Coming back to Beirut after six years is a joy. There are many familiar sites like the Grand Mosque in downtown. Our driver, father of one of my former students, told us that land in this area runs about $25,000 per square meter and small apartments will run $5,000,000. This is where the oil rich people live.
Tucked away among such expensive buildings are ones that are the heritage of the twenty year civil war. This one is on the dividing line between the warring factions. It is nice that many of the destroyed buildings have been rebuilt. The civil war in Syria is just a few miles away and whole neighborhoods are being destroyed. The people here in Lebanon are grateful that their country is spared this time.
Coming up the hill and turning into the seminary drive brought back many memories of great times with friends here, staff and students alike. Most are gone to other places now. Some like Hala, who translated for me in my other visits, are in the USA or Canada. Others are in ministries around the Arab speaking world. Iskandar and Mary are in Kartoum where he is rector of the Anglican Cathedral. One other is in one of the war zones in Syria. Who knows what will happen to him and the church.
Our 20 hours in transit was very long since the most I do is sink into short periods of unconsciousness. I have deep envy for those who sleep on airplanes. Wish I knew specifics about most marvelous castle we flew over as we landed at Londonâ€™s Heathrow. We had a short turn around and a very long walk there. Sherry was glad for her new knees, but pretty fatigued when we got to our gate. The â€œclosingâ€ notice confirmed the need for maximum pace.
I did laugh out loud at what awaited us as we exited the Beirut airport: