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Fabulous weekend (and uber driver) in Beirut

Fabulous weekend (and uber driver) in Beirut

Old Sep 27, 17, 6:47 am
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Fabulous weekend (and uber driver) in Beirut

Had a long weekend last weekend, so took the opportunity to spend 48 hours in Beirut. I absolutely loved it. I stayed at Le Patio Boutique Hotel, which was lovely; cost was about US$185 including a full made-to-order breakfast. On the advice of a colleague, I decided to uber to Baalbek on my first afternoon. It's nearly a 2-hour drive in each direction, but I was fortunate to get a super uber driver with a very clean and comfortable late model Mercedes. Samir drove me to Baalbek, waited for me while I toured the truly spectacular ruins (after paying the entrance fee, one of several older men hanging around the entrance asked if I wanted a guide service; I ended up paying Ali LBP 30,000 -- around US$20 -- for a 45-minute tour, which was well worth it); had snacks (delicious freshly baked sfeeha) waiting for me upon my return; and drove me back to my hotel. I spent about five hours with Samir during which he had the "meter" running the entire time; total cost was US$135.

I thought that was reasonable enough that I decided to spend my next day with Samir as well. He picked me up around noon (I contacted him on whatsapp; when he picked me up he had me open my uber app and request a car, and he immediately picked up the call so that the fee could be set, and payment arranged, by uber) and took me to the Jeita Grotto (truly breathtaking; one of the most amazing things I've ever seen), to Juneiah to ride the Teleferique to Harissa, and to the ruins at Byblos, which, while not as spectacular as Baalbek, has the distinction of having been continuously inhabited for 10,000 years. I spent over six hours with Samir on this day, again with the meter running the whole time, and the total cost was US$97. (The Baalbek trip was more expensive because while it took less time overall, it involved more driving, and uber charges more for driving time than it does for waiting time.)

On my last day, I went on what I'm guessing was about a 5km walk from my hotel around the Corniche to Pigeon Rock, where I ducked into a Starbucks for some water, air conditioning and wifi. When ready to head to the airport, I called for an uber, and wouldn't you know it my Lebanese guardian angel Samir responded to my call and took me to the airport. (Uber runs between downtown Beirut and the airport run about US$10.)

It really was a spectacular trip. I wish I had more time to spend in the city itself, but that will have to wait for a return trip. I have Samir's phone number, so if anyone is interested in contacting him, please PM me and I'll pass his information on to you. I had two trips with uber drivers other than Samir, based on which I can assure you that not all uber vehicles in Beirut are up the standards of Samir's. Add to that that he's a super nice and a very reliable driver, and it should be obvious that he's worth going out of your way to arrange a trip with him rather than simply rolling the dice with the uber app.
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Last edited by Blumie; Sep 27, 17 at 6:56 am
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