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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Back to Beirut. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 21, 2015 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:00] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST (voice-over): There's no place else even remotely like it. Everything great and all the world's ills all in one glorious, messed up, magical, maddening, magnificent city. Beirut. It's good to be back.


BOURDAIN: The Mediterranean Sea itself trembles. The ground shakes beneath the wheels of our heavy metal thunder. Back in Beirut, after all these year years. The first time I was here did not end well. But it made no difference to me. I love it here. In spite of everything, I love it here.


BOURDAIN (on camera): Nice ride. It's a good way to see Beirut.

RAMSEY SHORT, BRITISH-LEBANESE RESIDENT & MEMBER, LEBANESE CHAPTER, HARLEY DAVIDSON GROUP: This is very similar to that place we went to years ago. This is your traditional chicken sandwich.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): The roasted chicken was this man's idea, my British-Lebanese friend, born to be wild, Ramsey Short, who I met in the bad old days of 2006. Apparently, he's in with the Lebanese chapter of the Harley Davidson Group, or HOG for short.

(on camera): So when you roll into some religiously conservative villages on the bikes and leather jackets, what is the reaction?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two types. Once we were pelted with rice, like they thought we were with a wedding or something really nice, and the other extreme was stones like at the wheels, like just get out of here.



BOURDAIN: I wouldn't throw stones at people on Harleys.


BOURDAIN: Whoa. Look at this. SHORT: Let's dig in.

BOURDAIN: That'll work.


SHORT: This is a famous neighborhood of the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This area was central during the civil war.

BOURDAIN: The sheer volume of fire that was poured into some of these buildings is absolutely unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many have been in the same place over and over.

BOURDAIN: Over and over and over again.


BOURDAIN: Clearly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I notice this every time someone visiting the city, they just point at that. Oh, look at that. But you know, we don't see them any more. Just pass by them.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Beirut, seemingly the world in miniature. 18 religious sects recognized, more than two million Christians, over a million and a half Shiites, a million and a half Sunni, nearly 500,000 Palestinians. And now, by some estimates, as many as two million Syrians, all living and somehow getting along, kind of, in a country the size of Connecticut.

[21:05:06] But along its borders, the country has what you might call serious neighbor issues. ISIS in Syria threatening to expand its so- called caliphate into Lebanon.

SHORT: ISIS, in many ways, is something we have never really seen before, a really large well-organized, well-equipped terrorist army.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This country has been absorbing refugees for nearly two year snow. The country simply can't take any more.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A quarter of Lebanon's population is now Syrian. That is the equivalent of the U.S. taking in 83 million Syrians.

PATON WALSH: The threat is spiraling. And as you said, the real fear is that violence crosses the border now spilling into an already fragile area.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Beirut struggles to put a lid on the simmering sectarian tensions.


UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The aftermath of Beirut and some of the flashes that took place.


PATON WALSH: The exchange for Shia for two Palestinian brothers who were shot.


BOURDAIN: Here, block by block, you see the scars from the 15-year civil war that only ended in the '90s. But also nightclubs, discos, beaches, bikinis, where much of the Arab world comes to let their hair down. It is an incongruous mix.


UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: All of it, the peoples' fears, the violence since the beginning.



BOURDAIN: This Bourjdalmahaj (ph) neighborhood has long been the home to principally Palestinian refugees but more recently it has become an area for Syrians fleeing the arms of President Assad on one hand and the predations of ISIS on the other. The camp saw heavy fighting, shelling and outright massacres during the religious conflict known as the Lebanese Civil War. Everywhere, you see posters representing a full menu of political factions and affiliations from Assad loyalists to the PLO to every flavor of extremist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A victory for jihad.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Do you know of any other place in the region where all of these groups are co-existing within a confined space?

PATON WALSH: It is stunning to be walking down the street behind short skirts and red wine flowing and drive straight into an extraordinarily conservative Shiite district. It is kind of mind blowing.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): I am not a geo political expert, and as much time as I have spent in this part of the world, I spent nowhere near the amount of time this guy has, Nick Paton Walsh, CNN senior international correspondent.

