New Beginnings


Morning lads

Welcome to the new media world of the blogosphere lads. Where word gurus hang out and waffle merrily about waffley topics. Promise you lads, will remain humble and modest, and continue to welcome contributions from wretches of whatever creed. This is my commitment to you lads and I am man of my word.

New to this higher tech world lads so still trying to get to grips with designing the layout and stuff. So stick with me for few weeks and we should have da blog looking all masterful and majestic. Inshallah. Might have to be little more careful with the content now that the HX is open to the entire world and searchable on Google. Not kidding lads. The HX & Google are now together. Like lovers. Living together in mutually beneficial harmony.

Hopefully the legal authorities in all the regional countries, where MB could possible get arrested, fully understand the meaning of the word ‘irony’. And have GSOH. Or MB could end up tied to pole in middle of some village square with shirt ripped off and sorely in need of some creams and oils of the healing variety, after 100 of the best across his back. Inshallah this misfortune will not befall me lads and I will remain in the full of my health.

The HX blog breaks all the rules of blogging lads. All the most successful blogs are single topic. And this attracts a dedicated following. So the experts say. But will not change the format lads. I like the cross-selection of weekly topics. And hopefully some topic grabs the interest of readers, even when many other topics do not. And that’s the way it’s staying.

Ok lads. Welcome again to da ‘new look’ HX blog. Remain steadfast. Crossers abu!

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Reaction to last week’s HX

Was only awesome lads.

Cla
Cla was on immediately. Almost before I pressed ‘send’, thanking me for providing da business opportunity in Nigeria and is actively pursuing at da mo. We wish him & his associates in Lagos & Abuja all the best. May their ship arrive in port very soon. Cla was also drooling about MBs pics from Nepal lads, and to stop Cla getting all sad and possible suffering bout of bed-wetting, I hereby give you all another of the savage pic albums:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4820629962458.192462.1497695183&type=1&l=b811019b88

Want to thank Cla for the following links re young lady from HX (almost) who is making name for herself in the hockey world (the non-Canadian variety). And needless to say lads she has Crosser connection. Brother GB is a Crosser member of long standing. Thanks Cla:

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local/limerick-girl-uses-her-camogie-skills-to-become-youtube-sensation-1-4440588

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-0TXMVPwaE&sns=em

RQ
RQ was concerned about the mossie that was bothering me last week lads. Suggesting garlic and tea tree oil as eco solutions. As promised lads, I gave the mossie every chance. Opened the door and offered him escape to the outside world. But sadly for him lads, was tad institutionalised, and just couldn’t bring himself to fly out that open door. Another attack on MB following night resulted in bite sores on back of MBs hand upon waking following morning. And that was it lads. Final straw. Short time later Mossie was located – and mashed. Khalas!

SW
Received a most intriguing email from Crosser SW from Connecticut USA lads. A female Crosser who is not personally known to MB but we have mutual past connection. Unknown to MB, SW has managed to hook herself an Irishman. And lo and behold lads, didn’t she only land herself a real prize fish in none other that Crosser PM, who has oft contributed to the HX, and is old pal of many years of MB. A warm fatherly feeling came over me upon hearing the news lads, as realised that we had our first instance on Crossers coming together in amorous manner. Potentially breeding and producing new generation of Crossers. Inshallah.

Anyway lads, back to the intriguing email. MB immediately zoomed in on the attention grabbing line at start of email – “I am in the death business“. Sat bolt upright in my seat lads, as did not really know where this email was going to take me. Turns out lads, upon digestion of the mail, that SW is editor of ‘Connecticut Cemetery News‘ monthly newsletter. Yes lads, something we never in our wildest dreams would have thought of back in Ireland – a cemetery newsletter. E gad! Had read of the newsletter, November edition that SW passed on, and saw that the cemeteries in USA are run by private companies as profitable business. People are just dieing to get into that business I guess lads! (sorry SW – you must be sick of sad jokes like that). And obviously lads that’s why all the cemeteries in USA look like the golf greens in Augusta, perfect lines, 0.3 on the stimpmeter! You certainly learn something new every days lads as the old saying goes. And this was certainly a new one on MB.

Anyway lads SW wanted permission to use MB’s piece of last week on the Hindu Cremations in Nepal in her December edition. An honour indeed lads. And of course lads, permission granted. Who knows what the future holds. Will forward you all the Dec issue when it hits the stands.

