Natasha Jane Stallard is not your average houseguest.
She’ll show up on your doorstep with virtually no notice, but arrive just in time to help you cook dinner. She’ll come from the airport with little more than a purse, but step outside each morning looking like a FaceHunter subject. And she’s been known to leave behind a pair of white marabou mules and a bottle of champagne for her hostess (thank you very much).
Though currently based in Dubai as editor of Brownbook magazine, Natasha was once a Beirut-based freelance writer and editor of Time Out Beirut. She still has a soft spot for the city and returns to Lebanon as often as possible. Between sips of champagne – and shod in marabou mules – I asked her about her Beirut travel style.
BB: Carry-on or checked luggage?
NJS: Carry on, for sure. I’m a tote bag and a toothbrush kind of woman.
A little gin and tonic and a big book.
Reading material this time around?
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin. It’s a super ace semi-autobiographical novel by an Algerian girl in prison in ‘60s Paris. The new English translation has an introduction by Patti Smith.
The one thing you would never travel to Beirut without?
Like, a kazillion chargers and adaptors because the electricity sucks.
Your Beirut holiday style?
Faux Bardot: messy eyeliner and a tan.
The one piece of clothing essential for a trip to Beirut?
I’m going through a headscarf phase. And an old-fashioned swimsuit, for early mornings at Sporting Club.
If you could only travel with one pair of shoes…
I only take one pair of shoes when I travel.
What to stock up on at duty free?
Almaza! It’s not the best beer in the world (some say) but it reminds me of so many summers and makes me feel day-dreamy when I see it in the fridge.
A window seat. That view is one of the most dramatic arrivals to any city – the plane gets so close to the sea and the city that you can see the traffic on the Corniche. It feels like you’re getting a big fat “welcome” hug from a Lebanese teta and that you’re about to crash and burn, all at the same time. Which is very Beirut.
Images courtesy of Facebook, Natasha Jane Stallard, and leavingjetplane.com.