Our Window on Beirut
Our home in Beirut was on the 5th floor of La Cite
apartments, located on Rue Sidani about 4 or 5 city blocks from the
Corniche and the Mediterranean Sea. Above is a panorama of our view,
improved since the building that was featured so prominently in the old
picture of the balcony has been torn down, giving us a much better
view.This is where we began our lives as an international school
teaching couple in 1999.
it ever so humble, and it certainly was--a small apartment with an
unreliable old freight elevator, foam furniture and one internet/phone
line for the entire building (that operated at about negative megabytes
per second), this was our home for the first two years of our shared
lives as international school teachers. On the plus side, it was
close to the school, the health club, grocery stores and restaurants.
is a view from the hallway leading into our one-bedroom apartment. The
floors resemble marble, but are actually a polished limestone. The rug
is of Syrian design, and we picked it up at the Hamadiyeh Souk on a
trip to Damascus. The entryway mirror and shelf are made of rattan, and
we picked it up in Ouzaii, a souk-like area in south Beirut. To the
of the mirror is our kitchen/dining room area, the next stop on our
is a view from the entryway, looking into the kitchen. The counter and
shelf unit mark the division between the kitchen and the dining room.
the left of the picture, the counter runs to the wall, and next to the
counter is a full-size refrigerator. Next to the fridge is a sink with
cabinets above and below. Just behind the door is our very small oven,
which runs off a drum of natural gas. To the left of the picture is the
water dispenser, something we couldn't live without in Beirut!
Here is a closer view of
room area. Although a bit cozy, six
people can fit around this table for a meal. As you can see in the
the full-length balcony affords a good view of Beirut!
opposite the kitchen (on the other side of the entryway mirror) is our
bedroom. Decorated on two sides by the omni-present heavy green drapes,
it consists of the bed (two single beds on a larger frame) built-in
to the left of the picture, and a second small balcony which opens at
foot of the bed. The pillows are local handicrafts, while the rug is
of our Syrian purchases. The best thing about the bedroom is that the
make it pitch dark, and it is absolutely free from the street noise and
the constant strains of the muezzins from the three nearby mosques.
door down from the bedroom on the same side of the hall is one of the
bathrooms. As you can see, there is no room for a tub, much to Tracy's
dismay. There is a small shower stall, just visible to the left. The
bathroom is done in ceramic tile, and has room for about 1/4 of the
the average westerner would keep in their bathroom.
across the hall from the bathroom is the living room. It is an
L-shaped affair, and this view is looking down from the top of the "L".
To the left of the plant that is casting a shadow over the room is a
and the second bathroom. At the bottom of the L you can see the
area, replete with Tracy's new iMac, and also the shelf with our
Just out of view in that corner area is our "mini" home theater, a
with surround sound. Unfortunately, living in an apartment does not
to enjoy the full effect of this theater very often. Like the dining
the living room has a large sliding glass door opening onto the
balcony, providing a great view of the city below.
from the bottom end of the "L" you can see the couch, located along the
longest wall of the room. The chair came with the apartment, while we
the couch made at the same place we purchased the mirror. To the left
another yucca plant, this one a bit larger than the one at the entrance
to the room. The plants, the rattan furniture, and the light rug all
the place a more airy look.
is a view looking from the living room side of the balcony toward the
The balcony contains a small a table, which we have covered with a
design table cloth. Syria, by the way, seems to be the table cloth
of the world! Although we seldom have time, one of our favorite leisure
activities is to sit on the balcony with some of the delicious (and
Lebanese wines, discuss the day, while we watch the world go by below
us and marvel at the blueness of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.