From 2000 metres to sea level for a quid
Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
34Trip End May 19, 2006
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But even so, it's good value!
The qadisha valley is the Maronite Christian heartlands and bcharre, the right wing Phalange parties head quarter. So the oppersit of hezoballa's baalbek i guess.
It's also a stunning patch of mountain-scape!!!!
The mount Lebanon mountain range is quite incredible, rising straight out of the sea to some 3000 metres in altitude
Once in the Qadisha valley things felt exclusively Christian with shrines to the virgin mary on any high point and bend in the mountain road and monasteries dotted all over. Not like the Beeka valley which still seemed, at first impression mixed. Cross based graffitee on almost any scrap of stone gave things a right wing, sectarian feel that was just as imposing as the anti US banners I'd passed in the Beeka valley. However, this gave way once in the towns to flag flying, admittedly the right wing Maronite Christian Phalange parties flag, but the fact it was a nice flag and not some AK47 based logo made me feel more relaxed.
The town and area was very picturesque, the apple trees are just coming into Blossum and the snow melt means springs are flowing full. The place was also sooooo clean! Hezbolla country in the beeka was also high in the mountains but that was as dirty as anywhere else in the Arab world, so the high;ness can't be the excuse (do I sound a bit racist there?) so is it really a social Political thing? Maybe this Phoenincian heritage really does count for something?
Its funny but when I was caught taking photos of the political parifinalia and then invited to tea (as I have been with both sides), I felt much more uneasy saying I was Heathern to the Maronite Christian (I even said yes when asked of my christiananity)
That same evening back in Tripoli, I had my first, "too scared to sleep" night, where the Lebanese (Christian again) I shared a dorm with exploded upon me with an anti US and UN rant. The merger of the US and U (S) N as they call it, isn't new and nore is the ranting. But he'd removed the third person. It wasn't your country, (seeing he thought I was Swedish, let alown American, I don't know where that link came from) but it was YOU!!! And ironically that distinction between Citizain and Governments returned when he talked about his own country, HIS bad GoVERNMENT (couldn't the states be stuck with bad government too?) No he didn't want to think about that) were all that were stopping a UNited Arab army invading the USA. And that was coming from a Protastant (he said Anglican but I think he meant Protastant) Christian from southern Lebanon, who I guess, may have pushed his opinions for maybe 10 of the last 25 years with a gun!!!!!
On a slightly more tranquil note the 2000 year old Cedar trees on mount Qornet es-Saouda were fantastic, walking in deep snow at more than 2000 metres just one hour from the Mediterranean coast!
Its such a shame that I based my self out of Tripoli for Northern Lebanon, where as the country side around is fantastic and communities very interesting, the city is a dump and the people arse holes
The problem is that it's not in my normal phycie to question money all the time, there is no haggle culture here and prices aren't negotiable, just to the foreigner they are sometimes inflated.