Lebanon, July 8, 2007
Bronzed, built, and way hotter than you
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.
A boom and crash for shockingly, there is decent surf on the Mediterranean today. Waves strong enough to knock you down, or if you have the skills, body surf. If you have cash, a jet ski awaits you, and you can scream out through the waders with horsepower.
For me the choice was easy. After a warm-up run through the banana grove to the town that climbs the hill away from the sea, I returned to surf the swells that called to me. Out I swam for a right good beating by the humbling sea.
I skipped the pool bar for a beach chair by the sea. The pool looked a little too packed with sweaty drunk people who weren't leaving to pee, and the beach chair offered a rare and appreciated luxury, the cabana boy. Attentive and efficient, drinks, food, even friends were found and delivered.
What wasn't delivered, for it was abundant, is a very relaxed view towards self and body. Unlike American beaches, and defiantly very unlike a Friday in Alexandria, here, women and men walked around with pride, not shyness, no matter their body type. Jiggly women who would be hiding in the USA were up and dancing at the pool bar. Men with sweater-level body hair and beer bellies didn't blink when disrobing to swim shorts.
I don't know if it is a youth spent on the beach or a greater acceptance of bodies through a European influence, but either way it was refreshing, especially for a 34 year old guy with a few pounds too many and a few hairs too few.
And now with the music pumping hard in the background, its time to abandon the laptop and return to the drinks..