Foto Friday – Views from the castle


MB has some external shots of the Crusader Castle at Byblos, Lebanon, somewhere in his photo library, from a previous visit of a few years back, but he is too lazy to search for them. So, for today’s Foto Friday post, MB gives HX followers some shots that he took last week, from atop the castle, of the surrounding countryside, without any shots of the actual castle itself.

Some of the views are quite typical of the Lebanese coastline, countryside, and townscapes. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Waiting


Waiting.

The expression ‘waiting for a miracle’ is well known, and mostly the miracle never happens. But sometimes it does. Read More

The Wedding of David & Myriam (6)


Feeding Time.

Weddings are tough work. For the participants and guests alike. The food can not come soon enough for most. And on the occasion of D&M’s wedding, MB can assure followers that the food was mouthwateringly delicious and amazing!

IMG_1594IMG_1593IMG_1592IMG_1591IMG_1590IMG_1589IMG_1588IMG_1586IMG_1585IMG_1584IMG_1583IMG_1582IMG_1580IMG_1579IMG_1577IMG_1576IMG_1575IMG_1574IMG_1573IMG_1572IMG_1571IMG_1570IMG_1569IMG_1567IMG_1566IMG_1565IMG_1563IMG_1558IMG_1557IMG_1556IMG_1555IMG_1554IMG_1553IMG_1552IMG_1551IMG_1550IMG_1548IMG_1547IMG_1546

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……..

IMG_1082IMG_1085IMG_1108IMG_1166IMG_1169IMG_1170IMG_1179IMG_1180IMG_1185IMG_1186IMG_1187IMG_1188IMG_1190IMG_1192IMG_1200IMG_1206IMG_1207IMG_1220IMG_1221IMG_1237IMG_1239IMG_1241

The Wedding of David & Myriam (3)


The Guests Arrive (2 of 2).

And they just kept arriving………..

IMG_1401IMG_1390IMG_1376IMG_1373IMG_1234IMG_1232IMG_1228IMG_1222IMG_1216IMG_1213IMG_1210IMG_1208IMG_1204IMG_1202IMG_1201IMG_1195IMG_1175IMG_1172IMG_1163IMG_1157IMG_1156IMG_1155IMG_1154IMG_1152IMG_1147IMG_1146IMG_1144IMG_1141IMG_1138IMG_1133IMG_1130IMG_1129IMG_1125IMG_1123IMG_1120IMG_1118IMG_1111IMG_1110IMG_1107IMG_1106IMG_1098IMG_1096IMG_1094IMG_1093

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:

IMG_1079IMG_1076IMG_1074IMG_1070IMG_1064IMG_1063IMG_1059IMG_1055IMG_1052IMG_1050IMG_1049IMG_1044IMG_1042IMG_1037IMG_1035IMG_1029IMG_1019IMG_1018IMG_1006IMG_1005IMG_1002IMG_1000IMG_0998IMG_0995IMG_0993IMG_0990IMG_0988IMG_0986IMG_0985IMG_0983IMG_0982IMG_0980IMG_0977IMG_0974IMG_0971IMG_0968IMG_0967IMG_0963IMG_0955

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!

IMG_0937IMG_0939IMG_0942IMG_0940IMG_0944 (1)IMG_0945 (1)IMG_0947IMG_0948IMG_0946IMG_0962IMG_0955IMG_0963IMG_1247

 

Sunday Shot – No Comment


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.

IMG_8273

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

A Night Out in Doha


MB attended a night out with work colleagues last night at the La Cigale Hotel in Doha. The event comprised a sit-down dinner and musical performances by two well-known Lebanese male singers.

A few shots from the hotel and the event follows, and there’s a short video clip of one of the performers at the end. To convert the drink menu prices into Euro, divide by 4. Pricy!

SONY DSCSONY DSC20170420_18473620170420_20290320170420_20281220170420_202959SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

 

International Women’s Day – Minus 3


Welcome & Best Wishes to Baby Sofia.

Sofia

Friends & work colleagues of MB, E&R, were blessed with the arrival of their first child on 10 February 2017, a beautiful baby daughter called Sofia. Mom R is an architect and is very artistic in addition. In the months leading up to Sofia’s arrival, R spent much of her time making nice things for her soon-to-arrive daughter. The result is a sort of ‘Shrine to Sofia’ in the family apartment.

E&R are not posting any photos of Sofia on social media and neither will MB. However, MB will give followers some of the ‘shrine’ photos. And mom R has also given MB the above photo for inclusion in the post. As followers can see from the pic, R is an accomplished photographer in addition to her other attributes, and many a heated photo chat is had between MB & R when they meet.

As followers will deduce from the photos, MB has visited the home of E&R in recent days. MB wants followers to take particular notice of the final photo in the series. It’s a desert dish called ‘Mghli’, and it is a traditional Lebanese dish that is served to visitors to celebrate the arrival of a new-born. The base is made from a custard-like crushed rice, and the topping is of chopped coconut, assorted nuts and dried fruit. MB can 100% confirm that it is damn tasty, and MB licked his bowl extremely clean!

R&E are Lebanese Christians working in Qatar. The Lavant area of the Middle East (which includes Lebanon)  is in a large and distressing state of flux at present. Syria is no longer a country, and may never revert to a unitary state again. 500,000 dead from all sides of the conflict and 50% of the 25M population displaced from their homes puts an end to that possibility MB is sure. Jordan and Lebanon are struggling to cope with millions of Syrian refugees within their own boundaries, as well as Syrian-related militancy within segments of their own populations. The Palestine/Israel conflict on Lebanon’s Southern border needs no further elaboration from MB.

So the region that baby Sofia arrives into does not present her with a happy welcome. She is lucky to have great parents and extended family, and lucky that E&R are working in a safe location.

Here’s hoping that the region Sofia will grow up in, and work in, will be a better and safer place than it is today.

Good luck and best wishes from MB to baby Sofia.

IMG_9245IMG_9246IMG_9243IMG_9244IMG_9221IMG_9239

A Lebanese Wedding – Faces & Fashion


Last post on the Lebanese Wedding!  Read More

A Lebanese Wedding – The Food


The Food. OMG. The Food.

Read More

A Lebanese Wedding – Music 1


The Lebanese like to dance!