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Lebanon, July 11, 2007

Beirut is Open for Business

Or at least real estate business development...

cranes and mosques
Beirut building cranes
If you've been following the news over the last year, you'll know that there's been a bit of trouble in Lebanon like last year's conflict where Israel invaded Southern Lebanon and bombed most of the country in its failed attempt to rescue two Israeli soldiers and quash Hezbollah and the continuing car bombing of government officials like Walid Eido.

With that backdrop you would expect the city of Beirut to be empty of people, its residents abroad or back in rural villages to escape the climate of fear and uncertainty in Lebanon's capitol. This is mostly true, for the downtown shops are empty during the day, and at night many of the city's apartment buildings are dark.

But that does not mean business has stopped, especially the construction industry. All across Beirut, construction cranes spear the sky in testament to the enduring optimism of Lebanese real estate developers. The very same developers who have not dropped office rents in the Solidaire, even increasing them over the past few years despite the political turmoil.

Do they know something that everyone else does not? Or are they, like their American counterparts, awash in low-cost capital that can finance even risky ventures easily? Either way, Beirut is an impressive sight with all the buildings going up.

Not Dubai or Shanghai mind you, but shocking in a city you expect to be deserted by investors and residents alike.

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Lebanon, July 10, 2007

Sweet Views From Park Tower Suites

real estate beirut
Ben and I are impressed
While I don't often have the ultra-luxury experience of the Peninsula Hotel Manila, these days I need not fear a stay at the likes of Hotel Ripcrow. I usually am accommodated at quality hotels like the Nairobi Serena, where the staff are attentive even if the rooms are small.

But on occasion, I luck out. Not with room size, which is nice, or extreme luxury, which is nicer, but in the three hotel qualities I really value: location, outdoor space, and views. Beirut's Part Tower Suites is a case in point.

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Lebanon, July 9, 2007

Sea Doo's Damn the Beach

sea doo beirut
Bad for Beirut beaches
Let's say there is a beautiful sunny beach, a Mediterranean paradise. A beach where the sand is white, the water blue, the sun warm and fresh. Now populate this beach with the best of humanity, people with love and care in their hearts. Let's even put this beach in Lebanon.

Now what would be the best improvements to the beach? What would take it to the next level? How about a pool next to the ocean so you can swim in fresh & clean water. Or how about a bar in that pool, so you can drink while you tan? Or how about lounge chairs and shade umbrellas scattered about green grass and extensive decks? Wouldn't that be grand?

Then why, oh dear God why, does every single beach with such wondrous amenities also offer the scourge of the seas; the Sea Doo? Loud, smelly and an offense to the oceans blue is the Sea Doo and its older cousin the Jet Ski.

Continue reading "Sea Doo's Damn the Beach"

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Lebanon, July 8, 2007

Beirut Beauties Go To The Beach

Beirut Beach
Oceania in full swing
If its summertime in Lebanon, there is only one place to be. The beach. And not just any beach, but the hottest beach clubs on the Mediterranean. Today's fine choice is Oceania.

Nestled on the Lebanese coast just south of Beirut and hidden from the main highway by an endless banana grove, it boasts impressive Middle Eastern beauties from across this fine country.

Beauties who divide the day by the pool bar, where thumping dance tunes overwhelm the slowly inebriating senses as they soak in both booze and pool. Then there is the more staid family pool, itself stocked with parents who keep their looks even with kids. Of course, in the background, the ocean itself beckons with a boom.

Continue reading "Beirut Beauties Go To The Beach"

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Lebanon, July 6, 2007

Super-Styling at Sky Bar

damn hot
Clock-stopping hot!
It's a Friday night in the Paris of the Middle East, and the beauties of Beirut are out in force at the newest hipster hangout; Sky Bar.

Topping an oceanside building, the bar is an open-air rooftop patio of well dressed Middle Eastern jet-set players. Clock-stopping hot women stun the mind with tight skirts and high heels, perched delicately on bar stools, drink in hand. Hot hunks of man drape their gym-chiseled forms over bar tops, flexing as they hydrate.

And then there is my crew:

  • Ben, a tall Australian in need of a tan,
  • Megan, a quick & dry wit from Wales,
  • Ali, an easy-going Lebanese, and
  • Mohsen, a hip Beiruti.
While Ben and I celebrated the first Lebanese bartender who could make a vodka gimlet, Megan experimented with a series of color-themed drinks...

Continue reading "Super-Styling at Sky Bar"

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