$63 Coffee in Beirut but there is a Catch S06 EP.47 | MIDDLE EAST MOTORCYCLE TOUR
Here you can see a newly constructed mosque, built in the Turkish style. The thing that impresses you the most when you enter the mosque is... The dome of the mosque.
I've just spent 40-45 minutes here in the old town. And to be honest, it's just like a ghost town. So our bill is 90 thousand in Lebanese currency. Or 63 dollars, if dollar is your preferred choice of currency. I hope you can see the figures.... 63 dollars. We are having Molokhia.
It's a typical Lebanese home made dish. It's made from green leaves. That's shwarma and you can see different spices and herbs in it.
Assalam Alekum and Welcome Back to the Channel from Beirut, Lebanon. As you remember from my previous vlog... When I reached here last night, it was totally dark.
There was total power outage in the whole city. And for that reason, neither I could get a sense of the city... And I guess nor did you. Anyways... I had a good night's sleep. My apartment had uninterrupted electricity connection.
I'm feeling quite fresh now. Today we are gonna explore this city. And try and see the life style of an average Lebanese. As per my latest information, Lebanon is going through a very tough economic situation. So, let's go to the down town first and exchange some money.
Dollar is widely accepted here... but... You need Lebanese currency to do any purchase in the shops. So, we are gonna give them dollars, get Lebanese currency in return and do some spending. We'll share more information about the current situation here.
We'll do some sight seeing as well. There's a lot to see here. Let's get going.
It may be a 10 minute ride to the down town. So, it's not too far away from here. Bismillah... In the name of Allah... *Prayer for the journey* I pray to Allah for a safe and memorable day ahead. Even my navigation is searching for our current coordinates right now.
We are passing through a residential area. The cars on the road don't reflect the tight financial situation of the locals. Mercedes... BMW... Audi... Even Range Rover Just name a car and you will find it here. And not just rarely finding those cars on the road. Nothing like that.
Every second or third car here is a luxury car. I don't really understand that after such horrible currency devaluation and shortage of money... how can these people.... And just saw a Corolla.
My first impression tells me that... People here like to spend money on cars. It's really important for them to own a nice and big car. Now this could just be the story of 1% wealthy Lebanese. People who can still afford these cars.
Unlike the rest of them. But despite that... I mean... there's a Mercedes right in front of me. And the car is parked in a way that is sure to block other people's way. Anyways, we have just started the day.
There's still a lot to be seen. That's the thing about motorcycle that you can easily avoid such traffic. You somehow sneak through. The weather is quite pleasant here. Gets slightly warm in sunlight.
But if you are riding, you are sure to feel cool breeze. That's because you are so close to the Mediterranean Sea. And its cool breeze can be felt even on this road. We should be seeing the Mediterranean on our right side now. Take a look. This is the place where a major blast occurred, probably in 2018.
That's the same port where it happened. Let me give you a brief glimpse before I take a turn. We had to go from that side but we are here instead. It was quite a big explosion that killed almost 275 people here. This whole area is damaged because of that incident. Especially the areas closer to ground zero; you see some buildings are still closed.
This used to be the biggest port in Lebanon but it's closed now. Given the present economic condition of the country, I'm not sure if there is any renovation being done. Here you can see a newly constructed mosque, built in the Turkish style. Let's see if it's open. In that case, we'll see it from the inside.
In case it's closed, it must be open during prayer time. This is the downtown. The view from this side suggests that the mosque is closed. This is the biggest mosque in Lebanon and it's called Mohammad Al Amin Mosque. It was built by the funding from ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. There used to be a mosque here before this one but Rafiq Hariri wanted to build a bigger one.
That was the motivation behind the construction of this beautiful mosque. 28% of Lebanese population is Shia Muslim. Similarly, 28% is Sunni Muslim.
The rest of the population is predominantly Christian. This is a Sunni mosque. The thing that impresses you the most when you enter the mosque is...
The dome of the mosque. This 48 meter high dome is a beauty. Blue and red colors are very prominent in the artwork.
Its completely design, especially calligraphy is such a master piece. I'm really loving it. Undoubtedly, it is among the most beautiful mosques that I've ever visited. When you watch it from outside...
In fact, you feel attracted towards this mosque no matter where you are in the down town area. The domes and minarets of the mosque are as high as any other high rise building in the vicinity. Therefore, it's hard to miss it.
As I mentioned earlier, the mosque is built in Turkish architecture. The reason is that the Ottomans ruled the area for such a long time.... Hariri wanted to build a connection to the rich Muslim and Ottoman history of the region. That's why he had it built in that style.
What's that? Looks like a rather strange looking building. It is almost fully covered with bullet marks. There's a church right opposite to it. These old, bullet ridden and fallen buildings go back to the time of civil war in Lebanon.
Lebanon has seen a rather long civil war. It was only after the war ended that things started to improve for Lebanon. But now they are going through an economic crisis. Somehow we find ourselves passing by the mosque once again. That whole space is used for parking. Army vehicles and personnel standing here.
I hope everything is fine. Beirut is also known as the Paris of the Middle East. We are trying to see how things are in this Paris. Now, we can just stop anywhere we like. It gets difficult to get through the traffic at times. I think we should park here somewhere.
I've just spent 40-45 minutes here in the old town. And to be honest, it's just like a ghost town. At least one thing is clear that these buildings look amazing.
