I leave the comfort and safety of The Mayflower Hotel for what some may consider a dangerous or crazy idea. I am about to go driving in Beirut and through the Lebanese countryside where I am told drivers take road signs as mere suggestions.
This explains why during my journey into the city some “One Way Signed Streets” had two way traffic and some traffic signals did not work as far as some drivers were concerned.
Down Hamra Street I am in the mid-morning traffic rush although it is probably like this most hours on any given day. A few turns here and there and I exit West Beirut to join a highway along the coast that will eventually take me to Tripoli.
Another interesting aspect of Lebanese driving is how a three lane highway becomes four or five lanes by drivers choice topped off with a few honks as the process is accomplished. All fun to watch as I cruise along enjoying the scenery and the sounds of a local radio station.
A stop along the way at Wooden Bakery and I discover a first for me. A pastry named after my country of birth. Surprisingly, I don't have the appetite to eat my homeland. However, I am amused to see it in the form of a fancy chocolate presentation in Lebanon.
Located along the shores of Lebanon this city is recognized as one of the world's oldest inhabited cities. Archeological records have been found here dating back some 8,000 years ago.
After paying a small entrance fee and walking the grounds I can see why here would have been a prime location for our early ancestors. Today with an ocean breeze blowing the temperature is near perfect and the scenery spectacular. I imagine not much has changed here in that regard since about eight millenniums ago.
Although it is now modernized with the latest souvenirs and high fashion items available for sale.
I wonder to myself what a pair of Nike's would have cost 8,000 years ago.
Even with a language barrier there is no wondering the meaning of the sounds I am hearing as I watch two gentlemen play one of the world's oldest board game.
With a last chance to hit an opponent’s checker and coming up with an lucky roll of the dice I think I know the meaning of “Aaatt..”