Planning our next trip to Baalbek for the Springsteen tour.

We’re in Baalbek to visit David’s friend, Hikmet, who lives on a hill above the ruins.  I don’t know if these are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but in my mind, they should be.  I actually prefer semi-crumbled ruins to intact ones like the Coliseum because they leave so much more to the imagination.  They say the Temple of Bacchus is the most beautifully decorated temple in the Roman world.  I say any temple designed around a courtyard where vestal virgins dance and keep a sacred fire lit is fascinating.  The Temple of Jupiter is made up of 54 immense jaw-dropping columns, 54 in all, supposed to be the largest in the world.  I may have misunderstood our guide, but I think he said they floated these down a river from Egypt.  Tuborg is in seventh heaven here in Baalbek (for those devotees of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, go ahead, call the joint Heliopolis).  He confesses to far prefer ancient ruins to Hezbollah inspired gift shops and charges ahead with his paintbrush and artists notebooks, forgoing the official tour.  “The author” is busy jotting down notes, taking a particular if not slightly sordid interest in sacred prostitution.  Miranda follows him around with her Canon camera, trying out different settings and scenes for his book jacket cover.  Kathy terrifies us all by climbing to the top of every structure and shouting down “Here I am!” or “Hey, think they sell Almaza here in the ruins?”  Elton John played here in 2002. So did Sting.  Today they are preparing the stage for the Belgium Ballet soon to arrive for he annual summer festival. We’re already making plans to come back for the Springsteen tour.

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