Our first couple of days in Beirut proved to be just what we needed to get fully acclimated and prepared for the rest of our trip.
I am always expectant upon entering a new place and eager to allow my senses to be bathed in the unique rhythm of that particular city/country. Traveling has always been such a thrill to me for that very reason – I love diving into different cultures, food, clothes (although I always end up getting scarves and jewlery! ha), music, etc. – each place I have visited provides a unique picture in my mind awakened by all I have seen, tasted, heard, and experienced. And perhaps some of the best advice regarding traveling I have received is to go without many expectations – and I try to view each trip as a blank canvas waiting to be covered with the unique rhythm of that particular city. All of that to say, I am interested to see what form the portrait of this trip to Lebanon and Syria will take.
Anyways, after arising well before the crack of dawn on the 6th and catching our flight, Kimberly and I made it to Beirut late afternoon. Our host, Joy Mallouh (whom I had met along with his wife, Miro, in Asheville during the CBH Cove trip in October), was able to meet us at baggage claim, which was a welcomed surprise! We then made our way to Joy and Miro’s apartment in downtown Beirut and had tea and shared stories before arriving at our ‘home’ in Lebanon – the Mediterranean Bible College where Joy serves as the President. The MBC will also be the site of the CBH recording studio for the Middle East broadcast we are constructing while here, and Joy will be the Middle East speaker. After a great dinner, we decided to turn in a bit early. The other 4 members of our team arrived around 11:30 pm that night.
The 7th was a day of rest as well, especially allowing the rest of our team a chance to catch up from the long trip on multiple planes. However, that evening, we did one of my favorite things – and eat local food! John Walters, who is our leader, has been talking about a place called Kebab-ji for months, and we finally got to experience it – it certainly lived up to it’s reputation!! As none of us speak or read Arabic, Joy ordered a bit of a sampler for all of us to enjoy family style – traditional Mediterranean food such as kebabs (obviously hence the name – ha), hummus, pita, tabbouleh as well as other delicious food I can’t pronounce – but it was all amazing!!!! Kimberly and I have joked that we are beginning our own version of Eat, Pray, Love 🙂
With full bellies, we headed back to the MBC and prepared for our 2 day trip to Syria the following morning.