Paradise Lost

Up until not too long ago, the beach in Jbeil now exploited by Eddé Sands was called Tam Tam Beach. It stretched south to a smaller beach that was still public, called Paradise Beach. 
some things are better kept hush hush... says this building in Paris

A narrow stretch of white sand trapped between the cliffs and the sea, Paradise was just as nice as any other private beach, with the only difference that it was free and unattended.

After reading online about rumors of GiBbyish activity going on in Paradise Beach, one hot summer day I felt like trying it out to check for myself.

So I went off with a friend, settled on the sand, had a little swim then started to explore the beach. Pretty typical beach except for one natural characteristic: The rock formations at the tip of the beach shaped something of a grotto, like a little maze that still got some sunlight inside but that was completely isolated from sight. The water was about knee level throughout the grotto.

When I entered the grotto and observed the people from inside, the cruising scheme became quite obvious. It would start as eye contact on the beach, then the guys would swim around each other, perhaps get a little touchy in between a wave and the next. Then, they would start to drift slowly toward the cavern, and finally they would get to serious business once inside...

Soon enough, there I was fooling around with an anonymous hunk I had noticed on the beach... in a sea cavern… some crazy shit!

It’s only later that I realized that Paradise Beach was long known as “the gay beach” in the GiB community, but it was so hush-hush that no one had ever mentioned it to me. Like a dirty little secret.

The thing is it had a pretty bad reputation outside as well as within the community – The kind of places people would describe with something like “if you go there you’re likely to step on a needle left there at night by a junkie and you’ll be sure to catch AIDS”.

But whatever Paradise Beach was – a nice public beach or a decadent Gomorrah – it can only be better than what it has become today: yet another reserved-access beach for the lucky property owners of the new Byblos Sud complex.

Watch out new owners, for the gay spirits still haunt that grotto!

Post title is a tribute to Robert Fisk’s superb article where he dubs 2006 Beirut a Paradise Lost.

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