Foto Friday – Camels


MB went to watch camel racing today. More photos will follow, but here’s one for the moment, for MB’s Foto Friday.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Wish


Wish.

It is thought that one in every three camels spends their time wishing their lives away.

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International Women’s Day


“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

MB just woke up to see the above quotation from MY, posted by the Facebook website to celebrate International Woman’s Day. Seems Mark Zukerberg has been watching MB’s blog posts and finally caught on!

Malala was the 12-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot on a bus by a very ‘religious’ Taliban man (Sunni Islamic extremist) whose organisation thought (and still think) that girls should not receive education or attend school; and shooting them was/is the correct punishment if they continue to do so. Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize as a 16-year-old in 2014. MB previously wrote a blog post about Malala and her example to others called Who is Malala?

MB’s below shot was taken in a train station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in August 2013. That girl looks a similar enough age to Malala when she was shot on a bus on her way to school.

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International Women’s Day – Minus 1


MB screwed up the countdown to the International Women’s Day. Yesterday’s post read ‘Minus 3’ and today’s reads ‘Minus 1’. ‘Minus 2’ has never materialised and has disappeared into the fourth dimension or some such place where things that don’t exist reside.

For ‘Minus 1’ MB gives followers a shot of the bride at her wedding party from an August 2014 wedding that MB attended to Khartoum, Sudan.

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International Women’s Day – Minus 3


Welcome & Best Wishes to Baby Sofia.

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Friends & work colleagues of MB, E&R, were blessed with the arrival of their first child on 10 February 2017, a beautiful baby daughter called Sofia. Mom R is an architect and is very artistic in addition. In the months leading up to Sofia’s arrival, R spent much of her time making nice things for her soon-to-arrive daughter. The result is a sort of ‘Shrine to Sofia’ in the family apartment.

E&R are not posting any photos of Sofia on social media and neither will MB. However, MB will give followers some of the ‘shrine’ photos. And mom R has also given MB the above photo for inclusion in the post. As followers can see from the pic, R is an accomplished photographer in addition to her other attributes, and many a heated photo chat is had between MB & R when they meet.

As followers will deduce from the photos, MB has visited the home of E&R in recent days. MB wants followers to take particular notice of the final photo in the series. It’s a desert dish called ‘Mghli’, and it is a traditional Lebanese dish that is served to visitors to celebrate the arrival of a new-born. The base is made from a custard-like crushed rice, and the topping is of chopped coconut, assorted nuts and dried fruit. MB can 100% confirm that it is damn tasty, and MB licked his bowl extremely clean!

R&E are Lebanese Christians working in Qatar. The Lavant area of the Middle East (which includes Lebanon)  is in a large and distressing state of flux at present. Syria is no longer a country, and may never revert to a unitary state again. 500,000 dead from all sides of the conflict and 50% of the 25M population displaced from their homes puts an end to that possibility MB is sure. Jordan and Lebanon are struggling to cope with millions of Syrian refugees within their own boundaries, as well as Syrian-related militancy within segments of their own populations. The Palestine/Israel conflict on Lebanon’s Southern border needs no further elaboration from MB.

So the region that baby Sofia arrives into does not present her with a happy welcome. She is lucky to have great parents and extended family, and lucky that E&R are working in a safe location.

Here’s hoping that the region Sofia will grow up in, and work in, will be a better and safer place than it is today.

Good luck and best wishes from MB to baby Sofia.

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International Women’s Day – Minus 4


Saw and heard this lady play an Irish music piece on Solstice Morning, 21 June 2015, in the Stone Circle back in MB’s HX homeland (google ‘Grange Stone Circle’). The piece she was playing, as MB seems to remember, was The Culinn, which is an Irish air about an historic Irish warrior. She was an extremely talented musician and informed MB that she played with a national orchestra.

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International Women’s Day – Minus 5


A little slice of Ireland in the Middle East.

A ladies Irish Football team poses for a team photo at the Qatar tournament, October 2015.

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International Women’s Day – Minus 6 Days


MB is going to run a series of daily posts leading up to International Woman’s Day on 08 March.

So for IWD minus 6, MB gives followers a shot of a famous Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe – taken on his visit to Amsterdam in early November 2016.

