I woke up before 7am, got dressed and wet downstairs to have breakfast before I met my colleagues at 8am.
There was a lot of food, neatly arranged into a buffet. It seemed that the Lebanese are big on cold mezzes (cheeses, cold meats, vegetables, olives, sauces, etc) and I can now confirm that this is indeed the case. Their cold mezzes are much more exciting than their hot food (grilled meats).
I went to the lobby at 8am as previously advised but nobody showed up until about 8.20am. We exchanged the usual greetings and introductions and headed to a nearby hotel (part of the same chain) where a meeting room had been arranged for us.
That day I familiarized myself with the situation and listened to people talking about their current business processes. I won’t go into too much detail about work but I will mention that the work culture here is completely different compared to the UK. There is a lot of shouting involved. At first I thought they were getting frustrated with each other and possibly getting upset as well. But then someone would crack a joke and everyone would be friends again. I love the liberty of it.
Work was done by 4.30-5pm, I went back to the hotel to change and went out for a little walk by the sea. I’d agreed to meet Bill for dinner later that evening and I had some time to spare. So I walked.
We went to a restaurant by the see and had a nice meal, much better than the one at the hotel the night before. Still wasn’t too impressed with local food though. I was giving it more time.
The conversation that night was fascinating. I probably spent most of that night with my mouth slightly open in awe or being moved to tears and having to fight them back. I had never met anyone like Bill before.
I sat there, listening to the sea, thinking to myself ‘I’m happy.’