Day 9 (July 1) – Beirut National Museum, Beirut Souks, SkyBar

Sunday was very eventful, with trips to the Beirut National Museum, the Beirut Souks, and SkyBar.  You can see photos here.

We began the trip to the Museum with a short documentary on the history of the museum and its restoration during and after the Lebanese Civil War.  The museum itself is quite small and can easily be seen in an hour or two.  Split between two levels, the museum houses pieces found in the country ranging back to the paleolithic period to the present.  The gift shop was quite nice, and I was able to pick up several unique souvenirs for people back home.

Oh hey, I take pretty pictures!

After this, we traveled to Hamra for a lunch at Cafe Hamra.  I was pretty excited about the stop, as it was the only salad bar we encountered on the trip.  I understand how ridiculous that is, but sometimes you really just need romaine and hard boiled eggs.

I am still disappointed I didn’t get western-style breakfast. They had that, too.

Following lunch, we visited the Beirut Souks.  On the former site of the old souks (bazaar-like marketplaces), the new Souks are an open-air mall with every European store you can imagine.  Heavily overpriced to cater to upper class Beirutis and tourists, I was completely disappointed by the experience, hoping for more of an Old Souks/Jbeil vibe.  The one good part about the trip was the purchase of Palestine Online by Miriyam Aouragh, a book I am very sure will help me with my dissertation (even if i did pay a billion dollars for it…).

We then went back to the hotel for homework and sleeping time for a bit before getting fancy for SkyBar.  Apparently SkyBar is a pretty big deal.  I’m just super glad I didn’t have to pay the cover.

I had to stand on a barstool

We all had a good time, but after all the hype about it being the Best. Club. Ever., I was kind of disappointed.  I honestly enjoyed Music Hall far more.  Still, it was definitely part of the cultural experience of visiting Beirut and enjoying its nightlife, and I’m glad we got to go.

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