. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: March 23, 1998

Monday, March 23, 1998
Damascus, Syria to Beirut, Lebanon
Syria's FlagLebanon's FlagDamascus's FlagGreater Beirut's Flag

Beirut, Lebanon:
Latitude: 33° 53' 58" North
Longitude: 35° 28' 40" East
Altitude: 274 feet
From Seattle: 8262 miles
Lodging: Hotel - San Lorenzo Hotel

Today's Travel:
Countries: Syria, Lebanon
Regions: Damascus, Greater Beirut
Route: Bus: Damascus - Beirut
Path:Damascus, Syria - Beirut, Lebanon
Linear:56 miles
Weather: Sunny / Rain

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 347
Linear Dist: 96644
Countries Visited: 29
Regions Visited: 112
More stats...
Hotels: 66
Friends / Family: 98
Camping: 38
Hostels: 113
Transit: 32
Beers: 1430

Journal Entry:
Pleasant morning walking around the old town. I went to a book store and bought some riddiculously overpriced novels (two by Steven King, one Anne Rice, and one Anne McCaffrey). It was a beautiful day, and I started to think it would be nice to come over the mountains into Lebanon and into Beirut durring the day instead of in the dark like I'd been planning so I decided to catch an earlier bus. I got to the bus station, bought a ticket, and was on the bus leaving all within about five minutes. It was perfect timing.

Unfortunately just as we crossed the border it started to rain hard, then as we drove through the pass it got very foggy. Luckily the driver was sane and the fog slowed the bus down. So I didn't get to see the mountains because of the fog and rain, and I didn't get to see Beirut because it was dark by the time we arived. Spent at least five minutes bargaining the price of a taxi down to 6,00 lira (he started at 10,000). Had the taxi driver take me to a bank machine to get local currency (ah back to civilization - Syria had no ATMs). He then droped me off at the hotel and I paid him. It wasn't until a couple hours later that I realized the total rookie mistake I'd made. I'd given the driver three 20,000 lira notes instead of 3 2,000 lira notes. Of course the driver didn't point out my mistake (and thus my US$4 taxi ride became US$40). Not the best of starts. I've got to be careful when dealing with a new currency, especially when you're tired. Live and learn...

I found the hotel nice, although expensive. What I'm spending per night here would have paid for a week at the most expensive place I stayed in Syria (no exageration). Aparently none of the cheap hotels survived the war. After getting settled in my room I decided to walk down the stairs from my 5th floor room. On the first floor I had some trouble getting by some of the "options" offered by the hotel - the first floor is a brothel! The other interesting thing was that the stairway is locked between the first and ground floors, looks like you have to take the elevator even in case of fire or power failure (I've already seen one in the couple hours I've been here).

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Beirut
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Lebanon
CIA World Fact Book: Lebanon

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