The Middle East | Trick or Treat?

Author Note: With the Halloween holiday coming up tomorrow the author recalls how travel in the Middle East was sometimes a matter of “Trick or Treat” when passing through immigration or upon entering a foreign country.  What follows are a few brief vignettes of the author’s experiences (or misadventures) as a young Foreign Service recruit…

Beirut, Lebanon | As Raw as Steak Tartare

November 1977 I finished the secure voice radio installation at the ambassador’s residence at Mount Lebanon. George, the post security officer and purveyor of odd jobs at the American Embassy Beirut, had shown me a great view of the city below before we packed up and went to lunch. <Feature photo by oldbeirut.com My experiences…

Beirut, Lebanon | A View Through a Narrow Lens

November 1977 We arrived at the U.S. ambassador’s part time residence atop Mount Lebanon around ten a.m. unscathed. George had borrowed Ryan’s Saab sedan. He said it was less obtrusive that an embassy vehicle. I didn’t ask him what he thought about the ambassador cruising around in a black Lincoln Continental. I did ask George if…

American Embassy Beirut | A Night on the Town

November 1977 Communications & Records Officer Ryan B. cruised the deserted streets of Beirut at close to midnight. I thought I was pushing the envelope of Norm Bates’ 60/40 Hypothesis, which stated that 60% of our Foreign Service job was technical and 40% involved… Well, other stuff. Ryan had slipped an eight-track tape into the…

American Embassy Beirut | From Then Until Now

November 1977 George, the duty officer, had booked me into a small hotel less than two hundred yards down the street from the American embassy. Like its neighbors, the hotel had sustained damage during the civil war clashes last year. But nothing could compare to the ravaged Holiday Inn at the other end. The American…