As I climbed the ancient steps to the top of the ruins of Byblos, I was struck by the history of this one small Lebanese town. It is one of the oldest inhabited places on earth, having played host to thousands and thousands of years of peoples who desired to live on the spectacular Mediterranean coast. The contrast between the ancient ruins and the modern city of high-rises that has sprung up behind it was beautiful, and I wondered if the inhabitants of Byblos feel the weight of millennia on their town. I picked my way across the ruins, peeping into a massive tomb, staring down a burial shaft 30 yards deep that would be filled with sand before a coffin was placed inside. The sand was then dug out again in order to bury the coffin- it was so heavy there was no other way to lower it.
As I climbed down a ravine I noticed a procession of young women traipsing up the street, decorated with white sashes declaring “T.M.I Germany” or “T.M.I Nigeria.” I stopped to watch these women as they teetered on their stilettos, gingerly climbing up the ancient ruins as a photographer barked at them to smile. I haven’t any idea what T.M.I stands for, but I think it must have been some sort of commercialized beauty contest. The sapphire waves lapping the shore couldn’t provide a better background.
Posted By Courtney Radsch (Lebanon)
Posted Apr 9th, 2007