For the ladies
Inshallah you are all in good spirits, life is giving you bounties and the sun is shining. The HX Report goes from strength to strength as you all know lads but MB is trying to build up the numbers. So if you have any pals who might be interested please send on the details. Or ’email groups’ who might be interested.
Further to a query to MB lads, the header photo that I use for the blog is one I shot one night in Dubai Marina. Great lights and great place for night shoots, if the fancy takes you.
We had rain in Riyadh last night lads. Serious rain. Severe flooding in many places. Like most of the Middle East its impossible to keep rainwater gullies in working order as the blowing sand keeps filling them up. So they are always blocked. And never in working order. Serving a more architectural than engineering purpose. There for show. The rains poured down in bucketfuls and had nowhere to go. Road crews were out today cutting channels with electric road saws trying to insert new pipes under the roads to alleviate the problem. They kept the trenches reasonably narrow so we were able to drive over them, sort of. Its still raining but tomorrow is start of our weekend so we can all chill out and avoid the stressful raging waters.
Riyadh street scene earlier today
Ok lads. Much to tell you. Let’s crack on!
Where To Live?
Ok lads. Am sure you have asked yourself many times in your life where would be the perfect place to live? Nice climate perhaps, crime free, peaceful, scenery, ocean, picturesque, and much more.Well lads, think no more. It has already been decided. If you like small town life (towns less than 20,000) then Port Fairy in Victoria, Australia is the place to be. Voted Nr 1 in the world, ahead of 2 small towns in Ireland. And I can imagine your first question lads – do we have any Crossers living in Port Fairy MB? What a truly stupid question lads. Of course we do. A daddy Crosser, a mommy Crosser & a baby Crosser – living & breeding merrily amongst the good burghers of PF. This was most assuredly the main reason the town won the award for God sake. Do not ask such imbecilic questions ever again lads. And next question from many no doubt will be – were you ever in PF yourself MB? Of course I was lads. Bought chocolate in Ye Olde Sweet Shope, drank beer in the pub, had some nice tucker in the village restaurant, played golf (sublimely) on the gorgeous links golf course just outside the town on the Southern Ocean, and generally lived the life of a PF-er for a few weeks some time back. Naturally enough the MB flavour rubbed off on the locals and they now find themselves Numero Uno in the world. Need I say more lads.
THE people of Port Fairy have always known it, but now it’s official — the seaside town is the world’s best small town to call home. Port Fairy is celebrating today after scooping the prestigious international LivCom award for the most liveable town with a population under 20,000.The United Nations-endorsed award was placed firmly in the hands of Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas, chief executive David Madden and community representative Margaret Watt at a special ceremony in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday. http://www.standard.net.au/story/1149695/port-fairy-the-best-little-town-in-the-world/?cs=72
Whale watching, near Port Fairy
Shot by MB along the Great Ocean Road, one hour drive from PF. The GOR takes maybe 4 to 5 hours to drive and has spectacular scenery, akin to the Doolin & Cliffs Of Moher in Ireland.
The Irish Government has organised a tourism venture for 2013 to attract emigrants and descendants of emigrants to return to Ireland for one week in June (I think) to help create links with the greater Irish diaspora. Which in turn might benefit Ireland in the longer term.
I told you all way back that I returned to Ireland in June for the local festival and that the local community had organised an early version of the Gathering through a web site called irelandxo.com. Same idea and the Gathering has become part & parcel of irelandxo.
On one event in June, a walk around the HX/lake area I happened across a Texan, who had come to the area in search of his roots and the final piece of a jigsaw he had searched for over a 15 year period. I had the pleasure of introducing Timothy Cleary to his long lost Irish cousins – Pat & Danno Murnane from the HX general area.
After Timothy returned to Texas he sent me an email that detailed his search over the years and I give you now link to same, plus a small extract from his story. Thanks v much Tim, and hope to see you in HX next Summer and hopefully we shall have a beer or 3 together. Inshallah.
The connection I have is that my grandfather’s grandfather (John Cleary) was the brother of Bridget Cleary, who was the mother of Pat and Dan Murnane’s grandfather. The property she brought into the Murnane family is owned by Dan Murnane, which we past on our walk. It took me about 15 years to find Pat and Dan Murnane, but well worth the wait. My story is this.
Messi the Messiah
Don’t know if you noticed the recent friendly fixture between Argentina and Saudi Arabia lads. Created much hoop la out these parts as most footy fans out here supporters of either Barca or Madrid, and Messi is a Messiah to all. We (us Saudis) drew 0-0 with the much hyped Argies lads, Messi or no Messi. Just shows the power of camel milk, don’t you think lads?
A truck load of camels heading to the farm or the meat factory
Upon arrival at Riyadh airport the Messiah was mobbed by fans. The Kalashnikov toting soldiers jumped in to save him shouting loudly at the crowd ” stand back there lads and let Lionel through, or he think we are complete bunch of donkeys – or camels”
. Anyway lads, as they bussled him through the marauding hoards, the Kalashnikovs were swinging in all directions with the safety catches turned off no doubt. The following article has great pic of one such moment as the weapon swings under the nose of LM and he has worried look on his face. Or maybe it was all a cunning plan from the Saudi footy manager. His match performance on the night was pretty tame I must say lads, but maybe understandable. See what you think:
Lionel Messi is one of the most famous soccer players in the world, and he has a fan base as large as the one Michael Jackson had all around the world, and we’ve seen him visiting many countries before, and we’ve seen the crazy fans, but what happened in Saudi Arabia was something totally different.
