2 weeks before the first bomb

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Middle East » Lebanon » Beirut
May 16th 2006
Published: August 26th 2006
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Scars of the war in the city buildings. Maybe the new building is like the old ones now.
We don't know if it’s good or bad to have been there just two weeks before everything started again. From one side we could visit the country, but by the other side we know that what we have seen doesn't exist anymore.

Beirut really impressed us, a modern city with modern buildings just beside old bombed ones (scars of the war). The city is really western looking with a touch of Arabic culture. At the same time you can have a coffee in the Star Bucks Cafe, you can smoke a water pipe in the other side of the street.

Going outside the capital we did what many people would be brave enough to do (even more today). We rented a car and went exploring the south part of the country. In our route was the old Detention Camp, now a Hezbollah base and museum (not anymore I guess), BeauFort Castle, another Hezbollah base, and Fatima's Gate, the border between Israel and Lebanon.

To began our trip we had to get a authorization issue by the army, because this were military areas. The museum was live modern history class. The guides were either Hezbollah militants or ex-prisoners from
Beaufort CastleBeaufort CastleBeaufort Castle

Build by the crusaders, use until today in the war between Israel an Lebanon.
that camp (their belongings are still inside the jails). The building itself was build on the top of a mountain, from where we could see the borders between Syria, Israel and Lebanon. More to that, the guides gave us explanations of the hole situation from their point of view.

Be talking about terrorism, bomb men and kidnaps with one of the activists can be really scary at the beginning, but after a while you realize that they are people with dreams and hopes like us.

After the museum, we drove to the Fatima's gate. As close you get to the border, more check points there are. After about four of them, we noticed a change in the scenario. There weren't people in the houses, but sand bags in the doors and black flags hanging all over (meaning war zone). A few kilometers in this area we arrived at the fence, at this point we had a Hezbollah base to our right pointing guns at us, an Israeli base to our left one meter behind the fence also pointing guns to us and in front of us in between the two other bases, a UN base. No pointing guns
Detention CampDetention CampDetention Camp

One of the jails still with the belongings of the prisoners. On the botton, some of prision rules.
this time.

I was really afraid of point my camera to them and be mistaken and fusilladed!

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8



Pictures of the Hezbollah men who died for their believe. Some of them were the famous bomb men.
Border fenceBorder fence
Border fence

In the botton of the picture you can see near the fence that divides Lebanon from Israel. On the hill (top of the picture) you can see how it makes a big zigzag.
Hezbollah military baseHezbollah military base
Hezbollah military base

What we could see from our right when we stoped the car between the three bases close to the fence.
UN BaseUN Base
UN Base

One of the UN bases in the war area.
Temple of BacchusTemple of Bacchus
Temple of Bacchus

Lebanon has more then just war. Up north we visited the beautifull Temple of Baccho (god of wine) build by the Romans.

8th September 2006

You just made me cry...
Oh boys, what can I say? I was hoping you'd post something but wasn't expecting it today. I saw it daily on TV and just kept thinking about what a great time we'd had and how much I'd enjoyed Lebanon. I'm glad I winged it over there with you, it wouldn't have been the same without the Crazy Brazilians even if some of it's not there anymore. Remember the guy from Hezbollah asking if we were scared of being kidnapped? The four of us looking around at each other and laughing nervously and then laiughing like maniacs as we left the area between the UN, Israeli and Hazbollah bases wondering whether we really were crazy? Ice-cream on the Beirut Corniche that wasn't my idea for once? My dragging CB shopping for hours?!?! The temple of Bek being bigger than the God of Wisdom's? Those beautiful old building left to crumble and rot? That night we went for bears only the trensy club strip and you and I sat there crucifying the girls for their bad dress sense and BIG hair??? They were good days, with good company among good people...

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