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.
Lebanon 2011 Archives
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.
Continue reading 'Beirut night'
A small collection of photographs from the village of Deir al-Qamar in the Chouf Mountains, Lebanon.
House of War
"Vous prenez un taxi et vous descendez à Dammour." the hotel owner told us,
"Là, il y a des militaires, et vous pouvez leur demander la route pour Saida." M. made a face. The owner hastened to reassure her.
"Non, non, les militaires sont gentils", she insisted.
The soldiers of the Lebanese army may indeed be polite and well-behaved, but they are everywhere. Visiting the country as a tourist, it's hard not to be struck by the sheer extent of the military presence. The soldiers are unthreatening - for the Lebanese, they may even be reassuring - but it sometimes seems as if half the country is wearing camouflage, with a checkpoint at every corner and intersection. I have never visited another country where soldiers were present in quite such quantity.
Continue reading 'House of War'