Gifts are good!

Morning Crossers

Inshallah all well in your neck of the woods. The Christmas holiday is almost upon us and no doubt many Crossers are considering a suitable festive gift for MB. But relax Crossers, MB has received far too many gifts this year and has no more space in his accommodation to accept more. So instead Crossers, MB implores you to make suitable donation to charity of your choice. Really Crossers, MB has enough.

So MB wandered into the office on Sunday after the weekend break. Sunday being the first day of the working week out these parts. Egyptian lad AB had just returned from a short trip home and informed MB that he had brought a gift from his homeland for his Irish ‘brother’ MB. Two presents actually. Both from his father’s farm. AB went to his bag and proceeded to take out what looked like 2 large juicy oranges which he duly presented to the grateful MB. “This one is an orange MB, and this one is a Yusuf Effendi” said AB. “Well I never” said MB. or something similar. “And what, pray tell, is a Yusuf Effendi?” replied MB, questioning the second piece of fruit which looked like an orange, smelt like an orange, was orange in colour, and was the same size as a typical orange – leading MB to assume when he first saw it in AB’s hand that it was indeed – an orange. “It’s a Yusuf Effendi” said AB, “why you ask such stupid question MB, is it not as obvious as the nose on your face?”. At this point Crossers, a photo might be appropriate to explain MB’s stupidity:


The fruit on the left is your typical large juicy orange. The fruit on the right is a Yusuf Effendi.

The orange fruit in the pic is actually quite large, and the YE is even larger than the typical orange you will buy in the local Spar or Dunne’s Store supermarket back home. So MB had to admit to AB and to other onlookers that MB had never heard of the Yusuf Effendi fruit. Even Young Sudani Lad confirmed that they have zillions of the YE fruit back in Sudan, in nasty attempt to make MB look like complete village idiot type in front of the assembled crowd, albeit of the Whitey Western variety. MB’s head hung in YE shame.

But MB immediately offered grateful thanks to AB and promised AB to take pic of the 2 fruit gifts and post on Facebook, where AB will be able to admire the gifts for evermore, and show all the family back home how grateful MB was to receive. AB was proud as punch that his fruit would new appear on social media, and in all probability ‘go viral’. AB smiled a smile as broad as the river Nile. Or as broad one of those pyramids back home that his grand parents and a few mates built some years back.

After taking the above pic later that evening MB decided to eat the YE. The skin was very soft – like a mandarin orange, so MB attempted to peel it off, like he would do with a mandarin orange. And lo & behold, the soft skin simply peeled away, just like a mandarin orange. All the segments split easily by hand without covering all the table and floor with escaping juice, just like a mandarin orange. MB then stuffed a few segments in his mouth and can confirm that it tasted delicious, exactly like a mandarin orange.

And this evening Crossers, MB decided to google ‘Yusuf Effendi’ to see if that really was the correct name, or just some slang name used by Arabs & Africans who have millions of slang names for everything. But it’s the truth Crossers. AB & YSL were totally correct. That is the exact correct name. And the other interesting fact about the Yusuf Effendi is that is was introduced to Egypt by an Armenian lad of the same name who bought a few plants in Malta – of all places. Yusef being the equivalent of Joseph in English. And guess what Crossers? The actual plant he gave those cunning Egyptians, who have now managed to get the fruit to grow larger that we would have ever expected, was a MANDARIN!!!

From Wikipedia:

  • Yusuf al-Armani, A businessman during the time of Muhammed Ali. He bought and brought with him mandarin saplings from the Island of Malta, and planted it in Muhammed Ali’s orchard. The fruit became popular and its production was so lucrative that it was named Yusuf Effendi.

But as Crosser PN often said to MB in the past – will any of the above put money in my pocket? Well not really lads. But if an Egyptian lad at some stage in the future was to offer you a fruit and said at same time – “Would you like a Yusuf Effendi?” – you will not look at him like he has 3 heads and make a complete donkey of yourself in front of observers. Thanks v much MB, you are a legend. Don’t mention Crossers. Afwan!

A few short days before AB presented the fruit gift to MB, MB had meeting with young Indian lad SK, who had just returned from two weeks back home to meet his match maker, and future wife. But MB will return to that ‘mm/future wife’ story another time. MB wants to tell you for the moment, only of the gift of biscuits from his Hydrabad home that SK brought back and presented to MB. The biscuits are famous throughout the entire Subcontinent, due to their extremely tasty taste.

