Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dionysis in Zahle

I stopped in Zahle on the way back from Baalbek. Dionysis greeted me. I didn't know much about this town except that it has some nice cafes, so many people stop on the way to and from Baalbek for lunch or dinner.

Zahle reminds me so much of Bulgaria. From its winding, hilly streets, to its red rooftops, I could have been in Veliko Turnovo. (Check out my posts from Veliko Turnovo. It really shocked me how similar were the two cities.)

Judging from the orange flags and the giant poster of Michel Aoun, I'm guessing this is Free Patriotic Movement territory, a Maronite Christian city. These divisions, which have murdered thousands of people, seem so quaint in a quiet town like Zahle. It's such an odd feeling.

I'd really like to spend a couple of weeks hanging out in this town and wandering the streets.

I was dropped off a mile from downtown and had no idea where I was or how to get to these famous cafes they have there. No matter. I was blessed with travel sense.

When I eventually did find the cafes, I decided to splurge on a meal. But it's Lebanon, so splurging meant being overcharged by $20. Because you order things, but then they bring you all of this other stuff (almonds, bottles of water, etc.) that they charge you for. And they also tell you to drink as much as you want from the bottle of wine they put on your table even though you order only half a bottle. Then they charge you for the whole bottle.

I drank the whole bottle anyway. (Don't worry - I sat there for nearly three hours enjoying just sitting there, watching the Gulfies enjoying freedom, being devout, and being hypocrites.) Somehow I knew I'd be charged for the whole thing. They not being used to Western tourists didn't expect me to drink the whole bottle, so HA! screw them. It was quite odd being the only Westerner in the whole city, especially being a single woman traveler. It was like I was the tourist attraction!

Anyway, here are my photos of Veliko Turnovo Zahle. I must go back there!

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