The second in the long awaited trilogy in the struggle to free ourselves from the supreme laziness of Talal's. The return to the hostel was certainly more anticlimactic than we had imagined, without a single person in the sitting room to greet us with a wild and spontaneous party. Instead we sat around and waited for people to start turning up - brutally slow internet meant that we were reduced to just literally sitting and waiting, with the effort required to dig a book out of the bag being rendered as far too big. To cut a long and somewhat tedious story short, we soon (it wasn't soon) got a big group together with the plan of going out for the evening - it was a Friday - to celebrate our clearly long awaited return. Diego was working at the bar again, and apparently Max had also got a job there - for the first time in his life - so we headed there and consumed plenty of free shots whilst waiting for the others to come. What ensued was a fantastically crazy night that will go down in the annuls of Gemmayze history, again going wild in Charlie's without even having to buy myself a drink as for the first time in my life girls were actually volunteering to buy them for me, and then out to a nearby club before sneaking into an abandoned house that had been half blown up, presumably in the civil war, to round the evening off. A hangover that, for the first time in my life, was probably worth it.
Several days passed and several things have been written in the diary, but presumably none of them are chronological and one activity doesn't imply a following day either, so who can really tell how long we were there for. At some point, for the second or third time on our stay, a passing comment about pyjamas was misunderstood by the crazy Druze owner of the hostel and again followed the standard drill of shouts of "pack your shit and get the fuck out!" and a string of swearing in Arabic. As per usual, in keeping with all of the other times that we got kicked out (for partying too loudly or too late or not clearing up after ourselves, the usual jazz), we were in fact not kicked out, but after then the owner took a serious disliking to BJ which didn't really dissipate for the rest of our stay. Arguments followed about whether it was morally right to suck up in order to be allowed to stay, but irrespective of the result, we were staying and so all was well. We took a trip to Byblos, a town about 40km north of Beirut - the great thing about Lebanon is that it is so small that it is a) easy to fight a proxy war there, but more importantly b) it is also easy to go anywhere from anywhere, just for a day trip. We overshot Byblos on the bus there by a few towns and so walked around a completely deserted village - it was a Sunday, apparently this was a particularly Christian area or something - and after getting some ice cream we headed back. Arriving in Byblos we headed straight for the coast, cool harbour, rich people in expensive boats, jet skis and the such like. We noticed a beach a few minutes walk down the coast and so headed in, and found ourselves having apparently sneaked in to a private place, plush deckchairs everywhere, four pools on different elevations with ponds in between, everybody speaking in French and not a hijab to be seen. Certainly a hang out of the elite, it felt quite a lot like we had stumbled into a set of the OC, or in fact actually were in the real OC. We had an expensive coke and then settled into some deck chairs to get some tanning done, nearly causing an eclipse, our bright white torsos were so dazzling to the sun. It was quite surreal being part of that demographic, enjoyable for a few hours but certainly strange and most likely harmful to values or outlook if you were to grow up in it - far more rich than the average Lebanese, with enough money to get away on a number of different methods of private transport if a war ever were to start, not a care in the world for the people left behind.