I was only thinking of the shadows. They were dark and deep.

Looking at this picture now, I notice how overexposed it is--so much so that the radio antenna (which I promise does indeed stand on that pediment out at sea) has vanished into the brilliantly bright oblivion.



With its lone shutter, I feel like this window is waving hello.

Or maybe it's winking at me.



Another urban ruin.

No windows, no doors, a ramshackle stairway that I would frankly fear to test with my own weight. I've shown other views of this building before. It's one of my local favorites. It's a gem. Check out it's other faces:

6 June
18 April
17 April


Red Shutters

This is very Beirut. The grays and monochromes, the antennas, the wires and crowding.

It looks piled up, like a child's set of blocks. I like the red shutters, the one very green balcony, the afternoon sun. I like the texture and shadows.


Noticing a Trend: Another Floor Plan

I took a little walk while waiting for my car to be washed in Ramlet el Baida, a neighborhood south of Beirut. Along the way I wandered past this floor plan outside a construction site in the neighborhood.

It's spacious and chic just like the others floor plans I've posted. It also has a lot of balcony space off the main living areas that (I think) lends itself to living fluidly between inside and outside. I like that. In addition to the double living room (which are formal, for company), this one has a separate, informal living room, which is nice. That's where the TV goes, and the family with it.



Spices in the souk in Sidon, half an hour south of Beirut.


Al-Amin Details

The web doesn't want for pictures of the Al-Amin Mosque. Google it. It's huge, new, centrally located, and all of that makes it an oft-photographed landmark in town.

There aren't as many shots of the detailed craftsmanship, and the Al-Amin Mosque is wonderfully ornate. Since I'm a little bit in love with details like these, that's what I'm posting.

Here's a sample, a small collage of the beautiful wood, metal, and stone work.

Unlike other downtown buildings, mosques, and churches, Al-Amin Mosque is not a historic building. For me, that makes the craftsmanship all the more impressive. It's true; they don't make them like they used to. But in this case, I think they really tried.


Lazy B

Not long ago we went to Lazy B, a private beach south of Beirut.

In a word, gorgeous.

It was really nice, really relaxing, and best of all, I swam for the first time in the Mediterranean. That's right folks. In all our years living within a stone's throw of it, I never had actually gotten all the way in, not until we came to Lazy B.



In case you were wondering, because I'm sure that out there somewhere someone was wondering, you can take scuba lessons in Beirut.

And with that, summer just got a little bit better.


Vintage Rue 61 Ibn Sina

There are lots and lots of streets in Beirut, and (from what I've seen) they're all numbered. Some of them also have a name. Of the streets that are named, only a few are famous enough that people generally know and use the street's name. Because street names really aren't in use, directions rely on other things--you'll be told that your destination is near this or that business or restaurant, near thus and such square, plaza, or major round-about.

So I was intrigued by this old street sign, from the collection of photos of Beirut taken in 1965 that I linked to last time.

I decided to track this place down.

It took me a very long time to find the street, frankly, much longer than it should have. Ibn Sina is a major route that connects the Corniche with downtown and major highways that lead to other parts of the city. It's a one-way road at least six lanes across. People double park on both sides of it, which can reduce this thoroughfare to a mere one or two lanes. I'm almost never on foot here, because it's not really a destination. Honestly, I didn't even know this stretch of road had a name or a number.

These days, though, there isn't a single sign that actually lists the name 'Ibn Sina'. Instead, this is what you'll find:

And there aren't many of these either. I really hoped I'd be able to track down the exact place in the vintage photo, but I wasn't. But at least I found the street. At least it is still there.


Noon Day Sun

For photography, light makes all the difference, and the light of the noon day sun isn't the kind that most photographers prefer. It can wash out colors, cast disfiguring shadows, force people's faces into squinty contortions, and bring about other unpleasant effects.

But I liked the shadows it cast on this shutter hook. Which, by the way, is a name I made up just now because I don't know its proper name or if it even has one. Anyone out there know for sure?


Endless Summer

There are days when summer feels as endless as the sea.

All along the Corniche at this time of year, people (mostly men, but a woman or child here or there) swim in the shallow water near land or perch on the seaweed covered rocks and tide pools.



These doors are neighbors just as much as the folks who live behind them. I wonder if they're friends. In this neighborhood, it's very likely they're family. The doors look a little like family too.


