Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Algiers At Last

After two weeks of waiting for my visa, I was finally able to come to Algeria.

I realized that the process of getting the Algerian visa from Morocco was too complicated because it passed through too many hands. Unfortunately, this time I couldn't help it due to the recent crisis in Lebanon. In the future, I would prefer to apply through the embassy in Beirut.

Moreover, the Moroccan sun can be so punishing. And this is coming from someone who lived all his life in a country that only knows summer.

Seemingly peace has triumphed in Lebanon. A peace settlement brokered by the Arab League had been reached between the fighting Sunni and Shites factions. A new president who was the chief of army was elected.

I was informed that most expats had returned to our Beirut office to resume work. A Lebanese colleague who I met in Casablanca told me that after the blockades to Beirut downtown was removed, the shops and restaurants are all starting to reopen. (The blockade was for several months a Hezbollah-led effort to disrupt the economy and protest against the government before the crisis in May).

That means that I have more choices during lunch when I am back in Beirut.

Will the peace last? Any guess is as good as mine. Since Hezbollah has not agreed to disarm and since it has another agenda outside of Lebanese national interests, international politics may again trigger off events such as the Hezbollah-Israeli war in 2006.

Meanwhile, I will stay in Algiers for one week for work issues. Due to some internal adjustments, I will also be moving out of Palm Beach guesthouse back to the former one in Cheraga.

Just when the good weather is coming, I am moving away from the beach. What a let down.

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