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Monday, July 24, 2006 

bourdain's heading back from beirut

lying on a green army cot as a u.s. navy ship spirits him away from violence-stricken lebanon, american television food show host anthony bourdain says his heart is broken.

..."we'd been hearing great things about beirut and arrived and quickly fell in love with the country," he told Reuters.

"it was paradise, sort of the western dream of the way we'd all like the middle east to be -- enlightened, progressive, multi-cultural, and multi-religious."

...bourdain said his efforts to leave lebanon had not been easy, frustrated by unanswered telephone calls to the embassy and a "horror show" at a beach outside beirut where they had gathered before u.s. navy and marines whisked 1,052 americans to the ship by landing craft and then on to nearby cyprus.

"at the checkpoints, it was like a metallica concert gone horribly wrong," he said. "it was a mob scene."

bourdain said the rapidly escalating violence had destroyed a blossoming city that had finally begun to emerge as a vibrant, democratic cultural hotspot after a civil war and the subsequent political influence of neighbouring syria.

"i feel this awful sense of regret that we were never able to show beirut as it was," he said. "to see everyone's hopes die and watch the country dismantled piece by piece was very painful. i'm very angry and very frustrated." - reuters and he checked in at egullet and talked with larry king.

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