Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trip to Tyre / Sour (in Arabic) and then to Qana in Lebanon to see some Bombings in 1996 plus to Christian Carvings and Grotto where Jesus was claimed

The spot where there are carvings claimed to be Jesus and his 12 disciples

Grotto where a water basin was found said to be one of Jesus's miracles of turning water into wine

Qana a shiite village where the Israelis accidently bombed in 1996 and another accident occured in 2006. We arrived in the village a day before the anniversary so preparations were being made.

Spent a night in Beruit and took a walk on the cornish to see the Mediterranean sea. Then in the morning got talking to this English woman who had her flight delayed due to a volcano erupting in Iceland which spread ashes thru Europe cancelling her flight! She had been down to Southern Lebanon the other day but hadn’t seen much. I thought hey I wouldn’t mind seeing the area near Israel where some fighting between the 2 countries had taken place. So we decided that she showed me the buses out of town (cus it’s a bit confusing) so we go together. So the 2 of us decided to head to southern Lebanon towards Type (referred to Sour in Arabic).

Most people take service taxis which are actually mini vans that only charge approx .60 cents for most trips around Beruit instead of regular taxis that would charge about 10 times that price. When I flew into Beruit yesterday I didn’t about these service taxi / mini bus so I bartered for a taxi but still ended up paying approx $25 instead of about $3 if I taken a service taxi . Any taxi would charge a bit since the airport is about 25 km to the hotel I wanted to stay east of downtown Beruit. Actually Beruit is getting to be like an European city as it’s not actually cheap. Yesterday the only bed I could find in this budget hotel (there are only a couple of Budget hotels in Beruit) was on the roof for $8 a night cus I was told it was the start of the weekend.

So anyway we took a couple of service taxis to get to the bus station (not an actual bus station but just a bunch of buses gathered to head to southern Lebanon) to get us out of town. So this cost us the equivalenct to about $2 and the mini bus to Sida cost us $2. Then we took another mini bus to get to Tyre which cost in us about $3. So it was like a 3 hr trip to get only about 100 kms for $7. Then to get to this village of Qana we could only take a taxi and they wanted to charge $8. But my English friend was on a very tight budget so she thought that was too much to pay. So we ended up hitch hiking the 20 km to Qana instead of forking out the $8. Yeah all she did was hold up her hand and someone would stop. So there was no reason for me to even try and hitch which was cool with me! What was funny was we got 2 rides going to Qana and 1 on the way back. All 3 of the people were Lebanonese who spoke German cus they had lived there. My friend had also lived there so could speak German so she had a great conversation with them. While the language idiot that I am well I just sat there and kept my mouth shut for a change.

Qana is a little Shiite village 12 km from the Israeli border which unfortunately had 2 incidents a decade apart, in which Israeli Defence force troops were charged with causing tragic civilian deaths. The first incident took place on apr 18, 1996 during Israel’s Operation Grapes of Wrath , when a Unifil compound in the village was shelled by Isrnaeli artillery. It was reported that 108 civilians who had taken refuge were killed and 116 injured along with 4 UN soldiers. Then in July 30, 2006 Israeli air strikes hit a civilian building when 28 people were killed of which 16 were children.

We visited Qana on April 17 as they were preparing for the anniversary of the bombing. An English speaking Lebanonese guy came and started giving us an explanation of the tragedy. It was of course the Lebanese version of the incident which I’m sure was true. However it may have been a bit bias but under the circumstances I can understand. There is an Israeli tank and artillery which the man claimed the army captured from the Israelis and put on display to show the damage caused. The man was selling a 2 expart DVD movie of the incidents to raise money for the survivors so I thought I’ buy one. Inside the memorial building they were busy preparing for the ceremony the next day! The thing that caught my eye was a bill board of pictures drawn by kids. There was a picture with writing about long live Iraq. Another with a picture depicting the monsters of the incidens – the Prime Minister of Israel gand everybody’s whipping boy (deservingly so) George W. Bush! So it really shattered the village and I’m sure all the children have a badisld view of Israel for life! I came to realize when there is so much hatred for Israel after such incidents.

It was really interesting to visit the village and get a first hand experience of the incident and the dislike the Lebanonese have for Israel! It’s been instilled for several generations and personally I can’t see it chaning overnight no matter how politicians paint it or try ie the Bush iAdmin cronnies Condie Rice, etc .

The brighter side of Qana I found was the biblical connection. It’s at the center of a scholarly debate as to whether it is in fact the biblical Cana. Where Jesus perform his first miracle of turning water into wine! Further proof for the claim is centered on early Christian Rock Carvings and a Grotto 1 km outside the village. These worn carvings depict 13 figures are claimed to be Jesus and his disciples. The cave just below the carvings could possibly be where he and his followers hid from persecution. Also in the cave large basins have been excavated and are said to have contained water that was transformed into wine. But without more definitve proof the debate will continue. But regardless the site is definely worth a visit.

So we went to visit it but my friend was starting to piss me off cus she waffled about paying the $3 to enter the site. But screw it I didn’t come this far to cheap out on a small amount like that. It kind of gets me as I’m not a big spender either when I travel for 6 months cus it can add up. But to debate spending that amount on a historical site puzzled me cus later in the day she spent $5 to smoke a Sheesha/Hooka pipe!

But regardless our trip to visit a village which had both recent and biblical history are the reasons that I enjoy the Middle East and travelling!!!

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