Got woken up this morning at 3 am by gun shots. A little concerning and I started to wonder what I was doing here.
Woke up to a bright sunny day and last nights (or this mornings) worries didn't seem important anymore (could have been anything, I wonder how often you'd here gun shots in NYC?). Anyway spent the day walking around Beirut. Walked the length of the Hamra district, into downtown (what's left of it - or rather what's been rebuilt), back along the Mediterranean, and back through the American University in Beirut.
Actually downtown was a bit of a let down. Most of the buildings have been razed and new constructions are everywhere. There are some bomb damaged buildings, but not what I expected.
The walk back along the Meiterranean (along the Comiche)) was a bit strange. It very much reminded me of the walkway along the coast in La Jolla (South of the Cove). Lot's of palm trees, joggers, roller bladers, even a Hard Rock Cafe! It made me feel a bit more than a little homesick. But it also recharged me.
Beirut in general is an amazingly Western city. Actually I'd find it a bit boring and not worth visiting if it was anywhere but in the middle of the Middle East. As it is it is quite refreshing. You can find Coke, Pepsi, international phones, Pizza Hut (still haven't seen a Mc Donalds), a Hard Rock Cafe, TGIFriday's, Internet Cafes, and mobile phones are everywhere. None of these things were in Syria that I saw. Basically it's a generic European city with lots of construction going on. Like I said, very refreshing after Syria (which I loved, but still it's nice to have some conviniences from home - for a bit). The people seem very friendly, but not as overboard as they were in Syria. Probably that's because I'm in Beirut, I'll have to wait and see how people are outside the city.
I was going to see a movie, but I found an Internet cafe, and by the time I finished answering email and updating my journal it was four hours later. Went and got dinner then had a couple beers at an English style pub. Met a Lebanese woman who had gone to the University of San Diego while I was at UCSD and we talked about San Diego.