It’s a scream


Msa al khair lads
Inshallah you are all in good health lads and have big smiles on your multicultural faces. God only knows home many nationalities the HX Blog now goes out to lads. Masha’allah! It’s become almost impossible to keep track of it. Think was approx 30 nationalities last time we checked. But since MB went on this new Blog site, and became even more internationally famous, we now have people joining up to ‘follow‘ MB from all over the world (and beyond), and MB does not even know half of them. They are merely (& understandably) attracted by the mega awesome writing, and the even more mega awesome prize winning photos. Albeit MB has not yet won any prizes, but that time can not be far away lads.

MB got big surprise earlier in the week lads when he logged on to his stats to discover that a person had just logged on in place called Reunion. MB is not joking lads – it’s called Reunion. But MB never heard of the place previously lads, so had to look it up (yes Cla, there are a few things in this world the MB does not know – but only a few).

It’s in the Indian Ocean lads, East of Madagascar, and get this lads – it’s part of France! Not just some place they steal minerals and plunder other natural resources from, like most of their colonies, but it’s actually considered part of the French mainland, and is the most Easterly part of the EU – even part of the Eurozone for God sake lads! They have population of 800,000 Frenchies, all speaking Frog, and eating fresh croissants every morning with their double espresso. Mais oui lads.
One can only assume that MB will shortly receive communication from the Mayor of the Island (or whatever he’s called – maybe ‘Chief’ or ‘Le Chief’) asking for permission to put MB’s blog on the school curriculum – so the kids will be worldly wise and well prepared for life outside the Island when they jump into the boat with their Tiger and head off in the direction of Ireland or USA, seeking Nirvana. Anyway lads, don’t ever say that MB does not provide you all with education, take a read of the following:
Reunion

Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.

Music
Let the music play lads, and read on:
This week’s pics (& last)
Great reaction to last week’s pics lads, with emails flooding in so quickly there was stage last Saturday when MB thought he was under attack from some hacker group. One 83 year old female follower informed MB that she looked at the Lady pics every night since she received them, to take admiring look. She was happy that MB had sacrificed his time for the good of others by taking photos of young shapely sexy ladies with tight fitting dresses with lots of leg and flesh showing. MB assured her he was concentrating mainly on the hats and barely noticed the shapely bodies at all.

This weeks pics lads come from the same night, and are another collection of characters. More interesting even than last week I think, with some great faces and costumes. These were the more normal people and formed the vast majority of the 60,000 in attendance, rather than the dressed up doll babes from last week. Hope you all like.

Face Your Troubles – Dont Facebook them!
Attended a Photography workshop in Dubai few months back lads, which was about using Social Media to publicise your photography. Was hosted by some world famous American Photographers who, unlike MB, needed more publicity. MB attended, much like a paleontologist studies dinosaur fossils.

But one comment caught MBs attention (which he put in his brain to tell you later), when a guy mentioned people who post their ‘issues’ and personal problems up for all to see. His comment was: Face your problems – don’t Facebook them! Pretty clever words (for an American) thought MB to himself!

Child Brides
Have mentioned this topic to you many times lads, and sad that it’s prevalent in various parts of this region. Following story tells tale of a 15 year old girl who was granted divorce from her 90 year old husband. The old lad told the court that the first wife had just got too old, and they had not lived as “husband and wife” for a long time, so he needed another. He informed the court that he did not want the dowry money back (fair play to him), and just wanted his new wife to come home. But it was also discovered he had married another teenager some time back, and she had also run away. Sad story really.


90 Year old husband & 15 Year old wife

Why Edvard Munch is not as great an artist as MB
In 1895 the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted what would become the most valuable paintings in the world, called ‘The Scream’. http://www.sothebys.com/en/sales-series/2012/impressionist-modern-art-evening-sale/overview.html He actually painted 4 versions of the painting over a number of years.

This is Munch’s explanation of how he came up with the idea:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

If you believe the above lads, you have the IQ of the mug that contains the tea or coffee you are presently drinking. Munch is talking complete BS!

MB has a different theory. Herewith:
The diarrhea preventing drug Immodium had not been invented in the year 1895. The guy in the picture seems to be in a state of extreme discomfort. I think we can safely add 2+2 and come up with 4 lads. Munch painted a picture of some friend in a state of diarrhea induced stress. I think we will all agree that this is far more plausable explanation than the BS “infinite scream passing through nature” explanation. Thank you & Sukran lads.

Munch v MB
And now lads, let us partake in a critique on the so called great painting ‘The Scream’ by Munch, and a recent MB effort that has yet to gain international recognition called ‘The Yawn Scream’. But recognition can not be far away lads – if God is even half fair.
The Scream – by EM

Munch - Scream

  • The Man: Edvard Munch
  • Nationality: Norwegian (enough said!)
  • Trade: Painter (the term is used very loosely in the case of Munch – unless we want to say ‘house painter’ – assuming he gave the occasional lick of emulsion paint to the walls & ceilings of his apartment).
  • Work: The Scream
  • Clarity: Totally blurry. Possibly painted whilst under the influence of alcohol. Or Munch was extremely short sighted.
  • Attempts to get it right: 4. Munch painted this open mouthed buffoon 4 times, as he obviously came to conclusion that each effort was complete crap
  • Artistic Merit: Sweet FA (as we say back home in HX)
  • Could Homer Simpson have produced it: Definitely – yes. Or even his son Bart. Or even the cretinous neighbour Ned Flanders.
  • Similarities to The Mona Lise – You gotta be kidding!
  • Profound in any sense: You are having a laugh. Total no.
  • Monetary Value: USD 120M, at auction in 2012 (what a joke).
  • Will anyone still remember it 100 years from now: Absolutely no f*****g way – assuming increasing IQ levels in the intervening period. If we regress as a people to the level of the chimpanzee, then Munch will be the most popular dead Painter on the planet.
  • Nett value to the world of art: Minus 100
The Yawn Scream – by MB

  • The Man: MB
  • Nationality: HX
  • Trade: Photo/Scribe Man
  • Work: The Yawn Scream
  • Clarity: Tack sharp!
  • Attempts to get it right: One shot. And he didn’t blow the opportunity! (thanks Eminem!)
  • Artistic Merit: Loadz
  • Could Homer Simpson have produced it: It would be foolish to underestimate HS. He always seems to find a solution in the end. So we will answer the question initially with a – No (‘La‘ in the Arabic lads). But if Homer could find 5 or 6 Photographers who were on week off from National Geographic, and they pooled their entire photographic brainpower, and spent a week editing it on Photoshop – then maybe, just maybe, Homer & the lads from Nat Geo might come close. But match it – not!
  • Similarities to The Mona Lisa: There are many. The Mona Lisa – Was it a happy smile or a sad smile? The Yawn Scream – Is it a yawn or is it a scream? Is she a 3rd World lady screaming against the injustice of the 1st world, in the location of the mega rich in Dubai, on the occasion of the richest horse race in the world? Or is she just tired of working endless hours for a tiny maid’s salary in some wealthy local villa or palace – and it’s a yawn of fatigue? So many questions lads. So few answers.
  • Profound: Hugely. See last.
  • Monetary Value: Presently zero (but for how much longer?).
  • Will anyone still remember it in 100 years from now: It will be revered.
  • Nett value to the Artistic World: Beyond infinity.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions lads. MB forever!

