Lebanese adventures

BEIRUT--Visited the Jeita Grotto yesterday with my wife and beheld the astounding caves via a walk-through and a boat ride. Dazzling. All of my comparisons are genre-inspired: I was looking inside the Genesis Cave inside Regula, into the apertures and cloud-organelles of V'Ger, inside the depths of the Misty Mountains... hell, inside the belly of Monstro the Whale. The puddling asymmetrical sculpture of stalactite into stalagmite made for billions of angles of beauty, a gothic cathedral of infinite detail and inspiration.

As part of my work here with an NGO helping Palestinian refugees, I've been sitting in on meetings with partnered on-the-ground organisations, hearing from officials, aid-workers and even Canadian embassy staff about the obstacles the refugees face in getting decent treatment, facilities and conditions. Such a tragedy--all these people want is to go home. More later.

Beirut is, in surface area, perhaps smaller than Edmonton, and not much larger in population--maybe around a million people (the whole country is only around 3 million people). Population density is far higher, and history far longer, obviously. As in Vancouver, it seems as if everyone here dresses up no matter what time of day--not my thing, but it does make for a highly photogenic citizenry. More to my taste is the beautiful architecture and stunning downtown.

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