Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First day: Success.

Feeling pretty good after sleeping 12 hours and getting up about 6am. Ran out for some coffee before some places were open and got back to take a shower by candlelight, my first introduction to the power issues which plague Lebanon.

Yesterday, or rather on Monday, I embarked upon a turbulent flight from Washington DC to Paris on my way to a four month stint in Beirut. Three hours of rather scary turbulence that made us reroute our trip (adding a mere three minutes to our seven hour journey) were three hours of hell for a nervous flyer like myself, especially when the meal service was suspended and the flight attendants strapped themselves in. And to think that the takeoff hadn't really bothered me...

The flight from Paris to Beirut was a breeze and quite beautiful. When we got to Paris, I felt like I was home. Charles de Gaulle has become so familiar that I know how to find everything. Sadly, I have not been to Paris in a decade, but I've seen it from a plane many times.

What you see here in this first picture is Bulgaria in all its winter glory. Nostalgia came to me as I sat so high above it, face pasted to the window as soon as we left Europe's winter cloud cover and hit a clear shot of the Balkans. The rest of the trip was cloudless and amazing. Most of Turkey was snow covered and beautiful.

This may be the creepiest photo I've ever taken and I hope I never take one like this again. This is a ship that is part of the rescue operation for the plane crash that happened the day before. (You can see a clearer version from Reuters here.) Nothing like seeing the rescue operation of a plane crash from a plane as you are about to land. It was pretty easy to figure out what was going on, because I was looking for it, being the nervous flyer I am. The Reuters photo of the same ship confirmed it. I saw more rescue boats today - I knew they were rescue boats because it was too cold for people to be boating for pleasure.

On a better note, I like a place where you can choose whether or not to have winter. Snow-covered mountains, Mediterranean Sea, a great big city with a lot happening, and warm, beautiful sunshine...I really couldn't ask for more.

Some more photos:

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