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RM in WA – Flat Back Turtles
Every so often lads I encourage you all to consider writing something for the HX Blog, and you have produced some masterpieces in the past which all have enjoyed.
This week we have a gem, from the pen of RM, who works as a Paramedic in the mining industry in Freemantle, Western Australia. RM hails from HX back home, and enjoys the distinction of having made it onto some HX soccer teams in the past (under the management of MB on one or two of those occasions), down the left wing where his tasty left foot could put a football in your eye from 50m.

We actually featured pic of RM few weeks back standing in front of a giant mining truck. And I am lead to believe ladies that this 20 something hunk of Irish manhood is still single and available. And if he can write like this ladies you can just imagine the sweet nothings he might whisper in your ear as he took you to Glynn’s Fish & Chip Shop in Bruff village for the 1st date. Emails of interest please to MB ladies, and MB will pass them on.

RM’s piece is a little long (and we do not want him stealing MB’s thunder, do we lads?!) so I have created link to the full piece on my Dropbox a/c. I urge you all to take a read. Fascinating piece.
The pics sent by RM were not great, as were taken at night with only a camera-phone I suspect, but I give you one of them (next pic), to give you idea of the size of these tiny creatures.

TVM RM. Great story about the turtles. Great writing and must have been an absolute pleasure to have been on that gig. A memory for life I am sure. Would love to receive further pieces from you. Please consider. A star is born!
A few short excerpts from RMs piece lads:

This is a project I was asked to go on by the company I currently work for. It appealed to me because this was not your typical mine site job. The job involved providing medical care to a group of environmental scientists who are monitoring a breeding program for flat back turtles offshore on an island approx 30k off the mainland…………

The job itself ran over 10 days and was all night-work. This involved getting on a catamaran style boat and traveling 30km to the island. We would anchor off the island waiting on tidal changes to allow us assess to the island via a small dingy with an outboard motor. While at anchor we would eat our dinner looking out at some of the best sunsets and surrounding I have ever seen, and the odd lighting show far off in the distance out at sea……….

I was unsuccessful in finding any hatchlings until the second last night, when I was digging out a nest, and there about 2 feet down – a little hatchling. It was amazing to see this process. When they come out of the shell they have a food source like the yoke of an egg attached to their tummy. They eat this and get the energy to dig their way out of a nest that is 3 feet down in the sand, make there way down to the beach and swim for the next 24 hours for survival. Truly amazing stuff when you see how small there are……… 

RM’s full story:
English Words from Arabic
A number of ‘wordy’ followers were interested in a recent similar piece, so here is another one for you lads:
Tom Cruise
TC was in Ireland last weekend as you may have read lads to publicise his latest movie. Our Irish tourist chiefs did not miss the opportunity, and presented TC with history of his Irish heritage – which featured Knights in the 12th century, Rebels in the 17th and a real live hero in the 19th. TC will never want to holiday anywhere else again I am sure!

A smiling racegoer!

Jack Warner – From KH
Football fans will remember the name Jack Warner from the FIFA corruption scandal 2 years ag0, which was related to the story of Qatar winning the 2022 World Cup. One of our HX Crosser number lives and works in Trinidad & Tobago (Irish & still single also ladies!) and send me great piece on the flamboyant JW. How much longer can this donkey survive?! KH has promised updates as and when. Thanks KH, keep ’em coming.

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From KH:
On a somewhat related note, we all know you and your readers are always interested in a little local or international scandal / gossip so revert to the following website for a recent up-date on Jack Warner (Minister of Defense in Trinidad & Tobago, also Former VP of FIFA). Some of you may remember FIFA suspended him two years ago pending an investigation following allegations he and Mohamed Bin Hammam had offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union around World Cup bid time….
Will keep you posted if there is any truths / developments on this going forward. Some colorful comments from readers follow after the article also…

Syria
MB has featured the plight of Syria many times recently. The butchery continues with hundreds dying every day. The situation just gets worse and worse daily for all the citizens according to my Syrian friends.

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Found some great pics from Aleppo on another blog site, from 2 years back as the trouble were just starting. Mainly pics from Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world, where a good number of the HX Blog followers come from:
God help Syria.

Dubai Airport
We are now Nr 2!
Many gay people in the Middle east move to Dubai, due to the tolerant ‘live and let live’ attitude. But there is no openly gay scene as its totally illegal if caught.

Khalas lads (finished!)
Ok lads. Too much this week I think. Not at all MB, more, more, more, please! Thanks lads, you are most kind.
Have nice weekend lads. TC.

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MB

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color


The aquarium at Dubai Mall. Dubai, UAE. Taken few weeks back, March 2013. You are looking at the largest sheet of acrylic in the world, certified by Guinness Book of World Records.

Style


Greetings lads

Hope all well with kith & kin. MB arrived back in Saudi on Wednesday after 10 days in Dubai.

Apologies for all the spelling mistakes & typos in last week’s effort lads. Made the corrections in due course but alas after I published. Also had thought might mention a few small things to you this week that might make the blog reading experience more enjoyable. So please note:

  • If you click on the blog title at top of the email (the word ‘Style’ this week) you will be automatically redirected to the HX website which gives a better ‘read experience’ than the basic email that you receive.
  • Even if you just read the blog from the email (or from the website), you can enlarge any photo for a better look – by double clicking on the particular photo.
  • Feel free to leave comment in the comment box at the bottom.
  • Also feel free to join anyone else up to follow the blog by using the email/follow system at the end.

This week’s pics are entirely from MBs visit to the Meydan race track in Dubai last Saturday night. Mentioned to you last week was intending to go there, and al hamdallah was able to attend. Took many pics, but this week I give you pics of some of the style on view. Some very tasty, some not. But all very interesting. Hope you enjoy.


Music – Conor Linnie
The idea with the music every week lads is that you click on the link, let the music play, and continue reading the blog. Got it?!

Ok lads – this week’s music suggestion comes from RQ, who has recommended her guitarist friend called Conor Linnie. Looked him up – he comes from Wicklow in SE Ireland. Happy to oblige RQ. Hope you all like lads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-BVNo8EKV4


A camera or a wife?
Met an Arab work colleague in recent days lads and remembered that a few months back he informed MB that he was about to buy decent camera. MB offered words of encouragement at the time and wished him well. On inquiring if he had made the purchase when our paths again crossed, he shocked MB with his answer.

No MB, I did not buy the camera. Instead I am looking for a wife“.

MB was speechless. Dumbfounded. Stuck to the ground, and momentarily dizzy before regaining his composure. A wife instead of a camera. Are you serious? replied MB, calling the teaboy at same time to fetch some camomile to help the brain relax from the shock. Yes MB, I am serious.”  Some moments of quiet reflection between us followed.

And are you looking for any nationality in particular? asked MB as the camomile kicked in, and the brain suddenly returned to ‘razor sharp’ mode. Local perhaps?” enquired MB. “I would love to take a local lady MB” he answered, “but for financial reasons I will now go for Phillipino or other“. “Masha’allah(Praise the Lord) said MB, not exactly knowing what else to say, but added quickly can you explain further?“.

Yes indeed MB. To take a local will involve immediate expenditure of 30,000 Dirhams (Euro 6,000) to her family – just to take permission from them for the marriage. Then I must immediately buy her jewelry to value of minimum 10,000 (Euro 2,000) as is the local custom. And that’s before any marriage costs, good accommodation for her to move into, clothes, and many other things. I cannot afford. So that is my reason MB“.

