Guide to Lebanon Blog Posts

It’s hard to believe how much time has passed since I was in Lebanon. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday and other times it feels like it was all a dream (yes, I know that sounds cliche!). Whenever I think back to those incredible ten days in Lebanon I always have a smile on my face.

In a few weeks I will be presenting again on my time in Lebanon. This presentation will be at the Hudson Library and Historical Society on Tuesday February 5th at 7:00pm. Again, I hope for those of you in the area, you will consider attending.

For anyone who is new to my blog I thought it might be helpful if I repost the links to each blog post that I made while in Lebanon. I have included a brief summary of each one.

Enjoy!

Oreos with the Ambassador = Pre-departure, reflection on orientation in Washington DC

Details from pre-departure = more information on our pre-departure orientation sessions

Walking Tour = Our first day in Lebanon we took a walking tour of downtown Beirut

All around Lebanon = Big day of touring including Khalil Gibran museum, the Cedars, and the Roman Ruins at Baalbek

Day 4 – Our first meetings = met with Michael Young, Hanin Ghaddar, Ousama Safa and Lokman Slim

Day 6 – More meetings = met with Youssef Fawaz from Al Majmoua (microfinance NGO) and toured American University of Beirut

Parliament Meeting = met with Simon Abi Ramia, member of Parliament and head of the commission for Youth and Sports

Tour of Byblos = visited Jeita Grotto and Byblos

Just Checking In = photos at the border with Israel and with UNIFIL

Music in Lebanon = details on Najwa Karam performance at the Achrafieh Music Festival and our visit to Skybar

Visit to the US Embassy in Beirut = details on the life of US ambassadors in Lebanon

ANERA = met with Bill Corcoran, president of American Near East Refugee Assosciation, who does work with Palestinian Refugees

 

Flower at Baalbek

Walking Tour

The highlight of Saturday was a walking tour of Beirut. We went inside two churches and one mosque. I had never been in a mosque before. The men in our group were able to walk right in after taking off their shoes. The women however had to put on black smocks and cover our hair with black scarves, which were all provided by the mosque. We put our shoes in a cubby along the wall. There was a huge gorgeous chandelier in the mosque and several smaller ones too. The mosque cost $22 million and was completely paid for by Hariri before he was assassinated in 2005. Hariri is buried right next to the mosque and there is a tent with lots of photos of him on display. Rafic Hariri was Prime Minister of Lebanon 1992-1998 and 2000-2004. He is regarded as a hero in Lebanon for reviving the country and especially the city of Beirut after the civil war.

Some other random things to note:

I learned that Pepsi has the corner on the market in Lebanon. Coke usually has less than 20% of the market. I can’t remember when exactly Coke pulled out of Lebanon, but I’m guessing sometime around the civil war and then they came back later than Pepsi. Also Pepsi gives store owners more incentives to purchase with them, like a free case for every ten you buy.

Everyone in Beirut drinks bottled water instead of tap water. For this reason bottle water is very cheap. My roommate and I bought 6 large 1 liter bottles of water for $3.

Also everywhere takes US dollars and the exchange rate is accepted to be $1 US for 1500 Lebanese in all small shops.

I’ve been surprised by how much French is spoken. But this has been a plus for me! I’ve used a little Arabic so far, but I know more French so I’m able to use that too.

Tonight we are going to a music festival so I’m going to get some rest before we go to dinner at 9PM! Tomorrow will be a long day too so I may not update for a while.