The day before I left for Beirut (to watch the Chili Peppers) my boss asked me if my visa was a single or multi-entry, as they needed me to head to Beirut the following weekend for a meeting.
Unfortunately it was only a single entry, however it’s easy for me to get a visa so the day I got back from Beirut, I went straight back to the embassy and applied for visa #2. Two days later I had passport in hand, a brand new Mac computer (courtesy of work, thanks!!) and I headed off to Beirut for some client meetings.
We left on Wednesday afternoon straight from work – flying direct on Emirates this time – and once we got to Beirut we were pretty eager to have a quiet beer or 2 and then head straight to bed.
The hotel – Phoenicia – was out of this world!!!! It’s a bit misconceiving when you arrive as it’s swarming with police and there’s a metal detector to walk through – complete with bag scanner – before you get into the hotel. But once you’re in, you’re wowed by the opulence of the hotel. There is a grand staircase, with a massive chandelier hanging above, that welcomes you. And then the main lobby is grand, open, and tastefully decorated with fresh flower arrangements in tall vases, and a water feature in the middle of it all.
The weekend itself was a LOT quieter than the one previously, with client meetings taking place on Thursday and Friday, and I then flew home on Saturday morning.
But the time spent there was in good company, with enjoyable, fanciful dinners, and a visit to Skybar, which is meant to be one of the top 5 bars in the world.
The Pope was set to visit over the weekend – he flew in on Friday, and in front of the Four Seasons hotel (5 minute walk from Phoenicia) they were setting up a huge stage where he was to speak on Saturday night. They were expecting 500,000 people – yes, half a million!!!! I’m not sure how many they got though.
One thing I forgot to mention in my last post was the craziness of drivers in Beirut – and they say that Dubai is bad! These guys have no idea what “lanes” on a road are, nor what they’re meant to be used for. 2-lane roads become at least 3. And my best was all of the motorbike riders (and scooters!) drive around without helmets on! The only person on a bike that I saw wearing a helmet was a DHL delivery guy. Scary!