PATON WALSH: Most of the groups are more terrified of those crazy Islamist radicals across the border in Syria than they ever have been of each other.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): What do we call this neighborhood? What is it?

PATON WALSH: It's one of the mixed refugee areas that Beirut has.

BOURDAIN: Close to two million people from Syria alone?


BOURDAIN: That's a hell of a lot to be absorbed by a tiny little nation of, what, 4.5 million.

PATON WALSH: It's just loads of people, people with nowhere to go.

You see it in how cell phones don't sometimes work the way they should, how people have to shift water to their own homes. That's part bad infrastructure and but also just the sheer demand on resources.

BOURDAIN: We'll follow you.

UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: OK. The first time in the history a Palestinian leads Americans.


(voice-over): In Syria, Mr. Nashan (ph) was an English teacher. Needless to say, he had at one time a better life back there.

UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: I came from Syria after the civil war started.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Yeah.

[21:10:12] UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: We have many, many problems. Sectarian problems. And we don't want to add more problems for those people. But what can we do? We live here in this town. Imagine the situation here. It is unbelievable.


UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: He is there, by the way, and he has three kids. He works construction. His family bought this to protect from the rats. These children need medical operation but this family can't pay for those operations. It is expensive. They wait for nothing. They wait for the hand of God.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Straining under the weight of all of these unasked-for guests, the Lebanese government has begun making it very difficult for them.

UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: He doesn't work because he doesn't have an official resident so he can't leave the camp. Otherwise, he will be homeless.

BOURDAIN: Being stopped at any of the city's ubiquitous military check points could mean a one-way ticket back to Syria. Trapped, unable to work, they exist invisibly on the margins of society.

UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: This is military area. You don't want to get involved in any problem.

Syrian food. This is Syria. It is called the seven countries. It consists of many kinds of vegetables, seven kinds of fruit.

The refugees in Syria, most of them are well educated, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers.

PATON WALSH: Here now it's the opposite, right?

UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: Here in Lebanon, even if you were a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher, you can't work, only in the camp. We don't know how to go, where to go, to go back to Syria.

BOURDAIN (on camera): No, can do?



UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH TEACHER: Suppose that there is authority to collect us to throw us away to Syria, what will we do? We have no area in the world. We have no place in this universe. We belong to nowhere. Nowhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've come to deliver us. Hello.



[21:16:24] BOURDAIN (voice-over): Once known as the "Paris of the Middle East," Beirut still clings to its glamorous 1960s image, a chic tourist destination where you could famously ski and go to the beach all in the same day. Walking the Cornich (ph), it's easy to forget, for a moment anyway, what's going on not far from here.



UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: All the people who live here feel safe. They expand outside of their houses. And this is one of their traditions. This is the way I live all my life.


BOURDAIN: Mo is a local security specialist on assignment to keep, well, me and my crew safe from harm. He lives with his daughter, Bushra (ph), and family in Rost (ph), Beirut, a mixed neighborhood of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

(on camera): A little oil in the middle, as I recall, yes?


BOURDAIN: So good. Very good fish.

I missed this country. I really did.


BOURDAIN: This is my third time.


BOURDAIN: My first time was 2006.



BOURDAIN: We came here and we had two perfect days and then the war broke out.

(voice-over): During my first trip here in 2006, Hezbollah guerillas killed three Israeli soldiers and captured two others in a cross- border raid. In the 34-day war that followed, much of Beirut was heavily pounded by bombs and artilleries.

(on camera): I fell in love with this city. I mean, the worst possible situation. You have this really extraordinary mix of religions and people. How is that? Why? What's so special about it? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: Of course, somebody on Friday go to pray, somebody on Sunday go to pray. They go to the same restaurant and have the same food.


They have the same traditions.

