After an emotional and frustrating day (worrying about my dad worrying about me while I sit in hotel rooms interviewing stupid and incompetent internationals here to 'help'), I decided to embrace the nightlife. Kristele and I went out with her friend Naphalie (Natto) for dinner to the chicest part of Beirut, Gemayzeh. We drank a fine bottle of Malbec at a lovely restaurant named Bread and then headed over to Dragonfly where her brother was holding forth with the Chicago Tribune. The music was excellent, the bar was chic and very Parisian. The bartenders, two very handsome Lebanese men who spoke excellent French and English, prepared ceasar salads by hand, shaving the parmesean cheese in front of me. The women were thin and dressed in the latest fashions. The five British aid workers who tromped in all sunburned and showered, looked as out of place as I did in this thin, elegant, arty-bohemian scene.
Natto, a painter who specializes in trompe l'oeil interior designs, ordered her favorite cocktail - the Malcolm Lowry. I was thrilled! How often do you go to a bar where they have cocktails named after authors, let alone authors of my current favorite book "Under the Volcano"? What a perfect metaphor for drinking in Beirut during the war. Under the Volcano is a hallucenigenic last 24 hours of an alcoholic expat British diplomat drinking himself to death during the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Natto and I had a lovely conversation about art in Mexico and the muse of alcohol. After a few more glasses of wine, I found myself offering to marry Kristele's cousin so he could get out of the country. Unsuprisingly, my US passport holds little appeal right now.
Last night, there were no loud bombs. The only noise I heard was my upstairs neighbor listening to some rowdy movie loudly. I ratted him out to the hotel management and collapsed asleep for the evening. Sunday - we are taking as half days... only 6 hours of work!