Pssst! Want to make some money? Open a hostel in Beirut.

     It’s a can’t-lose idea I’m giving you for free. (The Dromomaniac gives and gives and gives.) There’s really only one place to stay now: Talal’s New Hotel, $12 a night in a dorm. (There’s another that charges the same, but it is said to be in a deplorable state.) One person put up a short, unenthusiastic review of this place on Wikitravel, but since options are limited, nothing will stop people from coming.
     To show how much contempt Talal has for travelers, they don’t even have a sign, and yet the guys here make money hand over fist. If you opened a place that charged $10 or even $12, you would be packed right from the get-go. (These days, if you provided a good wifi connection, most travelers would happily sleep in a lean-to.)
     Its proximity to downtown and the nightlife area is good, though the immediate location is across from a noisy metal shop. I’ve been here all week and I can say that if you need to get up at 7:15am, you don’t need an alarm clock. And yet, I will take the industrious noisy metal shop guy over my fellow travelers who have to hit the snooze button 15 times before they wake up. Dude, give the phone to me and I will wake you up whenever you want. Does boiling water on your forehead help?

     Yes, I did wake up on the wrong side of the bed today. How can anyone over 6 feet tall (185cm) sleep in the Middle East? The same angry dwarf has designed every single hostel bed I've been in since Jordan. Why on earth would someone put a footboard that is higher than the mattress itself? What purpose does that serve other than to thwart taller people from being able to extend their legs? There's never a mufti around to issue a fatwa when you need one.

     Doesn’t every traveler go through a phase in their 30’s with the idea of opening a hostel until it dawns on them that it is a lot more work than you realize and you have to deal with people that you’d rather not? Maybe it’s just me. If you’re feeling game, demand is growing and Beirut stands to become increasingly popular despite the very precarious political situation. The time is right. Go for it!
     The last town in which I had such a strong feeling for the need of a hostel was in Fukuoka, Japan, and next time I passed through, a new place was doing a very brisk business. Sometimes you just know.
     Why didn’t I do Couchsurfing in Beirut? It’s tough. I know other travelers who came through before me and they couldn’t even get a reply. Throughout the Middle East my experience is that it’s hard to find a host. Female travelers don’t seem to have trouble. I’ve been racking my brain to figure out why, but it will have to remain one of life’s great mysteries.

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