RK
RK was on pointing out that he had provided MB with Wikipedia link to last weeks featured Russian artist, but MB was just too stupid to recognise the link and never included the reference. So big apology to RK, and for those who may be interested herewith:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Aivazovsky

And RK gives us new pic this week. From some Russian painter from the republic of Tatarstan:

This picture is about Tamerlan (MB note – some warlord I gather) and his tradition to create hills from the dead skulls to intimidate enemies.

It’s dedicated to Conquers – of all times past, present and future.

MJ & ML
ML back safe & sound from Nepal. MJ presently in some Buddhist village (I think) with 2 more weeks to go.

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More From Nepal

A few tales worth telling you lads, that MB brings you from his recent trip:

Hindu Holy Men – Sadhus
Came across some Hindu Holy Men in the P temple grounds and they immediately catch the eye. With colourful dress, unclean appearance, matted unwashed hair and smiling faces its hard to miss them. They generally depend on donations from tourists and the general public to survive and do not possess worldly goods. They do not take female partners at any stage in their life. Was informed by seemingly knowledgeable guide that their penis’ are “mutilated” at young age, maybe at age 7 or 8. Just to ensure that the they are “of no use to a woman” in the future, in case they might think of straying from their vocation. That’s as the guide explained it to me lads. So I’m sure its true. Am attaching pic that I took of 3 of them sitting contentedly, as they watch the cremations across the holy river. Much like fans enjoying cricket match in the balmy afternoon sunshine.

Must admit lads am bit mystified by the empty coke bottle behind Sadhu Nr 1. Is he hiding it? Sort of goes against the ethos lads, wouldn’t y’all say.
The Sadhu in most of the public temples make themselves available for pics for the tourists and expect some financial donation. They need to eat lads so no harm there. But some Ali Baba types get in on the act by dressing up as Sadhu and try to cash in on the act. Let us call these lads the ‘Unmutilated Sadhus’. Gave 5 dollars to two Sadhu who approached me in that temple. Even thought I did not take any pic of them they made it clear they were not happy with the five, and asked me for ten. As did not speak Nepalese asked the guide to tell them to beat it real quick. Assume those characters were of the unmutilated type. And because of incidents like this, even some Nepalese consider the Sadhu a bit of a nuisance. Sad.

There is famous festival every February at the P Temple near Kathmandu airport when some 40,000 Sadhus from India & Nepal gather. Various rituals are performed throughout the day and night and am told its incredible spectacle. Many different sects of Sadhu have different practices that they offer as sacrifice to the Gods. Was told of one group who never sit down, and spend their entire lives in standing position. Including their sleeping hours. Seemingly they perform the difficult task of sleeping in the standing position by strapping themselves to something like a small tree and then rest their heads and arms over some out-hanging horizontal branch to sleep. Others have various strange diet, only eating same limited food throughout their entire lives. The pic of the 3 lads above is interesting alone. Mind boggling to think of 40,000 of them together.

Volunteering in Nepal
Now a big tourist industry in its own right lads. Many people travel to Nepal to do volunteer work with kids, or homeless, or handicapped or whatever. Many will mix their holiday with some volunteering time. There are many (mostly NGO) organisations available to assist. But you need to be careful. The groups who will benefit from your efforts normally provide internal transport within Nepal, food and accommodation while you are working. But some others are charging a fee to the volunteer or the volunteer must pay for some of the basic necessities. Some tourist companies operating in Nepal may donate some of their income to local charities, even some of the mountain trekking companies.

Durbar Square, World Heritage site at Bhaktapur

If any of you are interested you can check out some of the following:

Loads more listed on Lonely Planet if you want to look up.
The Living Godess  – Kumari Devi
They have a living Goddess in Nepal lads. Truly. A real live living Goddess. She is originally selected on basis of 32 very strict physical characteristics which include her eye colour, shape of her teeth, and sound of her voice. This selection takes place at aged 4 or 5 approx. If more than one girl is selected then all will go into darkened room and men with frightening masks will dance and scream in the same room. The girl who remains calmest is considered the winner and the reincarnation of the Hindu God Durga. She must come from a Nepalese ethnic group called Newari who are renowned gold and silversmiths. She lives in a building called the Kumari Bahal (next to the world heritage site of Durbar Square near Kathmandu) with her family, and will only go outside into the wider world for 5 or 6 ceremonies each year. It is not allowed to take photos of the Kumari but she appears daily (almost) at an ornate window facing the square, when I think pics may be possible. Got there too late unfortunately on the day I visited so never got a photo opp. In the future perhaps.

