THE INFLIGHT MAP FLASHES. BLUE. GREEN. BROWN.
That’s our first view of Lebanon, a lush, green ribbon draped between the Mediterranean Sea and the deserts of the Middle East. Even on a two-bit screen it’s a striking visual of why this land has been so important to so many people. The Phoenicians, the Ancient Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Crusaders, the Arabs and the French —for 8,000 years an unbelievable who’s who of greats have shaped and been forever shaped by this incredible sliver of land. The countryside is scattered with breathtaking reminders that this tiny country was a land of empires.
Even Lebanon’s magnificent 3,000-year-old cedars have a richer history than most civilizations.
It’s well after midnight when we land but as Yousif, our driver, whips down Beirut’s seaside promenade, The Corniche, light, music, and people spill out of big hotels and small cafes.