A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

Sunday on the Syrian Beach

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 11, 2008

Sunday is family day in Lebanon, and if you are a foreigner with no family around, it can be a lonely day – especially around lunch-time, when the sounds and sights of extended families gathering for a big meal out or at home are difficult to miss.

As a result, Sunday is a very good day to spend time with one’s family of friends – so I was delighted when M suggested lunch with her and J in Raouche.

The day was beautiful: sunny and warm, a lovely reminder that spring is on its way to the Mediterranean. We ate on the terrace at Petit Cafe, enjoying the blue sky and the waves crashing against the rocks.

After lunch, M suggested a walk on the corniche. Not the Ras Beirut corniche – the corniche in Ramlet el-Baida2, overlooking the rather inappropriately named “White Sands” beach.

I think of it as the Syrian Beach, M said, because who else would go there?

Well, she does have a point. The sands weren’t filthy, but there was quite a lot of debris. And my friend A, who has indeed swum at Ramlet el-Baida2 before (he’s Canadian), got out of the water when he remembered that dead livestock (mostly goats and cattle) tossed overboard from cargo ships tend to wash up there.

The beach had a few determined picnic’ers on it, and the corniche was filled with people out enjoying the sunny afternoon. But we were definitely the ones to look at: three foreigners piling out of a well-tended SUV who spent the first few minutes gawking at an equally well-tended 1975 VW Bug.

All in all, it was a great family Sunday in Beirut 🙂


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