November 07, 2010

Not the Beirut Marathon

Taanayel Farm, part of the The Monastery of the Jesuit Fathers

Sorry. This is not a post about the Beirut Marathon. While Beirut was running its 8th marathon, I went with fellow Dutchie Marijke back to (The Monastery of the Jesuit Fathers of) Taanayel. We both like to bike, something we can’t really do in Beirut. You can, but it would be quite an obstacle course. 
Our new mode of transportation

We biked all over the farm this time, hung out with the cows and tried out the various tractors.
What is it they say sometimes; You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl? Both of us were raised in the city, but somehow being Dutch creates an automatic connection with cows. This was quite clear; while we inhaled the odors in the stable with vigor, remarking how well it all smelled, her daughter –a half-Dutchie – was walking around with a face that spoke volumes.  
The main building has a very un-Lebanese character, it's more like the architecture of a French mas.

They have about a 120 Dutch milk cows (we connected J), whom they milk twice a day (This bit of information is for those who know absolutely nothing about cows. Don’t worry, I only learned that cows start giving milk once they’ve had their first calves just some years ago. I used to think they were automatically born with the ability to give milk. A good cow can give up to 40 liters a day. A not so good cow can squeeze out a mere 25 liters.

The main stable
I know they used to have pigs as well, but we couldn’t find those. Pigs smell significantly different from cows. Whereas cows smell good, pigs stink. Her daughter disagreed with us. She thought everything stank. And we were all lyrical about the smell.

“Eeeew, what’s that under my shoe?!”
We found a small cemetery where the Jesuits apparently have been burying their own. It is a small, walled compound, in the woods, quite idyllic. One of the earliest is from the end of the 17th century, when they just got the farm. In the early days, Taanayel was swamp land, and quite a few of them seem to have died of malaria. The Dutch Father Kluiters, also lies buried here.
The Jesuit cemetery in Taanayel

A reader of this blog commented last week that ‘you take such nice pictures; you should take a photography course’. This would imply, however, that I need one, and thus my pictures lack all sort of things. I suspect one of my friends for making that comment, or probably a family member. Anyway, I have taken it to heart, and started with a course just this weekend.
The teacher is an enthusiast; he went through the entire history of photography, all the possible buttons on a camera, what they do and how they can be manipulated in a mere 3 hours. One more lesson in this pace, and by next week I can take a digital camera apart and put it back again. In two weeks time? Ansel Adams at your doorsteps.
Homework assignment #1? Find the catalogue of your camera and read it.  I thought that was a good one. Assignment #2? Make pictures with different aperture. Well, I would be able to do that, if only I could find the catalogue of that camera, because I don’t know how to change the aperture (yet). I’ll get there. What’s wrong with automatic anyway? 
T, M and S.

Why two pictures that are the same? Not quite; Spot the difference
(it’s standing on a log of wood).

And in case you wonder why I didn’t walk the marathon? I forgot to sign up in time. I made myself a promise that next year I WILL sign up. And then you get pictures from the Beirut marathon. I thought other bloggers would probably cover the marathon, but I haven’t seen any posts yet.


Anonymous said...

Nope, I'm not family or a friend... just a long time (stalker) reader of your blog.

Your friendly neighborhood creeper :)

Anonymous said...

not knowing where to set the aperture, it's remarkable you found the self timer.

inka said...

Hi, nice to meet you. I'm in Beirut too and will be for three months. Although I didn't run the marathon, I took pictures for my blog as the local expert/Beirut for nileguide. Here is the link, in case you are interested.
Visited Taanayel in May.

Nour K said...

and here's my take on it:-)

Anonymous said...

My post!

Looks like you had a fun day anyway!