I spy with my little eye... a road trip to Saida and Tyr.

What I loved the most about Beirut was the joyful, constant and loud mess! Jumping in a car with all the cousins, turning on the cheesy music, singing and dancing while racing with my uncle's car, stopping on the way for mana'iches, fooling around at the check points, and ending up by the sea, feet in the water in December.

Yallah, let's go to Tyr!

But first, let's stop in Saida to visit the old soap factory (that just happens to be in a gorgeous house).

Saint Exupery said that love wasn't looking into each other eyes, but looking in the same direction... Looks like lil sis' and her boyfriend are on a good track.

Might as well get coffee and pastries while we're here... We haven't eaten in 1h30, we definitively need a snack...

Then let's have a tour of Saida's soukh. (Note to self: shopping with a Lebanese family is the best way to test one's patience.) Bananas anyone?

Or maybe 10kg of fresh meat?

And my personal favourite: the disco veggie stall!

Eventually we got back in the car and headed to Tyr to find... the sea.

Cousins made plans to cross the sea.

And Lebanon gifted us with a gorgeous sunset. What an amazing day!

I spy with my little eye... a New Year.

Sometimes all you need is some time out and family to reboot. And that's exactly what I did in Beirut over the holidays: no phone, no emails, sometimes no electricity but LOTS of food, card games and laughter. I've always felt more French than Lebanese despite being half half but 10 days in a real city with no sparkle was exactly what I needed after 3 years of full-on Dubai. I know I'm a bit late but we're still in Jan so I'm enjoying the "holiday mood" extra time with a belated Christmas post.

Here is lil'sis who just moved from Paris to Beirut with Birdie, the most silent pointer on Earth. She never barks, and all she asks for is cuddles.

Birdie was very keen on the celebration, here she is, discussing with my mother. Yes, we do have that habit of discussing with pets. It applies to dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, parrots... I will never forget Jujupe, my grandfather's parrot in Nigeria, who used to play around with lil'sis: she would make her run down the stairs several times a day by taking my aunt's voice to call her.

Family portraits with the aunts.

Funny how cooking the turkey is a woman's job but carving it is always a man's job.

Birdie's best Chrismas present: cuddles with my cousin!

Happy times always lead to funny selfies, or "ussies" like my aunt calls them. "Did you take an ussie?" "Sorry, a what?" "A picture of us, an ussie!"

And it always ends up with flowers and hugs, happy times!

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