Today I came to Beirut. Why risk your life to come to Lebanon, where the Beirut explosion did not take long? When I had afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris--the most luxurious hotel in Paris, named after Proust, the originator of French stream-of-consciousness literature--I was overwhelmed by how pretentious Parisians are: their billfolds were as thick as bricks, Reminiscences of a Watery Day (Reminiscences of a Lake) . Anyone who has read the book will know that it contains a fictional sea resort: Balbec, where the hero Marcel calls "a synthesis of West and East, real and imaginary, present and past, with a semi-Roman style of architecture perhaps the strangest example of our Norman Gothic , and so unique! It is almost Persian in style".
This mixed mode of architecture is what I most desire! But is there really such a sea resort and such a strange church in the world? Is it the Mont Saint-Michel in France that I visited in 2009? But that place is not a vacation resort! The most important thing is that the church of Michel is simply Western: Romanesque + Gothic , not in the least mixed with Eastern.
When I studied the history of the Middle East at the end of summer, I learned that the main god of Phoenicia was called Baal. The connection between this Baal and Queen Jezebel immediately came to mind because her father had built an altar and a temple for Baal in Samaria. I decided that this Baal must be related to Balbec--but when I went to Samaria (Israel) in 2013, there was no cathedral like Balbec! Phoenician Sidon is now Sidon in Lebanon; is there a temple called Baalbeck there? When I Googled "Lebanon Baal church" (Lebanon Baal Cathedral), I found a "Church Built On Top Of Megalithic Baal Temple." Wow! There really is a big temple in Lebanon called Baalbeck! Almost the same name as Proust's virtual Balbec! It's true: The great French writer "stole" the name of this great temple in Lebanon and virtual sea resort with a mixed style cathedral called Baalbeck. After deciding to spend a few days at a Maldives resort by the sea, one place I know I must visit is this great Lebanese temple."
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