13 November 2007


Time spent in Beirut: 72 hours. Bicycles spotted: 4 - yes, total. Here, cycling is not a sport but the resort of the deserving poor - those who through hard work have managed to rustle up a mountain bike to go to their jobs as cleaners or security guards.

The traffic does not really lend itself to cycling. Or walking, for the matter. Or indeed driving - it is that kind of traffic that knows no rules and owes no consideration to anyone. But there again, among the plush office blocks and apartments there is the odd civil-war block of flats, still standing, in some cases still inhabitted, riddled with bullet holes and sorrounded - like in Manchester not too many years ago - by a bomb-site, an open-air car park where once a building of some sort stood.

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