South Beirut and Photography
By all means visit the Dahiyeh (southern suburbs), it is interesting and the people are as warm and welcoming as anywhere else in Beirut, but do yourself a favour and leave your camera at the hotel. Take note of the following from wiki travel guide to Beirut:
"Photography of military personnel and installations is prohibited. You should also be careful in taking photographs in the Dahiyeh (the southern suburbs), if you don't want to get in contact with Hizbollah. The safest thing is to ask an official nearby for permission, although your request will very likely be turned down. Keep your camera in a purse just for safety. If a Hizbollah official approaches you, seeing your camera, he can't know if you've been taking pictures before that. Should you be taken in for questioning (because of taking pictures), remain calm. It might take a long time getting out of it, but it's highly unlikely that things should escalate or turn ugly. Bottom line: consider not bringing your camera at all. A trip to Dahiyeh is way too interesting and different to be spent getting questionined by the authorities."
never ever hire a car:)))
there are millions of cars on the way all time until night.. people drive as they r in F1..in istanbul we mention about huge traffic but from now i dont:)))
we took taxies to go somewhere.. u should bargain about how much to pay.. (no taximeter) and you must talk to someone about the average before bargain:)
Be careful of taking photographs thru out city of Beirut, especially where military are present, you may want to ask first. It is a wonderful place, but certain areas you want to refrain from photos, bombed areas, military present, etc.
We were in Beirut in March 2006 ---before the recent war.
Whilst walking along the Corniche (sea front promenade) I went to take a photo of the bay. A couple of soldiers were just in my shot.....they weren't happy! Beware!
MALE ONLY: Be WARE!
For those males (kids, guys and men) who have heard so much about Lebanese girls, ladies and women....and those who have watched the beautiful singers, dancers and sex symbols on cable TV's world-wide. Yes, the Lebanese are a very hospitable people..generous, kind and helpful.
HOWEVER, if you would like to break a leg, limb or neck throughout your trip...DO come over with an attitude that you have come to a 'meet/meat' market...and you will get nothing but a WHOLE lot of disappointment and trouble.
In case you insist on this attitude, please check:
- Your embassy website - for immediate evacuation.
- My Warnings and Danger tip - for Hospital Numbers (just in case you're still alive)
Driving in Lebanon
OK..for those who are faint of heart DON'T Drive! Unless you've driven Cairo before :o)
For those who wish to live the Lebanese experience to the fullest...a few rules:
1) There are no rules lol..ok, so no, no it isn't THAT bad..but you have to understand that as a Lebanese ...each person has his/her OWN set of rules...so watch out :o)
2) Green does NOT necessarily mean go...Red does NOT necessarily means stop. Those traffic lights are mere suggestions. Before you go, check that your road is actually clear, and that you don't have a policeman standing in front of you calling out to the traffic on the other lane to go through.
3) Yes, you will see some people going two-way on a one-way street...and no, it does NOT mean that you win if you're going in the correct direction. If you're stuck in such a situation, please assess your opponent - Do they look subborn? aggressive? is it a taxi? If the answer is yes to any of the following...please, reverse your car and let them pass lol
4) Yes, people do talk on their mobiles while driving..its called multi-tasking. Of course, they can also be adjusting their mirror, make-up and radio..but we are a very advanced people so don't worry...just make sure you have insurance :o)
5) Do NOT under any circumstance try to BE Lebanese..it requires serious training, and you should NOT try this at home!
But seriously, new announcements about the application of driving rules and regulations have been announced recently (May 2006), and so, let's hope we live to see the day when driving will be safer in Lebanon.
