“On beaches in Europe versus beaches in Lebanon”

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Siestke, July 2010


On beaches in Lebanon versus beaches in Europe
May 16, 2010 – Original Link

I went lounging at Lazy B. today. It’s one of the southern beaches (i.e. beaches south of Beirut). Going to the beach in Lebanon is definitely a different experience than in Europe. More relaxing, I’d say. 

In Europe, be it France, or Holland, or Belgium, you’ve got to park your car on one of those massive parking lots some 2 kilometers behind the dunes, and then slug all the way up the dune and down again, through the sand, stacked like a packing mule. Like a packing mule, because you’ve got to haul all your gear in one shot. The beach umbrella, the beach chairs, the towels, the ice box, the inflatable boat, the drinks, the wind screen, the sun screen, you name it.

There is nothing at the beach, so you either carry it yourself, or you’re sitting in the sand. And for every bit of food, or drink, if you haven’t brought it along yourself, you need to slug all the way back, over the dune, back to the lot, where the food stalls are.

If you’re not an experienced sun bather, and you arrive at low tide, you will probably have set up shop right on the shore line. Subsequently, all your stuff gets washed away while you are somewhere in the surf, much to the amusement of beach goers who have placed their stuff right under the dunes.

If you need to go to the bathroom, back over the dunes you go, and you have to stand in line with another 20 ladies for a not-so-clean toilet without toilet paper (of course).

And then, at the end of the day, you’ve got to repeat the whole process and drag your stuff, sandy, oily, sweaty and all, back to the car. There is no shower, or just one on top of the dunes, that you have to share with the other 5000 people that went to the beach that day. No changing rooms either. And you arrive home, sweaty, greasy, sandy, dead-dead tired, and totally exhausted. I used to leave the beach early, because 1) I did not want to get stuck in a 2-hour long traffic jam, and 2) I’d be so stressed out from going to the beach that I felt I needed the time to recuperate at home before being able to go back to work on Monday.

I was contemplating over that, while I lay at the beach in Lebanon. Here we do things slightly differently. Granted, we do not have dunes, nor a tide.

But here we drive to the beach, and give our car to the valet parking, while at the entrance a gentleman takes your bags down to the beach. You pick a spot, and another guy gets you some lounge chairs and a little table. A third guy brings a couple of umbrellas and a little waste basket. And then the waiter asks you if you’d like to order something. Sure, we’ll have a beer. Lunch? No, later maybe. There’s an open-air shower as you get out of the sea, or would you prefer the pool? No problem. There are changing rooms, mirrors everywhere, lovely clean toilets, a lounge with beds, and a couple of life guards who make sure your kids don’t drown.

You want to move to a place under the thatched roof? No problem. The men come out and move your stuff.

And thus you lazily lounge your Sunday away, hence the name; Lazy B. But there’s like another 20 more beaches down that stretch of coast, all with pretty much the same amenities, or even more up-scale.

At the end of the day, you walk back up the board walk (made for you because walking in the sand is so tedious and tiresome), the valet brings you your car, and home you go. And if you’re really disgusting, at home, you let the maid empty your car. Mine’s off on Sunday, so I’ve got to do that myself.

Definitely more relaxing than going to the beach in Europe, I’d say. And if you’re going to come up with the argument that at least beaches in Europe are free, well, I guess you haven’t paid those parking fees!