One of my favorite activities in the summertime is to grab a book, my headphones, and head to the beach for some much needed quiet time and relaxation.
It’s been my go-to summertime activity for years so I have to say I’m very unpleasantly surprised at the current state of Lebanese beaches and the ridiculous policies and practices they are implementing.
You may have heard a lot about that already, so to sum things up, the beach no longer belongs to the people, but to those in an elite group, willing to pay for an indulgence, rather than having a good time.
(And before you tell me there are some options for public/accessible beaches, I have to note that we are not excellent swimmers and for that reason, we prefer visiting somewhere with a pool where the elements are more controlled.)
We headed to the beach this past weekend after a few weeks of planning- because going to the beach in Lebanon requires a certain level of readiness comparative to preparing for a trip abroad. You have to account for admission prices, rush hour, amenities available, and the general environment before even setting foot in some place.
And after we made it through the admission line and getting our bags searched for any illicit food (because God forbid you eat anything that they’re not overcharging you for at the resort/club/beach), we navigated our way around, trying to find lounge chairs. It took us about 15 minutes, a fight with some random woman, and hints of a sunburn before we finally settled in the most undesirable location: behind palm trees, obstructing the view to the sea.
Great. The day was starting off just great.
I made several observations while we were there, since I wasn’t able to make much progress on my book.
- Admission prices are absolutely unjustified! You have to dedicate a certain budget to enjoy a single day by the pool as it’s not just about entrance fees. Since they took away the food you tried to bring in, you’re left with no other option but to buy the over-priced items they’re offering. With those prices, you could probably go ahead and book a 5 day vacation! And when it comes to who gets admitted where, I recommend you read this excellent post on the equally ridiculous polices some managements are implementing.
- Since when did we have to call the day ahead and reserve lounge chairs in “prime locations?” I don’t even call to reserve in high-end restaurants!
- Could someone explain to me why there are beds? Actual beds? With linens and pillows and everything? I’m pretty sure that’s unsanitary no matter how much they claim it gets cleaned. Of course, please note that if you opt for this option, you have to pay more.
- Look, I understand that reading books is a hobby that a rare few enjoy these days. So I know that I’m the outlier but you don’t have to go all out of your way to prove that to me by blasting songs that are well-suited for the club at only the loudest volume possible. It is as though they are insisting to turn the place into an open air party. I can’t even listen to my own stuff when it’s turned up to 11 because of all the commotion around me. If you want to party, no one’s going to stop you. But could you please go to a club for that?
- On that note, why do these establishments serve Vodka and similar alcoholic drinks? I’m not saying that alcohol should be banned, but drunkenness and bodies of water was never a good idea. Unless you’re openly calling for accidents to happen.
Despite all those observations, I tried to not let it ruin my relaxation day, so I persisted, reading as much as I could, trying to zone out the horrible tracks they were playing, before I finally gave up at around 4 PM. I was also really badly burnt and staying in the sun wasn’t helping.
So we made our way home to have lunch, since we decided against ordering anything there. Instead we collaborated at home and made delicious Angus beef burgers with a spicy cocktail sauce and fries on the side.
It was a great end to an otherwise confusing beach day.