How all of political issues and the U.S. response directly effects my travel is more about frustration than anything else. My plan when I arrived was to stay a couple of nights in Beirut and then cross the border of Syria on the Beirut-Damascus Road. The first day I was here the road was closed due to riots and then yesterday there were more demonstrations following a speech by the leader of Hezbollah. Overall though, the situation remains peaceful as both sides have seemingly transitioned democratically.
The U.S. has had some strong statements against what has gone on here in Lebanon, even though everything was done within the constitution and through the democratic process. It is frustrating the Lebanese to hear the U.S. is reconsidering it’s economic ties. It is interesting to see the situation from this side as I get a unique perspective.
I went to the Syrian embassy to try to get a visa to travel overland to Damascus but was told there is a 1 month waiting period for American citizens. My second option is to attempt the land crossing with out the pre-arranged visa in hand. In normal circumstances the odds of an American getting through at the land border are about 50/50. The current elected Prime Minister is backed by Syrians so the U.S. response has not been taken well throughout the region. This means, the likelihood of me getting through is very low. There is nothing dangerous about trying though. At worst I lose a half a day. The Beirut-Damascus road is about 3 hours. I will likely be turned around at the border and told to go back to Beirut. If this happens I’ll visit a few more sights in Lebanon and then move on to Jordan by plane.
Keep reading to see if my cunning plan works!