Everyday when I wake up I have either a session at the gym for an hour and a half or a cardio session of walk/ run in a very natural setting; the Corniche.
The Corniche Beirut is according to Wikipedia a “seaside promenade in Beirut Central District, in Beirut, Lebanon. Lined with palm trees, the waterfront esplanade offers visitors a magnificent view of the Mediterranean and the summits of Mount Lebanon to the east. Corniche Beirut has its foundation in the Avenue des Français, which was built during the period of the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon along the seafront that extended from the old town.”.
The description above is beautifully written and engages whoever has never visited Lebanon to dream of having his walk of fame moment along the mediterranean coast. Nevertheless, the reality of this magical scenery is far from the above mentioned. The following are 15 pictures I snapped this morning and represent the Corniche Beirut in reality.
1- The Bicycle Line:
Like anything else, this line starts and finishes at some point. Little drawings show cyclists where to ride. Divided in two lanes, you have to be riding next to another straight ahead. This is where you start so before heading to the spot, you have to be dragging your two wheeled vehicle by both hands. The finishing line is at the other end of the coast and you have to abruptly stop since as i said earlier it finishes at some point.
2- Fresh Paint Must:
Don’t you think? I believe that a fresh coat of paint is needed every year to renew and give it a clean appearance. Anything beautiful is appealing to the eye!
3- Puzzle to Walk:
Usually walking should be done without taking into consideration the technical overall of your setting. In Lebanon, walking is rare hence keeping up with infrastructure renewal and repair is not a concept Lebanese are aware of. I have no clue how some tiles have been pulled out from the pavement however it is important to notice that it stands in the middle of the bicycle track. Wear a helmet please when driving.
4- Polka Dot Dressing:
One question only: can someone explain to me what are the dots that are everywhere on the coast line? Thank you!
5- The Trashy Trash Bin:
The role of a public trash bin is not appealing. Its role is to embrace your trash so as to keep everything spick and span. Although their presence is abundant on the coastal area, its surrounding vicinity less to be desired. It looks like the bin has had an internal explosion of its own. Personally I wouldn’t even go near it to throw my garbage. Ill just keep it in my hand till I reach my car.
6- When the Polka Dots have a reunion:
It is best to give these famous dots some privacy when gathered and not go near them. If disturbed they might hang on you and dragging them off your heels is a bugger!!
7- Where art tho Tree?
Looks like there has been another Dot invasion leading this time to the disappearance of the tree. I am staring to believe that these weird looking Dots presence is the cause of our corniche’s decay. What do you think?
8- Care to join me for a rest?
Seriously, we can still manage to have a 2 second break in between jogging on those lovely welcoming benches. At least it would be a good sport for our backs to sit straight up and make our parents finally proud.
9- Ok I give up no Break:
The corniche is made for walking, jogging and biking, You have the right to continue with your exercising and only exercising. No rest is encouraged (clearly).
10- Man Made Litter:
They love to come in groups. Different ages, different sexe. Sit back in front of the sea and immerse in the calming and soothing scenery. Smoking cigarettes kills time (only) and the lack of smoke- friendly bins leaves them carelessly throwing their cigarette butts on the floor. No worries at dawn, public servants are cleaning the dirt after them.
11- When Dots meet Butts:
A little party is scheduled under the newly art furnished venue till the early dawn before the police (Sukleen) comes and shuts down the party.
12- Art Restoration:
I love Art and everything creative that beautifies any given landscape/ infrastructure. However, keeping up with the art after a couple of years is the challenge that any given artist should show know how to handle. Art is constant and preserving it is a challenge. An artist who know how to maintain is a master and considered a true artist. I love those creative benches placed in front of the sea. However sitting on one of them leave me with a question: will my “derriere” further hinger the piece of art?
13- Lamp Post Vintage:
Doesn’t look that good under this light, right? I don’t know if the decay is supposed to play a role in the adopted vintage look. Let’s just hope for now that at night, they religiously lighten up the walk side.
14- I don’s see no Line:
Yes people till this day think that the line is made for them to jog or walk next to one another, to the frustration of the avid cyclist. Any collision would be severely punished as you, a pedestrian, will deal with the physical painful consequences. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
15- Round of Applause for the Savior:
This last picture is an exception and not to be categorized within the 14 former spectrum of picture/ notes.
They are there on time every morning to clean after you. They witness many disgusting and unappealing trash. I am sure that they wonder what kind of species would litter a beautiful coastal side walk like in the above shown pictures. They should be the most appreciated and given a round of applause for their line of work and courage.
To the citizens and officials of Beirut- Lebanon: Clean, restore and preserve this seafront gem. You both are responsible for the deterioration of this landscape. Act now or forever hold your breath and clean running gear.