Life in Lebanon
March 31, 2009 10:24 AM   Subscribe

A zillion questions about living in southern Lebanon!

I'm moving to Tyre, Lebanon with my guy in May. He's got a full-time gig, while I'm taking a sort of non-academic sabbatical to read and write and explore the area (and I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance). I've been digging up information on Lebanon and Tyre for a few months now, but thought the genius of AskMe would have some knowledge I just haven't been able to find online.

Here, then, are a bunch of questions!

- Housing: he's arriving a few weeks before me and finding an apartment. Are there any good sites you'd recommend for research or advice? I've tried to dig, but my Arabic isn't good enough yet to navigate well.

- Volunteering: I know a number of NGOs are very active in the area, and I'll have some spare time to help out. Where do you think someone who is still rather rough in Arabic and French can best help out? Of late, I'm very interested in conflict resolution - especially mediation - and social psychology.

- Travel/transportation: I'm hoping it's possible to take day trips up to Beirut once in a while. How long is the trip by minibus? Can it all happen within a day?

If you've skiied in Lebanon, what were your favorite places?

What other places in the region have you fallen in love with? We plan to visit some friends in Egypt and Cyprus and travel a lot within the general area. I know this question is terribly broad, so please feel free to run wild.

- General life: If you have lived in/visited Lebanon, what do you wish you'd known before you got there? I get the idea that women in Lebanon live relatively openly, but will I feel comfortable going for groceries or walks alone? Do you have any favorite movies from Lebanon that I could check out before I go?

If demographics help, we're white, in our late twenties, and currently live in NYC. I've done the college semester-abroad thing in Germany and traveled only a bit by myself in Europe, while he has traveled quite a bit in Europe and southern and eastern Asia. Neither of us has a super-clear picture of what to expect, so we would be really thankful for whatever help you could give.
posted by lauranesson to Travel & Transportation around Lebanon (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Beirut - Volunteering:

I know of the Lebanese animal rescue and advocacy group called BETA - Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, they do good work, they're nice people and they always can use a helping hand especially during these times.

Other than that, will leave it in the trusty hands of others to enlighten. Enjoy.
posted by watercarrier at 10:35 AM on March 31, 2009

What you might want to know before you go.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:46 PM on March 31, 2009

I've only ever spent much time in Beirut and in the mountains, so I don't know what it is like culturally in Tyre. That part of Lebanon is typically more Muslim and conservative than Beirut, but you should have no problem buying groceries of walking alone.

Skiing: I've only ever skied in Faraya, there are a bunch of places to stay there that are super cheap, but you will need a car to drive back and forth from chalet to slope.
posted by atrazine at 9:07 PM on March 31, 2009

If you're interested in politics/history, permits can be obtained in Lebanon for both Beaufort Castle and Al-Khiyam (which Hezbollah has now turned into a museum). If such things do interest you, MeFi Mail me and I'll elaborate on the whole process.

As a side note, Fairuz could easily replace the cedar on the Lebanese flag.
posted by gman at 4:02 AM on April 1, 2009

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