THE FIRST TIME I SAW

Discovery - - CONTENTS - GILES DULEY

Photojournalist GILES DULEY on falling for Beirut

BEFORE I VISITED Beirut in 2006, black and white images of war and terror had been etched in my mind. What I found was more than I could have dreamed.

It is a city like no other. A place close to falling apart, but at the same time, held together by an incredible spirit. Like Paris in the 1930s, it was on the edge of war, a cafe culture full of creative types, where politics sparked heated debate.

Today, Beirut is thriving. It’s a city that shows how the Middle East could be: a mix of cultures, religions, art and politics. Hedonistic and reserved, modern and traditional, inward-looking yet full of global ideas.

I’ve eaten amazing meals, and far too many nights have ended at daybreak. Lunch at Tawlet, where traditional Lebanese dishes are prepared straight from the field; Armenian dumplings at Mayrig; heated discussions and whiskeys till dawn at Abou Elie, Beirut’s last communist bar, where photos of Che Guevara adorn the dark red walls. If you drink long enough, they serve breakfast.

You can’t help but feel a personal connection to Beirut. It’s not about the buildings; it’s about the spirit of the people living there. For me, seeing this city for the first time was like catching the eye of the most captivating, beautiful and exciting woman across a room. Within moments I had lost my heart to her.

Giles Duley is a photographer and the founder of the Legacy of War Foundation. legacyofwar.com

我於2006年到訪貝魯特之前,滿腦子裡都是戰爭與恐懼交織成的黑白影像。但是我發現這個地方的精采之處,遠遠超乎我的想像。

這是一個無與倫比的城市,曾經快要四分五裂,但同時又被強烈的團結精神緊緊扣住。情況有如1930年代的巴黎,眼見戰爭一觸即發之際,卻出現極富創意的咖啡室文化,並帶來熱烈的政治辯論。

今天的貝魯特十分繁榮興旺,這個城市顯示了中東的本來面目:蘊含不同文化、宗教、藝術與政治;既縱情享樂又矜持保守,現代與傳統兼容,不斷內省之餘又兼具國際視野。

我在這裡大享口福,而且有許多晚都玩到通宵達旦。午餐在Tawlet品嚐傳統黎巴嫩美食,食材都是從田裡新鮮採摘的。在亞美尼亞式餐廳Mayrig品嚐餃子,再到Abou Elie酒吧去,一面喝威士忌,一面與人熱烈討論各種話題,直到天明。這是貝魯特碩果僅存的共產主義酒吧,深紅色的牆上掛著哲古華拉的照片。如果你一直喝到早上的話,還可以在那裡吃早餐。

貝魯特是個令你油然生起親切感的城市。這跟當地的建築物無關,而是跟當地人待人接物的態度有關。對於我來說,首次見到這個城市時,就像一眼望見大廳另一端站著一個貌美如花、談笑風生、魅力四射的女子,我馬上就拜倒在她的石榴裙下。

Giles Duley是攝師師及國際慈善組織Legacy of War Foundation的創辦人。legacyofwar.com

兼收並蓄黎巴嫩首都貝魯特將地中海的傳統與現代咖啡室文化共冶一爐

At the crossroads The Lebanese capital mixes its Mediterranean heritage with a modern cafe culture

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