May 16, 2010

On Beaches in Lebanon versus Beaches in Europe

I went lounging at Lazy B. today. It’s one of the southern beaches (i.e. beaches south of Beirut). Going to the beach in Lebanon is definitely a different experience than in Europe. More relaxing, I’d say.
This particular beach has a sort of lagoon between the beach and the sea,
where you can jump, dive and do back flips

In Europe, be it France, or Holland, or Belgium, you’ve got to park your car on one of those massive parking lots some 2 kilometers behind the dunes, and then slug all the way up the dune and down again, through the sand, stacked like a packing mule.
Like a packing mule, because you’ve got to haul all your gear in one shot. The beach umbrella, the beach chairs, the towels, the ice box, the inflatable boat, the drinks, the wind screen, the sun screen, you name it.
There is nothing at the beach, so you either carry it yourself, or you’re sitting in the sand. And for every bit of food, or drink, if you haven’t brought it along yourself, you need to slug all the way back, over the dune, back to the lot, where the food stalls are.

There’s this relentless energy in kids when they get near water.

If you’re not an experienced sun bather, and you arrive at low tide, you will probably have set up shop right on the shore line. Subsequently, all your stuff gets washed away while you are somewhere in the surf, much to the amusement of beach goers who have placed their stuff right under the dunes.
They have to jump, splash, fall, roll over and dive.

If you need to go to the bathroom, back over the dunes you go, and you have to stand in line with another 20 ladies for a not-so-clean toilet without toilet paper (of course).

Slam dunking sisters is quite popular too (with teenage brothers).

And then, at the end of the day, you’ve got to repeat the whole process and drag your stuff, sandy, oily, sweaty and all, back to the car. There is no shower, or just one on top of the dunes, that you have to share with the other 5000 people that went to the beach that day. No changing rooms either. And you arrive home, sweaty, greasy, sandy, dead-dead tired, and totally exhausted.
I used to leave the beach early, because 1) I did not want to get stuck in a 2-hour long traffic jam, and 2) I’d be so stressed out from going to the beach that I felt I needed the time to recuperate at home before being able to go back to work on Monday.

He hates entertaining his little sister, accept when it involves water.

I was contemplating over that, while I lay at the beach in Lebanon. Here we do things slightly differently. Granted, we do not have dunes, nor a tide.

But here we drive to the beach, and give our car to the valet parking, while at the entrance a gentleman takes your bags down to the beach. You pick a spot, and another guy gets you some lounge chairs and a little table. A third guy brings a couple of umbrellas and a little waste basket. And then the waiter asks you if you’d like to order something. Sure, we’ll have a beer. Lunch? No, later maybe.
There’s an open-air shower as you get out of the sea, or would you prefer the pool? No problem. There are changing rooms, mirrors everywhere, lovely clean toilets, a lounge with beds, and a couple of life guards who make sure your kids don’t drown.

Doing double flips, can’t get enough of those.
You want to move to a place under the thatched roof? No problem. The men come out and move your stuff.

And thus you lazily lounge your Sunday away, hence the name; Lazy B. But there’s like another 20 more beaches down that stretch of coast, all with pretty much the same amenities, or even more up-scale.

At the end of the day, you walk back up the board walk (made for you because walking in the sand is so tedious and tiresome), the valet brings you your car, and home you go. And if you’re really disgusting, at home, you let the maid empty your car. Mine’s off on Sunday, so I’ve got to do that myself.

And the water … oops, what’s this? Uhhhmmm, well. Another beach goer, I guess. I can’t think for the world why I’ would take a picture of him. His 6-pack maybe?

Definitely more relaxing than going to the beach in Europe, I’d say. And if you're going to come up with the argument that at least beaches in Europe are free, well, I guess you haven't paid those parking fees!


Liliane said...

naughty sietske :P

Rami said...

haha I was thinking of saying that beaches are for free in Europe as I was going through your post until I saw your last sentence!

By the way, did you notice any increase on the entrance fee this year?

Marieke said...

There's even free beaches in Lebanon where you park your car for 1000: that's definitely the cheapest option! :P

Anonymous said...

last photo, i think that's a Harley-biker, no? Y.

angie nader said...

this post made me homesick! my whole life i only enjoyed going to the beaches in Lebanon. i hate California beaches! the pacific ocean is sooo cold! there are sharks, and i cant see through the water.
i love the sea...

Anonymous said...

No, too groomed to be a Harley biker, too tan too. My guess he’s a hair dresser or a poodle groomer or something else unglamorous. It is always like that. Pity though. So are you on for the donkeys this year?

Anonymous said...

Great post! very descriptive :). but all this luxury in Lebanon comes with a price for sure. for e.g. in Edde Sand u pay entrance fees of 30,000 lbp (20$)+ valet 5000 (3$)+ and since food and drinks are not allowed and u want to buy a bottle of water (3$)+ a sandwich($10)+ a beer (6$)+fuel to get there (minimum 15$)....that adds up to a lot per beach day,,,,but at least we do leave relaxed and all chilled. yey! i love Lebanon ...
enjoy the summer everyone....

Anonymous said...

Is your son walking on water in that 3rd picture?

Tweety said...

Pangea was my favorite last summer! I want to go back!

archv3nture said...

greetings & smile from indonesia

Anonymous said...

This guy must be very lonely, definitely spending most of his time at the Gym, not surprising, it's another sight of an extreme Lebanon, he deserved this snap shot.
Describing the traffic and the walking distance to get to the beach, my daughters think that in the Netherlands the beach is actually a "pierenbadje in het bos" and the beach/see is only reachable at bad weather. They will definitely be amazed by the beach in Lebanon, let alone the luxury that comes along, I might need more than one bikini, suntan bikini and dressy bikini for the afternoon …, the simple life in the Netherlands could also be appreciated… for a very short while.

Mohamed Atef said...


IDesign Studios said...

Interesting read! Now the last pic, humm, nice ocean view, wait, was there an ocean in there? ; )

Anonymous said...

LOL Belgian beaches?! Dutch beaches?!? Haha, you funny. Go to southern Italy, Sicily, Sardenia, Puglia... and you will see what a real beach is :) 10 time sbetter than the dirty lebanese ones, by the way... and yes, they are free.

Rima Arvidsson said...

oh please stop those lies. lebanese beaches are so dirty. im myself lebanese but i live in europe. comparing lebanon to europe is like comparing billy crawford to bruce springsteen.

sunseeker said...

Lebanese beaches are dirty, crowded and expensive.There is not a single one left untouched. You have a 200km of coast line for 6M people. Check Greece instead 13000km of clean, beautiful and well preserved beaches with amazing nature and clean water.