May 25, 2013 Lebanon Middle East

I've Been to Nice and the Isles of Greece but have Never Been to This!

Having hibernated all winter (true this is not Sweden but hey, we all love our sun) nothing feels better than enjoying the joys of summer. 

One of the joys of a Lebanesey summer is the beach.

And since the concept of a public beach where you can walk around and play fetch with your dog is to a high extent non-existent; since we are the kings of privatizing (though illegal, but that is another story and I shall not derail), I decided today to take a pause from the mayhem that is my life and indulge in a much needed break by heading to Jiyyeh where one of my favorite private beaches of the years past lay.

photo 1

Sun screen in hand (yes sunscreen and not carrot juice), bathing suit on, and the perfect beach buddy, we arrive at Bamboo Bay. At the door we just pay for our entrance tickets, with a bit extra to upgrade to the beds facing the pool, and that is that, nothing else was shared with us. Walking in, the sight of the fuchsia bougainvillea contrasting on the white walls simply puts a smile on my face. I guess I have always loved this place since it reminds me of Sicily and being on vacation, even if its for just one day. I quickly place my stuff and take a much awaited dip in the cold and refreshing water to eventually come out and lay on the bed where I have assumed the chameleon position under a warm southern sun.

An hour into our arrival, we called upon the waiter to order our bottle of vino. But before we could utter our request the waiter blurts out: "you better not get hungry today, we have no kitchen" and starts giggling as if amused by his statement. 

  • Huhhhh I stare at him not quite comprehending if he was pulling a prank.
  • So I simply ask why that was not mentioned at the door upon our arrival.
  • He states that we should have called before coming!

Keeping my cool after hearing the most moronic comment, I thought to myself, as usual, do not shoot the messenger and just ask for the manager. So our trooper in question leaves us in quest of the manager. (though in my head these thoughts where racing for the finish line; why on earth would I call? this is a beach that opened its doors and has advertised its opening. They even ran a promotional discount campaign to encourage patrons to flock through their doors. this beach does not allow you to bring inside food and drinks since it is a private venue whose biggest source of revenue is from the F&B sector. This beach is clearly not ready to open so why on Earth did they?)  10 min or so later, the funny trooper comes back telling us that he made a big scene to the manager, telling him that I was very mad and that I should be very thankful to him since he was able to pull some strings and get us one item prepped in some other kitchen (no clue what that even means, maybe his mom's house?), and that item would be burgers OR they will allow us to deliver from outside; option being KFC and other stuff of the sort.

Still staring at the trooper in bewilderment, all I uttered was "where is the manager I had asked to speak to?" 

Trooper answers "he got scarred of you and does not want to come over" and unleashed another set of unprofessional giggles. He than goes on with another more brilliant monologue "if I were you I would order all the drinks I want from the bar and in the end just leave and not pay for any of it!!" with a huge smile on his face as if he just discovered the wheel and exits the stage.

Huhhhhhhhh Seriously 

Am I being punked?!?

  • First have you been trained, point! Let alone to speak to customers.
  • Second, no I do want to order KFC and the likes, I do not even eat that.
  • Third who eats burgers at the beach; it's so filling I would probably drown in the pool after that!
  • Fourth where is the bloody manager? Seriously? Or there is no management!
  • Fifth. No i do not want to rip anyone off by not paying for what i consume but i sure as hell don't want anyone to rip me off in return.
  • Sixth and most importantly. Again why was this not mentioned at the door?? Shouldn't it have been my choice if I go in or not seeing that you cannot fully cater to your customers? Or it seemed OK  to the "management" to rip people off at the door with a substantial amount of money payed just to enter and then once they are in tell them "hehe gotcha"?

Having my friend begging me not to put a damper on our day, we just decided to stay. We informed  the waiter we will keep him posted once we want to have the burgers (only conceivable option at this point). Come 2:30pm, the trooper marches towards us saying "you want to order those burgers? The kitchen closes at three!) Huhhhh again (I really said Huhhh a lot today) Remaining calm, we tell him to just do them.

photo 5

So he disappears for like 30min. He was the only waiter by the way in the whole place and I'm sure he was the cook as well!

The rest of the staff was: a bartender, a lifeguard and a parade of workers banging on wood, still doing finishing touches around, painting and installing a new bar area. (Another point that was not mentioned at the door nor apologised for)

Trooper arrives with our food and sets it at the table. And ohhh what a sight those burgers where. No knives, no condiments at the table and no trooper in sight we just caved to our destiny and dug into the burgers that seemed to be coming from the 90's; cabbage that wanted to become coleslaw at some point in its life but was now swimming in pure mayo. Fries that where pre-smothered with ketchup, supermarket "beef" patty and stale bread, all cooked to perfection! (Yeah right)

A couple of bites in... and the rest is history...

Back to our king size bed, trying to dream away our meal fit for kings, a worker starts banging in front of us at the pool super focused. I sit up to see what the fuss is about. It turns out next to the pool an electric socket was left uncovered, so mister handy man decides that this is a home DIY project, gets a metal ashtray, turns it upside down and starts banging on it to make it fit in the hole. I kid you not! picture is here to prove it. Because basic science does not teach us that metal is a conductor, because water and electricity are the best of friends and since everything has been close to perfection vis a vis the clients of bamboo bay on this day, lets add electrocution to the list! brilliant!

photo 4

Calm down woman, make abstraction of this surreal scene from a David Lynch movie your are stuck in, just go enjoy your swim and stay clear of the electricity! Come 3:30, trooper comes back telling us that they are closing the register and that we need to settle our bill. 3:30 they need to close the registry!!! a small vein exploded in my grey matter. Yet we just paid and stayed a couple more hours reminiscing on days gone by… with trooper no where to be found… not one word of apology from anyone about not mentioning that they are still working on the place… no sign of the manager...

Moral of the story: If you are not ready to open then don't bloody do so!!!!! this new management at Bamboo bay should consider taking training courses before they attempt setting foot in an industry they clearly know nothing about. thank you for ruining my haven...

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