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10/1/2011 – Tripoli – Chilling

March 1, 2011

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Rain is pelting down, its even coming through the roof and dripping onto my bed. We go in search of breakfast and encounter the old lady who turns from a fair old lass into mean bitch when we tell her we’re not staying another night as we want to get on with some more relaxed cycling with our new shiny 30 day Lebanese visa and if its ok could we leave our bikes and bags somewhere safe whilst we try and find internet – No is the answer, ok cant really argue with that.

So we go down to a cafe and decide not to get breakfast there because its very expensive, we do some internet errands, make friends with some Lebanese students who give us sparkley pens and then decide to leave to go to another cafe across the road, not entirely sure why. This place is a bit more exotic with low lighting and a vaulted ceiling and a poor grey parrot who seems completely stressed out. Its a beautiful bird and deserves better than the corner of a cafe in Tripoli incarcerated, i really deplore the caging of birds which seems to be quite popular throughout Syria and the small amount of Lebanon we’ve seen.

We decide to go and sit in a fantastic open space at the top of the hill – its an open door tea room that we stumbled across last night and it looked like it had fantastic atmosphere so we move our bikes up there and choose from the wealth of different places to sit, this place is huge! It has a superb balance of plants, simple seating and oozes with natural chillout atmosphere. That is until we have to pay for our teas, the ordering system seems to revolve around hand signals and eye contact and when its comes to paying we havent been brought the two teas we ordered. having already been ripped off at the cafe before which charged us for internet we didnt want to be taken for a ride but then didnt want to ruin this experience, luckily in the end he understood and we all laughed and the vibe was good.

We ventured out of the city in the afternoon, enjoying the fact that we didnt have to be somewhere at a certain time but could just leave when we felt like it. As we cycled out the rain began to fall, we found a great camp spot just by the water next to a large terraced area of concrete platforms, either from housing which had been built and then knocked down or perhaps the foundations for buildings that never were. The rain continued heavily as we set up meaning inside the tent was wet for the evening, whoopey. I cooked dinner and the others fell asleep.

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