Beirut, On the OVERLAND.
Just another difficult day, and night, in the life of coach and people carers.
Beautiful Beirut, Snow ski in the morning, Water ski on the waters out in the bay, after lunch.
Frank S. from the South Island who I called Cob, and myself were standing and watching the activities around us, out in the bay were fine yachts, some were sailing about and many others with people just sitting about, like us we assumed, enjoying what was.
Water skiing, was popular, and there were the hundreds of other people just standing or sitting about on the sand, enjoying being on the beach.
The area where we standing, was popular too, and both Frank and I, we both agreed there were some very nice moveable things about for us to see. It may have been Lebanon but it could easily have been the South Coast France or Bondi even.
We had arrived last night, we were all booked into The Mashreq Hotel in Rue 17. The rest of our group were up and out sightseeing, but Frank and I decided on a easy day, and had just wondered along the streets buying food off the stalls, until we finally arrive on the waterfront.
We could see the Beirut Yacht club, and all the other activities.
We heard a voice from behind us and when we turned there was a man, not a tall man perhaps more rotund than anything else.
He struck up a conversation with Frank and myself asking the usual type of questions, from where, why, etc.
It was all good, just chatting away, when finally he said, do you by some chance, have better clothes than the ones you wearing now.?
We both looked at him and was surprised at the question, bloody cheek we thought.
He then said I just wondered, because if you had I could invite you both to an outing tonight.
We both looked at him and thought, well we thought. !!.?.
He then he said, I own the Kit Kat Klub, have you ever heard of it.
We said no we had not, historical monuments and holes in the ground were about our lot, sightseeing was about as much as we got to see on our travels.
He asked again do you have better clothes, we told him we did have.
He then said, why don't you both come to my Club tonight, I believe you will enjoy it.
This is for you to decide he said, but if you decide to come, take a Taxi and tell the driver the Kit Kat Klub, he will know it.
The doorman will know your coming and he will let you in.
Frank and I walked back to the Mashreq, and decided we would give it a go.
All dressed up, we caught a taxi and just like the man said, on arrival the doorman called someone and we were escorted in the Club, we were give the best table, right on the dance floor, and next to the stage, top spot.
The club was fantastic, big, big and busy. It didn't take long before a waiter came with a wine list and Frank and I took the menu and cringed, to put it politely.
The cheapest thing to drink was a beer, however we said, no we wouldn't have anything thank you.
We could have almost bought a carton at home for the price.
The waiter said, you should have something, you are a guest of Mr xxx the owner and you don't have to pay, you eat and drink what you want and enjoy the floor show, so we ordered nice cold beers.
The night was such a good night, the floor show was great, some were better than great, lots of European with one British act too, and we enjoyed the food.
During the night The owner came to ask how is the floor show, how was the food. etc etc ah good he said, that makes me happy.
I thought I might ask you if you could stay awake until sunrise he asked.
Right oh, we think, here comes the twist in the road, yes, well that's what we thought, trust no one, we even made sure the beer was opened at our table and went hsss.
Then he said, if you can stay awake, you can join me at the Casino du Liban, I go every Saturday night he said and I will take you both to see it, but he said, be warned, I play cards and wont leave until dawn.
So Frank and I went to the You, Beaut, Casino du Liban, gamblers every where, better than James Bond, mind you I don't think he was up and around then, 1966... Might have been in hiding...
If you had ever been there you would know, it was Big, a big and a Beautiful place and full of wealth.
People from every country, and all spick and span, dressed to the nine. Suited men, tuxedo men, and beautiful women, some more beautiful than others, everywhere, and Frank and I.
The Kit Kat Klub evening/night came to an end, and our friend, said to follow him, which we did right into the back of his large black Mercedes 600 limo, chauffer driven.
On arrival at the Casino du Liban he gave us 100 pounds which was a lot of money believe me.
Go gamble he said, and if you win lots we will go halves.
Many hours later he turned up, and said, are you ready I'm very tired and I am going home to sleep.
We went outside to the car and dawn was on its way.
If your hungry boys, my cook will make you breakfast and then Mosal will drive you back to your Hotel Mashreq.
Which is exactly what happened, we arrived at a large luxury apartment, our friend disappeared, we had a cooked breakfast, and were then driven back to our Mashreq, in the big black car.
Ah well, it couldn't happen to two nicer people, and No we never won anything, we lost the lot, but we thought we still had a WIN, all the same.
If you search Kit Kat Klub 66, there are some pics.. and Wikipedia can tell of the Casino du Liban..!!?.
Robert (Bob Wilko ) Wilkinson.
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