As a first time international flier it couldn’t have been any scarier than getting on a massive plane ride for a total of 13 hours in my travel to Beirut. However, like everyone said, it was much ado about nothing. Just glad I didn’t lose my luggage. I did nearly lose my ring going through security but it was found shortly after I left the area so they were able to return it to me no problem. The plane was great, the food not so much, but nonetheless I arrived at the Riviera Beirut after a rather interesting car ride.
My first experience with the Lebanese culture can easily be described as culture shock. Traffic is a nightmare, everything looks very different from the American way of life. I didn’t really have any type of culture in my mind before embarking on this trip of what the country would look like. Not for lack of trying but it was impossible to try and conjure up an image of a culture I’ve never seen or really ever heard of. I didn’t get a true taste of the city because of (a) how late we got here and (b) I’m incredibly tired after 28 hours of no sleep.
Ayman Mhanna, the director of the Samir Kassir Foundation, met us at the front desk of the hotel and knew who each of us in the group were without us having to introduce ourselves, very cool. I’m looking forward to hearing what he and the other panel members have to say tomorrow.