Well my friend, life is never simple said MB, and you must do what you must do. But can I suggest that you review your original decision to chose the wife before the camera. For fraction of the cost of a local woman you could acquire top of the range Canon. Might I suggest the ‘5D Mark 3’ model, as it has many advantages:

  • will always produce a clear sharp result, unlike a local lady perhaps
  • will generally never let you down, if it receives even minimal attention, unlike a local lady for sure
  • and will always give a big performance in ‘low light’ conditions, for certain unlike a  local lady” 

The young Arab lad sat back in his chair and looked to the sky in deep thought. No more words were exchanged between us as he pondered the life advice he had just received. MB stole quietly from the room, and wondered what the coming weeks and months might bring for his young friend. A camera or a wife? Just another of the forks in the road we meet on life’s journey.

Time for another camomile!


Dubai Style (forget Gangnam!)

As I already informed you lads, went to the horse racing at Meydan last Saturday night. Some very fine fillies on view, in addition to the horses. Haha lads!

Will give you some different pics next week, also from same night but with different theme. In the meantime take a look at the Dubai ladies. My personal favourite must admit is the Indian lady in the blue Sari, Nr 65 towards the end. And to make Irish ladies really sick, please note ladies that all the pics were taken between 7pm & 10pm on a beautiful warm Dubai night. No wind, no rain, no sleet nor snow!

Pleased to receive any feedback from female Crossers – what do you like or not like. Have given them numbers for easy reference. To all male Crossers – please keep comments and thoughts to yourselves! Enjoy:


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The End!
Ok lads. Thats it for another week. Enjoy weekend. Regards to all.

MB

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life


For me its a Middle East construction project:

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The End!

Heroes


Dia Dhuit lads
Hope all in the full of your health.
The lads head for prayer
MB arrived back in Dubai on Sunday last and has a few more days left in the Desert Oasis before his return to Saudi. Dubai is looking good, full of tourists and lots of activities for all.The biggest event of the annual Dubai social calendar takes place this Saturday night – The Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race. Huge corporate entertainment night, big style night for the ladies (hats, hats & more hats), and will see 60,000 or so attend the event. You have never seen a racing stadium like Meydan, which hosts the event. The grandstand is 1.2Km long and the lighting after dark provides a spectacular backdrop. Inshallah I will be there with the camera ladies and will give you few pics next week. If you like the horse racing, and aware many of you do, then take look at the following links:

The awards night of the big Photo Contest I mentioned some months back (hipa.ae) was on recently lads and sadly MB did not feature. Some great pics in the winners enclosure, so pleased to give you link to take a look. Next year for MB inshallah!

Where’s my whip?!

Music

Was traveling in the car of a young Saudi guy recently. He is a young judge in the courts in Riyadh, but presently on time out to finish his Masters. He had CD of illegally downloaded songs in the car player, so he obviously has not yet read the chapter in the law book about copyright. Anyway, his CD had one or two decent songs including the following one which is very catchy addictive tune by young Portuguese singer called Michel Telo. A kind of ‘one man boy band‘ and he is big hero with the young ladies as you can see. Anyway, have played it loads of time, great tune, hope you like:
So just click on the tune lads, and let it play while you read this weeks HX!

 

This Week’s Pics
Dropped a few young lads to the local Mosque last Friday  (see next story) and took a few shots. Nothing special, but will give you flavour of the buying and selling outside, before the prayer starts inside.

And in new addition to the blog lads I have challenged work colleague and friend OL, who likes taking pics, to give me one pic per week for next four weeks which I will feature. Trying to motivate lazy OL to get off his ass and start using his camera again. And am also featuring great pic from young HX based apprentice Shooter TM. This pic is a real gem. In honour of the two contributors I am calling this section of the blog The Tom & Osama Corner (HX native & Egyptian).

This lad seems to have bought that red blanket

So now throwing this invitation out to all lads – anyone can send pic to MB to include in the HX – until I change my mind – which is a man’s prerogative! But if MB thinks the pic is garbage he will just delete and inform you that (sadly) it did not meet the minimum MB requirements (which are unspecified and ever changing!)


MB receives verbal attack!
Did a good deed last weekend lads but paid a heavy price. Let me explain.

Some of the young lads in my hotel needed lift to the Mosque for Friday prayer and asked MB if he would oblige. “No problem young Muslim lads” MB replied, “I am a brother to all” and threw 5 of them into the 4×4 for the short spin. Had the camera with me (of course) and lads asked me to take shot outside the mosque so they could send to family members back in home countries of Egypt, Yemen. India & Bangladesh.

Photo taken, lads disappeared into Mosque, and then MB noticed loads of Muslim traders selling everything you could think of around the outside of the mosque. Fruit, veg, blankets, male perfumes, batteries, holy books, arabic clothing, and loads of other stuff. MB immediately thought of the story in the Bible where Jesus  (the Prophet Isa, as the Muslims refer to him) gets angry with all the traders in the temple, gets out his whip, and lashes the hell out of the sinners for making money in holy place, and kicks them all out.

As MB did not have whip in the car he instead decided to take some pics, as future evidence against the sinners. So politely and as discreetly as MB could, he mingled with the Muslim lads, cracking a few jokes as he wandered around. All went well, as the traders obligingly gave permission to MB to take some pics of the buying & the selling.
Happy Muslim
But then MB came up against an elderly conservative Muslim man. He had big beard, and his taub (white dress) was above his ankles – a sign of Wahabi Muslim, the very conservative Saudi version of the religious practice. His brand of Islam would consider photos to be haram (forbidden) I am informed, especially photos of the face. But he could hot have been in any doubt about MBs photo as MB was clearly pointing the camera away from him, in preparation for the shot.

He was buying some goods from a trader at same time trader gave permission to MB to take pic of his goods, which were nicely laid out on blue sheet on the ground. Picturesque for sure. But as soon as MB raised the camera to his eye, the old lad started screaming and shouting at MB in excited Arabic. MB had no clue what the lad was saying, but he certainly was not enquiring if MB uses Canon or Nikon.

So MB, trying to avoid a crowd gathering around and maybe lynching MB, lowered his camera, and said “lau samah, mafi photo” (excuse me, no photo), trying to stop the old lad shouting.

So MB moved away as quickly as possible, and the shouting thankfully died down. MB, calm as one of the cucumbers he had just seen at the veg stall, moved onwards towards the Mosque entrance and saw great photo opp in the hundreds of shoes lying outside the door, which is the Muslim custom.

But just as MB raised his camera to take yet another prize winning pic, a large rough hand grabbed MB by the shoulder from behind. The same lad. Lots more shouting ensued into the face of MB, which finished in a question the MB understood fully – “Muslim?”. “La, Christian” (no, Christian) replied MB. The shouting then continued, and MB understood that it roughly translated as ” Please Mr Christian gentleman, would you be so polite as to leave the grounds of the Mosque” – or words to that effect. So MB, still keeping his personal safety foremost in his thoughts, lowered his camera, and his head, walked quickly to his car, and drove off.

Some nice spring onions lads

But MB still needed the ‘shoe shot’, so drove around the block few time until the shouting man had entered the Mosque, and took the shot from the car with the window lowered. Success!
And that lads is the story of how MB got all the pics for this weekend’s HX Report. Allah U Akbar!

