Foto Friday – Inside a Qatar Shopping Mall


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise


Surprise.

The photo challenges are coming thick and fast from MB this evening from his Middle East blogging den. How lucky you all are!

MB’s surprising photo features a model, a make-up artist and a violin player. It also features the letter ‘M’ a number of times.

MB can hear followers shouting quelle surprise! as they wonder how this surprising ensemble has appeared in the same scene, without the use of photoshop, or MB’s Irish magic.

The answer to the aforementioned wonderment will not be revealed, it will remain only in the large brain of MB. But followers are welcome to offer any stupid guesses they wish. The photo was taken recently in Doha, Qatar by MB.

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A make-up artist, a model & a violinist

Weekly Photo Challenge – Security


Security.

MB is playing catch-up with last weeks photo challenge!

There is security in numbers, it is said. This applies to camels as much as humans, a fact proven by numerous studies throughout the Middle East. There is, for example, no known incident of a male lion attacking a large pack of camels. True!

The below photo, demonstrates the typical herd shape adopted by a camel pack. The roadsign  on the left warns the public that a pack of camels is likely to cross at any time. True!

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Foto Friday – Still Life


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Security


Security.

MB read in the dim and distant past, or heard it from some sage or other, that street performers help lower street crime in the areas in which they operate. MB guesses that street criminals just get chilled out when the hear the music, smoke a joint or a fag (Irish slang for ‘cigarette’), and just go with the normal flow, rather than engaging in their more usual dastardly criminal activity flow, like stealing MB’s camera and such like.

MB just looked up the statistics for ‘street buskers help to lower street crime’, and guess what? Google never even heard of the theory, nay, never even heard of the absolute fact. Prompted by that particular piece of ineptitude, MB just looked up the google share price and was not surprised to see that it’s down 3.16 points on the day. No wonder, MB is now thinking, if the googlers (people employed by google) don’t even know that street musicians help to reduce crime, then they don’t know diddly squat.

So get your s**t together googlers. Feed your knowledge from MB’s HX blog, and stop the share price rot.

MB is just now running off to do a search on Bing and Yahoo and see what they throw up. They can’t be as bad as google, surely.

MB came across this guy, playing a tune on board a ferry that was crossing the Bosphorus Straits, on 11 April 2014. How do you know the exact date MB? Just because MB does lads. For sure, MB didn’t find it out on google. And MB can safely report, that there wasn’t a single crime during that 15-minute crossing!

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Foto Friday – Doha


MB is departing the money laundering capital of planet earth (Switzerland) in the coming hours and will arrive in the Doha (Qatar), the ‘richest locals’ capital of planet earth, in the early morning hours.

In case MB’s recent camel pics have given followers the impression that Doha is some quaint one-camel sand-blown dusty outback desert town, it’s not.

This MB phone-shot is from the ‘West Bay’ area of Doha, where many Westies like to live.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Dense


Dense.

MB’s WPC effort this week is a shot he took with his Samsung phone last night, as he took a stroll along the waterfront in Geneva. Awesome shot MB. Thanks lads.

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Friday Foto – Portrait in B&W


MB included lots of green Sri Lankan landscapes in his most recent posts. Time for a black & white portrait.

MB had a chat these two characters at a street market in Colombo, before boarding the train to Haputale, that was a story-feature on his two previous posts.

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Green – Follow-up post


Green.

MB was chuffed with the reaction to yesterday’s ‘green’ photo challenge post. So he has decided to give followers some extra ‘green’. Thanks, MB, you’re a lege. Don’t mention guys.

The time is 5.30am. The date is 08 August 2013.

MB could no longer lie on the sheet-of-plywood that constituted a ‘bed’ in the sleeping carriage of the British-rule era train en route to Haputale. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep in the preceding 24 hours, hungry as hell, and with serious back ache from the previously referred 1/2″ thick plywood ‘bed’, MB arose to face the day.

The rickety train continued to chu chu its way through the high hill country of central Sri Lanka, winding around acute bends, climbing inexorably towards destination Haputale.

The darkness had now lifted, enabling MB to take in the views from the train corridor outside his badly misnamed ‘sleeping carriage’. MB could immediately see that he had entered God’s country, with stunning vistas around every corner. He grabbed his Canon 7D and framed his shots. Click, click, click………..

Some shots from the moving train:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – It’s Easy Being Green


Green.

On 08 August 2013, very early morning, MB found himself disembarking an old train at the train station of a small town called Haputale in central Sri Lanka. He had taken a bone-shaking ten-hour journey from Colombo on the islands west coast, travelled inland about as far as one can travel in, in Sri Lanka, before one starts to travel out.

