January 10, 2009

A Well Kept Secret

In our search for appropriate rollerblade practice areas in Beirut, a rather child-unfriendly city, H. and I came upon this very well-kept-secret place, right in the heart of Beirut. It is so secret, I bet most Beirutis don’t even know of it. That is because it is not public. It is closed to the public, we were the ONLY people there! I kid you not. It is absolute prime stuff for any roller-blader; it is along the sea in downtown, and has smooth concrete. Not a soul in sight. Absolutely deserted, and totally smooth, which is rollerblader heaven. What am I talking about? The marine works of the Beirut Waterfront District. This two-level 1.3 kilometer promenade is absolutely stunning. It may have helped that we had the place to ourselves, sort of like a private promenade. It is on the other side of the former garbage dump, Normandy, which has become a landfill. Eventually it will be opened to the public, but the project is not finished yet.

According to the web site it is a 'defense structure'
Submerged reef as first defense line extending 100 m seawards along the full extent of the Corniche-80 reinforced concrete caissons, each 17.5 m wide, 27.75 m long and 10.5 m high, as second defense line. The superstructure provides two-level promenades over 1.3 km. Backfilling behind them provides a stabilizing bond and a third promenade, 5.5 m above sea level. Design features: seafront construction below 5.5 m allows sea views from the city center; public access right down to the beach; three-level promenade over the caissons.

You may wonder how I stumbled upon that prime promenade. ‘Wasta’, of course. I am not telling you how, because I kind of like it that I have this 1.3 kilometer long seaside promenade to myself. The project is not due until 2024. I reckon that by that time – with this fantastic practicing space - H. should be an Olympic rollerblader. She's got the pose already. When going home, I wanted to take this picture of a plane coming in over Beirut. When I downloaded it, I saw it also has a plane going out. Wow! Am I good or what!

Talking about ‘wasta’; look what I found on the topic.

In the opinion poll on wasta conducted by the Arab Archives Institute back in May 2000 to acknowledge the fundamental problems related to Wasta and the society’s views about it, around 87 per cent of respondents stressed the need to eradicate Wasta because it was one form of corruption, but simultaneously more than 90 per cent believed they would be using it.’ (Source).

You bet ya I am using it. Pier and all.


Kheireddine said...

It is very simple, in my days, it was almost impossible to get a decent job, a promotion, even admission to certain faculties at AUB without a wasta. I beleive it has not changed a bit.

Anonymous said...

...not good, super good! :)
no doubt!

GalXC said...

Found your blog surfing the web and got curious. Been to Beirut myself many times in the nineties and always enjoyed my time over there.
By the way… I loved your story about the Lebanese flasher ;-) He surely remembers not to mess with a Galama, even when in Beirut.
Have a great time, regards.
Michiel Galama