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Getting Older – Your skin
Getting older ladies? Worried about all those wrinkles? Then worry no more ladies – MB gives you the solution. Surgery – no. Knife – no. Just a quick visit to your doctor from time to time ladies and you will have skin as smooth as a babies bottom! Read on ladies:

A cure for ageing?
With life expectancy soaring, we’re desperate for new tricks to stop the outward signs of ageing, but can you turn back the clock without resorting to plastic surgery? Kelly Rose Bradford investigates the cutting-edge – but knife-free – secrets to eternal youth.

Yes, I’ll take them


Enemy at the Gates

Did you see that Movie lads – Enemy At The Gates. When Russia was losing badly against the Germans at Stalingrad and they needed a hero to motivate the people. And so the young sniper Vassili Zaitsev becomes a Russian folk hero as he battles his wits against the German sniper Major Konig. Take a look at the movie trailer lads –
And take a look at the full movie if you have not seen. A good one.
As the line from the movie says – ‘What we need are heros‘. And that is exactly what we found in Saudi Arabia last week lads.

Fire fighter Abdullah Badhan Al Subai had to rescue a young boy from a burning building in Jeddah lads, and there is great pic of him in the below link as he brings the boy out. He has removed his own oxygen mask to place it  over the boys head, at risk to himself. “Ara twas nothing” said Abdullah (using Irish English), as the media heaped the praise on the new Saudi hero.


Weighing the veg

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UAE Death Sentence
I have often mentioned the death sentences in Saudi Arabia lads. But the UAE also has the same penalty for certain crimes. In Saudi its the swordsman who cuts off the head. In UAE they use firing squad. The punishment was confirmed last week for a man found guilty of the murder of a prostitute. He will now face the firing squad after Sheikh Mo signs the order to proceed:
 

Dubai: A Pakistani man will be executed for repeatedly slitting a prostitute’s neck and stealing her cash and mobile phones. The 29-year-old murderer A.K. lost his petition on Monday before the Dubai Cassation Court that confirmed the capital punishment against him. Dubai’s highest court rejected his plea to have his capital punishment cancelled or reduced to imprisonment.

There is no outcry over here when someone gets the death sentence like you would see in some Western countries where the punishment still exists, or where people campaign against it. Its not that people are worried about protesting from what I can see, it’s that they generally approve of such a punishment for those guilty of extremely serious crimes. Think all surveys in Western Europe show majority opinion against it.

France & Head Scarfs
Interesting court decision in France last week where a court sided with a Muslim lady, who was fired by a Nursery School for refusing to remove her head scarf. 85% of the public are against the court decision, and the Politicians are also speaking out against the ruling. As we have seen in recent years the French are at the forefront in bringing in legislation against dress codes they believe are contrary to the freedoms they espouse. Which in the Muslim world is just seen as anti-Muslim legislation.
Some holy books & some head male head scarfs

Paris: Backlash is growing in France against a court ruling in favour of a Muslim employee of a private nursery school who was fired after she refused to take her headscarf off. A new poll has found that four-fifths of people in France would back a proposal to ban Muslim headscarves and other visible signs of religion in private companies. France’s Interior Minister, who is in charge of religions as well as being the top security official, came out against the ruling last week. In the poll released Monday, 85 per cent of respondents opposed the decision, and more than 80 per cent said they back a ban in private workplaces and schools.

IMG_5626Mar

Racism
Mentioned a few times recently to you lads about the preferential treatment I get out these parts due to fact that I am Westerner (a white bread). But thinking about it, my treatment may also be because of my management position – very high lads! Hard to tell. But what is very clear is that many non-Westies will treat me much better that they will treat members of their own community. Must admit that I also saw some of this during my London days. It was often said in the construction trade that nobody treated an Irish man worse than another Irish man. Not generally true of course, but the statement did contain grains of truth.
I was recently discussing some of the above with my young Sudanese work colleague, who seems to be getting weekly blog mention at this stage. I told him the story of the TV programme ‘Roots‘ back in the 1970s which was controversial at the time in America, telling the slavery story and how the Africans were treated on arrival. There is famous clip in which the Plantation boss forces the African worker to admit his new slave name. I found it on YouTube and young Sudan lad enjoyed it immensely. He now refers to himself as ‘Toby’ – his new slave name. Thankfully a whipping did not prove necessary.

Truck load of spices & seeds

 

Reluctant Emigrant – DH
Had the pleasure of visiting DH at her Abu Dhabi palace during the week lads. DH & her blog were featured in a recent article in the Irish Times. So big congrats from MB, and urge you all to click on the link and become followers. Amusing read each week.
This week DH tells us about her recent trip to Beiruit:

MB went through torture to get the ‘shoe shot’


The Tom & Osama Corner


Tom’s Shot from HX. Can you see the fox & the duck lads?




Osama’s Shot from Dubai:


Slan lads

Ok lads MB has exhausted his creative juices for this week. Sin e for now. Enjoy your weekend.
Regards & Happy Easter to all.
MB

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense


Future Tense

Taken in Jeddah Old Town, Saudi Arabia, few months back.

Yum Yum


Salam lads
We had Iranian/Persian New Year celebration on Wednesday lads, which was Spring Equinox back home in HX. The Persians/Iranians work from the lunar calendar, as I think I told you last week in the piece on Nowruz – the name the Iranians give their New Year.

Atlantis On The Palm Hotel, Dubai
To celebrate Nowruz lads, MB went to expensive (what else would you expect lads!) hotel with Iranian colleague and had the crack. The food was good of course but these Saudis could badly do with being introduced to nice Sauvignon Blanc, to assist with the washing down of the tasty meals. As the entire country is ‘Dry’ in the alcohol sense lads, due to the religion, St Patrick’s Day last Sunday also passed off with only an extra cappucino available to drown the non-existant shamrock. And thanks to all friends of MB for posting or emailing a few photos of your St Paddy’s Day occasions to keep MB informed how things went at home. Appreciated.
 

MB arrives at the Atlantis
 
We had sand storm on Tuesday In Riyadh, followed by rainfall & wind on Wednesday night, and back to sunshine on Thursday.  An unusual mix.

Lots of expensive shops selling top end designer goodies
Wednesday was also International Happiness Day lads, so inshallah you all had big smiles on your faces. UAE featured very high up on the international index of happiest countries lads, which did nor surprise MB. Told you recently that there will be no revolt against the Rulers in UAE, as the locals are very well looked after, have very high incomes generally, have good schools, reasonably good health service and some very good infrastructure. Unlike some Muslim countries there is high level of tolerance of others beliefs and there is also much to do socially. So in short lads the locals are v happy. UAE was 17th overall on the index – ahead of Britain!

 

Lights mimic sea shells

Ajman: The UAE ranks highest among Gulf countries — as well as and above Britain and Iceland — in the World Happiness Report, it was revealed during the Quality of Life conference in Ajman on Tuesday.

Out of 156 countries ranked, the UAE is 17 — the regional best — beating Saudi Arabia’s 26. A step below the UAE is Britain at 18 while Iceland ranks 20.

Denmark is the world’s happiest country while the least happy is Togo, a small West African state, the report suggests.

