Our Window on Beirut

Beirut Panorama

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.

Exterior of La CiteBe 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.

The Entryway to our Abode!This 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 recent 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 left of the mirror is our kitchen/dining room area, the next stop on our tour.

Our Kitchen/Dining Room, Set For a Dinner PartyThis 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. To 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!


Closeup of the Dining AreaHere is a closer view of the dining room area. Although a bit cozy, six people can fit around this table for a meal. As you can see in the background, the full-length balcony affords a good view of Beirut!

The BedroomImmediately 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 closets to the left of the picture, and a second small balcony which opens at the foot of the bed. The pillows are local handicrafts, while the rug is another of our Syrian purchases. The best thing about the bedroom is that the curtains 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.


The Bathroom/ShowerOne door down from the bedroom on the same side of the hall is one of the two 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 entire bathroom is done in ceramic tile, and has room for about 1/4 of the items the average westerner would keep in their bathroom.




Living Room View 1Directly 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 closet and the second bathroom. At the bottom of the L you can see the computer area, replete with Tracy's new iMac, and also the shelf with our stereo. Just out of view in that corner area is our "mini" home theater, a TV/VCR with surround sound. Unfortunately, living in an apartment does not allow to enjoy the full effect of this theater very often. Like the dining room, the living room has a large sliding glass door opening onto the balcony, providing a great view of the city below.

Living Room View #2Looking 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 had the couch made at the same place we purchased the mirror. To the left is 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 give the place a more airy look.


Balcony at NightHere is a view looking from the living room side of the balcony toward the kitchen. The balcony contains a small a table, which we have covered with a Syrian design table cloth. Syria, by the way, seems to be the table cloth center 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 inexpensive) 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.

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