Not having a car makes getting out of Beirut difficult. It means that I either have to depend on friends who have cars, or take a taxi. Because of this, I haven’t gotten out of Beirut very much this summer. I’ve been to Pierre and Friends in Batroun once, the Jbeil/Byblos old souk three times, and counting yesterday, I’ve been to Jiyyeh twice.
I was lucky enough to catch a ride with a couple of friends who were heading to Lazy B for the day..Being new to Lebanon themselves, we got lost a couple of times, but finally pulled into the Lazy B parking lot at around 12 noon.
The valet quickly attended to us, and I spent the next five minutes waiting for my friends to choose a volleyball and some tanning oil at the beach store..This is the first beach I have been to that has its own beach store – filled to the brim with trendy bathing suits, flip slops, beach bags, tanning oil, surf boards, volleyballs, beach balls, footballs…aaaaand..
…diamond encrusted Ed Hardy hats..this is Lebanon after all..
I leant back against the wall of the beach shop and looked on as people left their cars with the valet and headed into Lazy B’s entrance. Aside from the occasional older gentlemen flanked by leggy blondes..the crowd was very laid back…families, friends, couples..all just looking to have a relaxing day at the beach..
Finally, we walked downstairs to the reception area, where I paid the 30 000LL entrance fee – a little bit more than the 10 000LL I had gotten accustom to paying at AUB beach,,but so worth every penny! As I waited for my friends to do the same..I turned around and was pleasantly surprised to find charming furniture begging to be admired. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen indoor furniture being used outdoors..I’m not sure how well the furniture holds up in the outdoor heat, but it succeeds at immediately putting you at ease..The contrast between the furniture, the thatched roof, and the surrounding nature really captivates your senses.
Think English tea time meets Jamaican holiday escape..
We made our way down to the beach, but not before I snuck a peak at the VIP Cabanas..they were unlike anything I’ve ever seen..beds, coffee tables, love seats, chairs, and even bookcases with books casually leaning against each other..a far cry from the VIP area I had expected. Perhaps places like Riviera and Edde Sands has skewed my perception just a tiny bit.
While I was tempted to curl into a ball and go back to sleep, my white skin was begging to be kissed by the bright, strong sun..We continued down to the beach..commenting on every “station” that we passed on the way..tanning areas, hammock stations, straw cabanas, and a large pool..
There really is something for everyone at Lazy B..
When we reached the beach, I took off my sandals and dug my toes into the warm sand. After we picked the perfect spot – right under the sun – the attendants quickly arranged our chairs, set up our umbrella, and took our drinks order. They knew everything on the menu by heart, and actually cared enough to give us their recommendations.
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t such a good idea to soak up the sun for hours on end and only drink a mint lemonade..But at the time, it seemed like a good idea..everything was just so perfect..the sun wasn’t too hot, the waves crashed behind me, the lemonade was refreshingly delicious, and the distant squeals of young children running and splashing into the water made me smile and think of my brother and sister back home..
I was at peace for the first time in a long time.
After a couple of hours of applying and reapplying tanning oil, desperate to add some color to my pasty white skin, my friends and I decided it was time to eat our first meal of the day at 3:30pm.
I was famished.
I started making my way up the stairs from the beach when suddenly, I began to feel light headed..“Oh it’s probably just because I got up too quickly..” I thought to myself..when suddenly, my legs began to feel weak, as if they were about to give out from underneath me. I began to panic. “Not here, not here..please not here!” I said to myself..
But, I couldn’t take it any longer..I sat down in the middle of the stairway/walkway with my elbows on my bent knees, and my head in my hands. My stomach churned and cramped into what felt like a large knot. Seeing my state, my friends rushed towards me to see what was the matter..
“I don’t know what’s wrong,” I told them. “But I can’t walk..please get me some water..” and with that one of my friends ran off to find somebody that could help. Before I knew it, my head was being held back and cold water was being poured all over me…my hair, my face, my back.. The water helped revive me until a sharp shiver ran up and down my spine at which point I turned around and said, “Please..thank you, but no more..” It was only then that I realized a lifeguard had been attending to me, and two other people (who I later found out were the owners of Lazy B) were looking on to make sure I was alright. I was helped up by a friend who told me that the owners were insisting that I lie down on the beds in the VIP Cabanas..I thanked them and told them that I would be alright.
I asked them to show me the way to the bathrooms, and after washing up and splashing water on my face, I made my way back to the restaurant where a glass of rose water was waiting for me..“Drink this,” the waiter told me “It will make you feel better. Salemtik.” Although a bit of an acquired taste, I listened to the waiter, and proceeded to gulp it down. One of the owners came by to check up on how I was doing, and made sure to recommend that I eat some potatoes and bread.
What was incredible about all of this is that not once did I feel embarrassed. NOT ONCE! They did everything they could to put me at ease, and to help me recover from my dizzy spell. They even offered me their VIP Cabana beds..! I just wanted to hug them for taking such good care of me.
I apologized to my friends for embarrassing them, just as a feast of fresh fish and mezze came out from the kitchen. It, like everything else at Lazy B, was superbly done..fresh, healthy, and natural..
I munched on the potatoes, and immediately felt so much better. I couldn’t help myself, and dug into the fattoush, hummus, and jump shrimp too. Everything was delicious..even the succulent cantaloupe we had for desert.
Despite my incident, everything was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a Sunday.
Thank you Lazy B.
Your hospitality, service, and genuine care was greatly appreciated.
I will be back, and this time, I’ll remember to hydrate!