A long long time ago… I was in Peru. Recently, I remembered this image. I shot it for the graphics and color. We were visiting a llama farm. Native women were costumed and weaving. I shot the color and not the technique or style, or loom. Sorry. It was not important to me then. I suppose more detail and the hands would have been a nice touch too. But one image must suffice. It illustrates all. A single image is always an incomplete story. I can recall the trip and the place we were in. The image is an anchor. I remember much of the day. David had llama for lunch later. I would tell you it tasted like chicken, but no, it was more lean and stringy like beef. And in the big picture, we were in Peru because we had attended a wedding in Lima. This leg of the trip was to Cusco and on to Machu Picchu. I took a lot of pictures throughout the trip. This was my weaving photo. One image, a lot of memories….
Shisha – it’s what they smoke. I know it as a water pipe. Hookah, another name. It connotes smoking through water. I read that the dose of toxic nicotine is equivalent to hundreds of cigarettes in a single session of smoking shisha. Don’t do it! It’s bad for you.
It started when I passed a store that sells water pipes. It was the tip of the iceberg. Around Jeddah there are stores which will sell you custom made thobes. The stores are congregated in a few places. There might be a dozen or more shops side by side competing for business. There is another location for honey and another for olive oil, dates, and so forth. It’s silly economics. All the prices must be comparable.
The water pipe stores are on a narrow street. And then, much to my surprise, an artisan was right there. He was working away in an open shop with horrible fluorescent lighting. I paused, he looked up, and I did something I never do; I asked if he minded if I took his picture. And he was okay with it. And I got a couple. I did not try to overstay my welcome. Yay! It’s street photography and ordinarily I just shoot and look like I’m doing something else. But we were eye to eye. There was no hiding intent. And he was gracious and I said thanks. We had our moment and I moved on. I’d buy one. They sell his product next door. But, I don’t smoke. So, no…
Well, what’s a Lebanese wedding? Christian. And a lot of fun. Traditional. Wedding gown, formal wear. Small church – chapel, really – and so it was crowded. A lot of the folks just stood outside. Video and cameras, and lots of very very bright video lights – in your face and all of that. That was jarring. If you notice they turned off all the lights for the post ceremony pics. Nope! The power consumption was so high that the power went out and could not be restored. I was truly impressed by the media array. Talk about in your face… the priest did not seem to care. So the images were terrible? They only needed to turn 180 degrees and have the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean sunset. But I guess if you have a gorgeous sunset every day, it’s not so special. I was gonna say something, honest I was, but then there were so many professional photographers pretending to be amateurs…..
There’s always a signature shot. I got mine. We were late to the ceremony. I was with Farid and on his calculated schedule. He wanted to be late. So we were in the back and I was with my trusty point and shoot. I wasn’t there to upstage the real photographers. Off to the side of the stage under the speaker system over by the muscians – two kids – just passing the time….bored, dutiful – priceless.
Obviously not my picture: Melania Trump. It’s readily available online now. I sincerely sympathize with their 10 year old son who must this moment be attending an exclusive private school. “Hey, we saw you mom online!”
I think I have seen enough. Nothing to hide? Fake too? I am definitely way not PC here. There are those among you who have an opinion about Donald Trump, presidential nominee of the USA. And there is Hillary…. For me, he is a buffoon and I deny any association and am ashamed that this clown is actually running for the highest office of my country. And see the Youtube of Obama at the National Press Club in 2011. Am I biased? I have largely been pretty laid back but push comes to shove. I think that no one can remain on the sideline any longer.
“The 15% figure for full literacy, equivalent to a university undergraduate level, is consistent with the notion that the “average” American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level which is also consistent with recommendations, guidelines, and norms of readability for medication directions, product information, and popular …”
I was reading at 12th grade level in grammar school. I did not care nor notice. It was simply a fact based on a test. And I was too young to comprehend its meaning. It means I take tests well. Are there so many people who just don’t get it? Even with a lower reading level, there is comprehension on some level, right?
Nonetheless, I believe social propriety has been damaged by the full nude post of a nominee’s wife in a prominent NY newpaper. Violence and outrageous behavior has become the fabric of the news. It’s time for civility. American politics is on display as dysfunctional and unacceptable. No one should be permitted the socially outrageous behavior that Donald Trump has exhibited. I do believe that common sense will prevail. I believe in good. And I am saddened by the state of the world. Massacres occur regularly now in multiple venues and multiple countries. Enough! And though I may draw criticism for this post I believe that reason must be expressed. I grew up civil. I still believe in good. Stand up! If you stand by they will come for you someday too. Donald Trump has pressed enough buttons. I do not see any merit in letting him get near a nuclear one.
My son was in Portland on the day Trump appeared recently. This is his photo. He’s riding from Brooklyn to Nova Scotia by bicycle. I know this exact spot having been to Portland myself many times. It’s a hell of a bike ride and I’m proud of him. He thought enough to send this to me.
