Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Before coming to Beirut

By Noha El Maraghi  

I made it a point not open a brochure or Google image anything that has to do with Beirut and Lebanon (I did however do my research on history and information). This maybe an odd decision because I would be living here for a month, but my rationale was based on experience from previous travel. Brochures paint this unrealistic picture of a heaven, but as enchanting as the city is it never lives up to what you have built in your mind, and the end result is disappointment. Even if I had looked at the best of brochures no one could have represented the beauty and culture of Beirut. 

To begin with it is directly on the deep blue Mediterranean Sea; this is enough for me. Imagine writing a blog entry from the eighth floor of your dorm room that has a huge window with a view of the water. It is almost compelling to feel greedy with this experience in fear that people will find out, and tourists will bombard the city carrying backpacks as heavy as their own weight. 

After a week of great enjoyment one question still lingers: where is the danger that everyone warned about with open wide eyes? Why did the Bluegrass airport lady checking our passports say with a look of care to “be very careful?” Every place you travel has some sort of risk, of course bordering Israel increases you risk by a lot. Nevertheless, after only a day here the last thing on my mind was any risk what so ever. How could it be when already so many other things were, like what time to go to the beach or what delicious food to eat today, all of this while surrounded with the friendliest locals. It seems that we have to break the stereotypes of other countries because in the end we are more similar than different.

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