Random Beirut thoughts
This is completely subjective and deliberately uncomprehensive. A list of words I wrote, painting a picture of my first impressions of walking back into the city.
Bey: No McDonalds sign (the fast food joint opposite the AUB in Bliss Street is faceless - but the two policemen who used to stand guard outside aren't there anymore).
Roadblocks (they're everywhere now - but the best taxi drivers know how to get through them without slowing down).
Second language (Monot: "bonjour" - heard on street corners, and in shop doorways. Hamra: "hello").
Posters = healthy politics (this was before the recent clashes - the posters are everywhere, you can locate yourself by the words on the walls).
Hariri obsession (Kulna maak posters in Quratem - haven't I seen something similar in Syria?. Men in black at the bomb site, looking solemn, getting ready for the highlight of their day - the daily memorial at 12.55. There is music played at the bomb site, 24 hours a day. Counters all over town, reminding everyone how many days it's been since Hariri was killed).