Saturday, April 11, 2015

Can't Believe I'm Here

Source From Internet: Rafic Hariri Airport was Bombed by Israelis in 2006
during the July War between them and Hezbollah 
I wasn't sure what I'm getting into as this was my first time here in Beirut, many times I had been scheduled here but in some ways I escaped due to reason of security or changed of plans, however this time there's no chance of escape I guess, even right till the last day before I fly, I was still hoping for a sudden change in plan, in order not to come as I have heard enough frightening things, Nevertheless, job is still job unless I called it quit. 

I flew 4801 miles from KL to Beirut stopping over in Abu Dhabi, and it took me almost two full days to arrived at my hotel and by that time my mind, body and soul was completely worn out and whatever worries and insecurity didn't matter any longer, as my mind only focus on getting into bed and have a thorough rest.

The moment I got out from the airport, I was picked up by my local point of contact, Zak whom is also my risk/security advisor that I have only been in contact through emails and text messaging prior to my departure, and whom will be with me throughout the period of my project, and his main responsibility was to ensure my safety throughout my stay here in Lebanon. 

Zak is a Lebanese but was raise in Canada which explains his good English minus the Arabic accent, he is 6 ft tall and not well tone but proper built kind of an army guy. A quick introductory and a brief but firm handshake reassuring me I'm in good hands, he quickly guided me to the car park where a Range Rover is waiting, as we journey along from Beirut International Airport towards the Hotel in Tripoli, he then briefed me through security procedures or more like establishing ground rules such as to have my passport with me at all times, fully charged phone and a spare battery and not to leave the hotel premises or plant without him. But he was a nice guy and I wasn't intimidated, I felt it was necessary as it was for my own safety, so I obliged. 

While driving through Beirut and passing through the coastal and city areas, he then brief me through the composition of religions and races here in Beirut and how people are segregated based on religion, what should I do when I meet an army officer, how to differentiate between different arm forces etc. That was a bit overwhelming for me as it was definitely not my standard kind of travel. And every now and then we would pass by some areas and he would say ' I don't mean to scare you, but there was a car bomb went off at this area a few days ago.' or ' This was the place where the militants got shot dead by the army.'  Gosh... was the only word that came out from my mouth. 

In fact Beirut seems like any other major cities to me, but when you pass by some buildings and see clusters of bullet holes on it varies in sizes, burned vehicles by the road shoulder, passing through army check points, having to overtake not one but a few military tanks on the highway, you get this uneasiness and sense that definitely there're something wrong going on here. 

That moment when I check into the Hotel and into my room, I was only glad I finally made it here! and the next few days was to ensure I'm safe until I get home!

2 comments:

  1. Story more when u back! Take care man

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  2. Zak seems like a hot guy
    *Zak is a Lebanese but was raise in Canada which explains his good English minus the Arabic accent, he is 6 ft tall and not well tone but proper built kind of an army guy. A quick introductory and a brief but firm handshake reassuring me I'm in good hands*
    Lol!

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