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Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 10, Monday - Beruit

And the jetlag is back. I believe that it was a combination of all the traveling and the extreme heat in my room, but I woke up sick again this morning. John, from the AMIDEAST office, came to meet me at the place where I am staying and took me to the office. Once there, I ended up having to lie down for a bit, and John and Allyson were gracious enough to let me (actually, encourage me to) take a break.

I have learned the importance of treating long travel like a marathon, not a sprint (thanks, Dad), and while it has been a difficult lesson to learn, I know that you have to take care of yourself because trying to push through can just make it worse. For me, it seems to help if I can get some rest and eat a little, simple foods, and a few hours later I feel normal. Not to mention drink water! It's easy to get dehydrated while traveling, especially in hot climates. 

Dunkin' Donuts is rather popular here (and you will notice the chocolate frosting w/ sprinkles, finally!).  Technically this picture is from Friday, but the point is to show you one of the classrooms I set-up in.

View from one of the classrooms

Street near the office building's entrance

Anyways, I am feeling much better now and have begun to do some work, proof-reading, office tasks, and generating some ideas for a conference. John took me on a tour of the office and I think I have met just about everyone. I have been trying to speak Arabic, but I am still adjusting and inevitably we all switch into English (they also have a hard time with the classical Arabic so we generally end up joking about it all in English). John has been very good at pushing me to use my Arabic though, which I appreciate, even if it is hard.

I have also had a new experience while I have been at the office: blackouts. They didn’t last that long, but all the lights went off, as did the hum of the A/C. After a minute or so, everything pops back on.  It turned out that we had overloaded the circuits.

I actually ended up changing housing today. It was decided that I really needed some place with A/C and John had a friend who offered to let me stay at her place. Her name is Emma and she is a journalist and a great singer/pianist, as I discovered. She lives on the fourth floor in an apartment building and there is a deck with a great view (I might sleep out there one night). There are lots of restaurants and stores nearby and it isn’t that far from where I was before, so I still know the area a little. 

View from the apartment at night (towards Syria, I think)

Different angle, but view from the apartment's deck during the day

While I decided to move because of the heat and being sick, I always think it is more fun to stay with people who can tell you about the area and get you connected in. I am currently sitting in a coffee shop eating ice cream, drinking tea, and using their internet, and I am enjoying it. 

They play MTV at this coffee shop, so it's hard to tell that you are out of the country
Tomorrow I hope to go exploring a bit more around the city, and I will try to take some pictures. Sorry for all the long writing blogs lately. I have more time to write them before I post since I don’t have internet so handy, and uploading pictures takes a lot of time.

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