mohammed al amin mosque
julia is dizzy from the diversity of sights and sounds in this frenetic, mediterranean-meets-the-near-east capital. famous for its late nights and sunny days see if the "paris of the middle east" lives up to its name.
beirut, the land of rainbows
destination: beirut, lebanon. it's where the arab world goes to let their hair down. it always represented something thrilling and faraway to me.
first impression: it's a place of juxtaposition. it's bombed-out and bullet-ridden buildings alongside luxury high rises and kitschy bars and cafes. it's the islamic call to prayer and church bells. mini skirts and hijabs.
the long-ago unfinished (and eerie) movie theater in the city center
war-torn but beautiful
favorite meal: syrian home cooking that was actually prepared in syria! a friend of mine served me sfiha (flat bread with a ground meat spread) and kibbeh (croquettes filled with cashews) that his mother had sent from damascus to beirut. i had always wanted to see syria but with the conflict, i may never get to...isn't this the next best thing?? it was such a privilege (yazan, thank you and i love you!)
what are you listening to: house music. it’s global and promotes togetherness. you can hear it and experience the oneness anywhere in the world. lately i’m on jacques renault (ny), jimpster (uk) and marc romboy, a dj from germany who i caught at grand factory in beirut. also, visit (virtually or otherwise) radio beirut, a radio station/bar in mar michael. that was a really special spot.
best shopping: there is an antiques bazaar under a bridge called basta market that resells furniture and wares from the wealthiest homes in beirut. i’m talking mother-of-pearl, floor-to-ceiling armoires and 30-pound engraved swords dating back to the ottoman empire. nothing you can carry home in your luggage, though! you basically go to design your "fantasy house."
close-up of the hand of fatima painting at basta market
fuzzy slippers at boutique sara melki
favorite outfit you packed: a black, cocoon-shaped vintage norma kamali jumpsuit. so versatile and i kind of look like a house painter, particularly when i pair it with a headscarf
at basta market
favorite souvenir: i came home with so much music! all sorts of house, traditional middle eastern...everything is happening musically in beirut. uum kulthum, nicknamed “the star of the east,” is indisputably the most adored singer of the arabic world. it was said that she put a 'spell' on her audiences (there is a special nuanced, non-translatable arabic word for this-tarab-to enchant).
must-see: beirut's nightlife is legendary. i danced the night away at the grand factory, a large warehouse where the industrial part of town meets the sea. you have a dazzling panoramic view of the mountains, mediterranean and twinkling city lights.
view from the corniche
see more of julia’s trip @jpop17