How To De-stress, Reporter Style

Photoessay: Clarissa's Travels

Thursday, March 29, 12:23 p.m.

The relief of arriving in Amman after Baghdad is almost hard to describe ... the first time I found myself at the baggage carousel of Queen Alia Airport, after a grueling seven week tour, I felt the urge to cry.

One of the best parts about arriving in Amman is rolling down the car's window from the airport and letting the clean air come rushing in. In Iraq, we drive armored cars and can not open the windows. (The air in Baghdad is hot and still and smells of trash anyway.)

I have established rituals for what I do when I get to the hotel in Amman. First, I order room service: lentil soup and a caesar salad. Then, I take a shower while I wait for it to arrive. It gives me inordinate pleasure to eat my meal in front of the TV in my fluffy terrycloth robe. Next, I go for a hot stone massage and relax in the Jacuzzi. I am usually in bed and asleep by ten.

Today, I am back in Beirut. I have spent all day spoiling myself and trying to feel feminine again. I went to the hairdresser, had a manicure and pedicure, and then went and spent too much money on clothes I will probably never wear. I rounded up the afternoon with a bath and then a nap.

Perhaps this intensive pampering is a perverse reaction to witnessing the suffering and violence and devastation of a war zone. Yet for me it is absolutely essential. It's the only way for me to ease myself back into my world. And you can't stay too long in the other world, the Baghdad world. Quite simply, it will break you.

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Clarissa Ward is a reporter based out of Beirut, Lebanon. She has reported for the FOX News Channel from Beirut and Baghdad, covering stories such as Saddam's execution and the current unrest in Lebanon.