2010
01.18

SYNOPSIS:  WALKING BEIRUT – THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY. 

Ok, the romance is over.  70 degrees and sunshine – I got that yesterday.  Now it’s winter, as it is supposed to be.  That means 50 degrees and rain, rain, rain.  The forecast promises a full week of it.  And the first acquaintance with it was no fun.  The hilly roads of Beirut are transformed into gushing rivers and the stone-paved sidewalks turn into slimy, slippery slopes on which every step is an adventure, not to say a risk.  I braved it anyhow, but got home soaked.

I knew I was trading heat for rain by choosing to travel during the winter rather than in the summer.  I can’t imagine to travel in 100-120 degrees.  I can’t imagine the dust and the pollution then.  But now I can imagine the rain and it is no joke either.

But I continued my walk through Beirut.  Started exactly where I had left off last night (that’s the German in me – there needs to be some order to this, right?).  I took a taxi out there which today cost twice as much as yesterday…  I guess that depends on the weather, or the mood of the taxi driver, or who knows what.  Continued along the corniche and made it to the famous Lebanese landmark called “Pigeon Rock”.  A great rock formation right off the shore of Beirut.

And then I headed to the American University.  A famous institution on a gorgeous 75 acre campus.  I got a private tour with a wonderful student who patiently answered all my questions.  $500 per credit hour… that says it all.  The oldest museum in Lebanon (third oldest in the Middle East) is part of the campus.  And an odd tradition:  The campus is full of wild cats who can not be harmed.  A student caught harming a cat will be reprimanded!  🙂  The things you learn when you travel!

I struggled more than ever with a bad internet connection tonight, so this is it, folks!  Tomorrow, rain or shine – rain of course, what am I thinking?! – I will head out to Byblos, one of the oldest continually inhabited towns anywhere.  Wish me a few hours without rain, so I can take some pictures.

Good night.