So there was MB, smack bang in the middle of high Sri Lankan hill country, with no advance booking for accommodation, no contacts and no clue how he would solve his immediate and pressing needs of food and sleep. MB wasn’t even sure if this small Sri Lankan town had accommodation or cafés or even a spare bed for a wandering Irishman. But fate would take its course and MB would just see what hand of cards fate would deal him.

MB has previously written about his Haputale adventure so he won’t repeat the story.  But if anyone’s interested, click here for the low-down.

As things turn out, Haputale wasn’t half bad, as long as one wasn’t expecting 5-star standards. And if life throws you lemons, MB was thinking, make lemonade! He found ‘lemonade’ in abundance in the people and place in the coming days, and achieved his primary goal of sitting in the famous ‘Lipton’s Seat’ atop one of the highest points in the original Lipton’s Tea Plantation, where the legendary Sir Thomas Lipton had sat to relax of an evening to contemplate life and the universe, some hundred years previously.

Oh ya. And there was lots of green!

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Irish Wedding Dance


For MBs Lebanese friends in particular, who like their weddings!

Video taken from the Irish Post website:

Foto Friday – Cattle & Cable


Yet another incredible awe-inspiring shot from the photo library of MB, wherein the juxtaposition and combination of cattle and cable causes one to reflect on the intricacies of life and the universe.

What a pile of shit you speak MB. Sorry dear followers, MB got a tad carried away with his Foto Friday intro!

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Happy St Patrick’s Day


In Qatar, it’s already St Patrick’s Day as it’s 30 mins past midnight. In Ireland, there’s still a few hours to go.

Best wishes from MB to all on the occasion of the Irish National Holiday, which is also celebrated to a greater or lesser degree in most countries around the globe.

MB has avoided pics of churches and such like in making his celebratory selection. Instead, he has just selected a few shots from his HX homeland from October 2013. The occasion was a charity horse ride around the local lake. MB’s Arab friends, in particular, like to see some greenery!

Happy St Patricks Day to one & all.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop


Atop.

For 900 years, since the middle of the 6th century approx, the Hagia Sophia Greek Orthodox Bassicila in Istanbul (known as the Ayasofia in Turkish) was the largest cathedral in the Christian world – atop the pile, so to speak. It then became a Mosque for 500 years, until it was converted into a museum in 1935 by a secular Turkish government. Its dome roof is still studied by architectural and engineering students worldwide, and it was a groundbreaking structure in its day, and even beyond.

If you follow Turkish politics in more recent times, then you will be aware that the Hagie Sophia has become one of the meats (there are many) in the internal Turkish conflict sandwich. There is much demand from Islamists that it reconverts to a Mosque, and in recent months a Muslim performed Islamic prayer on the floor of the building. There are also some other smaller buildings with the same name, but in different towns in Turkey, which are also the similar targets of the Islamic brothers. To the best of MB’s knowledge, some have already fallen.

Prime Minister Erdogan is a master fox in the overall political scheme of things, playing and relying very much on the less educated strands of society, who are also more prone to the urgings of the Muslim Imams. Turkish politics are in a huge state of flux at present, and it remains to be seen which way Erdogan will eventually go on this Hagia Sophia matter. If he wins the constitutional election next month, he will become an all-powerful President, and may very well not bother too much with this issue thereafter. Inshallah.

MB is now thinking back to a conversation he had a few short years back with a young Istanbul tourist guide who had taken part in the mass demonstrations in Taksim Square/Gezi Park of 2013. There were multiple groups involved in the protests and many seemed to have different agendas. MB’s young Turkish friend explained that all the groups, albeit from different strands of society, had one common bond. They did not want any further Islamisation of Turkey.

MB recently discussed this point with a Turkish friend in Qatar. He was of the opinion, given recent history and particularly the fact that Erdogan has used the recent military coup attempt to castrate the more secular opposition to his government, it will only be a few short years before Turkey becomes akin to Saudi Arabia in many Islamic respects. MB spent two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (2012 to 2014) and has visited Istanbul multiple times so he can speak with a little authority on the subject. Suffice it to say, that many, if not the majority, in Saudi Arabia wish they could have what Turkey presently enjoys in terms of social life and culture. It’s sad, to put it mildly, that Erdogan should be taking his people in the opposite direction.

OK! MB knows this is just a Weekly Photo Challenge post, but he recently thought of posting something on the current Turkish situation. Today’s theme just opened the door, and MB decided to walk right in!

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Camel Racing in Qatar


Take your average camel race………….. Read More