between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Hangin with the Hez…

Posted by Andrew in LEBANON (August 20, 2007 at 4:49 pm)

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When I was growing up, the word Beirut basically meant violence and war. I didn’t even know where it was, but that’s the impression I had from somewhere. Its those kind of places (you have some impression that you don’t know where it comes from) which are some of the best to go to, so you can find out the real deal.
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Well the war thing was pretty much true. The scars of war are all over Lebanon. The civil war in the 1980s and now the war last year with Israel.
CIMG7608 bombed out street.jpgCIMG7619 beirut corner1.jpgCIMG7483 b-wire barricades old church.jpgCIMG7493 bomb holes tall bldg.jpgCIMG7523 ferris wheel assasination scene.jpg

We were staying with my friend Jackson (a great journalist-click here for his blog) and his so-hospitable roommates Arbi and Daniel.
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JESSICA SEZ: Daniel wrote the teensy weensy Arabic script on this chopstick, and Arbi has introduced capoeira to Beirut
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ANDREW RETURNZ:We were up in the mix of a mass of cool people, doing their best to keep Beiruits proud party tradition alive. Thats right, its also the party capital of the middle east. Our first night there, we were having too much fun at a house party to go to the club where BOY GEORGE was Dj’ing. Yes it would have been a great story to tell, but we’ve had to make hard choices all throughout this trip.
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Unsurprisingly, politics are everywhere in Lebanon. We asked a lot of questions, and learned a lot, but left still very confused as to whats really happening there.
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To boot we were there on election day so people were out in the streets and driv?ng through town promot?ng their particular favorite.
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There are so many factions and sub factions of Sunnis, Shia, Christians, Armenians, and others playing political games and making alliances with each other that I might defer to another friend and colleague Simba, who on my last night remarked that ‘its all politricks’, and the issues that matter to real people are never addressed by any of them. That’s the view I always had back home, but I was hoping it had a little more meaning over here. Maybe, maybe not….
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And of course, Hezbollah was on the scene.
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For those who don’t know, they are a legal political party with elected members in the Lebanese government. They have a great deal of support from the people. They’ve got a huge camp set up in downtown Beirut, as a sit-in to protest the current government. And they have a gift shop next to the roman ruins at Baalbek in Northern Lebanon.
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I spoke to a few members and got their take on things. In a tiny nutshell—they dont like the Zionist agenda, and they think the US supports it. Ask me for more details in person.
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Almost forgot, aside from all the politics, Lebanon ?s a beautiful country.
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Roman Ruins, beaches, mountains. We would have liked to have spent a lot longer exploring. (and cook?ng at Jacksons house–weve really m?ssed being able to cook our own food)
CIMG4324 byblos rock fishing.jpgCIMG4327 byblos obelisks.jpgCIMG4331 byblos olive or wine press.jpgCIMG7631 byblos from above.jpgCIMG7515 pigeon rocks w j.jpgCIMG7565 herc from below.jpgCIMG7558 hercules temple from front.jpgCIMG7519 pink sky w cars.jpgCIMG7654 house and clouds.jpgCIMG7571 carved pillar tops.jpgCIMG7547 rounded wall with doorways.jpgCIMG7550 carved murals and pillarz.jpg CIMG7555 huge steps.jpg CIMG7551 j shining pillar1.jpg

Were behind again on the pics. We spent an awesome few days in Northern Syria, and are now in Southern Turkey. Its feelin more European every day…

And back on the profess?onal tip, you can click here to check out a story I just wrote for the St Petersburg Times about Burning Man, and how the fest?val this year is stepp?ng up its environmental consciousness.
? really w?sh I was going to be there, but, again…sacr?fices must be made.
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One Response to “Hangin with the Hez…”

  1. Chuck Currie Says:

    Hey Andrew. Still amazed by all you’re doing and seeing. Glad to know you are well. Come back to Portland!

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