March 2011 Archives

Beirut night

31 March 2011 | Permalink
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The friendly, rambling flophouse of a hotel where I spend my first night occupies three or four floors of a nondescript apartment building located down a dark sidestreet opening off a utilitarian highway above the port. But if I walk just a little way along the Rue du Port, past a row of half-completed shops, I quickly find myself in a different world.

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Formalities

Beirut, Lebanon -- 31 March 2011 | Permalink

The wall of the immigration area is covered with notices that hint at complex tariffs for different kinds of visas, and even more arcane procedures to be followed. I'm pretty sure it's all supposed to be free and automatic, but by the time it's my turn to step up to the desk, I'm in full-blown "what if I've done it wrong" paranoia.

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