Friends and fans,
We’re delighted to inform you that Tony and the entire crew left Beirut this morning on the USS Nashville en route to Larnaca, Cyprus. We have arranged special air travel to have them back in the USA as soon as possible. On behalf of Tony, the crew, Travel Channel, and Discovery Communications, we’d like to thank you for your concern and support during this difficult time. We look forward to sharing Tony’s experience from Beirut with you soon, stay tuned for more information on a possible special episode of “No Reservations.”
I’m looking forward to his reports of wild parties drinking retsina, ouzo and eating flaming haloumi cheese.
More news from Reuters:
ON BOARD THE USS NASHVILLE, July 20 (Reuters) – 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.
Bourdain, whose show “Anthony Bourdain — No Reservations” takes him around the world to experience new culture and cuisine, was shooting an episode in Beirut before the outbreak of violence that is threatening to spiral out of control. “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.” But after two days of eating and drinking, the experience went sour on July 12 when he and his new Lebanese friends heard gunfire from Hizbollah militants celebrating the abduction of two Israeli soldiers.
But 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.”