9% of all potential voters selected Trump and Clinton. All of the rest were on the sidelines. Many – children – and others will not vote. For all of the rest, it is not an option to let someone make your choice. Let us talk once again – of hope, not fear. Vote – hope, civility, peace. Haven’t we seen enough?
(I never tweak a post after it’s written. But, for my republican friends, shhh, there are a few: Please don’t vote for a man with a bad ‘doo so he can make doo doo on us.)
The highlight of the Beirut visit was going to Mandaloun. It’s a night club. It’s not just any night club. Apparently it is the place to go and be. For several days everyone was in anticipation of the visit. Reservations, and a little cash got us right up front. We were pretty much on top of the performers. Farid was drinking. So i did what the natives do… as in Rome… I had Bailey’s. I don’t drink. I get a headache and sleepy. I matched him drink for drink. Actually, I just sipped and let the ice melt. Dammit, he was drinking fruit juice. He never told me. But, he gets tipsy too! That’s him next to his cousin. Looks sober, right?
And the very large bank of speakers was there in my ear. Ear trauma! When we left I was deaf. I knew I could hear. But it was as though I was under several mattresses. It was about an hour before, much to my relief, my hearing recovered. My kids say that I don’t hear well already. They’d have a real laugh over this. Did I say it was loud? Am I repeating myself? Look at me when I shout at you. The gal is Farid’s cousin. Nice kid. She actually texted me and showed me her phone to communicate. Yes we were standing next to each other and not in voice communication. She’s been there before. She knew exactly how to make her point. Eh?
It’s too dangerous to go there now? The road to the airport was blown up shortly after Farid (orthopedics) traveled on it. And the window in Rida’s (ophthalmology) place were blown out by a bomb nearby. Farid goes there all the time. His family spends their summers there.
Back in 2013 my good friend Farid invited me to Lebanon. There was a wedding. I had not been invited to the wedding. It seems that invitation was optional. One of our Jeddah OR nurses was getting married. It seems there was a sort of open invitation. Farid was just there on scheduled vacation. He invited me to go. Okay? Why not? The wedding is a couple posts later. Meanwhile I stayed in a couple places.
The downtown apartment house of his mother’s had seen war. Yup. Bullet holes. Those are in the wall next to the bathroom. I showered there. It’s not every day you have bullet holes with your shower. We ate at a local fish place. I’m not a big fish eater. But the dessert was fruit – strawberries, grapes, watermelon….and Arabic coffee. The server saw me with my camera. He posed and we got a picture. Thanks. That was a happy ending…
Eating is sport. Do not underestimate the folks in Jeddah. There are those who know how and where to eat. Churrascaria is Brazilian style. Bring an appetite and expect to eat a lot of meat. It starts with an extensive salad bar. Fill up, but save room. And then there is a disc – red or green side. Red light green light. Go. They bring cuts of meat right from the grill.
The server slices it off and straight onto your plate. Eat till you are full then red light. They grilled pineapple covered in cinnamon sugar for dessert.
This night Faisal was the host. Great guy, wonderful sense of humor, He’s part of the morning exercise group. This night – eat! Keep the grill coming. For some reason it’s like a rite – men, meat, caves. There is a family section. But this is more a gathering of men and appetite – guys night out.
I was fortunate to be a favorite with the nurses. I’m nice to them. They are nice back. It makes life so much easier. I learned to be nice and polite as an intern. Nurses, otherwise, could make life hell. When I rotated onto my pediatric neurosurgery rotation the night nurses were nice enough to have a going away party for me. They didn’t wake me for the party. They wanted to let me sleep. Imagine that!
In Jeddah the nurses invited me on a field trip. A few husbands… and me – they insisted I ride in the front of the bus. So far this is my only field trip though they threaten to organize another. For sure they have a sense of humor. And they like to live large.
One nurse was ecstatic to ride a camel. “It was something I promised myself before the age of thirty.” My kids rode a camel in the Bronx Zoo when they were small. So far I’m waiting for my first ride…not.
At the end of the dive – that long night dive – we were hovering at our safety stop. Three minutes. It’s like praying. You just hover and ponder life. It’s a safety stop! It’s not supposed to be entertaining. But this is the reason I ran out of air. Down in the coral – deep down – was a crab. Look. Two eyes over the left shoulder?
Ok. I see him. Her? But to get a picture is impossible! How so? It’s deep. The light won’t reach and there will be shadows. The crab is shy! And he doesn’t like the light. And auto focus is stupid. It will focus on the nearest thing. That would be the coral and not the crab.
I don’t control the camera. It does me the favor of imaging what I point at. And damn! Yes! Got several images. Not great. But I got the eye. The eye is the key to the soul. Ok, too much. But the eye makes the image interesting. Got enough so that you know it’s a crab. And I could even identify him in my book. I think?
And when I reviewed the images, there was an added bonus. A shrimp. And something else. Obviously they were all hiding there. Maybe they were playing, who’s for dinner?