Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Lebanon: Left too soon

One of my big goals for this around-the-world trip was to get to Lebanon. As some of you may know, my father’s father’s side of the family is from Lebanon; I figured I could go and maybe see the village they left when they came to America. (Spoiler - I was unable to accomplish this on this visit.) Add in the background of a revolution in progress and the whole build-up was a lot to handle.

My German friend and I arrived on the evening of December fourth and made our way to our hostel in Beirut. Despite what it says online (perhaps due to the revolution) there was no visa-on-arrival fee. It was a soggy day, but everything pointed toward a positive time in the country.

I really don’t have an interesting narrative to share about my experience here - while I had a wonderful time, much of it was spent wandering the streets or hanging out with new friends. My German friend was only able to spend a couple days in the country and we explored independently for the most part.

Armenia street served as my main base for the adventure; between the hostel and a host later on, I was on it nearly every day. I visited the protests for a minute, walked up near (but didn’t get on) American University of Beirut’s campus, and generally did my best to wear out my shoes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to any museums or libraries.

There were two times I left the city in the six days I was there - one was a day trip up to Byblos to see the ruins and everything there and one was to join a group of friends on a gastronomical adventure in the mountains. Byblos was cool, but I feel like I didn’t get the full experience without having local help. The meal (containing everything from hummus to testicle) was delightful - although the scenic outlook was undercut by a very foggy/rainy day.

Six days were not enough to see Beirut, let alone get out and see the country (especially as the rainy season set in) and I hope to go back soon. Hopefully after a victory for the revolutionaries!

On December tenth I got on a plane and flew to Egypt.

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