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Byblos, Lebanon



Byblos (Jbeil), Lebanon–

The Phoenicians built this port five thousand years ago. At night, trance music dares the stone walls to crumble, but they never will.

It smells of sea salt and cigarettes; mezza and damp stone. Throughout the ages, how many lovers have walked through this souk? Only the cobblestone street could tell you; it has seen the bottom of a billion feet.

The walkway is lined with art and jewelry. If you are brave enough, you can haggle with the locals for their wares. Belly dance costumes hang from cedar doors– do not try to negotiate for these, you will always lose.

A car honks at me because they are driving where I walk.  In that frenzied moment I can’t decide which language to yell in, so I flick my wrist and settle for “uuuuffft.”

Thinking about the stars I keep walking. I come upon a bearded man sitting between a mosque and a church; he sings Pink Floyd with such conviction.

The hub of contradictions, Lebanon is the home of a thousand opposites. The ancient and modern world collide so beautifully here, which is why you will never find parking.

“You are not arab, you are Phoenician.” My mother says with superiority in her voice. She never lets me forget.

“They invented the alphabet you know,” she adds, as if she is the one who created language.



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