March 27, 2009

Moving to Mom's - Checkpoints, Sheep and Olives
Amioun, Lebanon

Most weekends Riyad relocates from his home in Biet Meri back to his "childhood home"—a lot of moving was done during the war—in northern Lebanese city of Amioun, not far from Tripoli. I was fortunate enough to join him for the trip.

Exiting Beirut, people drove pretty much where they pleased on the lineless highway lanes—fearing only a faster, heavier vehicle pushing up behind them.

Lanes? Where we're going, we don't need lanes.

Along the drive we passed though a number of militarized checkpoints—most staffed by bored soldiers mindless waving vehicles past with hardly more than a cursory glance, flanked by concrete barriers and armored personnel carriers. This, I was told by host, was meant to instill a sense of security—as if ineffective profiling and unnecessary stops on the highway by heavily armed teenagers could make me feel warm a fuzzy.

I don't know why travel into Syria gets the bad rap, when it's quite clear to me that Lebanon is by far and away the far more volatile of the two countries.

A quick photo of some passing sheep, as Riyad stopped to purchase veggies on the side of the road:

Looking northwest from above Riyad's family home, towards Tripoli (just visible in the distance), beyond a near-endless expanse of olive trees:

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