Place d'Etoile closures
On my 3.5 week, 3 country tour, I visited Beirut twice. It was my starting point and ending point. When I first arrived, the Solidere area was under heavy military presence and Place d'Etoile was completely shut down - no entry allowed.On my final day of my first visit I was told that all the government leaders were holding intense meetings, hence the closure and tight security. I think the day I moved on to Tripoli things may have opened back up. Two weeks later when I returned, the same closures had gone into effect. Apparently they were holding talks yet again. A lot of this has to do with Syria and the assassinations of government leaders since their departure of Lebanon. My guess is this might be something that will occur again, though it seems the government is trying to let things be open during the weekend.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION
In Beirut and the surrounding areas, modern medical care and medicines are widely available. Such facilities are not always available in outlying areas, although no location in the country is more than three hours from the capital. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services, and without such payment may deny service even in emergency cases.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
Some Hospitals around Beirut:
American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC):
Address: Makdissi Street
Hotel Dieu Hospital:
Address: Adib Ishak Street, BVD. Alfred Naccache, Achrafieh, Beirut
Saint George Hospital University medical center:
Address: Rmeil, Youssef Sursock street
Tel: 01-585700; 01-525700
Clinique Dr. Rizk Hospital:
Address: Zahar St., Achrafieh
Address: Ouzai St., Tarik Al-Jadida
P.O. Box: 6301, Beirut
Address: Maamari Street, Ras Beirut
Tel: 01-340626; 03-669911
Address: Airport Ave., Dergham Street
Trad Hospital and Medical Center:
Address: Mexico Street, Fifth Floor, Clemenceau
Tel: 01-341740, 01-369494/5
Fuad Khoury Hospital:
Address: Maktabi Bldg., Abdelaziz Street, Hamra, Beirut
Tel: 01-742140/3/7, 01-348811
Address: Fuad The First Street, Barbir
Tel: 01-652915/6/7/8; 01-652955
Finding particular places can be daunting in Beirut. Streets are not clearly marked here. Even when marked, signs many times will simply note the sector and street number and not necessarily the precise street name. If you are looking for a particular place, you might want to give yourself a little extra time to wander, search, and hopefully find.
The most dangerous part about Beirut is by far the traffic! To say people have a cavalier attitude about it is a gross understatement. Regularly, you will see scooters driving down a street going the wrong way. And not little side streets either. The major ones. Add to that they swerve in and out of the path of oncoming cars and it makes for a unique version of Frogger.
Automobiles are no better. When they come to an intersection, drivers will push their way in front of oncoming traffic and force their way through. I noticed a lot of people will not stop at stop signs either. They will honk their horn or flash their lights and just drive through.
So if you are planning on driving around Beirut...definitely be on the defensive.
It is hard to escape the overwhelming feeling of nervousness about security that pervades Beirut. This is hardly surprising, considering the number of bullet-scarred and bombed-out buildings you see around town--and the monstrous explosion that took the life of former leader Rafiq Hariri is still very visible in an entire blown-out block just east of the St. Georges Marina. Especially downtown, gun-toting security guards patrol the streets, and there are many blocks that are forbidden to cars or parking (and, presumably, car bombs). To get into the ABC Achrafieh shopping mall, I had to stop and open my handbag for inspection, and while I was there two security guards stopped me from taking photographs.
There are still active landmines in Southern Lebanon, I would suggest being very careful if you enter beyond the UN buffer zone if you dare to try to catch a glimse of the Beaufort castle, Khiam prison, or border with Israel (Fatimid's Gate)
Recent bombings and dress code
Well, they have tight security, when you are gettýng around by car you will be stopped (politely) and looked at, but there were (targeted) bombings recently. As a friend of mine put it: "there could be a bomb in that car over there--you just don't know".
The border to Syria ıs closed now that İ am writıng this. İ told a lot of people İ was going to Syria and while some frowned and nagged about it, nobody became hostile. And of course you have never been to Israel, even though the normal people ın Syrıa didn't mınd me speak about my Israeli pals eıther. But they had bombs comıng from Israel ın Lebanon and Beırut, so...
Other than that it's a friendly and tolerant not too touristy place. Don't dress down or you will feel out of it. Unless you are going to more traditional villages there is no need to cover upmore than ýn Europe--actually I did cover up and that made people think I was a terrorist ýn a Chrýstian výllage.
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the most obious hazard in beirut is the traffic, especially when you are traveling on foot. waiting for a gap in the flow as you cross busy roads seems to take for ever.
I usually take the fatalistic approach and saunter across while having eye contact with the driver, trusting that cars will slow down, wich they usually do. NOT RECOMMANDED
Most children are recruited and controlled by bigger beggar mafia like heads, alot of the kids and adults are dependant on drugs
If you must, offer a warm meal instead.
Avoid buying anything off the street too, you never know why their selling and whats in it.
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