Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

SaraetKarim is a newly opened coffee shop in Tripoli and its neo-hippie setting with quilts and dream catchers is the absolute opposite of what this place has to offer.

It’s a very small place that despite its decoration is cold as is almost always empty and when there are people it’s never regulars or friendly faces but mostly unfriendly strangers that are always there to criticize and gossip about the other customers and, the only regulars are a bunch of neo-hippy conservative closeted gays that show hostility to any outspoken  LGBTQ people or activists.

The expensive cakes and teas are not even worth the try and they don’t serve anything else but these and a coffee selection.

The owners are judgmental conservative homophobes but that are ok with closeted and under the cover gays.

They obviously told some LGBTQ activists that they’re not welcome because it ruins the image of the place (obviously the image of the place is that of conservative closeted gay neo_hippies).

The owner stated on many occasions that he prefers to have ladies seated at the entrance of the coffee shop than a bunch of male patrons (so much for objectifying women and sexism)

The coffee shop didn’t even complete his legal status and it hasn’t got a certificate from the ministry of tourism and one from the ministry of health and apparently the employees aren’t registered in the social security at the ministry of labor.

Receiving lots of negative reviews and ratings they blocked the rating section on their Facebook page not to be exposed to their bad management, and food and deleting all negative comments.

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Tripoli,

The city sleeps on the northern shores of Lebanon,its  second largest city.A city of contradictions and diversity,a city of beauty and ugliness.A city you can’t leave behind and that you always want to revisit.

Tripoli,

The home for the reserved and the liberal,for the beauty of the old architecture and the ugliness of the new one.The simplicity of its inhabitants,their roughness and street-smartness their “Joie-De-Vie” and cynical sense of humor.

Tripoli,

You’ll come to spend a day or a week.It’s full of hidden gems far from the clashes that occur every once in a while in the Tebbeneh/Jabal suburbs and far from the radical religious few.

Skip sleeping in the comfortable but ugly Quality Inn Hotel (Run by a reserved Muslim where they don’t serve Alcohol) and go to Beit El Nessim guesthouse in Mina a beautiful old Mansion restored to a fusion between Morrocan and Indian style,run by a Yogi and his partner.

The place buzzes with beauty and serenity,generosity and peacefulness.

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The breakfast in Tripoli is varied between a traditional breakfast  of Hummus and Chickpeas from the famous “Akra” in the souks or “Dannoun” in Tall or maybe “Abou Said” in Mina next to Beit El Nessim or an American Breakfast at “The Coffee Pot”  or you can have a quick delicious Thyme or Cheese Mankoush from any bakery in town.

After breakfast you can visit the famous Christian Crusaders, Ottoman and Mamlouk old monuments in the Old Souk and through a visit to Saint Gilles Citadel and while at it don’t forget to buy the Tripoli famous soaps from “Khan El Saboun” or spices from “Souk Al Attarine” and you can find good price gold pieces at “Souk El Sayaghine”.

While in Tripoli don’t forget to visit the “Rashid Karame International Fair” built by the famous Oscar Niemeyer

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For lunch you can go from a traditional Lebanese lunch at one  of its many Lebanese restaurants like “Baytouna” or choose from one of it’s International Cuisine ones like “Gingers” and “Zest” where they serve real good food.Once you’re at “Gingers” go for the Roca Salad,Potatoe Skins or any Chicken based platter(Ricotta,Dijon or Supreme Chicken.) they’re unbeatable.At “Zest” all the Pasta platters are not to be missed especially the Salmon Tagliatelle.

You can opt for a more specialized Restaurant like the one of a kind “UNA Pizza” with the best dough and crust and the freshest ingredients.While you’re there you can’t miss the best Quinoa Salad in town.

“Ten” is an Asian Bistro with good selection of Sushi,Maki…. and great Teriaki platters.

But what’s really unbeatable is a Lunch or Dinner at “Al Shate’ Al Foddi” (Silver Shore) sea food restaurant with the best sea food in all Lebanon.

But I’d give all that up for the amazing Octopus Sandwich or other sea food Sandwich at “Al Sayyad” a small hole in the wall restaurant with the best sea food sandwiches in Lebanon .All the Fish and other sea food are freshly brought from the Mina Sea by the owner.

Anytime during the day you can chill at one of the two great Coffee Houses in the city,”The Coffee Pot” and “Ahwak” .

“The Coffee Pot” is the alternative to “Starbucks” with a great variety of American Coffees and Cappuccinos and a large variety of snacks and cakes baked by “Zest”.During the day it’s adult patrons come for a Coffee Break or a business meeting,but late in the afternoon till closing time it’s full of hip teenagers.

“Ahwak” is the melting pot of the cultural “IN” Tripoli.It’s a place for liberal and young adults that flash their liberalism and intellect.The place buzzes with trendy beautiful girls,hip couples,hipsters and out of the closet gays (one of the most gay friendly places in Lebanon).The crowd is mostly intellectual,you can find girls and guys alone reading a book or working on a laptop.

The staff is very friendly as it’s known by the patrons and the owners are one of the most lovable and generous married couple in town.You can’t come to Tripoli without visiting the place and meeting the owners (The wife Sahar did all the decoration of the place by recycling old items and she is one of the hippest decorators in town,she is responsible for “UNA Pizza” interior decoration)

At “Ahwak” you can choose any kind of coffee,fresh juices,home made cakes and delcious sandwiches and you can attend some events happening there (poetry reading,gigs,expositions).Image

During the summer you can always go on a boat trip to one of the best Islands facing Lebanon shores and they are 15 minutes away in a boat from Mina coast (you can pay 2$ for any boat on the coast to take you and bring you back)

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At night you can chill at “Ahwak” as it’s always over packed till midnight or you can visit Minot in Mina (called after the hip bars and restaurant street in Beirut Monot) where numerous pubs are scattered around the street.

Newly opened “Timmy’s” is a trendy place for a younger crowd that keeps the party going till next mornings.The owner Timmy is a friendly young guy that serves the best cocktails and the best spirit in the area.If you’re looking to spend a wild night go to “Timmy’s”

“Cava” is one of the largest pubs in Mina with the best background music,the mood is chill and the patrons are mostly old leftists.

“Savanah’s” is a friendly hole in the wall pub,you can come,mingle with the regulars and dance indoors and outdoors.

“Mike’s” is one the best decorated pubs in Minot with very good cocktail and mediocre music.The crowd is young adults regulars.The staff is homophobic (they don’t mind gay clients, but they have to act straight not to offend the staff and the  patrons)

As they say in Tripoli:”Trablos Em L Fa2ir” (Tripoli is the mother of the poor) pointing to its very low prices.A day in Tripoli with breakfast,Lunch,Tour,Coffee Break and Open Drink night will not cost you more than 40$ (you can do them for 15$ in lower standard places though not bad quality at all) and a stay in the guest house with breakfast will cost you around 40$.

You should come to Tripoli and check for yourself.You wont be disappointed..