And the fact that they are called ‘Karachi Biscuits’ is also an interesting part of the overall picture. Karachi being one of the largest cities in the country with which the Indians regularly exchange rocket & shell fire along their border, Pakistan. But many moons ago, a Karachi native settled in Hydrabad and opened a bakery, which he called the ‘Karachi Bakery’ in honour and memory of his home town. He proceeded to make it a big success, in no small part due to his delicious biscuits, which are a shortbread biscuit with dried fruit & nuts mixed in.

MB had many callers to his office in following days, as workmates hoped MB would offer them some of the treats from Hydrabad. Which he often did, with some green tea or whatever. Alas, all are now gone to biscuit heaven. Happily for MB, SK’s wedding is coming up this coming March, and MB has already received verbal invitation. So in all probability, assuming MB’s invitation is confirmed, MB will bring empty suitcase on trip and return from trip with 5 years supply of the Karachi biscuits, when MB will invite all Crossers to a ‘Karachi Biscuit Party’ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Watch this space!



Some months back, another work colleague, GA, returned from annual leave holiday in Sudan. GA is no relation of YSL, just in case you were wondering, and is not even from the same Sudani tribe. Tribe is important if you are a Sudani, but MB digresses needlessly, as MB is not a Sudani. And ‘tribe’ is not really important to MB. Except for the ‘Irish’ tribe.

Anyway, GA informed MB that he could shortly come to MB’s office to present a gift from his Sudani homeland, which he duly did. And what a gift. GA presented MB with an African timber face mask, that was carved many years ago by GA’s father who is now dead. MB was most honoured to receive such a gift and gratefully accepted. The following is pic of MB holding the mask just after receiving, which is big improvement on MB’s normal Irish face:


MB mentioned another friend in this blog recently called U-No-Hu, and fact that he recently went to perform his religious duty of Haj. MB also mentioned at the time that he asked UNH to take some pics of the Haj event, but UNH told MB to FO, as this was a religious spiritual journey when UNH would need to be in ‘the zone’, and it was not some ‘photo opp’ for MB & his HX blog. MB accepted his whipping at that time like a man, and told UNH that he understood fully. Which was a complete lie.

Earlier this week UNH brought in some Lebanese chocolates to work, just to celebrate the fact that he had been to Haj in Mecca, and all was well with the world. If you have never tasted Lebanese chocolates Crossers then you urgently need to jump on a plane to Beirut and head to the nearest chocolate shop on landing. Chocolate made by the Gods. Put on your bucket list Crossers. Do not end up at the pearly gates and be in position of having to say – “Alas no Mr God, I never had the time to go there. No, never tasted those chocs at all, Sorry”. MB and others proceeded to munch UNH’s chocs, like greedy chocolate munching pigs, except you will not find any pigs in the Muslim world. But MB digresses yet again, which the mention of chocolate will often do to MB.

MB wants to inform you all Crossers, joy of joys, that UNH had second thoughts about taking some pics in Mecca for MB. So, as total world exclusive for the HX Report, straight from the holiest shrine in Islam, from the holiest Islamic City of Mecca, MB gives you the pics below presented to MB by UNH from his holy journey. MB will be forever grateful to his Palestinian friend UNH for his efforts and generosity.

And what of last weeks love story MB? Of FAK and SYL and the meeting of the parents to give their blessing to the wedding? We’ll lads, the final play happened only today. As there were two meetings in the end, not one.

On Sunday last the parents of young male friend of MB FAK traveled to the house of SYL to check out her parents and see what they were made of, so to speak. SYL and her mom prepared some nice food in hope to impress the future in laws. And today, the return visit took place of the parents of SYL to the parents of their possible future son in law FAK. FAK was bit nervous at work today awaiting the news from both sets of parents back home, hoping that both would give the green light for events to proceed. The chicken and mutton biryani,  hot breads, plus piles of Indian sweets, seems to have done the trick, as FAK received the good news this afternoon in Riyadh. It’s a ‘Go’.

So FAK will return for the public engagement party at end January and present SYL with the gold or diamond ring on a fancy cushion in front of the assembled guests and families. The wedding will take place, insha’allah, next September. MB will also be in attendance as he has received an invitation, if The Lord spares him the health.

So that’s all the news from MB’s neck of the woods for this week Crossers. Take care all. Have a nice weekend.










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