Zaven & Zahi
Two of the very influential personalities of journalism and media these days are two Lebanese faces, Zaven Kouyoumjian & Zahi Wehbi.
In the past, talk-show hosts were more of the fatherly image and of elderly stature, and their shows were merely about political issues and usual matters, they also talked more than listened! Then came Zaven!
During his 13 years in the TV business, he has become a tool of revolution; by inviting real people to his talk-show on Future TV, with real problems and first hand experiences, starting from serious matters like globalization, and reaching simple topics like how to cook chicken. He has also shocked viewers around the Arab world with daring topics that were till recently Taboo; sex, adultery, addiction? etc.
Zaven is the son of an Armenian father and an Arab mother, he found that he has a certain style when it comes to interviewing people 10 years ago while working for Reuters in London and New York.
Zahi Wehbi has his own long story that led to him being the man he is today, between a cruel childhood and puberty among echoes of death and destruction during the civil war in Lebanon, Wehbi shaped his rich personality that lead to his stardom.
The love of his country, led him to the Israeli jails while being only 17 years of age, and in those jails the teenager became a mature man, having a clear and strong sense of what freedom really is.
He became a politician, a poet and a TV show host, yet he was and still is simple and strait forward. He respects his guests and his viewers alike and with limited resources he made a simple TV program into an awaited weekly show that is waited for by viewers from around the world.
But what makes Zahi Wehbi a unique man is his following of his dreams, poetry and life.
Beirut at Night
Unfortunately, we were not in Beirut very long. However, the city comes alive in the late afternoon, evenings and at night, when the heat retreats, and people come out on the streets and squares to visit the cafes, bars and restaurants. Of course, the largest concentration of bars, restaurants, and cafes, and the nicest place to be, is along the coastal road near the Sea. We only saw a small portion, but it looked very enticing. Hire a taxi to drive you along the coast road, and then stop anywhere that looks most attractive to you. A round trip taxi shouldn't cost more than about $5 for 20-30 minutes. This will give you a good idea where to go and where to eat. Enjoy.
Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner's Club International are recognized, along with local credit cards such as Investment Credit Card, Cashless Card and Link.
What to Pack for Beirut
Bring an extra bag or two for all the shopping you will engage in Since Lebanon enjoys a summery climate from May to October, pack some light cotton and linen cloths. Don’t forget your bathing suit! If you’re planning on visiting Lebanon during the winter (November to April), it would be advisable to wear warmer cloths (woollens, polo-necks…). We also recommend you bring a coat and scarf.
Don’t forget to pack a couple of smart evening outfits, for dining out in Lebanon can be a very stylish affair! Everything is found in Lebanon's numerous pharmacies and Coops so nothing will not be found there. Again there are development labs everywhere you look so you could bring your digital camera or normal film camera There are no camping grounds found or run in Beirut but if you go up north or down south a range of outdoor activities will be found. The local currency is the Lebanese Pound or Lira (LL or LBP). You can pay in dollars as well.
Notes are in denominations of LL1,000 – LL5,000 – LL10,000 – LL20,000 – LL50,000 – LL100,000.
Coins are in pieces of LL50 – LL100 – LL250 – LL500.
The US Dollar (to date): 1$ = ~ LL1,500
This is one of the most beautiful palaces/large houses in Beirut..with a long history, dating back to 1860, this is one of the most charming places to see whilst you're in Beirut. The complete area around it has been names after this palace...and if you manage to go there and look at its gardens, and the old architecture of the lebanese house, you will truly enjoy it.
A lot of effort was placed to keep this place standing during the different wars that Lebanon went through..but today, it stands beautiful as ever, with the sursock family living there..and sometimes renting the palace and its gardens out to people who wish to make lavish dinners, weddings and parties.
To have a look at Sursock before you go..check out its website.