Yesterday I was invited to visit the temples at Baalbek with two archaeologists. There are spectacular monuments in this world, and then there is Baalbek.
More about the dizzying ride through the mountains, later.
The rock in front of the middle column above is about my height, just for a little perspective.
Leaving the historic site and winding our way through the souk up to a main street, we stopped in to beat the heat at my friends' favorite tiny corner shop. About 80 square feet of air-conditioned bliss, packed floor to ceiling with candy, biscuits and chocolate in shiny packages. The store owner squeezed three mugsful of fresh orange juice, and we sat there chatting with the young woman (his sister or wife), in French.
"Oh, you were visiting the ruins?" she asked with a smile. "Honestly, I never go there." We chatted about most people never see the sights in their own back yard, unless visitors arrive, and how often the things we take for granted are much more appreciated by people who don't live there. "Oui," she continued, "nul n'est prophete dans son pays."
It puts those visits to the Eiffel Tower in perspective.