The conference, at Kempinski Hotel Ajman, was held a day ahead of the International Day of Happiness (March 20)

Fish tank displays in the public area corridors built into the walls 



This Week’s Pics
Come from the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai lads, where MB dined on his trip back there few weeks ago. The food pics are from one of the superb restaurants out there called Kaleidoscope. It features huge array of international food from all over the world, and is a food experience to remember.The hotel is mega 5 Star joint, with approx 1,500 rooms and suites, and is a tourist attraction in itself, not just a hotel. It is located at the tip of the Palm Jumairah (Palm Island) and is owned by Sol Kerzner who is developer and owner of the famous Sun City resort in South Africa. The Atlantis is full of sight-seers every evening as hundreds or thousands visit it just to walk around the public areas and take a look at whats on offer. It also has a great water fun park which includes an area where you can swim with dolphins.
As I have said about many other places out here, if you are ever in the locality do not miss.

Restaurant entrance
Ballyneety Golf Club
Featured Ballyneety Golf Club back home in HX in recent blog. Nice to see the project coming to fruition. A few familiar faces in the pic also, which many from HX will recognise.

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/business/local-business/a-new-beginning-for-ballyneety-golf-course-1-4906497

One Wife & Six Daughters
I came across an Arab gentleman recently ladies, and he felt the need to tell MB his troubles, no doubt hoping that MB would provide solution. What’s new says you lads! The problem is that he, like most Arab men, wants to produce a son & heir. Think I told you previously lads that when a man (let’s call him Mohammad) has a son (lets call him Abdullah), the man will be happy for all to call him by a new name – Abu Abdullah – father of Abdullah, and he will more or less lose his old name of Mohammad. He will never be referred to as Abu Fatima, if he had a daughter, that is just not the way the system works.
He informed MB that after his 3rd daughter was born his wife did not want to have more children. He had to tell her that he had no problem  with this, if this was her wish, but as he desperately wanted a son he would be forced to take a second wife to continue his breeding quest as permitted by the religion, up to a maximum of four wives if he wished. She would continue to be treated as she had in the past, with greatest of respect and the new wife would not be treated any differently than her – as the Muslim holy book dictates. The wife had a think about the whole situation for a while, and then  decided that she would keep on trying, for the sake of her husband and also, one can only but guess, to prevent a second wife appearing on the scene.
When he first told me the story lads I thought he might be looking for some seed from MB, as his English is very limited and I had some difficulty understanding his request. But on enquiring with my Arabic/English language mixture, he told me that this was against the religion, and he might have to kill MB if MB tried to help in that way. I apologised for the misunderstanding lads, and we put it down to the language & cultural barrier between us, our friendship as rock solid as it had always been. He said black, but I though he said white – sort of thing.
We have now moved on a few years from that conversation he had with his wife lads and we are now at child Nr 6 – all girls. Wife is now pregnant with child Nr 7, expected inshallah in approx 5 months from now. He is hopeful,  like 6 times in the past, that Allah may bless him with a son. We are all hoping and praying for a good result for both of them, to bring this particular breeding exercise to a conclusion. Don’t forget desert!


I asked him how Wife Nr 1 would react if he took a wife Nr 2. He said that there would be a small bit of “crying” but it would not last very long he felt. However, he said that as long as the wife Nr 1 is happy to keep trying to produce a son, he is happy to keep trying only with her. And only if she wants to stop will he look at the Nr 2 option. Masha’allah (Praise the Lord).

I have now asked a Sudanese lad at work if there is an African solution to the problem. He informs me that the Africans use the seed from a certain plant to ensure a son will be manufactured after consumption and consummation,  and a bag of the male fertility seeds is now winding its way to MB from Khartoum.

And then come back for 2nd desert!

An Indian colleague has informed MB that the Indians also have a seed that does the trick, but he also added, with Ghandi-like wisdom, that the physical position of both male and female during the mating exercise is as fundamentally important as the consumption of the seeds. Being the creators of the Kama Sutra lads, I do not dismiss the opinion of any Indian lad when he makes such a statement, so I have now asked for some architectural type drawings from him (he works in construction) that we can give to the Arab and ensure that he does not make any mistakes. MB is now hoping that the combination of the seeds from Sudan, and the Indian positioning, will finally end this man’s misery, if as expected a girl baby Nr 7 arrives in few months.
A friend in need is a friend indeed lads, and think you will all agree that MB does not spare the effort to help his friends!
 
What I really like about what she is wearing lads is the way the combination of jacket, headscarf & glasses work so well together. Stylish, elegant and age appropriate. 

Abu Dhabi Week

The above son-less Arab was not the only request for help that MB received during the week lads. Female Crosser COH contacted MB looking for a very ‘specification specific’ Irish female – she wanted to interview an Irish teacher, working in the UAE, who must come only from the Donegal area in the North West of Ireland. MB immediately called on HX Crosser network lads and within 24 hours we had produced the required result. COH seemingly wants to interview the Irish teacher lady for her Magazine in Abu Dhabi and inshallah we will feature the interview in due course when it is published, with COH permission. Anyway, here is link to COH mag called Abu Dhabi Week, which MB was previously unaware of:

The chocolate fountain & the brown haired girl
 
Declaration On Women’s Rights from UN
Interesting combination of The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, The Vatican & Iranian & Russian authorities opposing certain sections of a recent UN resolution on women’s rights:The Islamist movement that backs President Mohamed Mursi gave 10 reasons why Muslim countries should “reject and condemn” the declaration, which the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is racing to negotiate a consensus deal on by Friday.The Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party propelled Mursi to power in June, posted the statement on its website, http://www.ikhwanweb.com, and the website of the party on Thursday.Egypt has joined IranRussia and the Vatican – dubbed an “unholy alliance” by some diplomats – in threatening to derail the women’s rights declaration by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights.
Salad
UAE Treason Court Case
Mentioned this case to you a few weeks ago lads where a large group of locals are being accused of trying to form a political grouping, along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to overthrow the Rulers of the UAE. They are facing very long jail sentences if found guilty.
And a lollipop to go! 
The below article is worth a read if you have any interest in the politics out these parts, and the judge in the case certainly has a sense of humour, if the following exchange is anything to judge him by:
FlowersOne of the defendants, Eisa Al Serri said he was only allowed five minutes to call his relatives. He complained that was not enough time to phone his mother, and his two wives, to which the judge responded jokingly, “Who told you to trouble yourself and marry two women?!”
Breads

Wine glass – featuring finger print of MB

The Reluctant Emigrant (DH)

Have not yet had chance to read the latest & greatest from DH. Tomorrow inshallah:http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/new-age-emigrant/
The famous aquarium at the Atlantis Hotel, which featured a whale shark when the hotel initially opened in 2008. Public pressure eventually forced the owners to release the shark back into the ocean. Media reports at the time stated that they had paid US 1M for his original capture.

Ana Taaban lads (I am tired lads!)

Ok lads, That’s it for another week. Speak to you all next week again from Dubai where I am heading on Sunday, inshallah. Take care all.

The center piece display at the hotel lobby. The 2 ladies give you a sense of scale.


MB
 


East meets West

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime


Skip lunch – go straight to desert!

Feniqia Restaurant, Byblos, Lebanon, next to the Crusader Castle. A ‘Bucket List’ must!

Habemus Papam


Hello lads
Salam to you all. 

We have new Pope al hamdallah lads. The German was a non-entity I think. But had impossible act to follow after JP2. All the TV commentators caught wrong footed when the name was announced, as they struggled for info on Francie. Was nice to see!