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Foto Friday – Ladies Night


The Middle East gets more bad publicity than good by a long way. And certainly, many locations out here are the victims of religious bigotry, lack or low levels of education, and extreme intolerance. The life of Middle East ladies also comes in for much negative comment, resulting from lifestyles imposed by traditional or religious cultures that seem out of place in the ‘modern’ world.

But there are many locations in the Middle East where ladies can enjoy normal social lives outside their homes. Qatar is one such place and the shot of the three ladies below was taken one Friday evening at MB’s local souq. MB knows, by their dress style, that the ladies are not Qatari locals. If they were, they would be wearing full-length head-to-toe black abiya (burka) with or without face-veil (called ‘niqab’ in Arabic). The same is generally true of all ladies who are locals of the Arabian Gulf – UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. So the below three ladies are probably from the Levant or ‘Sham’ (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine).

One can see designer handbags in the shot, and all three ladies are smoking shisha from shisha water pipes (see the standing pipe next to the lady on the right). Even though more religious Muslims consider shisha, or smoking generally, to be haram (religiously forbidden), you will witness shisha-smoking in almost every restaurant in the entire Middle East, haram or not!

All three ladies are also wearing Muslim headscarves (called ‘hijab’ in Arabic), much like our mothers or grandmothers did in the past in Western Europe, as MB likes to remind Westies on occasion. But you will also occasionally see more modern Levant or Arabic North African Muslim ladies not wearing any head cover at all in public. But MB thinks it’s true to say that they are the exception to the general rule.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – The Road Taken


The Road Taken.

But if you lived in Amsterdam, it would be ‘The canal taken’ – Mais oui???

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Foto Friday – Fanar Mosque (Qatar)


Shot of the top section of Fanar Mosque, at the Souq Waqif area, Doha, Qatar.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – A Good Match (MB’s challenge to Banksy)


A Good Match.

The guideline for this week’s photo challenge from Ben is as follows:

“This week, share a photo of a satisfying pairing from your own life. You should by no means limit yourself to edible stuff — You can mix and match places, people, objects, and activities that represent your idea of a harmonious, pleasing combination.”

And no better man to ‘mix n match’ people and/or objects and/or anything else you care to mention than artist Banksy. MB has used a Banksy shot or two in previous weeks challenges, from his visit with daughter MB2 to the Moco Museum in Amsterdam in November 2016, which featured a Banksy/Warhol exhibition.

MB has tried to look up this painting online to find an explanation. ‘A painting on a painting’ was the only description MB could find, so he remains in the dark as to any deeper meaning. Maybe it’s just a piss-take on art generally. MB will very much welcome the thoughts of HX followers in this regard.

However, who but the artist himself can really shine a light? So Mr Banksy, assuming you are a follower of MB’s HX blog (and if you’re not you certainly should be!!!), please tell MB WTF this painting is about???!!! MB can clearly see that it’s got ‘a good match’, but apart from that………………………..

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Foto Friday – Rainfall


Rainfall.

It’s been a week of daily rainfall in Qatar this past week. MB has seen nothing like it during his many-year Middle Eastern sojourn. Alas, however, he didn’t manage to capture any Qatar rain shots.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Against the odds


Against the odds.

What are the odds of having 9 cows approach you in a field in HXland and all individually lining up in perfect formation for the shot. A billion-to-one MB imagines. Ok, maybe a little less, but the odds were small for sure. To be a photo critic for a moment – the shot is only spoilt to some small degree by another cow lurking behind cow Nr 3 from the right. There’s always that one cow……..!

Anyway, here is MB’s effort for this week’s photo challenge: ‘Against the odds’ –

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Foto Friday – Sport


The WordPress website has henceforth moved the Weekly Photo Challenge to Wednesdays, so MB has decided to launch his very own Foto Friday – with due regards and acknowledgement to blogger friend J, whose advice and free consultancy on this matter proved inspirational and invaluable, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Foto Friday will have no set theme, other than acting as an exposé of a small fraction of MB’s photo library.

Tuesday coming is a public holiday in Qatar – it’s the National Sports Holiday when all and sundry are encouraged to partake in some sporting activity. This is encouraged partially due to very low sports participation rates amongst native Arabs in Qatar (and more generally in many Middle East countries).

So MB is giving followers a sports theme shot from his HX homeland from June 2015.

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