Lebanon

The Middle East has interested me for some time. Unfortunately, travel to some countries in the region would be… unwise…

I’ve worked with a few Lebanese-Australians in various jobs and each of them, after hearing my stories of travel in Southeast Asia, said that Lebanon would be my cup of tea.

And so I went.

Because of its location between Europe and the Arabian peninsula, Lebanon is a country with an ancient and turbulent history. It shows a very strong influence from both cultures. I don’t think there are too many cities besides Beirut where you could be enjoying a beer at a rooftop bar while the mosque down the street broadcasts the call to evening prayer.

The people are amazingly friendly and accommodating, exhibiting that famous Mediterranean hospitality.

Lebanon is a country which was until recently at war, and the presence of military patrols and checkpoints as well as bullet-scarred buildings were reminders of the country’s strife in the not-too-distant past. Even now there are tensions at the southern border with Israel, and the presence of Daesh (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria is a constant worry.

I stayed mainly in Beirut but had a couple of days in Baalbek in the east of Lebanon where there are some of the best preserved ancient Roman ruins in the world. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much else of this beautiful country due to becoming ill for about a week. I’m determined to make it back sometime soon to explore more.

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Beirut building damaged by gunfire.

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Beirut building damaged by gunfire.

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French colonial building in Beirut

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French colonial building in Beirut

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French colonial building in Beirut

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Pigeon Rocks, Beirut

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The Mediterranean coast

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Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut

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Interior of Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque

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New residential towers in downtown Beirut

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Roman ruins, Baalbek

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The temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

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Beta Valley view from the Roman ruins in Baalbek

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The temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

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Mosque in Baalbek

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What’s left of the Holiday Inn in downtown Beirut. Used as a sniper position during the Lebanese Civil War. The building has been condemned and has been empty for decades.

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French colonial building in Beirut

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Beirut pizza shop in a building damaged by the war.

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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New residential tower in downtown Beirut

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Classic Car Show

The 2016 Shannon’s Classic Car Show was held at Sydney Motor Sport Park at Eastern Creek on August 13 and 14.

Almost 2000 vehicles from over 150 clubs were on display, and throughout the day the clubs drove laps of the track.

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Detail from a 1959 Buick

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A line of Chevrolet Camaros

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Chevrolet Camaro

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Ford Mustang

Action on Climate Change Rally in Double Bay

Approximately 2000 rallyers gathered in Steyne Park at Double Bay in Sydney’s east to demand definitive action on climate change by Australia’s major political parties.

In Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth — and just around the headland from the PM’s own private residence in Point Piper — those assembled heard from a number of speakers who gave their own impressions on the effects of climate change generally, but also with a particular focus to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland.

The most recent El Nino weather pattern to hit Australia has resulted in about 22% of the reef being bleached white due to high water temperatures.

All speakers urged for bipartisan action on climate change, saying the stakes were too great for politics to get in the way of action now urgently needed.

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Former Liberal Party leader Dr John Hewson saying it’s time the major parties took a bipartisan approach to the climate change crisis.

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Dr Michael Borgus, a scientist working for the CSIRO, talks about funding cuts and staff shrinkages at the organisation.

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Dr Kate Charlesworth speaking about many of the dangers to society and individual health as a result of climate change.

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Dive operator Tony Fontes speaks about the effect of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

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The assembled crowd holding coloured coral cutouts to simulate the Great Barrier Reef.

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The crowd displays the white side of their coral cutouts to show the effects of coral bleaching, exacerbated by climate change.

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Amy Gordon, an activist with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, speaking on what the public can do to bring about policy change on environmental matters.

A Greenpeace boat passes the crowd on the foreshore of Double Bay.

A Greenpeace boat passes the crowd on the foreshore of Double Bay.