A morning at the park, Beirut style
Today we made our second visit to Sanayeh Gardens, one of Beirut’s oldest and only green spaces, recently reopened to the public.
Today, at 9.30am, it was still relatively quiet and we had some of the play equipment to ourselves, but our first visit on Sunday afternoon was a different story. The three play areas were literally swarming with children, little bees buzzing around honey pots hungry for more, while every inch of shaded grass was spread with families or sprawling teenagers and the benches under the trees were heavy with old men and their memories. It brought tears to my eyes, happy that finally there is a park, which doesn’t involve cars, and sad because it isn’t enough, for the city, or even for the neighbourhood.
This morning, after playing for a bit, we went to have a fig and apricot picnic under a tree (the benches were already busy with pensioners). I had just spread out a blanket and was trying to convince my daughter to sit on it instead of the grass, which she much preferred, when one of the many security guards patrolling the park came over to gently reprimand us, explaining with gestures and a few words of Arabic/French/English that we couldn’t use the blanket. I wanted to know why, wondering what security risk could possible be posed by my flowery towel/sarong (thinking back to previous incidents with flowery backpacks). The answer he gave, that the grass is good (nice, not dirty), made me laugh and realise that, as so often happens, my little flower fairy had been right all along.
And maybe they both knew something I didn’t, as a few minutes later I spotted this 5000LL note a few metres away under a tree- definitely good grass!
The security guard incident got me thinking about park rules and on our way home I checked them out, expecting something along the lines of:
No litter, no dogs, no smoking, no picnics (with blankets!)
but I must of momentarily forgotten we were in Beirut as number one (click here for a legible photo!) was:
closely followed by
and littering was the last on the list, apparently allowed, but please use bins to do it!