February 18, 2009

Come Rain or Shine (Janne: The Remake)

Rainy Picnic in Janne, Lebanon

Picnic in the rain in Janne (34°04’45.47” N & 35°50’00.30”E , 2463 ft)
(If you wait long enough (takes some time to load) it will actually start raining in this picture. I kid you not!)

We’re a picnicking family. We love going out into the country and have outdoor picnics. Or maybe it’s because we are quite susceptible to cabin fever, I don’t know. But come rain or shine, we go picnicking. And I’ve got a SIL (sister in-law) who’s even worse than I am.
And so, last Sunday, while it was raining, she suggested we go picnic. The coast was too windy, we decided, as plastic bags flew over the coastal highway at 60km/ph. The mountain tops were too cold, since we could see our own breath in vaporized clouds and the Bekaa Valley too far (we aren’t exactly early risers, so we’re talking 1 o’clock by the time we’re on the road with the entire menagerie) . But once you’ve got all those Muppets all stacked into the car, there is no going back. We figured a deep narrow valley somewhere would somehow protect us from advanced stages of hypothermia.

A moment without rain

We knew just the one; Janne, the one that’s not on the map. The river was even higher than last time I was there (about a month ago?), and although it wasn’t windy, it did rain a little. Luckily the local christians had built a little chapel of some sorts, for the holy somebody (couldn’t figure out who it was supposed to be), of whom they had a lifelike statue, right in between two massive oak trees. And the holy whoever needs an awning, under which we conducted our picnic.

Rainy Picnic in janne 1

The holy I don't-know-who

Because it was raining, of course.
The little chapel was not in service, but the bell tower was present, and the kids had a ball pulling the rope. And so this picnic turned out to be quite cozy.

Janne is quite popular in summer, it seems. But in winter time, the place is absolutely deserted. The kind of place where you can teach your son how to drive the car. In the 3 hours that we spent there, exactly one car passed by. They were two local farmers, looking at their land.

Next to us a waterfall came crashing down the mountain, joining the Ibrahim River (Nahr el-Ibrahim), Like a couple of rednecks, it started with throwing rocks in the water. Then they (the menagerie) proceeded with building dams and otherwise trying to block the water flow. Next they tried to get to the other side, and before you know it, they’re in the water and the mud - shoes and all – up to their knees. The river, Abraham river in English, used to be called the Adonis river, after the legend.

In mythological terms, Nahr-Ibrahim is known as the river of the god Adonis, (the god of fertility). Adonis was said to be gravely injured as a result of his falling prey to a wild hog and when his beloved, the goddess Astrat (Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite), ran to save his life, his blood mixed with the waters of the river and brought about his fatal death.Broken-Hearted, Astrate fell down to her knees by the riverside where she died imprinting, thus, her love story with Adonis forever on the sand. As such "Nahr-Ibrahim" gained a third appellation, the River of Immortal Love. (Source)

Some say that Beirut is named after Beroe, the daughter of Adonis & Aphrodite. Well, there’s a whole lot more on the legend surrounding this river, but I’m not into mythology.

I hope you appreciate the ‘rain’ pictures. Sure took me a long time – and a tutorial of 27 pages – to get them working.


Anonymous said...

We believe the figure is of the Holy Saint Tarzanus of Mattellus. After having escaped the fabled headhunters of Borneo he travelled the Mid-eastern parts, where he is known to have grown a beard, to blend in with the Muslim populace, so as to secretly spread the teachings of Christ. It is a very popular saint amongst young people in the Western parts of the world who revere him deeply. Even today his effigy is produced and spread by the millions and can be found in many a children's den.

Anonymous said...

Yes you are right, here is an example of the loafers he had to put up with in the indies.

Anonymous said...

well this is after his return to France. A renegate Pope resided in Avignon at the time, and decided he had earned his wings. http://www.adama-art.com/img/s/sC-T-175.jpg

Ecce Libanus said...

umm, I believe the "holy I don't know who" is the hunter-god Adonis, just mere seconds before he got gored by the wild boar.
btw, Beirut is just a Latinization of the original Canaanite-Aramaic name "Be'erot" (the medial glottal stop in Lebanese is often turned into a diphthongue, hence Beyrout etc...) It's the plural form of Be'er, which means "water well".
drink up!

Anonymous said...

This is not a saint. I suspect this to be an overgrown action model of Attila the Hun by Retrotoys. If you can find the original box it came in it will fetch a nice price on ebay. I wonder how it got there. It must weight a ton.
Here`s one from the same series.