We had the good fortune to hit Lebanon during an unusually strong rainstorm. The boys loved running along the corniche in Beirut, dodging the huge mediterranean waves spitting against the railings.
We hit the science museum. It is housed in a very upscale shopping mall rebuilt after the civil war in the style of the city's old medieval souks.
Then it was off to the mountains for a little skiing. On the way we stopped at the Jeitta Grotto, which was amazing! (but no cameras allowed, not even phones)
We had to hire a special snow taxi because the roads up the mountain were said to be icy. In fact, it took three separate snow taxis: the first couldn't make it. The second got hit by someone else's skidding truck and then the drivers had to get out and argue about it. Then the owner of the hotel came down and got us in his good old subaru. It was like Peru, Vermont, old-style.
This was our first clue that this might not be the gentle family resort I had somehow assumed. We found ourselves perched on a bare cliff in a tiny valley. Everything was closed, and all the guests in this small hotel were in the dining lounge eating fondue and smoking. There was lots of flashy ski outfits and Filipina nannies. The winds were too strong to run the lifts. Undeterred we rented sleds from the hotel shop and spent the last hour of daylight speeding down the sheer hill beside the hotel.
Some of loved being reunited with snow:
Some of us were less enthusiastic:
The next day the sun was out. Thomas and I rented gear and hit the slopes!
Actually though, we found it all a little frustrating. The mountain was kind of overwhelming. And we found that skiing was not as easy as we had remembered.
After lunch, we returned to our trusty sleds:
Here Thomas discussed this run:
On the day we were to return to Beirut the roads were so bad we had to hire snowmobiles to get us and our luggage down from the resort. The boys thought this was cool.
Daddy had to attend the funeral of friend and colleague Anthony Shadid, but the boys and I hung out at a crazy Arab castle next to the airport.
Each room is decorated in the style of a different region. Ours was the "safari suite"
The boys did great, as usual.