Al Omari Grand Mosque and municipal buildings in downtown Beirut, Lebanon

The sun assaulted me at Baalbeck ruins in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Brilliant blue skies were perfect for viewing this world’s largest Roman temple, but in the 90-plus degree temperatures I soon ran out of water. I blinked sweat out of my eyes and headed for the nearest kiosk to buy another bottle. A middle aged man with a prickly mustache and a kindly smile walked up as I reached for my wallet. “You speak English?” he asked. When I smiled and nodded yes, he whipped out a 1,000…

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