My first day at work was on 1 Sept 2005. The morning sun was ablazed as we took a taxi to the office. My colleague had waited at the hotel to serve as a guide.
My workplace is at the Beirut Commercial District or BCD for short. BCD also stands for the lovely Buoyancy Control Device for Scuba Diving, but I'm digressing here.
The BCD, or downtown Beirut, is perhaps the most new and rebuilt part of Beirut after the civil war. The west of BCD is dominated by Muslims and the east side is dominated by the Christians. So its not difficult to imagine that during the civil war, both sides were shooting at each other across the BCD and laying waste to this city center. After the war in 1990, the BCD was easily rebuilt since it was destroyed so thoroughly.
My office is located close to the UN headquarters and also the parliarment house. It occurs to me that such a location makes it a delicious target for terrorist attacks. But security is tight here and no cars are allowed to be parked along the streets here for fear of car bombings. Car bombs are a huge fear here because the ex-PM was assassinated in Feb this year when his motorcade passed through a car bomb near to the BCD. Anyway, security is at its peak now.
There's no specific dress code in my new office so I, following my Asian colleagues who followed their bosses, unceremoniously dismissed the practice of wearing a tie from the standard office wear. Suddenly it felt more like a rite than a right....and so the Asian gang is formed....
(left)....A beautiful mosque downtown
Archeological dugout near the office: Roman bath....(right)