It’s still hard to believe that the once publicly accessible St. George Bay has been rebranded as the corporate-controlled space “Zaitunay Bay” with its multi-million dollar yachts and uber expensive restaurants.
But it’s even harder to believe that people are literally not allowed to picnic, play music, ride bikes or do any ‘normal’ family activities in this coastal area. Thankfully, not everyone is intimidated by Zaitunay corporate security, who often travel on segways.
These boys enjoy a snack right next to the comical sign banning everything including water pipes. (Cigar-smoking fat cats are okay it seems as they are ubiquitous in Zaitunay restaurants.)
It’s also interesting that Zaitunay security don’t mind actual law violations such as double parking and blocking roads, as long as those cars belong to their clients.
Not only are you not allowed to your bike at ZB. You’re also not allowed to walk it. I learned this the hard way one day when I got off my bike to walk it along the sea (assuming I couldn’t ride it there, but walking it should be OK, right?), when a security guard chased after me and called for back-up, so they could increase the volume of two of them yelling at me 2x. Obviously I was a huge security risk, walking along the sea with my bike at 1 km/hour.
Whatever it takes to please the Saudi sponsors who obviously do not cycle, rollerblade or God forbid, have pets.
Zaitunay Bay has become a place of prestige, and as a Lebanese person speaking, we all know how much the Lebanese people love to show off and are materialistic, so what better way of acquiring money other than to make a prestigious food court, in the heart of the city. One would think that it is a nice place, next to the yachts, and nice nature scene, but what good is it if one cannot listen to music, get his or her food, walk their pet, nor ride a bike, and that is when a person would start realizing that the people who made Zaitunay Bay were aiming for the high-class society and not the other 90% of the Lebanese society that are regular human beings.
I know there is a lot of political significance to the objections against Zaituny Bay. But quite frankly I am happy with the rules otherwise the walkway would be filled with shisha smoking groups of young men that loiter and litter and intimidate the women that walk by. I don’t feel comfortable walking along Raouche which is just a few metres away. Have you seen what Lebanese people do when they go on a picnic? they throw their rubbish in the exact same place that they will come and picnic in the next week.