beacon's blog

arabian nights

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


urban encroachment



lux living 


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!)



at the torino express in gemmayzeh


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

gilded glamor 

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). 


record shopping (that's uum kulthum)


canopy of umbrellas in mar mikhael

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.




highlight of the trip: the lebanese people, who are incredible and showed me warmth and humanity wherever i went. this is a country that has been through so much and its citizens still live under threat and uncertainty. it suffered a 15-year-long civil war, currently has no sitting president, and is fending off some serious neighbor problems (syria and israel). despite this, they live and love and party through it all. their hearts are open and their spirits are free. my wish is for everyone to stop watching the news and go visit this land of rainbows. you know how doctors sometimes prescribe psychedelics to patients with anxiety or depression? treatment should be a trip to beirut.

   along the corniche (note the hookah pipe setup!)

view from the corniche



see more of julia’s trip @jpop17

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