May 22, 2012

Beirut from the Water

A 6-pack rasta man, he is not

I  have temporarily moved my sailing attempts to Beirut. 6-Pack Rasta man is an awesome instructor, but he’s in Batroun, and Batroun is some 50 kilometers north of Beirut, and thus I get to sail only one day a week, which – apart from being distracted by the 6 pack – does not amount to much in the ‘serious sailor leg’ department. If I continue this way, my plans of sailing around the Mediterranean will materialize somewhere in 2065. 

Rceding hairlines

Beirut is different though; much more business-like than laid-back-Batroun. My sailing partners are serious gentlemen with receding hairlines (including the instructor), or no hair at all, who squeeze the sailing in between business trips and boardroom meetings, and family lunches on Sunday; A far cry from my ‘live-on-the-beach-all-year-long’ rastaman, but I do think I will now be able to concentrate better on the sailing.

Sailing in the Beirut Marina

My first attempt in the Beirut Marine resulted in a capsized boat however (and since I am the one with the camera, there is no documentation of that). The army gets edgy of you move in and out of the port without handing over your ID (where do I stick it?), and there is more traffic on the water. Boats go in and out, divers return from their dives at sea and now there are a couple of incompetent navigators on small lasers in the port that add some extra zest. 

But you do get to see a different side of Beirut. I am used to ‘Beirut the City’; busy streets, the traffic, honking cabs and the yellow color of its buildings. A town that’s a little dirty and seedy and old.
Beirut from the port side however, is totally different. It is all new, fresh and cool and blue and sparkly. No honking horns, but quiet and calm, and waves.

A dive boat coming back from the dive

I am kind of surprised that there aren’t more sail boats in this country. Everyone is into motor boats, but you’ve got wind all year around, 180 kilometers of coast line, and gasoline that sells for 37,000 LBP a tank these days. So why not sail?  For those unfamiliar with this rather illogical phenomenon; gasoline prices are not indicated per liter, but per ‘tank’. And a ‘tank’ equals to 20 liters.

The real deal; this should be me in a couple of years. That is the plan, at least.

What better way to escape the infinite idiots on shore  (I love this lady) who will start a street battle over the most stupid reason, meanwhile doing the dirty work for ‘others’, whoever the others may be. Which brings me to issue that probably only concerns the Dutch. George Michael has been seenpartying around town  (I love the ‘explicit picture’ warning), apparently not hindered at all by the political events up north. A Dutch singer on the other hand, Marco Borsato didn’t know how fast to run to get home again. That’s 1-0 for the Brits, I am afraid.

For the moment however, this is what I deal with :)  

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