UNIDENTIFIED DAUGHTER OF MO: There is no place better than Lebanon. You have everything. People are friendly. Beautiful, fantastic.

BOURDAIN: It is a democracy here.

UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: Of course. You have choice to sit down. I like this. I don't like this.

BOURDAIN: So what's it look like now?

UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: We looked like we are two months before 2006.

BOURDAIN: Oh, wow, that's not good.

UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: Tension is a little bit high but the people, we are very happy. We are very happy. I go with my family.

BOURDAIN: I was watching the news last night in the hotel and it is genuinely terrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: This is Lebanon. It's raining today. Tomorrow is sunny. It's happening all the time. You get used to it.

BOURDAIN: You get used to it. Are you concerned or optimistic?


BOURDAIN: Do your friends feel the same way?


BOURDAIN: Your friends are less optimistic?


UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: We have only one good neighbor that don't affect us. They help us all the time. We bring the fish and we have fish.


UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY SPECIALIST: And he never get upset from us.


[02:21:40] KENO, SYRIAN-FILIPINO RAPPER: I'm back here. We are back in the Hiz House (ph).


KENO (ph): Yeah, this is radio Beirut.


BOURDAIN: Is that -- why, yes. Yes, I think it is. Ironic glasses, vintage clothing and neck beards. It appears the Brooklyn strain has spread even to Beirut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radio Beirut, live and direct.

KENO: It is CNN and everything.

CNN has become the most trusted name in news. Same way a broken clock is trusted to be right twice a day.

CNN changed their slogan from this is CNN to at least it's not FOX News.


BOURDAIN: How is it possible that this mix of religions and cultures?

KENO: Geographically, Beirut is so tiny. You have got mountains, the sea, and we're surrounded, and there are so many factions that you have to deal with everybody.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Syrian-Filipino rapper, Keno.

KENO (ph): Monday is hip hop at radio Beirut. Radio Beirut is like a really awesome place where there is live bands playing all week long.

We created a platform for emcees to try their skills in front of people without judgment. Although we do judge --


-- but we don't make fun of them.

BOURDAIN: Lebanese free-style legend, Hussein, aka, Double A, the Preacherman.

(on camera): You were arrested?


DOUBLE A, THE PREACHERMAN, RAPPER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's not the first time it happened.


DOUBLE A: Basically, I was profiled. If there's an exPLOsion, oh, the big dude with the beard, who is bald.

BOURDAIN: These are beard related issues.

DOUBLE A: They are.

BOURDAIN: Hip hop?

DOUBLE A: That's the glue that binds us.

BOURDAIN: What is it about hip hop?

DOUBLE A: I see it like this. I mean, a lot of people are aware, in which it's a traditional riming scheme where they speak about their problems. It's in our core to be poetic.

KENO: I'm from a background where you have governments that are dictators and we can't really voice anything.


KENO: We're trying to find our own identity. We don't want to be like our ancestors fighting each other. Like, he's Christian, I'm Shiite, he's Syrian Sunni. That's nothing. You know? We don't even mention that when we're on stage.





[21:25:26] BOURDAIN (voice-over): Afternoon in Beirut and the Hafaz (ph) family, like many others across the city, prepares dinner.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Extraordinary spread of food.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All this food, you see, my son wants to go Burger King. He wants some chicken burger from Burger King.

BOURDAIN: Thank you so much for having me in your home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is sweet potato. We call it (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). It is a deep fried potato with red pepper, chili, coriander, garlic and lemon juice. And this is (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), which is raw meat, lamb, fresh mint, green onion, mixed it all together. This is (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), minced meat, baked, green and red pepper and chick peas and tomato and tomato paste.

Please help yourself.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

I was in Beirut in 2006. This neighborhood was hit very hard.


BOURDAIN: Were you here at that time?


BOURDAIN: Why this neighborhood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because the people of this area, 99 percent, they support Hezbollah.

