Friday, October 2, 2009

I'm in Beirut, Lebanon Man!


1945 (local time)

*sigh* Today and yesterday were, I think pretty big! Yesterday I woke up at 645 in the morning so I could have a shower and get everything organised because today, we are going to Beirut, Lebanon! From what we have read about the border crossing its generally pretty easy, get a stamp and get out! No worries... well that’s what we thought!

So we rocked up at the local bus station, only to be confronted with about 30 to 40 Syrian blokes yelling and screaming at the ticket office! The only way that we were going to be able to get a ticket to Beirut Lebanon, was too join them in this frenzy that felt I was in a mosh again. Anyway, I eventually was able to force my way in and pretty much throw 1500 Syrian Pounds at her that got us 3 tickets!

What was quite funny, was that I muscled infront of some Syrian guys who gave me dirty looks, but when we were trying to figure out where to go next, I think that I gained a some respect of them, because they became mighty helpful.

So we got on the bus, and it set off, it drove for about 1 hour to the Syrian Exit border, we got our stamp quite quickly but once we got it, we had to wait for about 3 – 4 hours whilst all the Syrian’s got their exit stamp.

The way they do things over here, is a lot different to how they do things in Australia. For example, in Australia, if there are 100 people waiting to be served. We generally either take a number then take a seat, or we stand behind one another patiently waiting to be served also known as a queue. Well, in Syria and almost all of the middle east, what starts off as a queue turns into everyone just rush to the front, push past people and do anything possible so I can be served next. Well, unfortunately that doesn’t go down too well when there are over 100 blokes pushing one another! So this is the reason why it takes the Syrian so long to be served!

Anyway so we waited and waited and waited, 3 hours went past! Well a couple of young Syrian blokes that helped us out a few times, took my hand and we sat against the front of the stationary bus. After 15 minutes of Ahmed (one of the boys) wearing my glasses and looking through my camera like a T.V screen, more and more Syrian’s started crowding around to see what was going on.

Greg snuck outside and took a photo... there were 18 Syrian blokes crowded around me just looking... I defiantly felt the centre of attention. When Greg came out, they loved his hair, so more and more Syrians started coming up. We had a photo taken a dozen times it was unbelievable!

Eventually the bus SLOWLY set off to the Duty Free section aka ‘The Dead Zone’ we tried to have a bite to eat, but it was hard because again we were surrounded by the Syrians.

We then made it too the Lebanon Entry border, from what we had read in the good ‘ol Lonely Planet and on several other Websites about Lebanon Visa’s it stated that ‘there was no entry fee’ but... it was a different story when we arrived. 25,000 Lebanon Lira, “Great” we sighed.

So we wandered down with all our bags to the closest ATM I tried to withdraw some money first, but it denied me. Luckily Greg’s card worked so he was able to lend me the money for the Visa.

We paid the money and got the stamp in under 30 minutes no worries! I might just add, the stamp is pretty cool J

So we hopped back on the bus again, and once again waited 2 – 3 hours until the bus started moving.

By the time we put all our bags down in Beirut it was 8pm so about 11 hours of travel.

We went down to the supermarket bought some groceries and Greg and Anna cooked up a lovely Spaghetti Bolognese, just what the body ordered!

We met an American guy in our hostel that convinced us that it would be a good idea if we went drinking. So Greg and I were convinced we didn’t even change, just wacked on some deodorant and we set off.

It was a good night to start off with, beers were cheap and the girls were hot, but when it reached 1am in the morning. Everyone left!

We found the next port of call, where we were greeted at the front door.

‘If you come in here, 2 for 1 drinks’

I confirmed ‘so we get one beer, the next will be on the house’

‘yep’ he replied, so we entered on those terms. The hours went buy and we got the bill... $10,000LL ($8.5AUD) a beer! We were furious! We got it sorted, then the English guy that was out with us order another round of shots for us and the bartender. Anyway the total bill came to $50,000LL($50AUD) we went happy, but we paid a bill and we wont be going back there.

We did learn something from this... ALWAYS ASK HOW MUCH SOMETHING IS, DON'T JUST ASSUME.

We assumed the beers would have been the same price as the other place but they were almost 3 times as more!

Never mind, all part of the learning process I reckon!

Today was good, we wandered around the city, we went to Pigeon rock, then we wandered back home past the new and beautiful mosque, an amazing site.

We crashed, and had left over Spaghetti! Tomorrow we have full day so ill be hitting the hay soon to get some good rest!

I mite add as well, I'm saving money at this hotel, because I'm choosing to sleep on the roof, under the stars! I slept well last night, because I kinda passed out, but tonight may be different!

Anyway love ya all!


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