We’ve been in Beirut for a week and these are our first impressions.
Our 8th floor apartment is nice: two bedrooms, two and a half baths, washer/drier, small kitchen, marble floors with white plastered concrete walls. The furniture is a bit sparse, but quite adequate. There are no rugs and of course nothing is on the walls, so the place echoes. If we had our furniture from home it would be very nice. We do have an obstructed view of the Mediterranean. We see construction sites, tenements and the water. Our building is full of people from ACS.
It’s very hot here. Even the locals say it is as hot as they remember.
The ACS people have been very helpful. We’ve been taken to dinner, and twice shopping for food and household goods in the neighborhood. We like the people we’ve met, most have been here for many years and many have lived most of their adult lives abroad.
The people of Beirut are friendly and we feel very safe. People engage you in conversation. In our neighborhood there are abandoned and destroyed buildings integrated with new construction. It is still a city in repair.
The food is great. Last night the school took all the new staff to a restaurant in the Solidere section of town. It is Ramadan here which means the devout Muslims fast (no food or beverage, even water) from sunrise to sundown. Dinner was an iftar; the feast after sundown. We approximated there were well over 20 dishes served. Really great food.
It is Ramadan here. We do not carry around water during the day or eat on the streets as a way to respect those fasting.
Mike attended the school’s administrative retreat for several days which was held in the mountains east of Beirut. This is rugged but beautiful countryside. The hills were largely covered in parasol pines which produce pine nuts. There is very little coastal plain in Beirut, meaning we climb hills quite often.