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South Lebanon, Return to Beirut

Thursday, February 25th, - EVA’S HOME, SAIDA, TYR, BEIRUT

Sitting Room in Eva's Home in the Mountains

We woke, or Wadad did. When she was dressed, she woke me. She went down to breakfast while I got ready. We had a lovely breakfast of wonderful rounds of fluffy flat bread freshly baked, with meat. Charbel had gone to the bakery and brought us the delicacies.

Music Room

Eva gave us a tour of the home and grounds, and it is indeed palatial! It looks traditional, but is very modern. Many of the couches were still covered for the winter season. The covers are elegant themselves--oriental carpets!

Sun Room

Eva oversaw the building of it herself. It has a bathroom for each of the many, many bedrooms plus more for the public rooms. It has an automatic underground watering system for the yard and fields.

Vegetable garden in the back

It has olive and fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, grape vines, a large yard and incredible views of the mountains all around. Eva built her estate and is rightfully proud of it. She welcomed my taking of many pictures of her lovely mountain home.

Fresh favas, sweet and delicious!

Eva picked fresh fava beans for us, which we ate right off the vine. They were sweet and tender.

Warm and friendly hostess!

Eva is so hospitable and warm... and unaffected! She is relaxed and friendly. She smiles, laughs and jokes with me as if we had known each other for some time. She hugs and kisses like a sister. I felt so very welcome and at ease with her.

Orange trees in the front yard

Again we had coffee, and afterwards Charbel drove us on the long drive more southerly toward Palestine. Our goad was to reach the city of Tyr.

Mountains are terraced for agriculture

Along the way we noticed United Nations peacekeeping troops.

Typical road on the way back to sea level

Here we found yet more ancient ruins by the sea.

Ancient harbor at Tyr

My camera lost battery power early today, so I wasn’t able to take pictures in this part of my trip. The city of Tyr is so ancient; the streets are incredibly narrow. Somehow, Charbel navigated us through every obstacle. I was very glad to be a passenger and not a driver. I bought postcards in a shop that looked like a barber shop. But the man brought out a huge cardboard box of postcards, almost none of which were of Tyr!

Fortress at Saida

After visiting the southern town of Tyr, Charbel drove us back to Saida, where we went into the center of the market-industrial district.

Costumes

We walked along the shops where Eva knew everyone! I bought scarves and wine-glass booties. So cute! I posed with the craftsmen, at Eva’s insistence, for a picture. She did some business of her own at almost every stop we made.

Saralee pretending, with artisans in the market

We went to a palace that is now a museum. It is stone, with long corridors, one side with archers facing the central courtyard. The rooms opposite the courtyard were shops, where I bought a wooden inlaid tissue box which is very beautiful. Proceeds of this purchase go to an epilepsy charity.

Wadad and Eva in the palace-museum

We drove from here to the beachside restaurant called Bahri, specializing in seafood. As is the pattern, we were served many dishes. But the main course was a huge platter of fried fish. Piled high! Tiny, delicate fish Eva named as “Sultan of the Sea”. She said it was the best. The small ones you eat whole; head, bones and all!

Freshly caught sultans for our lunch

Charbel drove us back to Beirut, and upon our arrival at Eva’s home in Beirut, we had coffee. Her husband Eli came in and he and I talked a good while, mostly about American Democracy. He said the only true democracy in the world is the American one, and it is because the American people honor their Constitution. He was passionate in his praise for America. When I expressed my concern for the future of America, he said, “No! It will never perish! The people will keep it safe. Your president will change in four years, or eight years. The people will accept a new president each time. It is the best in the world.”

When I said I hated the poliarization between the political parties, he said that the media were to blame for much of it. He was happy about the election of Obama because it gives hope to everyone that he can aspire to greatness. However, Eli was hoping that McCain and Palin would have been elected. It was so encouraging to hear an intelligent person from a foreign country speak these words of praise for America. I don’t think “The Media” would ever reveal such ideas to the American public.

We were driven home, and unpacked. Wadad prepared a dinner and we watched TV and talked for a while and went to bed. I can’t believe I had had such a lovely adventure, and met such lovely people.

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