Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to Beirut

Still being lazy about the blog but Nikki just told me Elly's blog says we're off Sybaris and that I need to explain. We're heading back to Beirut in the next few days. We were too sad to leave Lebanon and we met a great bunch of Lebanese guys (and one Egyptian guy) the minute Sybaris pulled into the Larnaca Marina. So...that further convinced us that we are meant to return. Looks like the next flight we can get will be on Friday, so will be chilling out here a few more days.

About the dangers in Beirut... I've been intending to blog about it because we are not taking it lightly. We weren't well informed during our first visit and relied on Per & Elly's judgment (which was very sound). This time, we're better informed and we know the risks. We still think it's worth going. In brief, the local advice is to wait until after the 7th June elections because there is always a threat of "trouble." I can't go into it now becasue we're heading to dinner, but we've talked to a lot of people, we've made many friends, we've looked at the travel warnings, etc...and we still want to go.

Sorry to worry y'all. Once we get settled I'll try to post the details of our first visit and hopefully convey why Lebanon is so compelling that we feel we must go back.

Hey, at least Alyssa and I are together on this! The only two girls who thought sailing to Madagascar on Millennium was a good idea are now the only two girls who would get off the coolest sailboat in the world (Sybaris) to return to Lebanon (instead of safely island hopping in Greece). Hard to believe we didn't even know one another three months ago.


wheelo said...

soooooo...do i have this right? you are now better informed...because you have it on local advice...that it would be better to wait until after june 7? but...you've decided to completely ignore the advice of people who are infinitely better informed and aware of the risks than you two. forgive me for chastising you...but if the end result of tying a cinder block to your ankle and jumping off a bridge is the same whether you know the risk or not...i don't think it makes anyone feel any better to know that at least you were well informed...ya know? is it just me? i'm the biggest (figuratively and literally...hee) supporter of your adventures...but i'm not happy about this decision. and clearly, i have not perfected the art of throwing guilt balls as i thought i was...because if i had...you two would certainly not be heading back to beirut. and i don't care why y'all feel drawn to it...or meant to go back...if it's meant, it could wait until there is less risk. oh, for heaven's sake, ali! look what you've turned me into...a worry wart mother hen. bah. can somebody back me up here???

Fiona said...

Nope, I'll back Ali and Alyssa up. I think it would be ridiculous for two sensible, intelligent and most importantly aware and confident women to avoid countries like Lebanon even considering the upcoming election. Any potential violence due to the political situation is unlikely to be targeted at tourists and the old saying "you're more likely to get hit by a bus..." definitely comes into play.

Further, those of us who live in comfortable Western countries seem to forget that places like Lebanon are populated with people. Men, women and children. Same same as us. In the worst case scenario of an unpleasant public situation flaring up, the value of experiencing how people deal with it in their every day lives far outweighs the potential danger to their persons.

If Ali and Alyssa had set their minds to ensuring maximum safety at all times they would be at home on their couches. Instead these two awesome people are out increasing their awesomeness and inspiring others as they do so.

Go for it, live it, love it, learn it.

wheelo said...

Perhaps my motivation is partially selfish. I’ve always been supportive of ali’s choices and I completely support her in her current adventure as well. That being said…ali’s been an integral, irreplaceable presence in my life for over half of my life. She’s not merely an acquaintance or facebook friend. She’s my absolute best friend in this life. She’s someone on whom I depend for advice and comfort. Someone who has been there for me through good times and bad. Who has encouraged and supported me through joyous times and struggles. In my darkest hours, she has made me laugh…and helped me to see the light that is at the end of the darkness. She’s helped me to feel empowered and shown me my positive qualities…when all I was able to see were my faults. And while she hasn’t always agreed with my choices or paths I’ve chosen to take…she’s never judged me or made me feel wrong for making those choices or taking those paths. So, as I sit here on my couch in the western world in relative safety, I would be remiss if I didn’t try to convince her to wait a bit before returning to Beirut. Even as I realize it is futile. And of course I will support her whatever she does. but how could I not at least try…when I can’t imagine a world without my dear friend in it any more than I could imagine a world without my son or my father. Yes…there is danger everywhere…and I certainly wouldn’t want her to hide out in a cave and never take any risks. But I’d also rather she do what little she can to minimize those risks. I’m not one of these people who has “forgotten that places like Lebanon are filled with people”…I’d also try to discourage her from moving into a neighborhood in America with a high crime rate…even though the neighborhood is filled with men, women and children. Our friendship has never really been about telling each other only what we want to hear or keeping opposing opinions or feelings to ourselves…maybe that’s one of the things I value most about our friendship…the ability to know that we don’t agree…and still be supportive and encouraging…knowing that our friendship is strong and intact.