Walid's Wanderings

Reflections on life, good-and-evil, family, humanity, and anything else that occurs to me, usually when I travel. Right now I am on a 6-year trip through Lebanon, the homeland I had never really lived in before.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

First Impressions

I am indeed back in Lebanon. I have 8 days to empty my apartment, so I might wind up blogging less becasue of the time constraint. Or I might wind up blogging more because of the greater need to put off working.

The first new thing I got driving around Lebanon was the profusion of billbnoards offering reconstruction loans. They all sound very charitable and patriotic, but lacking the interest rates that they will charge lenders, it's hard to tell. Lebanese banks are nototious for hiding the bite that comes with their services, but if you ask the right questrions, you will probably wind up being pleasantly surprized at most of the things they offer. Such as foreign currency exhange with maybe half a percent spread, or dollar or euro deposits with CD-like rates and flexibility to withdraw as much as you want once each month.

The second thing that struck me was the sleaziness of the journalists in papers and on TV. Every other "political analysis" I read would go around in circles decrying how meddlesome Condoleeza Rice was and how corrupt all the politicians were and how mindlessly cruel Israel's war was. Then at the conclusion of practically each paragraph, a jibe at precisely those politicians who were opposing the current cabinet, with its history of waste and corruption and its craven pandering to US policies regardless of what those policies served. The shortcomings of the government were listed, and the members of the cabinet were never names, but instead the names of their opponents were dropped in unflattering terms and the connection left to the imagination of the presumably blindly credulous reader. Sick sick SICK. ANd providing me with plenty of ammo for future postings.

Oh and SKYPE seems to work pretty well out of Lebanon as long as you do not have a modem-speed line.


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