Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve arrived safely in Lebanon after about 20 hours in transit (Newark –> Frankfurt –> Beirut) and am now happily ensconced at AUB (American University of Beirut). I also slept from 8pm last night to 10am today…so that was awesome.
My roommate, Helin, is a Turkish American student of the same age as I who just graduated from Clark University in Massachusetts, and we have – GET THIS – an air conditioned room overlooking the Golfe de Saint-Georges on the Mediterranean coast of Beirut, just north of the al-Hamra (meaning red in Arabic) neighborhood of the city.
Fun Fact: according to legend, apparently this is the bay where Saint George actually slew the Dragon!
Al-Hamra is a gorgeous (and it seems quite wealthy) neighborhood of the city, very alive although technically not wasat al-medina (the city center) and thus not “downtown” persay. I definitely see why people call Beirut “the Paris of the Middle East”; at least this university neighborhood is cosmopolitan, diverse religiously as well as culturally (I’ve seen women wearing everything from booty-shorts to full niqabs and no one seems to notice either way) and very posh (I’m currently sitting in Caribou Coffee, just down the street from Starbucks, Express and American Eagle). Time to go get food, but hopefully I’ll have wifi in my dorm by tomorrow so I’ll be able to post more easily!