Note to self

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Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque Foto: Vitomir Maričić

A 20-minute flight from Cyprus and here we are in Lebanon. Lebanon’s an interesting place: it’s chaotic, but somehow functional. It’s the world in miniature: various religions finding someway to coexist—and at the same time being at the center of the Middle East powder keg. Beirut is expensive as hell. Lebanon really isn’t a budget destination–let’s immediately get that out of the way so we don’t have to kid ourselves.  We spent the night sleeping in the car or next to it. Of course, it’s always possible to find holes in the system.

Foto: Vitomir Maričić

We found a few pizzerias that sold some kind of pizza roll that came to about  1 euro apiece: They’re great. Except that a few days later I got food poisoning and spent the night with a fever and had to go back and forth to the toilet–luckily we had one nearby.

Foto: Vitomir Maričić

Somewhere between the two is an interesting cave—actually it’s an open pit that caught our eye and was one of the reasons we came here. Although it was recently ascended for the first time, it’s already on its way to becoming a real attraction and perhaps even a venue for a new festival. There are a bunch of these formations throughout these hills and it would be a shame if the local climbing and caving scene didn’t get their act together and start to take advantage of this new playground.

Foto: Vitomir Maričić

But regardless of this, they were excellent. We gave up relatively quickly on the otherwise solid food typical of the region, like hummus, falafels and so on. Markets were slightly cheaper, and our cullinary skills are well known for their flexibility.

Despite being very expensive, the place is populated as densely as an anthill. Half the country is populated and the other half is a desert—actually it’s the desert that’s populated.

Baatara gorge sinkhole Foto: Vitomir Maričić

In the spring a waterfall flows through the center of the hole and everything becomes green and looks like a film set straight out of the latest Avatar movie. We kinda missed the season, but the potential is certainly there. The entire canyon is very usable and we hope that the next time we come the whole place will be glistening with anchor points. For those who will follow in our footsteps, look for the Baatara gorge sinkhole.

It’s definitely worth taking a look at the photos on the Internet from the spring season, when the  250-meter waterfall cascades down through it.

Blogger: Vitomir Maričić

*The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of HRT.