Most Western women would consider the lives of their Saudi counterparts very restrictive I am sure lads. They are not allowed to drive a car, and can not really do much without the permission of a male relative. Even going out alone is a no-no generally, unless a close male relative is attached (husband, brother or father) or they get arrested by the Mutawah (Religious police). The latest news to hit the headlines is the sms notification that the male relative now receives when the missus leaves the Kingdom. As soon as her Passport is scanned an automatic text message is sent to the husband to let him know what’s happening.
It’s necessary I think lads. For example – Lets say Khalid drops the missus to the airport in Riyadh because she says she wants to visit her family in Jeddah. But she has in her mind all the time taking a shopping trip to Dubai with the credit card. In the past lads the subsequent cc bill could have crippled the family. Now lads thanks to the great new law, Khalid gets the automatic text message and he immediately calls the emergency contact number on his Visa card and cancels the card. Family saved all is well. Al hamdallah. And Fathima will receive gentle reprimand upon her return, and receive appropriate addiction counseling for her ailment. She will recover, apologise for her wayward ways and all will be well in the Kingdom.
So ladies, you who might have gone all red in the face and apoplectic upon reading that news last week (I saw it featured prominently in the kaffir Western news media) must rethink your attitudes and understand that your ways are sometimes not the best. And the rulers of your countries could learn a lesson or two (or even three!) from the benevolent rulers of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. Allah u akbar!
RIYADH: Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
A brave Arab girl – Dana Bakdounis
Most girls in Saudi wear the burka from approx age 11 lads as I have previously informed you. Local Saudi girls will wear full face veil with only the eyes visible. Some non Saudi Arab girls may wear head scarf instead of the veil. So when a girl is brought up in such an environment, where her marriage will be arranged by family, and in many many ways she is expected to conform, it takes much guts to rebel against the status quo.
Dana B has caused a stir by rebelling against the burka & veil. No doubt her family will have in mind that her behaviour will impact on her chances of finding a suitable husband, amongst other considerations. She on the other hand is a young lady, like most kids out here, who has exposure to the internet and modern media from young age, and will have a different outlook on life and what she wants and doesn’t want. Part of a change that’s coming. Will take many many years to change the old ways but will be the result in the end. But at present such people are rare. And brave.
Among the dozens of Facebook groups spawned by the Syrian uprising, a page supporting women’s rights has suddenly received a wave of attention, because of an image posted there by one of its followers. The picture was of 21-year-old Dana Bakdounis, without the veil she had grown up wearing – and it polarised opinion.
A day out at the beach in many parts of the Middle East may look strange to those not familiar with the locality or the culture. But it’s what you are used to I guess.
Had very interesting conversation with Syrian work colleague few days ago about the troubles at home and the Iranian involvement. He recently went to visit his daughter in Lebanon and took the opportunity to take 2 day trip to Damascus to check on his house which has been locked up for many months. The house is very close to the Presidential Palace and he had to pass through the Palace security on his trip to the house. Upon being stopped at the checkpoint he realised that most of the guards did not speak Arabic. Only Farsi – Iranian Revolutionary Guards he assured me. And the guards that spoke to him in Arabic did so in a South Lebanon slang and accent, as he described it – Hezbollah fighters. The Hezbollah and Iranians conversed with each other in very poor English but the Hezbollah guys were taking their orders from the Iranians. They asked the Iranians, for example, if it was ok for this guy to visit his locked up house inside the security area. The Iranians gave their permission and he passed through. So goes to show who is calling the shots. And the existence that Bashar is having when he can not trust any Syrians to guard him. It can not be long more before he flees or catches some lethal misfortune. Inshallah.
Hezbollah demonstrators in Beiruit in Feb 2012 support and show pics of Syrian President Bashar Assad
– shot by MB on trip to the city
Our Saudi Ruler King Abdullah has appeared in public for first time in many months lads following some medical treatment abroad. He is much admired in the Kingdom and is considered by many to be a Ruler who is trying his best to change the country for the better, within the restrictions in which he must operate:
Read about the latest buzz created this week by Sheikh Mo lads. A development that will cost more than the entire value of Ireland. Not that we want to buy Ireland lads. We have absolutely no use for a rain drenched oil-less piece of bogland real estate in the back arse of poverty strapped Western Europe. You can keep it. Not if you gave us all the tea in China lads would we take it. Even as a gift. But Dubai – well that’s an entirely different matter. I wont bore you about links 2 & 3 below lads but link Nr 1 is a whopper. We will build the largest Mall in the world called The Mall Of The World – just down the road from the Emirates Mall, presently the biggest Mall in the world. We really are having a laugh at your expense lads. Keep filling your cars with our petrol lads and not that shale oil muck from Canada & the US. Please. We gotta fund all this somehow lads:
Dubai has many mega projects already including the worlds tallest building the Burj Khalifa (center of pic) and the Dubai Mall (next to the Burj)
Had no music for last few weeks lads so selected something for y’all. One most Irish Crossers will remember from their school days. In the Irish Gaelic language. Beidh Aonach Amarach (There’s a market tomorrow) (Souk Bukra – Arabic lads – impressed or what!)
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
DH is giving you all flavour of kids birthday parties out these parts lads. Aint nothing like the ones at home!
Have a nice weekend lads
Take it easy it out there. Until next week.
Sand storm. Visibility can get down to near zero.