[21:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As Israel buries its dead from a surprise Hezbollah missile strike, the radical Shiite group celebrates a victory. The rhetoric on both sides is a fevered pitch right now.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the deadliest Hezbollah attack against Israeli forces since the two sides went to war in 2006.

BOURDAIN: Hezbollah means the party of God. They are a Shia military political organization lavishly supported by Iran. The party is more powerful, more effective on the ground than the Lebanese Army. The United States officially designates them a terrorist organization. In 1983, they did this, the U.S. embassy bombing. And this, the Marine barracks at Beirut's airport. 299 United States and French servicemen were killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the people. Please put it down now.

BOURDAIN: They are dangerous. They are well funded. And whatever else they may be, they are not stupid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have two sisters I lost. Hezbollah take care of them. Here everybody support Hezbollah, even the people who are not religious for one reason, for one reason, because they feel protected by them.

BOURDAIN: My host's support for Hezbollah, typical of Diahad (ph) neighborhood in south Beirut, is staunch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before Hezbollah, Lebanese were always scared Israel. Now what do they say? Now we say, Israel, ha, ha. We don't care.

BOURDAIN (on camera): In the early days Hezbollah used tactics that just about anyone would call terrorism. When is it permissible to use a car bomb or using civilian targets?


BOURDAIN: For you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm against killing. Against killing anybody, even Israel. This person who I'm going to kill, a car bomb or whatever, does he have family?

BOURDAIN: What's the most important thing happening in the world right now that needs to be resolved for things to be better?


BOURDAIN: ISIS is number one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number one. They kill hundreds and thousands of Shiites. They are devils. They are against everything -- like everything on the earth they are against.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Recently Hezbollah has become heavily involved in the war in Syria, in defense of the Assad regime. Complicating matters and uncomfortably enough, they are probably the best- organized, best-equipped, most serious obstacle to ISIS and al Qaeda in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the villages in eastern Lebanon, they are Christian and they are Sunni.

BOURDAIN: Correct. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Hezbollah wasn't there, it was Christian in

that area. This is the only reason. This is the only reason, just to protect my children and my wife.

BOURDAIN: 20 years, 30 years?


BOURDAIN: Will things be better?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so. That many years, now, next year, I hope things are better. I hate war.




[21:37:48] BOURDAIN (on camera): The last two times I've been here, there is just this never-ending building boom. Nobody seems to be moving in but the buildings are going up.


BOURDAIN: Who is buying these apartments? Who are they four?

HADDAD: Two kinds of people, Lebanese, who are living abroad, or Arabs, especially from the gulf region.

BOURDAIN: Right, for whom Beirut is a relatively liberal wonderland, compared to Riyad, for instance.

HADDAD: Compared to Riyad, yes. But, unfortunately, we cannot generalize this and say that Beirut is a place where sexual expression is encouraged.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Her books are banned in many countries in the region. She is regularly threatened with rape, stoning and murder. She is Joumana Haddad, culture editor of Lebanon's biggest newspaper, "An Nahar."

HADDAD: Yesterday, I had my first TV show about sexual freedom and you cannot imagine how many doors have opened just because I dared say that girls are allowed sexuality like boys. We pretend to be a democracy.

This is gusta (ph).

BOURDAIN (on camera): Gusta (ph)?

HADDAD: yes, with yogurt sauce and cranberries.

BOURDAIN: Fried. Stuffed grape, please.

HADDAD: Yes. BOURDAIN: The fact that Lebanon and Beirut, in particular, works at

all. All of these religious groups have different interests. This is a fully functioning, more or less, by world standards.

HADDAD: Fully functioning.

BOURDAIN: Yeah, this is a --

HADDAD: We don't have a president. It's been almost -- going to be a year now that we are without one.

BOURDAIN: It's sort of awesome.

HADDAD: Don't you think that the main reason behind you seeing this as a thrilling, exciting place to live in is that you're a visitor and not someone who actually lives here?

BOURDAIN: Am I wrong to love this place?

