Just a short note from an interesting neighborhood in Beirut. I'm just down the street from the American University in Beirut which sits on a hill overlooking the Mediterrenean. I'm at an internet cafe filled with Lebanese young people speaking in Arabic and swearing in English. Nirvana Unplugged is playing. I'm supposed to be in another country right now with Kelley Philips, but our visas didn't come through in time so Kelley didn't come with me to Lebanon and the group left without me yesterday. I've been camped out in a shoddy downtown hotel in Beirut--but having fun. It's been fun to walk the neighborhoods and get to know the city.
Geographically, Lebanon is a gorgeous country. Beirut is on the sea and these large 5,000 feet mountains ascend behind the city creating gorgeous vistas from most places in the city. Today I walked to the seashore and had a nice seafood meal on the ocean as planes flew overhead on their way to land on the airport.
Lebanon's economy has recovered very well since the wars of the 70's and 80's--and the most recent bombing by Israel. The downtown area is one of the coolest, most charming downtown areas I've seen--certainly in this region of the world. It looks like a Disney world set---made to look old, but very new.
The Lebanese are good businessmen all over the world. There is a great deal of wealth here. And the Lebanese are flashy, so fancy cars, plastic surgery, and dressing nice is very important. They like to LIVE LARGE. Since Lebanon has had close ties to France (It was often referred to as the Paris of the Mediterranean), most of the people here speak French, Arabic, and English--at least 3 languages. And the youth are very globalized---playing Worlds of Warcraft next to me and cussing up a storm. It could be Atlanta or Phoenix. The nightclub scene here is so hot that people fly in for the weekends to hit the clubs. And everyone agrees the food is delicious. This is the only place in the world that I like to eat vegetables. I would be so healthy if I lived here.
I will be hearing about some exciting ministries, tackling some challenging things, and discussing our future 3W agenda in the future. I will be back in Germany on Thursday.