I woke up after 08:00, looked outside, and did not see the ski lifts running (perhaps the resort doesn’t actually open up until 09:00, contrary to what I was told); so, I laid in bed a little longer and got up again at 09:00; this time the lifts were operational. I then showered, dressed, packed my bags, walked downstairs, grabbed my skis, and got to it. I started skiing at 10:00; the sky was cloudy, but the wind was mild, and overall it was a nice day (I also dressed warmer than the previous days I actually skied). Unfortunately, a number of the lifts were shut down and quite a few pistes were closed off – the snow isn’t deep in many areas and I actually hit quite a few exposed rocks today on pistes that were actually open. Due to certain lifts and pistes being closed, I couldn’t get to the northern part of the resort (“Warde”), an area that had a nice slope-side restaurant and that I liked very much; so, I was stuck on the south side, but at least Mount Mzaar was open and I had great views of Beirut from up there. I skied for three hours before stopping for a snack and a beer at one of the high restaurants. I then skied for another ninety minutes; even going off-piste a little bit at the end (although, to be fair, the off-piste here is pretty much just like the pistes, possibly even safer). All-in-all, I did alright and, in my lifetime, today marks the fifteenth day I have skied; not much, but I started late and I think I’m improving fairly well. Once I finished at 14:30, I returned to my hotel, showered, dressed, grabbed my bags, and checked out. I then waited in the lounge for my taxi to arrive and take me to the airport. The taxi came at 15:55, I placed my bags inside, got in, and was driven down the mountain and back to Beirut. The drive was much more pleasant this time since I didn’t have an absinthe hangover and I enjoyed the craggy rock outcroppings and colorful mountainsides. The drive took about ninety minutes thanks to much more traffic below 1000 meters and I reached the airport at 17:30. I then checked in, passed through passport control (which took forever despite short lines – usually it’s quicker to exit than to enter, but in Lebanon it’s the other way around), and then ate some food to spend the remaining Lebanese Pounds in my wallet; I had a feta cheese and pepper sandwich, salt and vinegar chips, apple juice, a beer, and a red bull; then after a short time, I had a chicken and avocado sandwich, more salt and vinegar chips, cranberry and pomegranate juice, more beer, and a brownie. Then, at 20:20, I boarded the A320-232 operated by Middle East Airlines, was given an orange juice, and, after all the seats were filled, the plane took off at 20:55. It was a short thirty-minute flight and we were soon in Cyprus.
After landing in Larnaca, Cyprus, I passed through Immigration, grabbed my bag, and then passed through Customs and exited the airport terminal. I then tried to take a taxi, but the drivers didn’t want to use their meters (which I had read online that they are required by law to use), so I fell back in to my old habit of walking. It took me just over an hour to walk from the airport to the hotel I desired to stay at in Larnaca and I arrived and checked in at 23:15. I then retired to my room, checked my emails, gathered all the required documents for an Azerbaijan e-Visa, and was ready to purchase my flight to Baku when I decided it was highly unlikely I would get the Visa in time and the cost of the flight ($280) plus the cost of the e-Visa ($120) would be a waste of money; besides, I found very little evidence from online forums that azerbaijan24.com was a legitimate website; so, I decided with a sad heart to strike Azerbaijan off of my itinerary; on the positive side, I will now have more time in Israel and Georgia, which I’m sure are more worthwhile countries. After a late night, I then went to sleep at 03:00.