I’m back in Beirut from Damascus, and all in all, it was a really interesting trip. I got to see the last days of Ramadan and the first days of al-Eid. I wasn’t able to go to the Golan Heights, because the Ministry of the Interior was closed for the holidays, and I think it might be closed anyway because of the heightened tensions between Syria and Israel.
Everyone was extremely nice to me in Damascus, and poor families who ran shops in the old city insisted on sharing their meager rations with me while they broke their fast. Without asking who I was or where I was from or whether or not I was Muslim, one family stopped me in the street and refused to let me leave until I had eaten some of their food. They told me that I was welcome and thanked God that I was there to break the fast with them.
Otherwise, I noticed that the country that has been notorious for not having Coca-Cola has finally joined the Coca club. I was atop a mountain overlooking Damascus when I noticed that instead of Syrian Master Cola, I could actually buy a can of Coca-Cola. Apparently, a month and a half ago the Turkish distributor of Coke, who provides for the rest of the Middle East, finally managed to clear the importation of Coke with the Syrian government.
Here in Beirut, there was another explosion yesterday, but no one seems very concerned, despite the visible increase in Security Forces all over town.