Fall Seven Times and Stand Up Eight

Fall seven times and stand up eight – Japanese proverb

So yesterday was a very mixed bundle. Since, as will soon become apparent, the number seven was key, I’ll start by giving seven examples of the emotional roller coaster ride I went on in the space of a day.

1) The day began terribly. Everitte and I finally made it to the Indian Embassy, after two mornings spent trying to find it last week and failing miserably, only to be told that they would not issue us with a tourist visa for our trip, which is in less than a month, because we don’t have residency permits.

2) We came home and spent several hours looking on the internet for possible solutions, stressed because we had already spent over $300 each on non-refundable flights and apparently shipping passports across international borders to get visas elsewhere is very difficult and possibly illegal. I was running late for my internship at the newspaper by this point, and had an article due in a few hours, and ended up screaming at poor Everitte like a demented harpy-woman, which unsurprisingly lead to a fight. It was raining and life seemed like too much hard work. Continue reading

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Beirut Property: from Student Accommodation to Solidere

Beirut’s property boom

My experience hunting for someone to live in Beirut left me very curious about property prices in the city, which seemed to be fairly high in comparision with the average income. After meeting several new Lebanese friends thanks to couchsurfing, a site which seems to attract friendly and interesting people, I found the conversation kept coming back to the expense of living in Beirut and in particular to Downtown, the district in central Beirut which was almost completely destroyed during the civil war, and subsequently rebuilt under the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Everybody I talked to had something different to add and a slightly different viewpoint on life in Beirut and the politics of property ownsership. When it comes to the topic of modern Beirut, and particularly the controversial Downtown district, there are a thousand different opinions, facts and rumours in circulation and everybody has his or her own personal viewpoint. Continue reading