That’s the Kumari in the middle lads

On the occasion of her first period in puberty the girl will no longer be considered the Kumari and a new Goddess will be chosen. She will be given generous dowry and sent on her way. It is considered unlucky to marry an ex Kumari according to the literature. But MB is wondering lads, about sending letter to Sheikh Mo to suggest possible marriage for one of his sons or grandsons to an ex living Goddess. The mind truly boggles lads when you try to imagine the coming together of the royal seed with the egg of the Goddess. A truly super being or even new super species may develop. Will be interesting to see what answer I get back from Sheik Mos office lads. Keep you posted.

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Sheikh Mo

From the man himself lads. From SM Fb page earlier this week on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the founding of the UAE:

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
A very special occasion is approaching us after a few weeks. The 41st National Day of the UAE. As we get closer to this important day. I would like to share some thoughts and ideas under the banner of Spirit of the Union. First, I say to the youth of our beloved nation, the story of UAE is not limited to 41 years only, our history stretches back 1000s of years. Read about Umm Alnar civilization that goes back to more than 2000 BC, Jalfar in the 4th century & the remains in Jumeirah from the Umayyad era. Read about the stories of heroism of our people while facing the foreign invasions in the past few centuries. Knowing our history is a key part of the Spirit that ties us together. The great stories of our people will continue well into the future.

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Syria

The blood continues to flow. On all sides. Bashar has said he will live & die in Syria. Reminds us of very similar Gadaffi comment in Libya few weeks before he died. In Libya.

Was traveling with Syrian acquaintance during the week when he phone rang. Call from Homs in Syria. His brother just got shot in fighting. Lucky for brother bullet hit him in the arm. Entered and exited through muscle tissue. No danger to his life. But few inches in another direction and my pals reaction might have been much different. Such is life for Syrians at present.

Many Syrians living and working in Saudi Arabia, where I am presently based. In last few weeks all renewal of Saudi visas for Syrian nationals was cancelled. Many working here must get new visa every 3 months so must renew at that stage. Now no longer possible. Thinking is possible security risk I imagine, even though all Syrians I know would be very anti Syrian Government and very pro Saudi efforts to remove him. But ordinary people are often just pawns in bigger games. Number of my work colleagues now unable to return to Saudi for this reason, and may end up having their jobs terminated. And will then be unable to send home few dollars to help their families.

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Eye Do

Be careful where you poke that stick ladies. It could have far-reaching results:

Manama: A young Saudi woman was forced to marry her cousin after she caused him to lose one of his eyes when they were children.

Saudi news site Sabq said that the young man never had any cosmetic surgery after his cousin accidentally poked his eye with a broom. When he grew up and wanted to get married, he could not find a woman who would take him as a husband.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/woman-forced-to-marry-cousin-after-poking-his-eye-1.1097939

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Eid Slaughter in UAE – 15,584

That was the count of the Eid religious slaughter of the goats, sheep, camels and others lads. Was also very many killed at unofficial sites. Remember telling you all that I came across one such unofficial site last year down a small side street. One of the pics on the second link looks bit like what I experienced.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/15-584-animals-slaughtered-in-dubai-for-eid-1.1097736

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/community-reports/makeshift-slaughter-points-1.1098178

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HX Music

Hope you enjoyed the Sting song from last week lads. This weeks recommendation comes from the Chieftains, who were backing Sting last week. Great bit of fun!

Chieftains & Friends
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQaJq-COBhc&feature=related

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Dubai Cars

Have previously mentioned that Dubai is car crazy zone. The high & mighty love their top of the range models, and showing them off on the tourists strips at the weekend. There is vast amount of speed cameras which control the acceleration. But not this guy on Dubai’s main drag – the Sheikh Zayed Road:

271Km/Hr
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/drivers-clock-271km-h-on-shaikh-zayed-road-1.1097266?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26259073

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DH

Thanks to DH for her efforts each week and for giving MB kick to set up real Blog. This week she is Trick or Treating:

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/trick-or-treat/

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Slan Lads

Ok lads. That’s it for another week. If your in Middle East enjoy today/tomorrow off, and if elsewhere enjoy the coming weekend. TC.


MB

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