I'm at the Beirut airport waiting for the flight to Cairo. I finally had some breakfast before I go back into a country that strictly observes Ramadan. The Ramadan diet is not for me and I am dreaming of stuffing my face full of food. Egypt brings a whole new food problem, since so much of it is contaminated and will make me sick. My pants are looser today than when I started this trip. I think about food a lot which is the whole point of Ramadan, to empathize with the poor who look at food but cannot afford to eat.

The headlines in the Beirut paper were all in Arabic or French, so I'm not sure what the local media is focusing on. My guess would be Syria and the political situation. The NY Times edition was more global and there was little reference to Lebanon at all. CNN and the BBC are so focused on a blond James Bond that I'm a little tired of that story. After all, Roger Moore is blond and somehow he made a good go of the character. Other television headlines are the Pakistan earthquake, Iraq elections, China's space flight, trouble in southern Russia, and Bird Flu. Those stories (including Bond) repeat over and over on the news feed.

As I said earlier, I like Lebanon. I only had one full day here and I went from hotel, to the office, and to the restaurants and that was it. The ocean is Mediterrean in look and the hillsides above Beirut are green and beautiful. Housing is mostly a sad affair and you can see the impact of bombs and warfare everywhere. Kuwait has managed to rebuild but the economy here is too weak for people to see the same improvements. There are signs of hope and most of downtown is under construction. There are armed guards everywhere but if someone wants to drive a truck full of explosives into a building, the odds are the guards won't get to that person in time.

Compared to where I've been in Kuwait and Jordan, I feel as though I'm in pure civilization. I'm looking forward to a return trip.

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