They give you the feeling that you are going through a very posh area. But there's no one in there. Nothing is being sold here. Businesses are shut down and buildings are broken down. Some are in the process of removing their stuff from their shops. Right now, I'm sitting in a cafe by some road in downtown.
This is the only cafe that I have found in this whole area. So, I thought to sit here and relax. I've ordered coffee and croissant for myself. Let me show you something interesting regarding the bill.
This is apparently a French cafe by the name of Paul. And the bill is 98 thousand in Lebanese currency. Or 63 dollars... if dollar is your preferred choice of currency.
I hope you can see it from here. That's just the bill for a coffee and a croissant. But... we are not going to give them 63 dollars. Because of the major devaluation of the Lebanese currency. I've got some of my dollars into local currency.
We've got 28 thousand Lebanese pounds for 1 dollar. I've converted 100 dollars. You can see these local currency notes. So, I've got almost 2.8 million Lebanese pounds. The good thing is that each note is of 100 thousand. Otherwise, we would have to carry a heavy load of money.
Anyways, let's just sit here and enjoy our coffee. And then we'll see where to go next. I'm a little lost as in where to go and what to do.
It's a strange sort of feeling... Wherever I go, I see emptiness. We are now going to a beautiful spot by the beach. I saw some pictures of the place and really liked it. The place is known as Pigeon Rocks.
As the name indicates, it's a place with some awesome looking rocks in the water. We'll get to see the beach as well. And visit a different area. This way you'll see a famous tourist spot of Beirut. A piece of advice for those who plan to visit Beirut... Don't ever use your credit card here.
Because if you use, get ready to be shocked when you see the bills. You'll discover that you have been charged expensively. It's economically much better if you pay here in Lebanese currency.
Otherwise, I would have ended up paying 63 dollars for a coffee and a croissant. In Lebanese currency, I only had to pay 6 dollars. You can do the maths. We are on the main road that runs along the beach. Mediterranean is on our right side ....
Whereas, on the left side, you see luxury apartments and expensive hotels. Besides, you will notice that many buildings here are French inspired. Just like many buildings in the city center. That's because Lebanon used to be a French colony.
At the time of division of Lebanon, French were still here. Actually it was greater Syria that was divided... and Lebanon was separated from it. A lot of people here can still speak French.
In fact, French is the second biggest language here after Arabic. It's not uncommon to feel the French accent even if people speak Arabic with you. It must be here. That's the cafe. Looking for some free space here. Bay Rock This place is in fact very beautiful. These are two rocks.
An airplane is just passing by in the background. Let me show you the plane. I think these are called Pigeon rocks because a lot of pigeons live on them. I can see many pigeons here. A rather beautiful location. Near the foot of the rock, you can see a boat with tourists.
I'm not planning on going down there, though. Let me show you the other side as well. There are some cafes on this side. In the background, we can see an amazing looking house on a cliff. A very thrilling looking location though.
Anyways, I think these are very strong cliffs; nothing's gonna happen to them. They don't have loose rocks or anything. Before Covid, Beirut had become a very famous tourist destination.
Unfortunately, due to Covid and the financial crisis, I barely see any tourists here. It's a small traditional Lebanese bakery. It's very famous for its pastries. Also for small pizza type snacks. Let me tell you what I'm talking about.
Take a look. You can see that it has a topping of tomatoes. Other than that, I can't see anything special.
It also has onions. This one has tomatoes and cheese. Check it out... Looks yummy. So, I thought to give it a try. That's gonna be our lunch.
I'm gonna sit there and enjoy being in Beirut. I hope it will taste good. One thing is for sure... Whatever food that I've tried in Lebanon... it's just delicious. Here's a beautiful looking church.
Looks like it has been recently built. I've seen another half a dozen churches in Beirut, today. That's because almost 40% of the local population is Christian. That's why you'll see a number of churches here. I'm supposed to meet my tour guide here.
She is supposed to give me a tour of this area. Let's see if she's already here waiting for us. We are in Hamra which is the oldest part of Beirut. It's well known for its old cafes and restaurants.
You can still feel very good Middle Eastern vibes here. There's a small place here which is very famous for its street foods. We are here to try the street food. But I'm not alone but accompanied by some people. Let me introduce them to you.
This is Shireen. She arranged my tour of Syria. And that's her sister Naveen. Thank you for giving me this tour of Hamra.
Hope you enjoy your trip in Lebanon. Thank you so much. We are here to try local Lebanese food. I'll ask Shireen if she can tell us more about this food.
Because the name and the ingredients suggest that it's gonna be delicious. We are having Molokhia. It's a typical Lebanese home made dish. It's made from green leaves, lemons... White salt and some chilies if you like spicy food.
You can either eat it with rice or just with a spoon. Let's try it with rice. I think if I've tried something really good other than shwarma in Middle East, that I've really enjoyed... is this one.
Although they call these green leaves something else... But I find it very similar to spinach. Quite close to that. Really delicious.
Really light. Not very heavy. And this is shwarma. You can notice one thing that Lebanese shwarma is... really different from all the other shwarma that I've seen or eaten.
And as you can see it contains meat, spices and herbs. But we'll know about the taste once we try it. However, I'm quite excited to try the Lebanese shwarma for the first time. Haven't tried this one before. I hope I won't be disappointed. This is not delicious...
But really different in every way from all the other shwarmas that I've ever had. Unbelievable Don't know if it can be called shwarma or not. Because then all the other ones don't deserve to be called shwarma. There's just no comparison in taste and also in the way they prepare it. Fascinating It's as if you are having Mexican tacos.