Two Balustrades

Here and there. Wire wrapped, curtain swept, paint-faded, weather worn.

They're quite a pair.



A little balustrade, like lace.

There's something amazing about the mottled richness of the fading pink beneath.


All Day

I like this place.

I could stay here all day.


Not Quite Perfect

It's a simple day, just right for a simple shot of not-quite-perfect symmetry.

I hope you're enjoying the weekend.



I'm afraid this place must be abandoned, forgotten. It's falling apart, of course. Plants growing up between the stones aren't a good sign.

The general state of the place is a shame because there are such amazing details here, the carvings around the door and the shaped window openings, the delightful balustrade too.

So what do you make of the jeans? Were they abandoned as well? They could have been. Or, maybe they're just hung up to dry and the place hasn't been forgotten after all.


What is Written

It's funny, the tricks our eyes play on us. All you have to do is throw out a few loops and hash marks, and the eyes try to read it. But what's written in this apartment balustrade?

Nothing at all.


The Tallest Buildings in Beirut

Here they are, a few of the tallest buildings in Beirut:

There aren't many buildings in Beirut that have more than a dozen or so floors.  In this photo, the tallest one, the squarish  Platinum Tower, is 152 meters high and is currently the city's tallest building.  The pointy one is Marina Tower, and it is 150 meters high.

But a kilometer or two away near Sodeco, Sama Beirut is under construction. It's anticipated that it will be completed in 2014 and rise to a height of 200 meters. It's hard to imagine what that will look like.


A Little of Everything

Let's see, what'll it be today? Deteriorating walls, crazy wires, pipes akimbo, that awesome metal roof stuff, balcony curtains, peeling-paint shuttered windows?

All of the above.


Hopeless Romance

Life is full of little surprises . . .

. . . like the hopeless romance of a stranger's balcony.


Mary, Mary

I grew up in the US, in an area with Catholics, Protestants, and plenty of others though their numbers were small. But, because I was rooted within the community of others I looked around at the world from that position knowing not much about what everyone else believed.

It's funny how those things look different as a grown-up. As a kid I felt irretrievably different from everyone else and now I see most of that was in my head. Not all of it, just most of it.

I suppose that experience informs my understanding of Lebanon.

Candles for sale in Achrafieh.


Over the Rooftops

Just a few clouds, evidence that it was raining earlier. And there was also hail this morning.

Normally I'm on the ground when I take pictures, but I was a few floors up for this one. I like it, looking over the rooftops.


Four Centered Arch

It's been a while since I paid much attention to the variety of arch shapes that are to be found on older buildings all over Beirut.

Based on a diagram that I swiped from a nice website called "Looking at Buildings", I'd call this one a four centered arch.

Do you agree?


Life is Sweet

Today I grabbed a quick photo of the petit fours at my neighborhood bakery. They're 22,000 LL for a kilo, or about $7.50 a pound. Yum. When you buy them, you can pick and choose or you can just ask for a little of everything. There's no wrong move and everyone wins.

It's a good thing that I finally have a picture of some of the sweets sold at my neighborhood bakery. I go in there so much you'd think it wouldn't be a problem to get a picture, but I've noticed that it's the places I go all_the_time that I never seem to photograph.


In the Alleyway

I stepped into an alleyway, turned back the way I'd came and looked up. Such simple actions, everyday, mundane.

It's a big city. Maybe someday, I will have stepped through every alleyway, turned back along every path I've walked to look around and consider where I came from.




Can't help it. Look at that enormous lump of green. So many types of leafy what-not piled up, going in all directions, looking gorgeous.

style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; It's the variety that I love, that so many shapes and shades are layered together along the path ahead. Beirut keeps its pockets of green pretty well hidden, and it doesn't have nearly enough of them, but it does the green it's got really, really well.

Happy Valentine's Day, Beirut.


Nobody's Favorite

I don't like air conditioners, particularly these. They're in the way. That balcony is small enough without sacrificing space to AC units.