Washing before prayer. Like the way you caught the sun on her face MB. Don’t mention lads. Take these kind of shots all the time.

Two things struck me about him. He has warm smile and I suspect a very good sense of humour. MB said to himself, after the brief initial words at the window balcony, that MB could easily spend a night in the pub back home in HX with Francie. Talking about the price of cattle Why Mrs Dillon’s chickens are not laying as many eggs as they used to. What local sinners might be up to, or even how the HX football team are doing at the mo. Being from Argentina he might have some useful pointers for us on the football. Yes lads MB could easily shoot the breeze with Francie over a few glasses of Red I think.

Anyway, good luck to him – Habemus Papam!

Ex Catholic lady, now a Muslim married to local Muslim, explains the traditions & Islamic practices

This weeks photos lads….. Come from very interesting recent visit to Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, and from the back streets of an area called Bur Dubai (in Dubai) which is a haven for tourists seeking fake (or real but cheap) designer bags and such like, plus one or two other pics besides. Hope you like.

Who says a lady in a Burka can not be glamorous?!

The Jumairah mosque just mentioned is one of the venues for the ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ centres for cultural understanding founded by the legend himself Sheikh Mo. They also run cultural breakfasts & lunches in one of the oldest areas of Dubai (Bastakia area) & also heritage tours of that particular locality.

Inside the Mosque – the dome ceiling

The mosque is open to non-Muslims at 10am every morning and a Muslim lady (a very glamorous one on the morning MB visited with family & friends) separates the fact from the fiction for the visitors. It’s explained that many beliefs that non-Muslims may have about Islam are very often absolutely nothing to do with the religion itself, but more probably geographical cultural traditions from the different areas of the Arab world. Like the Burka for example. Anyway lads, if ever you are lucky enough to come out these part I give a high recommend to visit Jumairah mosque in Dubai.

Picture is the Kabba at Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam


The Great White Satan

So there I was on Wednesday night lads, watching the Barca game in the hotel lobby, in the company of a work colleague from Sudan – Khartoum, in the Arab Muslim North of that country. He happened to invite 2 fellow Sudanese friends along, one of them was only very recently ‘off the boat’ and just getting to grips with the scene in Saudi.

Mohammad shows us how its done

This guy threw intriguing question at MB……

“Sir, are you treated well in Saudi Arabi or do they treat you like a Great White Satan, as Saudi is very strict Muslim country, and you are kaffir (non-believer)”.

Preparing to pray

Or similar word to that effect lads. My work colleage, his friend, smiled broadly, as he has witnessed many times recently how MB is treated by the average Joe out these parts. Yes indeed lads, the average Saudi Mohammad treats MB (or any Western lad) with extreme politeness and respect, which is often in contradiction to the way he treats his fellow Saudi’s. It is amusing for me at times to take it all in, and thankfully am blessed with GSOH to smile at it all.

A listener

A few examples lads:

Was passing through Security going to work last week in company of colleagues from India & Sudan (same Sudan lad as above Barca story). Security Guard made everyone show their ID cards. But when MB moved his hand towards his bag to get his ID, Security Guard immediately indicated that in the case of MB the card was not necessary. On seeing the more favourable treatment received by MB, young Sudanese friend nearly got sick!

I definitely prefer her without the veil!

A few days later I had to leave the project during the working day, and had to pass through exact same Security gate. As I approached the barrier, Security Guard (a different guy) asked me to get out of the car. Most unusual behaviour thought MB, as they never check MBs car boot (trunk) and normally wave him through, unlike the treatment they give to 99% of others.

Anyway, on getting out of car SG asks MB to enter the Security Gatehouse. At this stage there are 2 or 3 vehicles stuck behind MBs car waiting patiently. On entering the gatehouse SG immediately presents MB with glass of cola and slice of cake – it’s his birthday! MB wishes him well in broken Arabic and SG is v pleased to receive the warm MB b/day wishes. MB, feeling guilty about the waiting fellow motorists, wolfed back the cake & cola asap and shook hands with SG wishing him luck for life. SG smiled from ear to ear at his new Irish friend.

Flower box outside the Mosque

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On asking for mutton stew at the Afghan cafe last weekend the owner and I watch together as he spooned the warm aromatic meat and sauce into the bowl from the big pot. On seeing a chunk of meat with some fat on it he immediately flicked it back into the pot knowing that this particular piece of meat was not honouring his Irish guest. He flicked his eyes to the rest of the customers and smiled at MB. The clear message was that this piece of meat would be ok for the regulars but he was ensuring the MB only consumed the best cuts. MB said ‘sukran jazilan’ a few times (‘thanks very much’) and owner was very happy & proud man.

A Muslim cat lazes in the morning sun at the Mosque entrance

So lads, I did not give full answer to the question asked by young Sudan lad watching the Barca game. Merely told him that I am treated very well. Too well in fact. Have reported to you a few times in the past that I experienced preferential treatment a number of times in the UAE on account of fact that I am Western expat. The fact that I am not a Muslim is not even a consideration. But in Saudi I must say that the experiences are even more numerous. Maybe its a cultural thing. I have not quite worked it out yet.

So in the meantime lads, I guess I will just keep drinking the cola & eating the cake!


Blood Money
If a man or woman is sentenced to death out these parts there is possibility under Sharia law that the family of the dead person (assuming the death sentence was imposed for murder) might accept blood money instead of seeing the guilty party executed (by beheading in Saudia Arabia). Recent case is causing some disquiet as the family are asking for millions of dollars to spare the life of the guilty party. Read on lads:

“We need to have a ceiling to avoid the tragedies that are unfolding today,” a blogger posted on the site of Sabq, a news provider. “The victim’s family should pardon the culprit, ask for a sensible amount or refuse to pardon him. The option to ask for incredible amounts of money should be ruled out and the government should step in,” the blogger, I Am Here, wrote.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudis-outraged-by-12m-blood-money-demand-1.1156591

Outside Dubai Museum

And in a related story lads the Saudi Gov are thinking of switching to Firing Squads from the more traditional ‘beheading by sword’ method. The Swordsman’s Union of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia (SUKSA) is none too pleased at the moment. Negotiations are ongoing:

Firing squads could replace executioners
Manama: Saudi Arabia could soon replace beheading with a sword by a firing squad when carrying out the death penalty in public.

“A specialised committee made up of representatives from the ministries of interior, justice and health as well as the commissions of investigation and prosecution, the public security and the prison general directorate are looking into a study that replaces beheading by a firing squad,” sources told local Arabic daily Al Youm.

However, the country’s area governors have already been given the right to resort to the firing squad, the sources said.

“They can use their own discretion for the execution if the court does not specify how the capital punishment verdict is to be carried out,” the unidentified sources said. “Using the firing squad is not against Islam.”

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/firing-squads-could-replace-executioners-1.1156280

Entrance Door – Dubai Museum


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
How many times have I informed you in the past lads that Sheikh Mo is a total lege? Too many to count lads.

Well this week lads he has gone and done it again. On Facebook. SM stuck up a post few days back informing us that the Government is disolved, some new appointments have taken place, this ministry is no more, some new Ministry is now in place and the Dubai ship sails merrily onwards. First I heard of it lads. And now with one simple posting on Facebook Sheikh Mo gives us the glorious news that that he has disposed of some tyre kickers and introduced some fresh young blood into the scene of Government. Allah u Akbar!

