The Church of St Lot and St Procopius

I have one final post from Jordan.  The Church of St Lot and St Procopius is located about 3 miles from Mt. Nebo in the municipality of Khirbet Mukhayyat.  The church was built in 557 and has almost intact mosaics of daily life.  It also has some fantastic figures, like seahorses.  It is near to the major tourist attractions of Mt. Nebo and St. George, … Continue reading The Church of St Lot and St Procopius

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

I am home in Sitka and will have the pleasure of looking out my window across Jamestown Bay and to the Gulf of Alaska or a little to the westward toward our volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe.  We have had two consecutive glorious sunrises.  The last two mornings the sunrise has reminded me exactly why I live here.  But for the past two weeks the view from … Continue reading King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

I have just finished my work in Jordan.  I have completed my interviews and typed up my notes.  I will put off writing my report until after Christmas.  So now I am sitting in a hotel waiting for a taxi pickup in less than 5 hours and my thoughts are turning to Christmas, seeing my children and grandchildren, and, of course “The Battery Exchange.”  I … Continue reading Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

European Football Tournaments.

Yesterday I posted about the World Cup.  Today I am posting excerpts of two letters on European tournaments.  I watched Euro 98 games Austria and Egypt.   During Euro 96 we lived in Tirana.  I’ll start with Euro 2008. A cartoon in one of the local Cairo papers shows two Egyptians looking at the European football tournament, Euro 2008, on TV.  One says to the other … Continue reading European Football Tournaments.

Marrakesh (Charming Cobras in the Square.)

Marrakesh is a trading center, a vast walled city at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.  For many coming on the caravan trails it was the grandest city they would ever see.  The main attraction of Marrakech, for me, is watching the walls and minaret of the main mosque glow pink in the light just before sunset.  We’ve walked to the gate closest to the … Continue reading Marrakesh (Charming Cobras in the Square.)

Take the Train from Casablanca going south. (The Marrakesh Express)

I’ve never heard a train song I didn’t want to ride.  I’ve ridden the Rock Island Line and the City of New Orleans.  Some songs I can never ride.  The Super Chief and Phoebe Snow are 30 years gone.  But you can still “take the train from Casablanca going south.”   We rode the Marrakesh Express.  The song is more about anticipation than the ride, but … Continue reading Take the Train from Casablanca going south. (The Marrakesh Express)

Rabat Morocco

From an October 2007 letter:  We’re in Rabat for a Pan-African Community Radio meeting.  In the evenings Suzi and I are free and wander Rabat.  Suzi says “we could live here.”  Rabat is a walkable city, relatively clean, French art deco, relaxed without the hassle (or excitement) of Casablanca.  A teenager grabs Suzi’s hand and starts doing henna artwork before she can protest.  I, of … Continue reading Rabat Morocco

Easter (or is it Spring Festival?) in Cairo.

This post is from Easter, 2007.  Suzi and I were working in Egypt. The Spring Festival, “Sham el Nessim,” “smell the breezes” always falls on Easter Monday (Based on the Eastern rite’s reckoning, which this year was the same as Western Easter.)  The festival dates back to Pharaonic times.  It’s a day for family picnics where people eat green onions, fish and hardboiled eggs that … Continue reading Easter (or is it Spring Festival?) in Cairo.

Ismaïlia and the Suez Canal

The Suez Canal may be the only place where blue water mariners find sandstorms a hazard to navigation.  There’s something otherworldly seeing a huge container ship gliding toward you through a golden brown silicone fog looking like it’s riding on sand.  The camel is not the true ship of this desert, SeaLand is.  The MV Hanjin Helsinki glides by, name written in Chinese characters and … Continue reading Ismaïlia and the Suez Canal

Merry Christmas !! Pictures from Bethlehem.

Christmas Day — a good day to post pictures of Bethlehem.  The focal point of any visit to Bethlehem is Manger Square.  It is a pedestrian zone bordered by the Church of the Nativity, the Mosque of Omar, the Palestinian Peace Center and a wonderful falafel shop which also serves freshly squeezed orange juice.  Star Street, Nativity Street and Manger Street converge on the square. … Continue reading Merry Christmas !! Pictures from Bethlehem.

Christmas Eve, Shepherds’ Fields outside Bethlehem.

It’s Christmas Eve.  In the news we have constant reminders that “Peace on Earth” is still a hope not a fact.  This is evident at Shepherds’ Field outside Bethlehem where you can easily see the security apparatus that meanders around the hilltop where shepherds first heard “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” (assuming the angels sang in Latin).  The Franciscans control this hilltop and when we were … Continue reading Christmas Eve, Shepherds’ Fields outside Bethlehem.

Jaffa, the other side of Tel Aviv

Henry Ford once said “History is Bunk.”  While I love reading history I understand what he was getting at.  Whose history you read can determine whose side you’re on.  Every side has its own history.  In the Balkans I have the experience to be able to interpret the different histories.  In the Middle East I’m still trying to figure it out.  Palestinians and Israelis read … Continue reading Jaffa, the other side of Tel Aviv

The Original Olive Garden, Gethsemane, with very Old Trees

Many Holy Land sites are frauds, built after the fact; like the room sold to tourists as the “Upper Room” of the Last Supper but built in 1099 CE.  But the Garden of Gethsemane is the real thing.  Christ may or may not have prayed there, but  the Garden of Gethsemane has very old olive trees.  When Suzi and I visited the garden we were told … Continue reading The Original Olive Garden, Gethsemane, with very Old Trees