And you know what they remind me of? They remind me of Hal, from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hal's nobody's favorite character, especially once he starts to malfunction.

Just about the only thing I remember about Hal is that he apologized a lot in his predictably uninflected AI voice. And in the end, he lost.

Now that I think of it, I'd love to get an apology from my AC unit. We could start with "I'm sorry for operating inefficiently". "I'm sorry for being so noisy". "I'm sorry about that time I broke down last summer". And we'd finish up with "I'm sorry for being appallingly ugly on the side of a beautiful building".

But, just like Hal, the AC's apologies are empty, meaningless, and it will carry on just as before.



I see two eyes, one winking and a big mouth gaping open.

Shocking! It's going to eat me up.



Nothing like a huge tumble of Jasmine spilling over a wall to give an otherwise normal building that extra special something that might just pass for magic.

My daily route used to take me past a huge jasmine plant like this one. Whenever I had time, I stopped under it and took a few deep breaths.

I loved that.


On the Outside

I have no idea what this place is like on the inside. But I like the outside.

It's a realistic fiction that stops short of any true attempt at trompe l'oeil.



I like finding little patches of green in the city. Winter is the best time for that in Beirut. The rain helps.

It's a holiday today, so school's out and we're having one of those run-away family days.


To You, To Me

I took these pictures in Achrafieh. The building is just down the street from where I once lived. That seems like a lifetime ago.

See the face at the base of this baroque-looking over-the-door ornamentation? What does it say to you? Is that a look of serenity? Haughtiness? Contemplation, introspection, placidity, indifference? Is this a wise, knowing face? Or is it the face of innocence, youthful ignorant bliss?

For years the world has gone by, literally under the nose of this funny little face. I can't help wondering what I'd look like if I'd been up above a door for as many years, what sort of expression I'd have on my face.

And what would it be like to go through this door every day? A lifetime of coming and going, arriving and departing, alone or with friends and family. What effect would it have to pass beneath that face over and over again?


Somewhat Unusual

Reddish wall, green doors and plants. And textures, textures everywhere. I like how the white is really clean looking, bright and unbroken.

The squarish design in the iron balustrade is somewhat unusual in Beirut, which makes it all the more interesting to me.


Have it All

When it comes to houses, they don't make them like the used to. In most cases, all I have to say to that is "thank goodness". I'm not a big fan of homes with only one bathroom (or no bathroom), I find ancient kitchens appalling and impractical. I'm not a fan of insufficient electrical supply or receptacles, and I also prefer the greater efficiency of modern HVAC units. For these and many other reasons I'd take a modern home any day.

Still, you can't beat the craftsmanship, the classy woodworking, the decorative stonework of older buildings. The perfect house would have it all.


Like the Sky, Like the Sea

Ah, blue. Such wonderful associations. This is a calm picture, a picture for a quiet day at home, taking advantage of every little bit of serenity.

It makes me happy just thinking about it.

I've tagged a bunch of Beirut Pursuit photos that show street lamps.  You can see that group of posts by clicking here


Truths Told Slant

Mirrors tell it like it is, and they tell it like it isn't.

Hope you're having a nice weekend.


Where I Am

At this time last week I was in the American west, in a small town, at a funeral. There are buildings in Beirut that remind me of the small towns in western America. These, for example, in Mar Nicholas remind me of that region for no good reason at all. They also remind me of funerals, and there are a lot of good reasons for that.

Anyway, I've been back for a few days, back in Beirut. I love pictures like this because they're from here; I don't think anywhere else has architecture like this. And right now, there's nowhere else I'd rather be.


The Perfect Yellow

A few years ago I had paint chips propped up on the window ledge in my living room. All of them within a few shades of this:

I was looking for the perfect yellow, something like an orange tinged lemon or a really yellowy butter or an egg tart if you bumped up the saturation.


Nothing Special

An ordinary day, and ordinary window.

Open to anything.