Being here, I’ve felt emotions I’ve never felt before. Emotions that have moved me and changed my views on what’s wrong and right. Travelling through the Middle East has made me realise that all the little issues I face daily don't really mean much in the scheme of things, which brings me to Beirut.
By
5 Jun 2013 - 10:26 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

How do I sum up this place? The highest of highs and the lowest of lows and double standards; there is the most ugly side of humanity yet around the corner there is a beauty that can only be described as heavenly.

I suppose the beauty of Beirut is similar to the pin-up supermodel all teenage boys dream about. She’s incredibly beautiful and everyone wants a piece of her – so much so they’re willing to go to war, and yet she always seems just out of reach. It’s something that seems like a good idea at the time, especially upon that breathtaking first meet, but the longer you stick around the more you unveil the facade. The make-up wears away and you’re left with ugly truths, politics, ego, pretensions, self-doubt, baggage from previous relationships, anger, lies, and loss of identity. Sound too much to deal with?

It probably is, but there’s something about this unique city that I am in lust with; everything from its world-class bar scene, dynamic restaurants, high-end fashion – all the European influences and special touches that make the Middle East so special. The bombed-out building standing beside a Ferrari dealership; the street art that tells a story of the people who live here; the refugee camp bursting at the seams and with 40,000 plus people smack bang in the centre of the town (heartbreaking stuff, learn about the Shatila Refugee Camp), to the beauty of the cornice [Beirut’s seaside promenade]. There’s contradiction at every turn.

But there’s something to be learnt from the laidback, live-for-today attitude of Beirut. I'm not sure what it is, but, at the end of the day, I'm just a boy with a crush on that long legged supermodel. What else can I say?

Visit Shane's website, or connect with him via Twitter and Facebook.