Another Luxury Floor Plan

The first floor plan I posted was pretty fancy, but this one outdoes it. I found it outside a construction site not far from the Intercontinental Hotel near the Corniche.

It has one unit per floor, unlike the first which had two on each floor. There are four bedrooms up from three, and each bedroom has its own full bath. You'll note the double living room and (if you include the balcony space) double dining.

Like the other one, this plan features a separate elevator and entrance for the maid. This was fashionable decades ago. Then it fell out of fashion and the separate entrance disappeared. Looks like it's making a comeback.


Fine Lines

I couldn't help taking a picture of all those antennas rising above this unquestionably typical residential building.

I feel like I ought to take some greater lesson from the image, though I don't know exactly what that would be.



You know how, when you are very, very tired, your whole being feels heavier?

That's how those sagging, drooping shutters make me feel.


What Strange Chimneys

I could be wrong about this. Being wrong isn't that uncommon for me, but I think these odd things on the roof--these strange metal capped things are mufflers to stifle the sound of gas-powered generators that kick in when municipal power fails.


Open and Closed

Alternating open and closed balconies near Achrafieh Tabaris.

On hot days, I imagine the shade of a closed balcony would have a cooling effect, a welcome characteristic at this time of year.


Up at Laziz

Laziz is a casual Lebanese restaurant in Hamra. Here's a shot of their interior decor. I was able to take this picture from my table as I waited for my food. I like it that even their air ducts are embellished.

Although their menu is devoted to traditional Lebanese food, some of it is fantastically unconventional. Kebbe, for example. It's as thoroughly typical as hummus and taboule. You can buy kebbe anywhere--and it's delicious. Of course, you'll find typical, traditional kebbe at Laziz, but they've also got a variety made with pumpkin which is frankly amazing. Try it if you're ever in town.



I took this picture because of the doorway and that amazingly tall, upward reaching arch above it. But increasingly I like this picture for those two plams, inclined toward each other like old friends.


Through There

If I lived here, I'm quite sure that I would periodically hack back these overgrown leafy things. Compulsion would drive me to do it.

But that would completely destroy the mystery (magic, perhaps) of this place, so it's a good thing I don't live here.


Blue Spool

A few days ago I posted a picture of a giant wooden spool at a construction site. Here's a smaller one, re-purposed to restrict parking.

Personally, I think bright blue is a perfect color for such a thing.



Typical Beirut dust-coated iron gate, crumbling stone wall, leafy-green something overhead simply doing it's thing.



This is the very peaceful, very empty waiting room in the labor and delivery wing of CMC--the Johns-Hopkins affiliated Clemenceau Medical Center.

I normally hate hospitals, but I don't have a single reason to hate this place. Every time I've gone in, the medical center has been well-staffed (and the staff have been helpful), the environment has been calm and quiet, and the whole facility is spotless. It's all very soothing, actually.


Behind the Wall

Quite a while ago, I posted a picture of a street scene, which featured, among other things, a black wall. I thought you'd like to see the view it concealed.

I kind of like its colorblocking, variety of textures, its chaos. I'm glad I took a peek behind the wall, and once the new building obscures this view once more, I'll miss it.



Construction leftovers are a common sight in Beirut. Huge wooden spools are probably my favorite of the leftover stuff.

Maybe I like them so much because we had something like this when I was little and my siblings and I used it as a table. I wonder how long this one will go unclaimed.



Downtown Beirut has many beautiful churches and mosques. It also has this ruin, a church that was badly damaged during the civil war. I've heard conflicting reports about its fate, and as always I'll keep my fingers crossed for preservation.


The Fishermen's Harbor

There's a section of the Corniche and the road along side it that bridges the entrance to the fishermen's harbor. It's a tiny little haven, just big enough to tie up a handful of little motor boats.

There's one boat that always flies the Lebanese flag.

I love seeing that boat.


In Triplicate

It's another day when I can't choose which shot I like best. Here's head on:

And at an angle:

It was a delight to wander past these pretty windows.


So Many Boats

Sunset approaching, and there are so many beautiful boats down by the sea.

Of course, some are more seaworthy than others.



Two guys in a half constructed building:

reflected in the windows of a fast food joint here in Beirut:

Bloggers all over the world are posting reflections from their cities today. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants