Sep 14, 2009

Mediterranean


I never thought I'd hear myself say this but there I was staring at the skyline and saying. "I'm in Beirut." When I arrived I didn't have too much knowledge about the place. We had a guide who took us around a bit. I wanted to see old neighborhoods and souks but our guide kept wanting to show us Starbucks and new shopping malls. There are signs of destruction everywhere. Beautiful old buildings that are pockmarked from being shelled. Shite slums with people living in abandoned structures. The new and the old stand side by side with the decayed and ruined. Then you have to factor in the gorgeous Mediterranean ocean. There is a huge boardwalk that stretches for miles. People sit smoking hukas or fishing. It is a wild mix of Muslims and Christians. There is so much coastline of beautiful unused beaches. I kept thinking, "I'd love to stick a house here and clean this up a bit." Parts reminded us of Italy and other parts, Spain. Yun and I were the only tourists wherever we went. At one point I saw a bunch of enormous blown up buildings. I asked what it was. They said it was where their ex-prime minister was assassinated. His name was Rafik Hariri. He was a very powerful rich dude who was rebuilding much of Beirut with his own dough. The Syrians finally got to him with a massive truck bomb. It is going to be left just as it as a monument to him. All in all it's a beautiful place with great food and friendly people (except in the Hezbollah camps and Shite parts of town.)