Just back from some time spent in Lebanon and Syria.
Beirut is quite possibly the least bicycle-friendly place I have ever seen, with steep hills, incredible numbers of road blocks and seemingly no enforcement of parking rules, or maybe there just aren't any parking rules. Garbage from public trash cans, however, is collected by customized trikes (below).
Damascus in Syria, which on the whole seems much poorer than Beirut and where transport infrastructure shows evidence of more stringent planning, has far more bicyclists. (Number of bicyclists is not an indicator of what the political system is like, I hasten to add. In this respect, Syria is Mordor.) While the few heroic pedal pushers in Beirut mostly used Taiwan-made MTBs, the Syrians mostly go for Chinese "Phoenix"-brand classic bikes (below).
In both Beirut and Damascus, I saw load-carrying bicycles with a sturdy front basket (below). These were mostly used by bread vendors.
The old town of Damascus boasts a stunning mosque and a of course a whole slew of jewelry shops. Being who I am, I was naturally far more intrigued by the amount of blacksmiths making tools and equipment on the spot, and found great pleasure in browsing the most fascinating hardware stores I have ever seen. Your humble correspondent below, trying to remember dimensions of some elusive screws he will surely regret not buying once he arrives home.