While other people in Lebanon's workforce live for the weekends where they can get away from the office and hit the sun and water, I realised this week that I'm not one of those people. I'm a freelancer. I am my office. So if I choose to set up office alongside one of Beirut's most notorious swimming pools, then so be it!
Thanks to my refreshing revelation, I spent the whole day yesterday at the St George Yacht Club and Marina, surrounded by the great Lebanese contrasts: the calm Mediterranean before me, filled with some of the biggest yachts I've seen in real life (and I've been to Monaco!), a big construction project in progress - built into a reclaimed part of the sea, with a planned hotel and sea-front restaurants coming up - and then the towering new Four Seasons Hotel and iconic Marina Apartments to the right of my view. Directly behind me was the Phoenicia Hotel, frequented by celebrities, kings and queens in the 60s and early 70s before the war. It now overlooks the spot where Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in a car bomb in 2005. To the left of me was another reminder of the devastation that has ripped through Beirut - the St George Hotel, built in 1932 but destroyed during the civil war and then destroyed once again during the car bomb assassination when it was being fixed up again...
In between taking many dips in one of the four pools and enjoying a walk along the marina, I did actually do some reading research - so, yes, my office proved constructive. And rather cool!
The St George Hotel.