Healing Images – Beirut’s Graffiti

A couple of people expressed interest in seeing more of Beirut’s graffiti. In my previous post on Beirut’s Street Art I posted pictures of the art around Hamra and Gemmayzeh, two central, residential districts of Beirut. In the process of researching my article on graffiti in Beirut for Hibr online I subsequently made a trip to Karantina, one of Beirut’s industrial areas out by the port, in order to photograph the graffiti art there, which is a lot bigger and more impressive, as artists go there to bomb the ugly concrete walls along the main road in and out of Beirut so that people see their work on their boring commutes to and from work from Northern Lebanon.

A skeleton road-sweeper surrounded by ravens on the side of a bullet-ridden building

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Skiing Blind: Minus Figures in the Middle East

A rare moment of sunshine at Faraya Mzaar

I just got back from two days skiing with friends in Lebanon’s top ski resort, Faraya Mzaar.

The Dream Team: Continue reading

Beirut Snapshots: baby versus dog, a burning car and the post office saga continues

Over the last week my life has suddenly got about three times as busy. I’ve gone from working for Everitte, helping to answer his emails and deal with commissions for his calligraphy, a job which clearly left me with far too much time on my hands – as evidenced by my taking an entire day to shoddily sew one giant pair of trousers out of two perfectly good, reasonably sized pairs:

And by my spending another whole day last month making my own Christmas decorations for our tiny Christmas tree: Continue reading

One Lovely Blog Award

I woke up this morning to a wonderful surprise: the lovely jmmcdowell has presented me with the One Lovely Blog Award. Jmmcdowell is an archaeologist-turned-novelist. Her blog about her writing is always entertaining and engaging and is one of my personal favourites – if I could I would give this award straight back to her, but I guess that would defeat the point rather. Instead I’d like to say a huge thank you to her for making my week and I strongly suggest you check out her blog here.

This award comes without any rules or requests, so I’ve decided to pass it on to five of my other favourite bloggers, in the hope it’ll make them as happy as me. I also very much liked jmmcdowell’s idea of listing some things that make me happy, so here goes… Continue reading

Breathtaking Baalbek: Wandering the Ruins of the Ancient World

Baalbek is one of the world’s largest and best preserved Roman sites, christened Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, by the ancient Greeks. The city itself is situated in the fertile Bekaa Valley almost exactly in between Beirut and Damascus, and is famous not only for its spectacular ruins, but also as the headquarters of Hezbollah.The site has been continuously inhabited for over 9000 years, with constant building and rebuilding under the Temple of Jupiter.

Rated one of the 10 best Roman sites outside of Rome, Baalbek is well worth a visit – or even two.

A few days before Christmas in the Bekaa Valley and the mountains are capped with snow

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Living life à la Shakespeare and an offer of marriage

I start an internship with Lebanon’s biggest English language paper, The Daily Star, on Monday. My nervousness is battling my excitement at the moment and I’m not sure which is winning. I have been doing some freelance writing and translation since I’ve moved to Lebanon, but this will be my first time in a news office – first time in an office at all for that matter! Any tips on how to make a good impression would be very welcome – while I’m not expecting a short internship to lead to a job offer it can’t hurt to give it my best shot…

Yesterday I spent the morning interviewing a graffiti artist for my graffiti article (more on that soon) and then went to Karantina, a big industrial area of Beirut near the docks, to photography some of the graffiti in a less residential area – lots of wall space and factories plus less people milling around at night equals bigger, bolder and more imaginative graffiti. On the way back I took a servees and met a fascinating man, in some ways the epitome of Lebanon’s two sides: modern, liberal and forward-thinking, while at the same time still very traditional and conservative about certain issues. Continue reading

Beirut Snapshots: my grown-up “son” and the epic battle with Libanpost

Yesterday Everitte and I travelled across town to General Security, to leave our passports for visa renewal. While the process is a lot simpler than it was in Damascus (due mostly to the Lebanese having a fairly good concept of how queuing works!) it still involves a fair degree of red tape such as having various forms signed in triplicate by ‘The Chief of Arabs’, who has own special uniform covered in lots of shiny badges. While waiting in a queue on the third floor yesterday a little old lady came up to us and speaking in French said to me ‘He’s very slow – change queues, change queues!’ We smiled at her and she touched my cheek and said ‘You’re very pretty’ then she looked at Everitte standing next to me and said ‘Ah, and is this your son?’. So… very pretty but also very old then, if at 24 I look capable of having a 23-year-old son! Continue reading