Crossing Over

I tend to walk to the same places along the same paths day after day. The things I see along the way become familiar, a part of my world. Eventually I begin to feel like I know it perfectly. And then, I cross the street, and everything changes.


Urban Still Life

I love finding spots like these.


Little Blue House in the City

Beirut is a city of contradictions, like this little blue house beside a gleaming modern monolith that made a perfect background for this shot.


And A Bird

Two battered pointed arches . . .

. . . and a bird perched up top.



I see it from my window, or when I'm out on the street. Someone, usually a young man ripping open garbage bags, rifling through the insides. It happens all the time and it makes me uncomfortable.


Wooden latice

I love how age looks on this wall and the little latices covering the small openings overhead.



You've seen this arch before. It was at the other end of that passage under the road. It stayed with me, that lovely arch in the light, so I decided to get closer. It's wonderful.



I really loved the look of this construction site, especially the guy with the shovel.

The truck was steadily pounding away, forcing a vertical beam deeper and deeper in to the ground. It's my (uninformed, perhaps incorrect) understanding that these vertical beams are necessary to stabilize the foundation of high-rise structures.



It's two different worlds.

I didn't know of any under-the-street passageways in Beirut until I wandered my way into this one the other day.


Fiesta Flora

Pink! I couldn't help myself. They thought of everything, even the housing for the electrical box and the normally bumble-bee colored sidewalk-posts.


Wild West

Mostly, I take pictures of things that I notice by chance. This was not one of those times.

This building stands along a major thoroughfare. I've seen it many times, and I recently took myself on a delightfully long walk for no purpose other than to see it. From a distance, driving past in a cab, it looked to me not unlike so many other bullet-riddled buildings in the city. Seen that way, it called up all the expected images of Lebanon's civil war, street violence and snipers and rubble.

But this time I was on foot, standing directly beside it. While I was there, I got a powerful feeling of the old (American) wild west. Cowboys, Saloon girls, outlaws, tumbleweed, cacti, drought, lonesome country, big sky and ghost towns, all there in my mind clear as day.



I took this picture because the window was so amazing, such a patchwork of boards and time and voids. But looking at it here, isolated and alone, it looks like it is emerging, coming forward out of the stucco.


Will Thrive

Those of you who read my St. Louis blog may recall my struggles with dandelions. In my garden I carried out a ritualistic purging if not a genocide each spring. I systematically, doggedly rooted them out of my yard.

Of course, it was a futile effort. They're tenacious, more so that I am. Dandelions will thrive, and and they'll even do it in Lebanon.

Though I've had my battles with dandelions and likely will again I can't help but love them blossoming at this window.


Like a Citadel

There was something that seemed, I don't know . . . fortified (maybe?) about this structure. So sturdy, and yet crumbling.


Boxes and Bags

Here, a kind of street-side warehouse filled with bags upon bags of charcoal. These coals are destined to burn for someone's water pipe. The little tin boxes hanging in clusters here and there will play a central role in that process. They are used to carry the hot coals from the fire to the pipe, which may we quite a way off. Their form follows their function. They're like baskets with rather long handles to keep hands cool enough while carrying it around, and they have little feet on the bottom to keep the coals elevated so that, should they be set down for a bit, they don't burn the ground below.

There are also some ladle-like things hanging there, and I regret to say that I'm not sure what they're for. Oh well. Always something more to learn!


Under the Canopy

Decorative ribbons strung above traffic and pedestrians on Rue 2 in El-Zarif. The ribbons are a brightly colored celebratory announcement that someone in the neighborhood (from the look of it, probably lots of someones) just completed the pilgrimage.



I caught sight of this cheerful looking security door while walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood. It was so unapologetically happy (the door, but now that I think about it, also the neighborhood) that I stopped for a picture.



It's an arch over a door, and for me a special one. Once upon a time that seems distant but isn't, this arch was part of the wallpaper of my life, just another bright spot in the scenery that I passed as I walked my kids to and from school. Pretty, isn't it? And it's pointy, a gothic arch. Read all about it.



City Daily Photo does theme days, and this one is dedicated to Eric Tenin, the photographer behind one of the longest-running City Daily Photo blogs out there--Paris Daily Photo. It's a lovely blog. Sometimes, he puts his camera on the ground to capture an unusual view, which is what I did for this shot. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Very Grey

Grey, like a rainy day or make up wearing off. And yet, permanent and lasting in ways that the weather and remnants of last nights adventure can't rival.


Flowers by the Way

I walked past these flowers in St. Nicholas--a neighborhood near Achrafieh. They were out of the way in a little nook where no one was likely to notice them.



I sometimes dream of being a writer . . .

wishing I could write something, anything half so wonderful as this.



Here, above the shuttered balcony doors, a horseshoe arch.

There are many grander, far more beautifully dilapidated horseshoe arches in this city. I'll get to them eventually. For more on horseshoe arches see the wikipedia entry on the subject.



Steps and red shutters, deteriorating wall. Seen in Gemmayze.


Coming Down Slowly

On the lengthy list of things one need not do without in Beirut: political posters. They're everywhere. I haven't photographed many of them, but that'll likely change eventually. That peeling-off poster (glued up over some other guy's poster) to the right of the left window--politics.

Long after the votes have been cast and the polls have closed, the signs remain. Time, if nothing else, pulls them down slowly.



Yes, a sight like so many that I've photographed. Can't help myself with a falling-apart wall like that and the lovely, worn, chained up door. Love the sign and the fanned out squatty palm. And guess what? Look at the wires tamed and neatly enclosed, tacked up against the wall. There's something very resolute about it.


From Paul

Cafe Paul sits on the boarder between the Beirut neighborhoods of Gemmayze, Saifi, and Achrafieh, and as such is a well known landmark.

If you walk into Gemmayze from Paul, this is what you'll see.


Blue Serenity

To me there is something calm, peacefully careless about these shutters. I could look at them all day.



One of the things that I love about Beirut is the architectural diversity. It seems that every single style of arch is present in this city. I really liked the shape and colors of this one.

Different arch shapes have different names. It turns out that this is a tudor arch--at least, that's what wikipedia claims.

Today I'm participating in the theme day 'passageway'. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants