One year on

ginger cedar ginger beirut

ginger cedar

Ginger Beirut has now been online for a full year. In that time the page with the most hits on this site is About me… so now it’s time to talk about you, about those who visit this blog.

Over the past year, this site has drawn readers from the most far-flung corners of the atlas, from the Isle of Man to Fiji, Azerbaijan to Angola and Belize to Brunei. It’s a testimony to the sheer extent of Lebanese migration and the way these migrants have transmitted to new communities their love of their country, their cuisine and their peculiar approach to life.

The breadth of this readership is likely also linked to the recent surge in coverage of Lebanon in the press for reasons other than politics and conflict (though the ink hasn’t been spared in those columns either). Aside from a severe spate of Beirut is Back articles (for a parody read here) in which journalists took turns to report on their experience of staying at Le Gray and eating at Tawlet, there have been many in-depth articles in the international press (by the New York Times to name one source) which manage to get beyond the fabulous, eclectic contradictions that grab every visitor to the capital, and dig into the actual make-up of Lebanese society.

Niche readership

While international press titles can rely on readers attracted by a broad coverage, this blog focuses on just one truly tiny country through one pair of eyes. Fittingly, it draws a niche readership. Comments from readers, and especially the many emails you send me show that people who come to browse here are people at a crossroads of cultures. They have strong links with Lebanon, sometimes through origins, but also by marriage, having lived here for work or military service, or simply having fallen in love with the country. At the same time they have to have the native-level English and literary patience to put up with my verbose writing style. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how many people fall into the intersection of this limiting Venn diagram.

One of the joys of throwing ideas and articles out into the ostensible void of cyberspace over this year has been that of finding my writing touches a chord with readers around the world. I have been delighted by the vast number of readers who have reached out with comments and emails, telling me their own experiences, asking questions, proposing explanations and even offering jobs (keep them coming!).


You may have noticed a few tweaks to the layout recently to welcome in a second year of musings and observations from here in Beirut. They aim to make browsing the blog a more pleasant experience for you readers. There’s less scrolling now that the recent posts are linked on the right, and as before you can navigate via the archives, the map and the tag cloud. It’s easier to subscribe using a reader of your choice and you can now opt to subscribe by email if you prefer.

You may notice a few other changes in the weeks to come but now’s a good time if you have any comments, whether it be on content or layout. How do you like to navigate the blog? Which features do you actually use? Which topics would you like to read more about?

6 Responses to “One year on”

  1. Danielle says:

    Congratulations for hitting the one year mark! You bring such diversity and perspective to the Lebanese blogosphere.. :D

  2. Paulina says:

    Congratulations on your first year, cheers to the many more to come! Your articles are interesting and entertaining and capture the attention of the online audience. Keep up the great work!

  3. Nick Thornton says:

    There is one more demographic that reads your excellent blog: those of us non-Lebanese who will soon be living in this beautiful but somewhat strange country. Keep it coming!

  4. htj says:

    Congratulations on your first anniversary. I have enjoyed your posts. Interesting, entertaining, and enlightening. Thank you for that. Looking forward to many more to come.

  5. Jimmy says:

    Congratulations ! I love your English writing style ^^ keep blogging , personnaly I’d like you to talk more about social issues.

  6. Lesley says:

    Congratulations. I have been reading your blog since my last visit to Beirut in July of 2010. You wrote about the traffic and visitors and I laughed so much. You have managed to capture the essence of the Lebanese culture in a very endearing and interesting way. I am English and my husband is Lebanese so Beirut is my second home and my children feel the same way. I always look for your updates and will continue to do so. My observation about your change in layout is good but I must admit I preferred the blogs with more pictures as they complimented your writing and were also very good pics.

    So keep blogging and maybe a section for good places to eat, as some of us don’t go very often and its easy to get out of touch on places to go.

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