The Wedding of David & Myriam (4)


The Bride Arrives.

Nobody cares about the groom. Any groom. In any country. Except maybe his mom. He just arrives as early as he can with his best man in tow and prays that half of those invited actually show up. He prays even harder that the bride will show up. Inshallah she will!

But when the bride arrives, that’s when the excitement starts……..

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The Wedding of David & Myriam (3)


The Guests Arrive (2 of 2).

And they just kept arriving………..

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The Wedding of David & Myriam (2)


The Guests Arrive (1 of 2).

MB lodged himself just inside the church entrance under some foliage to protect his follically-challenged head from the warm August rays. He had arrived at the church grounds some 30 minutes before the wedding ceremony was to take place to capture the location and the guests as they arrived. Despite wearing an open-neck shirt, minus any tie, it was still perspiration weather due to Jbail’s summer humidity, a consequence of its juxtaposition next to the adjacent sea.

And so the guests arrive:

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The Wedding of David & Myriam (1)


The Church.

MB mentioned in a recent post that he was again amongst the Lebanese for the wedding of a work colleague. The ceremony took place on Sunday last in the 900-year-old Christian Maronite Church of St Jean Marc in Byblos, in the modern-day town of Jbail, Jbail being situated on the Lebanese coastal highway approximately one hours drive north of Beirut. The beautiful old stone-cut church lies in the port area of the ancient habitation, next to the Crusader Castle which was built around the same time.

The church was constructed in the year 1115 AD, according to MB’s research, as the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, and is today dedicated to St John Mark, the patron saint of Jbail. It is thought that St JM was the founder of the first Christian community in the locality.

As a location for a wedding ceremony, perfect!

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


Al Hallab Bakery


Abdul Rakhman Al Hallab bakery and coffee shop is a famous Lebanese institution much beloved by the natives. It is producing delicious cakes since 1881. The original ‘mother’ shop is located in Tripoli in northern Lebanon not far from the Syrian border and MB had the good fortune to visit there at end December 2016, when he was in Lebanon for the wedding of a work colleague. MB is now back amongst the Lebanese for another wedding, again that of a work colleague, this time in the ancient habitation of Byblos in the modern day town of Jbail. More on that wedding anon.

Google the city of Byblos, if you will. It’s one of the oldest habitations in the world with human occupation going back some 8,000 years as far as MB is aware. The Roman’s and many other civilisations were here, and the 1,100 year old Crusader castle still stands tall on the Byblos waterfront, one of Lebanon’s major tourist attractions. One can see some of the demolished Roman circular columns used on the lower parts of the castle walls. MB presumes this was a war psychology idea on the part of the Crusaders. Look at us, we are bigger and bolder and better than the Romans. You can see their demolished history at the base of our castle walls – sort of thing. 

The words Bible, and biblioteque (French for ‘library’) amongst others, derive from the Byblos name, as far as MB is aware because the Phonecians, who gave the world the first written alphabet, were also dwellers of the city of  Byblos. 

Archaeologists have managed in the past to decipher the Phonecian script, and when one visits the Crusader castle it is possible to get one of the guides to explain how to write one’s name in the ancient text.

Anyway, MB has digressed. MB was walking along a Byblos street yesterday evening when he had the good luck to stumble across an Al Hallab ‘daughter’ shop. He duly went in and had himself a tasty cake and an espresso.

A picture paints a thousands words, as the old ‘picture paints a thousand words’ saying goes. Herewith, some mouthwatering shots that MB shot off on his phone. Enjoy!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Structure


Structure.

Jen has thrown down the gauntlet to all this week with the word ‘structure’, showing us some impressive leaves. Well, MB is well up for the challenge and steps up to the plate with a mighty structure indeed. The greatest man-made structure on the planet – The Great Wall of China (horns blaring in the background). Read More

Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – Assaha Hotel, Beirut.


MB will head to Lebanon next weekend (the Islamic Eid Holiday weekend in the Middle East), where he is invited to a wedding in the ancient town of Byblos. Having seen the church and party venue online, it promises to be a great photo opp occasion for MB and his camera. Big thanks to work colleague DAM and his wife-to-be for the invitation.

The below photo is from the inside of Assaha Hotel, where MB spent the first night of his December 2016 previous Lebanon wedding trip. He received some special hospitality from local residents on the following morning on a local street when he went to buy a local phone sim card. But that’s a story for telling at another time.

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A New Irish Passport


It was not until MB arrived in the Middle East (ME) some nine years ago that he learnt the true value of his Irish Passport. Read More

Why every kid should collect stamps


MB is reposting the below post from blogger friend Heidi/HeidiBlog. MB used to do this as a young kid. Wonder where those stamp albums got to? Great post H. Thanks. MB

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My blog-pal Anthony has a great memory, because this morning he reminded me of a post I wrote three years ago. With apologies to those for whom this is a rerun, it at least explains why I was more excited about the heat-sensitive eclipse stamps than yesterday’s actual eclipse.

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I admit it: I feel nerdy confessing I collect stamps.I’m not sure how it started but I think it’s my father’s fault. He used to travel a lot for work, so he had friends all over the planet. And occasionally these friends would send us a letter, like this one:

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Within a few years I’d amassed maybe a dozen such first-day covers, and I’d saved several hundred stamps from my father’s correspondence. I especially looked forward to Christmas each year.

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Before long I was saving my allowance for the local stamp-swaps and mail-order offers. I’m sure I got swindled…

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Corner


Corner.

Camels race around the corner at a track in Doha, Qatar – shot from MB’s camel racing excursion of some months back. Note the robot jockeys on the camel’s backs. The robots and their whips are controlled by remote controls in the hands of the owners who follow the camels in 4x4s on roadways outside the track perimeter.

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – Mother’s Milk


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ohh Shiny!


Ohh Shiny!

This week’s photo challenge phrase is one that MB was not previously familiar with. Perhaps because it’s purely an American phrase. Or perhaps, that phrase & MB’s paths just never crossed.

The phrase, according to Andrea who set this week’s challenge, means something that is distracting, like an American bird distracted by a shiny object (Irish birds just don’t get distracted – they are always focused and in ‘the zone’).

Anyway, MB got to thinking, what makes him distracted?

When he travels back to the Emerald Isle he is always distracted by the ruins of an old manor house anytime he drives past, known locally as ‘Croker’s, after the old boss man of the family who lived there. The ruin lies just across the road from the farmhouse where MB grew up.

There is a local saying back in HX-land – “I doubt it, said Croker” – which originates from a deathbed conversation that Coker had with his priest. The priest tried to console Croker in his final dying hours with the soothing words – “At least you will be going to a better place”. To which Croker famously replied – “I doubt it”.

Herewith, a shot of the ruin which MB took from the nearby wooded area along the Grange/HX road during his trip home last May:

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