Israel and Lebanon: The Traveler’s Perspective

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  07.17.06 | 12:27 PM ET

imageWe often say that we travel and read travel writing to discover more about the world. So this week, we turn our attention to Israel and Lebanon, where a violent conflict shows no sign of letting up. To get a different perspective, we thought we’d link to some of the best travel stories we’ve seen from Israel and Lebanon in recent years. Slate, for instance, had a great Talking Tour of Beirut Well-Traveled feature last year, a five-part series by Lee Smith. Slate also published a story by Negar Akhavi a few years ago about “Hezbollahland,” a place “where Islamic fundamentalism meets Dollywood.” Here at World Hum, we posted Lynn Cohen’s reflective story, Blooming in Jerusalem, and Jenni Kolsky’s excellent photo essay taken on a beach outside of Tel Aviv. She writes: “Here it felt safe, in the moments when life is about the pursuit of pleasure, in the moments when you can forget that you are in the midst of war.”

We’ll also try to share current perspectives from travelers, starting with Anthony Bourdain, who, as of a couple days ago, was stranded in Beirut along with the crew from his Travel Channel series “No Reservations.” They were in town to shoot an episode of the series, but after Israel bombed airport runways and blockaded the ports, Bourdain and company retreated to the Moevenpick Hotel.

From the New York Post:

“Our network, our friends and our families just want us out of here as soon as possible,” Bourdain told Page Six yesterday afternoon, as Israeli shells exploded in the distance. “We’re not getting a show out of this . . . I just wanna hang out and drink at the bar. The mojitos here are great.

“They’re bombing right now in southern Beirut. I can hear the explosions. The thing is, the people here are really, really nice and totally embarrassed by Hezbollah and horrified by the bombings.”

After spending Monday and Tuesday eating his way through Beirut and befriending locals, Bourdain and his crew partied at local nightclubs into the wee hours. “This is a party town,” he explained. “Everyone in this city is [bleeping] gorgeous. It’s like L.A. It’s a totally international, sophisticated city. Everyone speaks English and throws dollars around.”

According to the Post, Lebanon is one of the hottest summer vacation spots for Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis and others, as well as for the huge Lebanese community in the Gulf.

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5 Comments for Israel and Lebanon: The Traveler’s Perspective

Nicole 12.02.07 | 12:48 PM ET

Beirut is a beautiful city with tons of night life and beautiful beaches. Even in the middle of a conflict, when you are in Beirut, you don’t feel that anything bad is going on.

lotem 02.22.08 | 3:37 PM ET

Israel is the most beautiful country in the midel east

orseo 07.04.08 | 5:55 AM ET

This always there was so, much to our regret

orseo 07.04.08 | 5:56 AM ET

Israel is a young state is very and pretty

orseo 07.04.08 | 5:58 AM ET

She also the holy land

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