Imaging the scene in Ireland lads if you wanted to do the same. Endless sleep inducing debates in our Parliament, long winded BS speeches from lacky gobshite politicians, election fever (disease actually), loads of TV time taken up at the expense of football & golf, and just general time wasting mayhem. But not in Dubai lads. No Siree lads. Call them in. Hire them. Fire them. And post it all on Facebook following day.

Any brand you like lads!

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From Sheikh Mo Facebook page

Brothers and Sisters, The formation of a new Cabinet in the UAE government will be announced soon. It will include new and young faces. We will have four new ministers and a new ministry, in addition to some structural changes. The former team of ministers have performed their duty, serving their country. UAE never forgets the achievements of its loyal citizens. Such amendments are made to accelerate the pace of development in our country and to further achieve the aspirations of our people. There will be young faces with new ideas and energy to keep up with the rapid changes and to deal with our people’s top priorities.


Ned Kelly
I recently thanked an Australian friend for giving Irish Aussie legend Ned Kelly a decent burial after all these years. Nice to see respect for Ned and his Irish homeland, from the sons and daughters of the criminal classes of Britain from few centuries back. Good on ya sports!

A crowd of up to 200 people gathered at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wangaratta, 252kms north east of Melbourne, Australia, to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating the life of Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (1855-1880). The son of John ‘Red’ Kelly of Moyglass, Co. Tipperary and Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Ned Kelly was the last and arguably the most famous outlaw in Australian history. The Kelly Gang – Ned, his younger brother Dan, best friend Joe Byrne and Dan’s friend Steve Hart – were all born in north east Victoria, still known as Kelly Country.

The fame of Ned Kelly today thrives in Australia and abroad, and the story of the Kelly Gang is still a polarising one. Most commonly, Ned Kelly is considered a folk hero, while others decry him as a criminal. Regardless of personal opinion, it remains true that a great Australian compliment is still to say that one is “as game as Ned Kelly”. 

Ned Kelly’s wish, for his body to be given to his family so it could be buried in consecrated ground, took a long time to fulfil – 132 years, to be exact. After his execution, the outlaw was interred within prison confines, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the remains of condemned prisoners were uncovered, and subsequent mitochondrial DNA testing through a descendant of Ellen Quinn Kelly positively identified Ned Kelly’s skeleton.

Ned Kelly was buried in a private ceremony at a tiny rural graveyard; where he finally rests in the arms of his family and the heart of Kelly Country.

A purse or wallet of your choice


John Brennan – New CIA Chief

As part of the ongoing Irish take over of Planet Earth and the entire Universe lads, I am pleased to announce the appointment of one John Brennan as new head of the CIA in the good old U S Of A. Non-disclosure agreements prevent me divulging if the HX & Crosser Brotherhood had anything to do with the appointment lads, but let us just say that not much goes on in this world in terms of Irish advancement without the guiding fatherly hand of the the higher echelons of Crosserhood. 

Brennan is the son of of Roscommon emigrants to the US and no doubt served his time back home every summer helping the cousins pick potatoes and milk the cows. If any of you fancy private trip around CIA HQ in Langley, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA lads, please drop me discreet email and will see what I can do.  

Perfumes & Handbags

Brennan, the son of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, was raised in North Bergen, New Jersey.[10] He attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University in New York City.[6]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting, and felt a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire to do public service.[6] He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977.[3] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][6] He also received a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980.[6] He speaks Arabic fluently.[10]

Ladies Purse

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The Oatmeal – At The Gym: Who is looking at whom
Every time I read one of the comics by the Oatmeal I laugh out loud! If you have ever been to the gym you might recognise some of the characters in the following:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/gym

A belt for your man ladies


Was The Irish Famine Genocide?

For the history buffs amongst you lads. Recent book on the Irish famine. Case not proven it seems:

http://robertnielsen21.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/was-the-irish-famine-genocide/

Inside a mud oven – for cooking the bread

SONY DSC

Happy Iranian/Persian New Year lads
As  part of the HX ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ programme lads, I give you little piece on Persian/Iranian New year which is only few days away:

Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.

Reluctant Emigrant (DH) – Growing Old Gracefully
Thanks yet again to DH for putting smile on the face of MB. This week DH is faced with the potential beauty of Botox! 

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/grow-old-gracefully/

Afghani man sorts the bread

Enough Lads!
It has been another bumper rewarding HX lads, am sure you will agree. Thanks MB. Don’t mention lads.

Hope all have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there!

Ladies from the 3rd World arrive at Riyadh airport to work as maids for the locals. From Indonesia or Bangladesh by the looks. Some will be treated well, others will not. Such is the lot of women from the 3rd world who must earn money to support families at home

MB

Good Hair Day


Salam lads
Am back in the land of the 2 holy Mosques lads – that’s Saudi Arabia to you, or the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia as we often say out here. Spent a very pleasant week in Dubai last week and got in a few photo shoots for you all. Today’s pics come from the Dubai Creek area where a huge amount of boat trade is done with neighbouring countries such as Iran across the Persian Gulf, and even as far away as Somalia on the African east coast. The traditional Arabic timber boats get loaded up with consumer goodies and sold for profit in places where such goodies are hard come by. Hope you like the pics.

IMG_5546Mar

Reaction to last week’s HX was very mixed lads. Many enjoyed MBs spin on world events as usual and were in orgasmic rapture about the the mega pics. But MB received almost violent reaction from some Indian followers of the HX lads. And what were they on about you might ask? Well lads, they informed MB that when they read the title last week (reference to ‘Birds’) and then MB started talking about all the stunning leggy Russian girls he saw in Fujairah hotel – the Indian lads were sure MB was going to include many pics of the Russian birds!!!

IMG_5554Mar

And they were mightily disappointed that MB was referring pics of the feathery birds, and not pics of long legged Russian ones. What was I to do lads? Most of the husbands/boyfriends of the Ruskie babes were Russian bear types, with no necks from all the military training, and am sure any of them could have snapped MB’s neck with their little finger. So MB left the zoom lens in the camera bag, and for once put his health & welfare before the needs of the Crosser brethern. And MB has lived to tell the tale. Enough said lads.

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Hello to ‘The Ms’ who met MB in Dubai last week and are now back in HX eating the non-Muslim bacon, pork, sausages, rashers and all things tasty. Inshallah you will visit Dubai again in the future.

Onwards lads.

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Good Hair Day

There I was in the shower in Dubai last week ladies. The water was perfect temperature as it flowed over the lean muscular body of MB. A little sunlight filtered through the open window and glistened brightly on the bulging MB shoulder muscles. Cool down ladies please – this story is about MB hair and not about MB body.

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Anyway ladies, there I was, as naked as the day I was born, whistling a tune, with not a care in the world at that particular moment. Enjoying my ‘man shower‘. And what is a ‘man shower‘ MB? Well ladies a ‘man shower’ is a shower taken by the average man. It lasts approx 3 minutes, which is just enough time to get wet, apply the shampoo, clean off same, turn off water and dry the ‘man body‘. It is the complete opposite to ‘woman shower‘ or ‘girl shower’ or ‘lady shower’ – which are known to take hours in duration and deplete scarce water resources in many regions of the world. But you have caused me to digress ladies. Back to my story……

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Thirty seconds into the MB ‘man shower’ ladies, MB reaches for the shampoo. Horror of horrors – no shampoo! Or as I would say if I was an Arab – mafi shampoo! WTF! Sudden panic attack ladies. MB likes his shampoo for the standard 20 second usage. But it was not going to be this time ladies – due to ‘mafi shampoo‘. So MB then eyed some ‘conditioner’ – that must have been left over by a previous female tenant of the property, as we all know that only women use this muck, and no manly man would ever be caught dead using the stuff. But sometimes ladies – needs must – as they say, and in absence of shampoo, MB slapped a little conditioner on his head.

