On Monday, I'm going to Beirut again, the first time I will be there after the war. The last time I was in Lebanon, I fell in love with the country. It is a beautiful, multi-faceted, and culturally rich place, where the modern and the ancient, the scars of war and the beauty of reconstruction, come together with an intoxicating grace. Of course there is a dark side to all of that, but, as in every other case, the dark side, the negative space of place, is what makes the beauty of Lebanon so poignant.
While I'm there, I will be writing a proposal, so I probably won't get to do the sitting in cafes writing that I love, but I will get to see my two good friends, who improbably share the same name. There is nothing like a dinner in a restaurant in an exotic city, sharing wine with friends who I haven't seen in a while. I just love the catching-up-sharing-nostalgia that happens.
After Lebanon, I'm making my first trip ever to Turkey. Our regional meeting is in Istanbul. Really, who can argue with that? I have to admit, I'm most excited about the shopping and the food.