06 July 2014

Ya Lubnan!

I'm going to Lebanon! Beiruit to be exact. I'm not one to get very excited about things, but I've wanted to go to Beirut ever since I took two classes in the 2006-2007 school year with one of my favorite professors - who is Lebanese.

I wanted originally to go to Iran, to spend time with my dear friend from grad school and her family, but, as I am a US citizen, I wasn't deemed worth by the Iranian government to come to their country. Probably for the best anyway, considering that if I pass the Foreign Service exam I'll have to get Top Secret clearance, and a trip to Iran would definitely jeapordize that application.

As Lebanon is the first country in the actual MIDDLE of the Middle East that I will visit, I hope to be able to do a little bit of blogging while I'm there. Not only that, but it's not the most peaceful time there right now. We had planned a trip to Baalbek, and a fantastic vineyard that serves brunch, but we had to cancel that trip because a group called the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade want to free the region of "crusaders." Oh, and they've also pledged fealty to the new ISIS caliphate. No big deal, but no brunch is worth dealing with a group that is so violent that Al-Qaeda is telling them to calm down.

But enough about scary violence and thoughts of impending explosions. I've already got a few dinners planned, Lebanese Arabic lessons, a sushi iftar groupon purchased, a planned outing to a night club that was/is a bomb shelter, and a tentative plan to visit a turtle refuge where you camp in chalets on the beach and they deliver hookah to your chalet. Stay tuned to this blog for more updates about first impressions of a city I've heard so much about for so long.

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