HADDAD: You're not wrong to love it. I love living on the tip of a volcano, but there has to be some point where I can breathe and relax.

I don't want to seem like I'm only criticizing because I really also, as much as I hate this place, I love it as well. And I know that it's also very precious to have such a kind of freedom in a place in the Arab world like Beirut.

I don't need to tell you about Islamic State. Even though they are not inside Beirut yet, we can feel the threat. We can feel it every day.

[21:40:21] BOURDAIN: Should people come here?

HADDAD: Yes, definitely. They should come. They will enjoy it as much as you have. I wouldn't advise them to stay more than a month, though.


MICHEL LEFTIARUS (ph), FOUNDER, NRU REVOLUTIONARY GROUP & FOUNDER, BEIRUT MUSIC HALL & SINGER, MUSICIAN: I often go to Benari (ph) events and I asked them there to call me "Your Highness." I love it.


So I go there and I dress like an emperor. Not today. Sometimes I dress like an emperor.

BOURDAIN: There have been two attempts on your life, yes?

LEFTIARUS (ph): Yes.

BOURDAIN: That you're aware of.

LEFTIARUS (ph): In Arabic we say (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). It means the third one succeeds. So I don't know when the third one will be.

BOURDAIN: A young militant, an activist, a labor organizer. You have been arrested in your life?

LEFTIARUS (ph): Yes, many times. When I was 14 years old, for example, I became a Communist in a region that was under control of the extreme right wing militia. I ended up in a torture room.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Later after joining and then leaving the Lebanese army, Michel Leftiarus (ph) formed the NRU, an armed revolutionary group.

(on camera): And yet, who you are, your life now is music and culture?

LEFTIARUS (ph): I think that I was made to be a musician but when war happened, I took a gun. I understood that I could not face someone who was attacking my house with a guitar.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): In 2003, by now, a music producer, entrepreneur, politician, artist, author and film maker, he founded the Beirut music hall, in a bullet-popped theater empty since the civil war. This is his kingdom.

LEFTIARUS (ph): Some people come because it's trendy. They come with sexy ladies. Some come because they like to discover new things.

We have every night up to 15 acts, each act coming from a different culture.

BOURDAIN: Who needs culture?

LEFTIARUS (ph): I think that culture can save the world. Someone who had looks, someone to listen to beautiful music cannot become an animal again.

BOURDAIN: If you were the emperor of the world, hypothetically.

LEFTIARUS (ph): Hopefully.

BOURDAIN: Hopefully, what would Beirut be like in 10 years?

LEFTIARUS (ph): Best-case scenario it goes back to before the creation of Israel, when all communities were living together well. The Jews would be there. We have a Jewish neighborhood here. I think we would have to all to be united to fight the monster, ISIS. Once the monster is defeated, you can start arguing again about other things.



[21:48:31] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.

BOURDAIN (on camera): How you doing? I'm Tony. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am Riwanda (ph).

BOURDAIN: Hi. This feels very formal.


BOURDAIN: But it's not, so please relax.


Can I get my beer?


BOURDAIN: By all means, yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lots of people come here. They are mostly musicians and artsy people. Lots of jamming here and it's like we're a family hanging out.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): This cafe is a typical Beirut establishment with a clientele from Lebanon, from Syria and any number of other countries.

The owners are both Lebanese and Syrian and acutely aware of the tricky political realities with which they must live.

They were concerned about us filming here and wanted us to understand clearly that the cafe has no political affiliation and that the opinions of this young lady, Lawan (ph), are not that of the cafe or even that of the clientele.

(on camera): You are born and bred in Syria?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I was born and brought up in Syria, Damascus. One night, 3:00 a.m., the army entered our house and I found them in our bedroom looking for the Free Syrian Army. My dad knew he couldn't protect us because he was old. Three hours later, we decided to leave, so we came to Beirut.

BOURDAIN: Oh, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We always eat here. Grape leaves are my favorite.

BOURDAIN: I saw you went for that first.


