, ranch holidays, friends reunions, weddings and birthdays, or just to get away for a Texan day or an under the star wild west evening meal. Meandering to reach beautiful Lebanese scenery in a western breathtaking setting, El Rancho has a great cowboy ambiance, old time saloons and plenty of cowboys and cowgirls ready to serve you at best.

I’m not sure what this dog-sheriff has to do with the ranch, but his image features prominently on the site:

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Apparently recognizing that ranch living is not that familiar to most Lebanese, the site has numerous helpful sub-sections, including “What is a ranch?”.

For those who do not know, A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. El Rancho, however, probably fits more into the site’s definition of a “dude ranch” as one catering to tourists, since in addition to a stables and “high noon” restaurant, it also features a paintball arena. It lists tennis courts and a health club as part of its planned 2010 expansion – following its 2009 additions, which include an Indian village and a “natural pool with bar”.

The planned Indian village, which seems to have been originally scheduled for 2008:

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I also enjoyed reading “What to wear”, which instructs visitors to:

Leave your stiletto heels at home and put your riding or western boots on. It’s the Wild West at El Rancho with cowboy hats and a pair of denim jeans.

I’m not sure how this fashion advice fits with El Rancho’s suggested activities, which include corporate events and weddings. And I personally have a very, very hard time leaving my heels at home for any event, although after my father very kindly polished up my old huntseat riding boots last weekend, I wouldn’t mind taking them out for a trail ride or two.

At any rate, El Rancho is very much on my list of places to visit when I am next in Lebanon.


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