BACK TO BEIRUT

nightclub culture. A place where bikinis and hijabs appeared to coexist seamlessly—where all the evils, all the problems of the world could be easily found—right next to—and among all the best things about being human and being alive.

This was a city where nothing made any damn sense at all—in the best possible way. A country with no president for over a year—ruled by a power sharing coalition of oligarchs and Hezbollah, neighbor problems as serious as anyone could have, history so awful and tragic that one would assume the various factions would be at each others throats for the next century—yet you can go to a seaside fish restaurant and see people happily eating with their families and smoking shisha, who, in any other place would be shooting at each other.

It’s a beautiful city, with layers of scars the locals have ceased to even notice. It’s a place with tremendous heart. It’s a place I’ve described as the Rumsfeldian Dream of what, best case scenario, the neo-con masterminds who thought up Iraq, imagined for the post-Saddam Middle East: a place Americans could wander safely, order KFC, shop at the Gap. Where dollars are accepted everywhere and nearly everybody speaks English.

That is an egregious oversimplification. But it’s also my way of telling you should go there. It defies logic. It defies expectations. It is amazing.

EVERYONE should visit.

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