Let the Sunshine In

Window panes cracked, shattered, broken. Never mind. They let the sunshine in.

It's a gorgeous day, the kids are playing on the balcony, enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon.



Hamam: it's one of those words that doesn't translate well. Here in Lebanon, it's used to refer to rather amazing bath-houses and regular old bathrooms.

In this picture, you can see the roof of the hamam of a grand old house near down town. At least I've assumed it's a house. The roof is the dome studded with blue glass bottles. The bottles allow light to enter while stopping prying eyes. Inside, I'm sure the light is amazing.

It must have taken extraordinary wealth to have a private hamam back when the house was built.

Here's the same photo, a little more zoomed out.


Looks Like Legos

Yesterday I posted a photo of a half-finished high-rise that has grew old and became a ruin before it was ever finished. Today, I'm sharing a photo of a new high-rise. It's either finished or as good as.

I think it looks like the kind of thing a kid would make out of legos. I posted a photo of this building from another angle (and under different light) a couple weeks ago. Check it out.


That's Entertainment

One of the most well-known landmarks in Beirut is this tower:

I'm a little amazed that I haven't put a photo of it on my blog until now. 

It's the Murr tower, named after the family that began building it in 1974. I learned that and several other bits of trivia from an article that I googled my way into.

Best quote from the article: “As an engineer I’d say destroy it. It’s easy, cheap and gives you the freedom to create something new.” Adding with a smile: “MTV bought the exclusive rights on the implosion.”--Gabriel Murr


Kalabsha, Women's Clothing

There's really no doubt about it. Kalabsha is my favorite clothing store in Hamra, my favorite made-in-Lebanon retailer.

They're located just north of Hamra Street. The workshop and the store are there on the 4th floor. Some of the clothes they sell are really artsy, pieced like quilts from diverse fabrics that somehow work together. The variety of colors and textures is balanced by silhouettes that are relatively simple, classy. It's a good combination.


Look What I Found

Paint, peeling like papery bark on a tree.

It isn't what I was looking for. But usually, the things I find aren't.


This Way and That

I like how this photo turned out, nearly monochrome with lines and angles, planes and fields, depth and flatness.The bright white and the dingy beige, the push and pull of shapes going this way and that.

It's soothing somehow.



This little garden is situated on the west side of the National Evangelical Church, which faces the Grand Serail downtown. I understand why this lovely bit of green is chained up, but I wish it didn't have to be that way.

It's lovely all the same.


In the Past, In the Future

Ever since 2005 I have passed by this building and counted myself lucky.

Never more so than today.


Le Conservatoire libanais national supérieur de musique

Le Conservatoire libanais national supérieur de musique, or the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music is one of the place I pass pretty often on my walks around town. The glass case behind the railing is filled with exercise books for many different instruments. I couldn't tell if the sun bleached the covers or if the dusty blue color was a design decision.

Either way, I like how it looks in my photo.

Sometimes, music wafts from the building as I pass by.


A Little Serenity

We can all use a little serenity. I found a bit of my own looking up that this balcony.

I hope you'll find some too.


Like a Rubik's Cube

Should you have supposed that I was finished with tiled facades, you would have been wrong.


I walked past this one the other day and I immediately began twisting and turning it in my mind, as though it were a puzzle to solve.

I like the idea. It would be fun to reconstruct a building, rotating its planes along a hidden central axis, getting everything to match, imposing order on chaos.


Good Morning, Sunshine

About a month ago I got myself a job. I love it. But having 40 fewer unscheduled hours each week sure has cut into the time I can devote to photography.

I've adapted. I now take photos on my way to and from the office. I took this one on a recent sunny morning, the colors alive in the light.

It's teacher's day, a holiday here in Beirut. Hooray for teachers. None of us would be where we are without them.


This'll Never Work

I walked past this the other day and rolled my eyes. Nice try, I though, because I was feeling particularly sarcastic that day.

In this city, people drive and they do it however they choose: up on curbs, off the shoulder, out into oncoming traffic, going the wrong way down one-way streets. Put an obstacle in their way and they'll just scoot over, under, around, or through, just like molecules of water in a great river flowing on to the wide sea.

It's the truth.

So, if you want to patch the road surface, and you don't want people to drive right through it and ruin it, you have to try a lot harder than this.


The Jeans are Gone

A while I posted a picture of this place. That picture was closely cropped around the balcony near the center of this picture. Jeans hung over the balcony.

And now, the jeans are gone. That, and the window on the left has been half closed up with what looks like cardboard.

It's that change to the window that has grabbed my imagination now. It's a pretty clear sign that someone was trying to make things inside a little more comfortable. After all, we just had all that rain and a cold snap. Cardboard isn't the best weatherproofing material in the world, but it's better than nothing and nothing is all there was before. Nothing is all that some of us have.

I hope it worked, putting cardboard in the window. I hope it made things inside a little better when the wind and rain was so bad.


All You Want

There are places with so many secrets. You can try, but you'll never unravel them all.

A wall has gone up, solid and strong. You'll never get in and the secrets will never get out.


Twin Tin Roofs

I'm ready for the rain to stay away. I'd love a return to days like this, where you need a little shade from a roof overhead.

In a vain attempt to call back the days of sunshine, I'm posting a sunny picture of lovely twin balconies near downtown.


Double Helix

During a brief pause in the rain, the sun cast a shadow on this spiral stairway climbing the side of the Robert Mouawad Private Museum.

I liked how the stairway and its shadow made a double helix.

I've intended to post a map showing the location of the museum for quite some time.

The red arrow indicates the entrance. A wall runs around the entire garden surrounding the museum (the green area) so it's easy to miss the museum.


Above and Beyond

I really love this building. It's so ornate. And for what? Not for any practical reason, no. It's ornate because that is what it is. Nothing less, and nothing else.

And I really would love to see that scalloped whatever-it-is cresting the building, that neat looking though half-destroyed bit of decorative delight, I'd love to see that more often.


Watching the Lion Roar

At school, my daughter has learned that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It has this year, that's for sure. There was so much wind and rain yesterday that my umbrella simply gave up. Then later while the rain temporarily abated, the winds were so high that I had to stop for a picture of the waves crashing a little off the Corniche.

And tonight it's cold, cold. Can't wait for warmer weather.