Earthquakes and tarantulas – Lebanon’s unexpected extras

Last night after nine months in Beirut two unexpected things happened which freaked me out. I am used to worrying about the normal things: money, work deadlines, walking home by myself at night – but then up popped two things I had (perhaps foolishly) not anticipated.

Firstly at ten o’clock last night I was in a fourth floor flat in Gemmayzeh, babysitting and watching a DVD, when I felt the sofa rocking under me. The dog was some way away and couldn’t possibly have moved it and I was alone in the house. I got up and walked around it, trying to work out what had happened, then decided I must have imagined it. I sat back down and a minute later the same thing happened. I realised that the sofa couldn’t moving by itself – which meant that the building must be moving, which meant – earthquake!

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Ringing in the New Year Beirut Style

I welcomed in 2012 in great (if chaotic) style, partying with my family, visiting from England, in the streets of Hamra and enjoying the balmy 18 degree night air. We took some beers and went to wander around the busy streets of Hamra, finishing up in one of our favourite night spots. Known as ‘The Alleyway’, is it a little back street just off Hamra’s main street. Car free and covered on both sides in little bars, all abutting one another, at night the patrons spill out into the alleyway itself which is always filled with a laughing, drinking, singing, chattering crowd. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes of Lebanon’s Nightlife

Beirut’s Nightlife

Five weeks into life in Beirut I got a part-time job doing what I’ve always done to support myself while studying in the UK: bar and waitressing work. After a brief chat with one of the three young owners of Secteur 75, a new late night bar and restaurant in Beirut’s up-and-coming Mar Michael area, I agreed to start training on the bar three nights a week.

Going out in Lebanon is not casual affair. Continue reading