Beirut! Beirut! Beirut!

Just because I haven’t recently posted anything on the world doesn’t mean nothing is happening in the world that warrants my judgment or criticism… I’m merely biding the 13 days I have left in these United States until I embark for Lebanon. Just take a look at this:

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

I mean damn; that is where I am going to be studying for a year. I believe the American University of Beirut is comprised of the red-roofed buildings on the far right of the photo, conveniently located right on the sea. My dorm room/balcony better have a view of the ocean. A few thoughts… The Wikipedia article on Beirut notes that the city has been rated in a number of publications as one of the liveliest cities on planet Earth. This should make for an interesting reality, as one of my major complaints about certain parts of the Eastern/Western seaboards of the United States is that there just doesn’t seem to be that much continuous life, in the sense that at some point whether it be a certain day of the week or a certain time of night (9pm in Santa Barbara) the towns just die. It’s like the continuous ebb and flow of people and ideas and civilization just abruptly disappears in some parts of States. There’s nothing wrong with that in particular, but it should be interesting to see how Beirut probably resembles New York City more than say, Los Angeles (though the two are sister cities). Another thought that has crossed my mind recently is just the idea of these places on the eastern part of the Mediterranean. Beirut. Istanbul. These are just places where I have to be in some quasi-philosophical-historical sense. These two cities are like cornerstones of human civilization. Constantly inhabited for thousands of years, the experience of living in them, as centers of cosmopolitanism and cultural, political, and religious diversity, can’t have changed all that much from Phoenician to Greek to Roman to Byzantium to Caliphate to Ottoman to Turkish/Lebanese Republics. In that sense, being there, existing there, and living there is almost timeless. These are the kinds of cities you can still romanticize about. If I were to ever live in Beirut or Istanbul I can already see my house overlooking the waters of the Mediterranean or the Bosphorus. Laid out in Ottoman style, with verandas where light curtains flow with the breezes coming off the water. And there I would sit and write a novel. The same novel written by anyone who has ever lived in either one of these cities and decided to write a novel. A novel influence by the timelessness of these cities.

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