One of the interesting things I am getting out of my time in Beirut is a little taste of what it might be like to live here. I have an apartment where I can come and go as I please, with a living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, and a deck. I also have an office to go to everyday.
Now, I’m sure I am not quite living the way I would if I actually did live here, but this is the place where I will likely be on my own the most, so this is probably as close as I will be to seeing what it would be like if I did move here (Note: I am not currently planning to move to the Middle East, this is more of a “social experiment” concept, in case you were wondering).
I have also been adopted by the nicest guy from AMIDEAST, John. While I mainly work for Allyson here with AMIDEAST’s Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute, I also work with John, who is a program coordinator, and now my adopted older brother. So today John and his girlfriend took me out to Jubail (Arabic), also known as Byblos (Greek).
Jubail/Byblos is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, founded sometime around 5000BC. It is a port city and was a supplier of papyrus paper to the Greek world, which is how it got its Greek name (bublos = Egyptian papyrus). We meant to go earlier in the day to see the sunset, but we got stuck at work, so these are a few pictures of Jubail/Byblos at night.
As nice as Beirut is, it is only one aspect of the country and it was nice to get out to the countryside a little. On our way back we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner. It was a very tasty meal of grilled meat, vegetables, Arabic bread, hummus, etc. After dinner I was really full but I had said earlier that I wanted to try Lebanese ice cream, so they took me to a place where I got this:
That was the smallest size they had and it was only $1! While I ate my ice cream, we went on a little tour of Beirut at night. They took me to see a famous building which I believe use to be an amphitheater or concert hall. Here is another war-damaged building that is well known in Beirut (taken on Friday, during the day) to give you an idea of the damage:
We also had a good discussion about personal freedoms where we got to compare (in a general sense) views from the West and the East. It was a very fun evening.
*Note: I am technically posting from Amman, Jordan, where the internet connection is much better, but it still takes some time, so I will be going back and adding pictures to my other posts hopefully soon.