Country: Lebanon  Region: Asia
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Beirut Info

Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon's small size the capital has always held the status as the only true cosmopolitan city in the country, and ever since the independence, has been the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon. 20km to its North is Jounieh, a city very closely associated with Beirut.


Some areas of Beirut have a friendly atmosphere, and some Beirutis have a reputation for being very sociable and outgoing. The locals are used to the sight of foreigners and would be happy to show you around the city, if you ask them. However some areas are hostile against foreigners or even Beirutis from other neighborhoods.
However, the sight of foreigners being the operative term, it should be noted that your external appearance will determine some of the locals' reaction to you. Badly dressed visitors must bear in mind that they should not expect the same warm reception from one and all that their well dressed counterparts may take for granted.
Secterianism is still prevalent in Lebanon, as a result of the French colonial legacy of divide and rule, which leads some Christian Lebanese to readily identify culturally and ethnically with Europeans particularly the French, some denying Arab identity altogether, while many Muslim Lebanese identify culturally and ethnically with other Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East. Those historical factors have been further complicated by the influx of laborers and maids from Sri Lanka, Syria, Ethiopia, and other countries.
It is helpful to display some basic courtesies. A simple Bonjour when entering a cafe or shop can work wonders, and might even get you a special rate, or when hopping into a taxi, might just keep the driver from overcharging you. Say Merci when given or offered something, and if you'd rather not accept, then say La'a merci and smile; otherwise you might be taken as rude, even though you're not.
Most Beirutis love going out, and the nightlife in Beirut is arguably world-class. If (and when) you go out at night, dressing up well will most certainly get you some respect. The locals like to see that foreigners are doing what they can to fit in. Expect to be offered a drink or a cigarette. (alcohol is very cheap in shops and supermarkets, yet in night venues, prices can rise up to european standards (aka: 8,000L.L/Beer, 15,000L.L/Cocktail))
Smoking is very common in Beirut, a large portion of the people smoke both outdoors and indoors. Most restaurants have special smoking areas that are ventilated, so make sure you ask whether a particular restaurant or cafe is smoking or not, and ask for a non-smoking table if you don't want to sit around smokers.


Beirut enjoys Mediterranean climate. Come in April to June for warm, dry days and long, cool evenings (19–25°C). Temperatures in July and August rise to around 30°C and humidity can be somewhat overwhelming – make sure your hotel has air conditioning. The wettest months are December to February so bring a good coat and umbrella, the rain can sometimes be heavy. Lebanon's ski season runs from December till early April.
Despite the diverse climate that changes noticeably per season, the weather is very predictable; the weather forecast, on radio and TV stations are normally very accurate, so you normally shouldn't find yourself caught in a sudden downpour in the winter months.

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