Thursday, April 19, 2012

Visiting Surgeon in the Middle East: Part 17

I met Wissam at my hotel and we went to a different downtown area that was recently refurbished. It was a central area that was targeted by the Israelis in the last “troubles.” They left a few buildings in ruins to serve as a reminder of what happened. What struck me as the greatest juxtaposition, however, was the church that was adjacent to the Grand Mosque. How was that still standing, I wondered.

We ate another delicious meal (did I mention how good the food is in Lebanon?) and went to a local pub for a beer. With exposed brick, metal buttresses, and art nouveau films projected onto a white washed wall, I could have been in LA or NYC. Since my car was coming at 4:30 am to take me to the airport, we ended the night early (midnight in Beirut is very early). Wissam and I said our goodbyes. I was a little sad to see him go as I became very fond of him very quickly. We knew we’d see each other again.

I awoke very early the next morning, packed my things, and met my car outside the lobby. We drove through the deserted streets to the airport, and I realized that, somewhere on this trip several days ago, I stopped worrying so much about my safety. I think it happened in Kuwait at lunch with Wissam and the Egyptian pharmacists, as that is where I started seeing my hosts as well-spoken, thoughtful, intelligent friends very separate from extremists that claim to act on their behalf. I look forward to meeting my friends again.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Podnos - I am so grateful I happened upon this wonderful blog on the Rex FB page. What an amazing trip you described so beautifully. So glad you could go and teach and learn.
    I want you to know that you are performing surgery on my dear friend Valerie Schild on Wednesday at noon. I've told her what good hands she is in with you. Please take good care of her, as you did me. I know you will.
    As I told you last summer, I'll call you in a heartbeat if I ever need a surgeon - but I also hope I never see you again - at least in the OR.
    Fran Carruthers
    P.S. I hope you buckled down & read Cutting for Stone!