A Cloudy Day

Today was the first cloudy day since I’ve been to the Middle East. I was very surprised not to have been woken up by the rising sun as usual. I wore my sunglasses anyways.

I am still struggling with some kind of food poisoning, and I can’t work out a way to get it to quit. It’s more of a minor annoyance than anything else- just stomach pains once every hour for about two minutes before it subsides. I have been drinking close to 6 liters of water the past couple of days but have only noticed marginal improvement.

Today we heard a lecture by Timur Goksel- former senior advisor to UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon. It was by far our most interesting lecture with an incredibly interesting man. I won’t go into the details of what he said, but one quote I remembered to write down was “[those hezbollah guys] most of them are my drinking buddies, or at least I know them well.”

Speaking of writing things down, I borrowed this great idea from another student here [Bulos] to write down things that interested me or that I would want to remember and read later. I bought three small notebooks for 1000 LL each- I made sure they were small enough to fit in my back pocket- and one of those pens where you can choose from one of 5 colors, and I have been taking down notes. It is nice to have around most times, except that you look a little bit strange in Starbucks writing down the price of your Latte.

I am reading much more here than I ever did back home. Completed and ongoing projects include:
The Iraq Study Group Report
The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto
Orientalism by Edward Said
Madame Bovary (fr) by Gustave Flaubert
and last but not least…
Le petit Nicolas by Sempé-Goscinny

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