Beirut: not for long

September 5, 2021

It wasn’t planned this way but here I am, back in Beirut. The situation has continued to deteriorate, there have been talks about evacuation, and Natalia would have had to deal with it alone. So, on Saturday August 28 Marina, her friend, and I traveled to Washington DC.  I stayed over the weekend there spending some time wit Sofia and came to Beirut last Tuesday.  

Where we live — the bubble — things haven’t changed much. The building still has diesel and therefore electricity and with it internet.  Several restaurants are still open and don’t seem to be lacking patrons; the supermarket near-by is well stocked; the streets have fewer cars, which is not bad, but there are no demonstrations.  Yesterday, while running in the Cornish, things seemed normal. Yet the economy has contracted by almost half and there is still no government in place.

Thursday I started teaching.  It was still a virtual class but the university is planning to open in October. I admire the resilience of the students even though most of them come from well-off households; they attend a private university with a tuition of more than USD 20,000 per year and there are no student loans around here.  

We won’t stay for long in Lebanon. Natalia’s employer is transferring her to Bangkok-Thailand sometime in October and I will follow.  We have also decided to go to Paris next weekend and work from there.  It is not only because of what could happen here.  Natalia had made plans to spend her birthday (Sept 25) in Lisbon, but Portugal has put Lebanon in a COVID19 red list because the number of cases is again going up.  We couldn’t have traveled from here.  France hasn’t imposed restrictions yet and even if it did I am a French citizen. 

I checked with the marina in Grenada the other day.  Antares is lonely but doing well.  Will travel there for Christmas…

The pictures below are from the last few days in Casa Blanca. The gentleman playing chess is my father (he won that day). The lady by his side is my mother. The little yellow bird comes every morning with his partner. Those lobsters became a salad one day. The picture of the bougainvillea was taken from the hammock. The last pic was our goodby dinner. I miss the place…

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