BOURDAIN: It's delicious.



We come here a lot. We talk about Syria. We talk about our visa issues most of the time. Actually now, I have four months left, and I really have no idea what I am going to do.

[21:50:13] BOURDAIN: What do you think? Will they renew your visa?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far, I don't think so.

BOURDAIN: Do they the arrest you? Do they take you to the border and kick you over to the other side? How does that -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They send you back to Syria.

BOURDAIN: What happens if you go back to Syria?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most probably die, on the way or, for some people get arrested or be taken to the army.

BOURDAIN: How different is Damascus from Beirut?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, it is really, really different. In Damascus, I was always afraid of the government. Some people died because they cursed the president. I left Syria, and I found hope here. And I screamed in the streets, cursing all of the politicians and everything.


It is all right, nobody is going to come to arrest you. I really love this place with all of my heart.

BOURDAIN: Is all of the chaos and the violence worth it for change? Is it worth dying for? I mean, things were, there was order. When you grew up, there was order?


BOURDAIN: No freedom, but order. Would you go back to that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that there's anything worthy in the world for human blood. There is nothing more important than human being.

BOURDAIN: You have never been able to yell out loud, and you have never been able to do the things that you could do right now, you would go back?


BOURDAIN: You were alive?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lots of people were alive, too.



[21:55:55: PATON WALSH: Shocking bombing in Lebanon. We have seen widespread anger and widespread finger pointing. UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This blast has set off a tide of

unrest and civil unrest in Lebanon.





BOURDAIN (voice-over): What better way for capitalists, imperial pig dogs like Ramsey and myself to spend the last evening in Beirut, then Abu Elli (ph).

SHORT: (INAUDIBLE). He was an atheist member of the Lebanese Communist Party.

BOURDAIN: A Communist-themed bar located in a housing block.

(on camera): What is this?

SHORT: I don't know what, I'm not sure. It has been put in front of us.

BOURDAIN: Well, we should drink it and not try to figure it out.



SHORT: Vodka.

BOURDAIN: I had somebody who lives here tell me, oh, this place is very good, and stay the here longer.

SHORT: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: And I was like, what?


You are trying to kill us, man. Who is this man?

SHORT: Yeah, yeah.

BOURDAIN: He is trying to hurt us.

SHORT: Cheers.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): And after a more than a few indigenous beverages --

SHORT: Now we are talking.

BOURDAIN: Cheers. SHORT: Cheers.

BOURDAIN: -- enter Ernesto.


I have something for you.

BOURDAIN: Yeah, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a Cuban cigar.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): And in the words of Vladimir Lenin, "Let's get the party started." Or was that Rick James?

SHORT: Ernest is the son of the owner of this bar.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom, she made some here. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) is the cheese. It is the kind of rotten cheese.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called my dad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I told him there is a guy called Tony, CNN. He said, I don't watch CNN.


And I told him, but he is a cool guy. He wants to make the best food for you. This is someone that I know in Beirut.

BOURDAIN: Is it lamb?


BOURDAIN: Oh, man, that is good.


BOURDAIN: Are we picking up a gun or not?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we will fight these people.

BOURDAIN: I'm not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, we have to have it.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): I seem to remember mom at some point pulling out some kind of automatic weapon.

(on camera): All right, here you go, big boy.

SHORT: I will take it up in arms, and I will fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you about it.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): And then as though descended from the ceiling, Bootsy Collins came on over the intercom system, and the rest dissolved into a fog.

SHORT: Let's have cheers.


BOURDAIN: They have the worst neighbor problems in the world. It is amazing that it persists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have been a number of places, and this the place, it is the world's finest.


SHORT: I think so, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is to Tony, man.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Beirut -- everybody should come here. Everybody should see how complicated and deeply troubled and, yet, at the same time, beautiful and awesome the world can be. Everyone should experience, even as the clouds gather, what's at stake, what could be lost, what's still here, and never let that hope go.

Beirut, there is no place like it.