October 12, 2013

A Phote Essay of Lebanon (some of it)

A photo-essay (or photographic essay) is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. A photo essay will often show pictures in deep emotional stages. (source )
 A photo essay is very simply a collection of images that are placed in a specific order to tell the progression of events, emotions, and concepts. The photo essay takes the same story telling techniques as a normal essay, translated into visual images. (See more)
I know of few places that are as versatile as Lebanon on the restricted place it occupies. So many things to see in one day in this place, and all within driving distance from home. So let me show you. All in one day.

First we bought a crate of wood for the fire place. They say it is going to be one cold winter. That usually translates into one of the mildest winters ever, but still, I like the smell of a wood fire. The man wanted $300 for the crate. I am not sure if that is the going rate, but what do we know about firewood? And it 'll last two winters.
Then we drove past these artistically arranged potatoes. Prices are lower in the country side than in Beirut, so we ended up buying two bags as well.
We drove behind this lady for a while, piled upon bags of produce and farming equipment. We pondered upon who’d be sitting in the cab of the pick-up. We bet it would be all men, while they make the woman sit in the back of the truck, but we were wrong. A man was driving, but a very elderly couple filled the rest of the cab, so it was the youngest that got the lousiest seat. That’s fair enough.
The dog got all stream-lined. What is it with dogs and their noses in the wind? (Here’s why )
This produce stall has been here for as long as I have been driving this road. Lebanon is perceived as a poor country compared to Dutch standards, but if you see the variety of fruit and vegetables offered at simple road side stalls, and compare that with your average Albert Heijn (A Dutch supermarket chain), this place is very rich.
Not quite sure what the story is with all the pumpkins though. We’re not really into dishes that involve pumpkin, and Halloween is not a tradition here. I will keep this place in mind though, for when Halloween comes, October 31st.
Then we hiked through a real forest. Real, as in, you do not see the edge of the trees as you walk through it. I need to walk in 'real' forests now and then to get my fix. We had to leash the dog, because the place is teeming with wild pigs at the moment. “He’ll start the chase, and they will finish it,” said the forester. Imagine coming home without the dog? What would my daughter do to us? Better keep him close.
Some of these trees are some 3,000 years old. That’s just mind-boggling if you think about it. We had barely invented the wheel by then.
We used to transport things by donkeys. This is one of my retirement projects (I’ve got quite a few, if I want to fulfill them all, I’ll have to make it to a 102); hiking by donkey to Santiago de Compostella with friends.  
And if you get tired along the way, have a seat.. I’ve got quite a few in my collection.
These poplar tress reminded me of back home. They were lining the lanes that I biked to school. They rustled in the wind, and became silver as the wind turned their leaves.
 The reality; Syrian refugees all over the place, in small camps of makeshift tents. All the UN can provide for the moment is portable toilets. Their presence is going to be a problem if it is going to last. A solution, however, is not even being discussed right now.
Suddenly you find yourself driving through a parasol pine forest as the sun sets in the Mediterranean. Lots of different tress I saw today. Olive trees, cedar trees, poplars and pine trees (and chopped up trees to go into the fire place, but those were imported)
And then when you get back home, you notice that for some it was laundry day (Although it seems that for this lady it is laundry day every day)
And all this in one single day. A ride of maybe some 175 kilometers. And there was plenty more to show you, but I don’t want to overdose you. This place is so awesome, it would hurt my heart if I’d ever have to leave. I do not envy the Lebanese that have had to move abroad to make a future for themselves. I understand you have to do it, that you feel you need to in order to maintain a standard of living, or to secure an education, but I am telling you, what you have here, you have nowhere else. And this comes from a Dutchie.



Gray Fox said...

A beautiful piece! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Siets!!! This is what we call in Dutch: sticking a heart under the belt!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

beautiful pictures!

I know you don't like to share your secret places, but since you don't like pumpkins anyways, do you mind telling where you found them?? :)

Anonymous said...

I too want to know where to find those pumpkins!!!

Sietske said...

Thank you Gray Fox, Anonymous and Mich Café!
For the pumpkin lovers; it is not in Beirut, but in the Beqaa Valley between Aamiq and Kefraya, right side of the road(https://maps.google.com/?ll=33.684854,35.760927&spn=0.002745,0.005284&t=h&z=18)

Anonymous said...

once upon a time Lebanon was a nice place, but no more.
It could be a super place, the people need to change and put their country first and love one another and get rid of all the warlords .
Very few Lebanese can have the life you are having, that is nothing against you we are happy for you and thank for this nice blog. If more Lebanese were like you Lebanon would be a much better place and a lot of us will come back to live in Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture of the Cedars. I was at The Cedars many years ago and still wear a necklace I bought there. Quite a trip up the mountain though!!

Anonymous said...

My Mother makes vegetarian pumpkin Kibbe and its been in our family receipt for a few generations. It is delicious !
Lebanon truly has natural beauty that make it rich like no other country.... as wise-man once said, God gave the Lebanese a beautiful Paradise, but they are constantly looking for ways to destroy it rather than preserve it.

961Tango said...

Sietske, you're the best. Thanks for your Blog.

visnja said...

great pics! thank you!

Anonymous said...

That last paragraph... It went straight to my heart :( Leaving Lebanon is too sad, especially when it's a necessity...

Anonymous said...

You must have never heard of the pumpkin kebbe..