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First day in Beirut

Midnight, May 14, we flew from Frankfurt south along the Mediterranean coast, over the Greek Isles, Cyprus and came into Beirut with a nearly full moon turning the sea to milk.  From our hotel, now about 3:00 am (we had been traveling since 7 pm Friday night) we gazed from our balcony at the lights cascading from the mountains to the east. Not until we awoke this morning—or noon to be more exact—did we realize that we were by sea.

In the afternoon, we walked to the Corniche (drive-walk bordering the sea) and had lunch amid families and their beautiful (gamila) children. Sunday is the day free from work here—much to our surprise since Friday is the Moslem day of rest.  The day was incredibly balmy—perhaps in the mid-70s.  Along the coast, young men swam in the welcoming waters, diving from moss-covered rocks. Fisherman steadied poles that may have been 30 feet long.  In the outdoor cafés, frequented by local families, about 20% of the women wore hijabs (the scarf) and many smoked the Arab pipes.

Beirut is a clean Cairo with virtually no trash on the streets, yet the construction is as disorganized.  Solar panels are abundant.  The city is peaceful, although five were killed along the Lebanese-Israeli border today as people massed to demonstrate against Israel—today being the anniversary of the founding of Israel (Nakbo Day). Islamic-Coptic Christian violence continues in Egypt.  As in the US, huge billboards predict the end of the world on May 21, 2011—so perhaps we don’t have to worry about other problems.

In the morning, we’ll meet with the staff of the education project (TAMAM) here at the hotel, then take off for Cairo.  More on Tuesday….

Have a great month, Linda



This entry was posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2011 at 11:10 am and is filed under Education, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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