Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Earlier, I'd posted about Anthony Bourdain in Beirut. He is indeed out, and has sent out this email. It comes from egullet.com

"Me, Jerry, Todd, Tracey and Diane are all safely home .. I should tell you that expressions of concern here at eGullet were a comfort to us while we hunkered down in Beirut..and that we're enormously grateful to the Travel Channel, who took extreme measures to see we were as safe as possible while in Beirut--and then went to extraordinary lengths to get us safely and quickly back. Main Man at Travel, Patrick Younge, even met us at the airport with a pack of my very-hard-to-find cigarette of choice in hand. I can't say enough nice things about the Beirut (and the Beirutis) we saw and met in the short time before everything went to hell. And I can't begin to describe how regretful we are that we won't be able to show the world how beautiful a place, how good the food, how nice the people we experienced in the two short days we had of unrestrained filming . Freshly back--and ahead of so many others-- it would seem ungrateful to share my dim view of how the US embassy and State dept. appeared to be going about their business. BUT: My admiration for the sailors and marines of the Nashville and the way in which they--at short notice, last minute, steamed from Jordan to perform an incredible difficult job (for which they had had little if any experience) is boundless. The minute we became charges of the navy and marines, we (and everyone else aboard--from beachhead to Cyprus) were treated with breathtaking kindness,generosity and sensitivity. The minute we passed into their care, every aspect of exfiltration was performed with incredible efficiency and care. I will never forget the impromptu refugee camp set up on the Nashville's flight deck: EVERY group of huddled evacuees, families, children, old people--had at least one or two marines sitting with them, talking to them, seeing to their needs. Most of these young men and women knew nothing of Beirut. Many who I spent time with on the smoking deck (Yes! a smoking deck!), had never even been to New York--much less been trained to handle (in many cases) psychologically shattered refugees. They treated everyone, EVERYONE with patience, courtesy and kindness. The logistical challenges alone were enormous--that they managed to perform them so flawlessly AND keep the kids amused, feed any and all tuna noodle casserole, macaroni and cheese, corn dogs and key lime pie...give up their own blankets and sheets...give tours and every other imaginable measure of hospitality was..well..awesome. To my mind, they put every other branch of govt involved in this horror show to shame. It is always a joy and a relief to find oneself in the hands of professionals.
You have all likely seen the photo of the young marine, Sanchez, holding two infants, kissing one of the cheek as he carried them across the water onto the landing craft. It was quite another thing to meet him and talk with him (him still holding a freshly printed copy of tomorrow's wire service cover photo)...an ordinary young man, getting ribbed by his buddies for being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Bashful, proud, emotional and inspiringly..human.
We are very aware--painfully aware--that we are among the fortunate. Our hearts and best wishes go out to all those we left behind. We will never forget what we saw."


Blogger Mony said...

Eloquent and very descriptive. I am becoming a fan

1:28 PM  
Blogger jk said...

i agree---good stuff. Pick up his "A Cook's Tour," you'll probably like it. "Kitchen Confidential" is good, but I think the writing is better in the second. I'd bet that gorgeous public library downtown has it. But it's probably in the burbs, too.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Mony said...

I will do it!
I can order it sent out to my private library half a block from my house (it's now all self-serve. They have shelves and shelves of ordered materials with ones name on the wrapper!) Also, jmb goes to the downtown library at least once a week, often more during his lunch hour, and eats at the Provence in the library.

5:44 PM  
Blogger jk said...

i looove provence. When i was in town for ibma last year, some friends and i met for coffee at 10am on saturday. we left at 330...because we were just there holding court. everyone we wanted to see came over to escape the banjos!

9:03 PM  
Blogger Mony said...

Were you in the Hillsboro Village location, or the downtown? What is the ibma? I assume that was when you got to go backstage at the Opry, but I didn't ask you about a conference. Or was that a different time?

9:47 PM  
Blogger jk said...

that was a different time. IBMA is our shorthand for the annual meeting of the international bluegrass music association. It's downtown...this year in mid september. the week after the mtg of the ama---americana music association.

I'm not sure I've been to the hillsboro village location of provence, though I've gone by it!

8:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home