(Click on the picture to enlarge. I hope this does not blacklist me from a future job... And yes, as you can see, Hezbollah put an AK-47 on their flag.)
Well, it wasn't exactly like Nasrallah was sitting on the sandy shore, running his fingers though his clerically groomed black beard. Nevertheless, I sure got the feeling he was watching from his larger-than-life poster, mysteriously hung from a telephone pole near where my friend and I were surfing.
The truth is that the Bush-era political brand of a "terrorist" really throws off the common perception of Hezbollah. Simply put, they are not al-Qaeda. They do not share a similar Islamist ideology, nor do they act with the same kind of sporadic violence against the West and its travelers.
Though this post isn't going to be about explaining the various social, political and community-oriented work of Hezbollah, I do want to make it clear that they have become a ligament force within Lebanese society, whether anyone really likes it or not. It is not dangerous to visit, travel or for God's sake surf through Hezbollah controlled Lebanon. We can debate al-muqawama and armed resistance in another post.
Most surfers prefer hitting the water before dawn. At this time, the offshore wind tends to blow, smoothing the surface of the waves and producing that epic spray off the back.
Since we are talking about the Mediterranean Sea, it is important to mention that these waves do not have the same amount of distance to travel, compared to the Pacific Ocean. Thus, the waves are closer together (about 10 second periods for all you surf hounds out their). Waves also come in sets. This means that the Sea may seem flat for a minute, but as these lumps out on the horizon approach the shore, the sea bottom gets shallower, forcing these lumps to rise from the depths and form into rideable waves. Even by my spoiled California standards, this was a day when the conditions came together: the wind, the waves and the portrait of Islamists in the background. Simply priceless...