Rocking in the Lebanon.... Sitrep.
Bit lazy this morning, had a slight lie in till about 9:15. Opened the door to the room and there was 'little bloke', stood directly outside, presumably in order to assist me in case I was a little shocked at finding him stood there! Exchanged the traditional greeting with him "alwight tweacle" to which you get the usual response of "allllacallacalaccallaccalac", bump knuckles, high five and crack on?
Wandered casually, but purposefully, down the stairs to find him stood at the bottom...."nice one geezzer"..."laca lac"...cheeky wink and head towards the restaurant, whilst trying to figure out what secret temporal worm holes this hotel has got or how fast this guy can actually move?
Had another wander around the perimeter of the Heliopolis site and one last look at the Trilithion. Considered again how the hell whoever put them there managed it, then considered if the old guy at the hotel had played a part in it some how?
Had booked a taxi back to Beirut with the same firm that took us out and bugger me it was only the same driver. Apologised profusely for trying to tip him with 6 pence last time and explained it was all Andrea's fault!
Started the drive back and about a mile from the hotel we come across a Hezbollah convoy coming the other way. All the young fighters are leaning out of the windows of the cars or sat in the back of pickups blasting away quite merrily, in every direction, with their AK 47's. In the passenger seat of one of the cars was a lad who was obviously ..a bit new.. He is cocking his weapon like a man possessed but it's not having any of it (safety on, not cleaned/oiled properly, mag on upside down???). Then 'Bang' one goes off right in our rough direction! 'El Mongo' is happy, as his bang stick is now working, our driver finds his heaviest shoes all of a sudden and hits warp speed, whilst I explain to Andrea that we are quite safe, as I have one of their T shirts?
Big Army presence about today with more check points and patrols. I expertly tell Andrea that they must be reacting to some intelligence received, whilst secretly thinking it's due to some Muppet officer in the ops room who is after promotion and wants to look good in front of his boss?
Our driver decides he doesn't want to take us directly back to Beirut but instead visit some "things" on the way back. He stops at a number of places but just points in the direction he wants us to go .....and so we obligingly wander off...hide for what we consider an appropriate amount of time.. Then walk back to the car and display our pleasure at him having taken us to the 8th wonder of the world.
After a few of these stops we pull up at another one but politely say "pleeeasse just take us to the hotel in Beirut".....to which he seemed genuinely disappointed that we did not want to see his aunts 'used flip flop' collection.
We had booked a 5 star hotel in Beirut with swimming pool, fine dinning and health spa etc. At the desk we sign in and get told the pool is not open for another month, the restaurant is closed and the health spa is still being built....still the view of the war damaged hotel directly behind us kind of made up for that.
The bar girl recommended a restaurant only "two yards" (reality = 3/4 of a mile) from the hotel and we headed there. Walk in and it's laid out exactly like a McDonald's (exactly)....however the food, service, and wine were superb...really superb..
A good day.
Dave Mills, Continental Drift:- 'Rocking In The Lebanon'......complete