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And then ladies, MB had his Eureka moment! MB goes to the young Indian barber lads regularly and gets the Nr 1 blade on the sides and back, with the Nr 4 blade on top. The young Indian barber lads do not even ask MB any more what he wants. They know the spec. It never changes.

So ladies, MB is essentially hairless. Therefore MB has no use for shampoo, or the girlie conditioner. A quick rub of the soap bar on his 6-Pack stomach (max 5 seconds) serves the exact same purpose. And now MB does not need to buy shampoo – ever again! Financial savings will ensue, maybe a little extra can now be set aside for the chocolate budget – for example, and all will be well with the world. Joy of joys!

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So ladies. Take a look at your man’s head. Does he really need ‘volumising‘ or the ‘moisturising’ or the ‘for normal hair types‘ that you pick up for him in Tesco each week, or in the Carrafour out this neck of the woods. May I suggest experiment ladies. For one week only, when the shampoo bottle is almost empty, do not buy another bottle, leave small bar of soap in the shower, and wait for the reaction. You may get pleasant surprise!

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Saudi Fatwas & The Ladies

Interesting (for some) article on ‘Fatwas‘ lads. Religious pronouncements made by Muslim Imams/Priests normally, sometimes absolutely ridiculous and without any basis other than their own limited view of the world and warped view of their own religion:

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Suddenly the net was flooded with all manners of fatwas or edicts. Some seemed sound and rational while others bordered on the ridiculous. There was a fatwa which called for the separation of the genders to prevent the mingling of the sexes at Islam’s holiest worship site in Makkah by adding extra floors around the Kaaba and dedicating one solely for women.

Another fatwa which defied foundation and drew a lot of ridicule was the one that called for working women to breast feed their male associates at the workplace, thus developing a symbolic bond between unrelated men and women who regularly come into contact with each other and making it permissible for women to mingle with the males there. And then there was the fatwa against women driving.

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UAE Thinking & The Ladies
The biggest defenders of the political status quo in Dubai and the rest of the UAE are local women. And a big reason is that they can see the bullshit lives that Muslim women have to tolerate in many Arab countries, and are extremely grateful for the freedoms that exist in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates. The below article shows the huge contrast that exists between UAE & Saudi Arabia for example, which are neighbouring states. Its not all plain sailing as the article states but at least there is a tolerant and forward thinking mindset amongst the UAE leaders:

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The evolution of women’s role in UAE society has been spurred by the leadership’s recognition of the pivotal role women can play in economic and social development. It is a testament to the government’s strategic vision to enhance their roles in both the public and private spheres and to ensure that all career options are open to them.

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The Gay Mormon & Coming Out

Read the below story during the week lads about a young Mormon lad who decided to video his coming out to family and friends over the period of a year as he broke the news to them all that he was gay. Amusing to say the least.

It reminded me of similar incident in my own past many years back. No lads, I was not ‘coming out’ for God sake,  you are having a laugh surely lads. But very good friend of mine decided that it was time for him to break to news to all his friends that he was gay, and he decided that MB would be his guinea pig and the first lad he would hit with the good news.

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Gay Friend (GF): MB my friend, I have some big news for you.
MB: What?
GF: I am gay, homo, etc
MB: What’s ‘etc’?
GF: ‘Etc’ was joke MB
MB: So was my question, hahahaha!
GF: So what’s your reaction MB? To fact that I am coming out to you, and selected you to be the first to whom I would give the news?
MB: I dont care what you or anyone else gets up to in the privacy of your bedrooms GF, or anywhere else for that matter. Or what your ‘orientation’ is. Makes absolutely no difference to me. You are friend but from now on you may call yourself ‘GF’ if you wish.
GF: Thanks MB, So it makes no difference?
MB: I don’t care if the entire world is gay GF. Apart from fact that I would have to find hetrosexual alien women from outer space to make a few babies with, and save the entire human/alien race with my reproduction activities.
GF: Jesus!
MB: No – MB!

To be continued next week……..

Indian Women & Smartphones

Lots of hassle for ladies in India as we have seen from some serious disturbing recent stories from the subcontinent. the smartphone is finding new uses:

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Reluctant Emigrant – Ping Pong

Thanks to DH for another good one this week.

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/

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HX Report – The times they are a changin!

Met up with mentor & mother figure DH last week in Dubai lads, and she got me thinking. DH is author of the above referred Reluctant Emigrant blog and like MB she too in the past sent out weekly blog email. But she no longer does so, as she uses a facility on this blog website to invite everyone to ‘follow’ the blog. This means that if you accept the invitation to ‘follow’ then you will receive the blog automatically by email, and MB will not have to send out any more emails. Enabling him to give more time to his creative genius and produce yet more side splitting and highly intellectual ‘stuff’ for you all. Masha’allah!

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So expect invite from MB during next few days lads and become a HX Report – FOLLOWER

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Take care ladies

That’s it for another week ladies. A pleasure as ever. Take care, and don’t forget – when you receive the email – become a FOLLOWER!

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MB

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For The Birds!


Greetings & Salam to you all lads

Inshallah you are all keeping well lads, the health is good and the chickens are laying. There is  surely nothing in life as good a fresh egg. Right on MB, yo!

Have covered many many miles since we last conversed. No joking lads. Think was about to board a plane as I pressed ‘Send’ last week to give you the literary & pictorial goodies, which no doubt amazed and titillated you for few days. I now prepare the next offering from my sunny Dubai deck chair oasis by the pool as I sip yet another long G&T, easy on the ice.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Worlds tallest building, circa 850M high

Burj K

Yes lads, on Thursday early morning last I jumped on plane in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, instructed the captain to take me to Dubai, where I landed 2 hours later. Got hire car and made my way back to Dubai apartment/swimming pool/servants. Went on Facebook for few hours, as you do, then headed to Oman border crossing, as family needed to extend their ’30 day limit’ UAE visitor visas.

Acacia tree (I think) on the road to Oman. Photo by MB2.

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The Sultanate of Oman allows you to get your Passport stamped at the border station without entering further into the country and to immediately turn around to return to UAE/Dubai. Then the UAE border post 2 or 3Km down the road stamps your Passport with new re-entry date, and you are then legal again for another 30 days. We refer to it out these parts as ‘the Oman run’ which you invariably end up doing when you are between jobs, or your employers are slow to sort out your paperwork when you commence employment.

Did you know lads that the wife of a Sultan is known as a ‘Sultana’? True lads. MB continues to spread the knowledge & the wisdom!

Having got the Passports all stamped with the new fresh ink lads, I then took family to Fujairah, one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE, and the only one I had not visited previously. Little Russia as it turned out – full of short fat balding criminal type Ruskie men, with blond super model Goddess type girlfriends / wives / mistresses. Seemingly, with so much trouble in Egypt in last year or so, the Ruskies are avoiding their favourite Sharm Al Sheikh Egyptian resort and heading instead to the 5 Star resorts of the UAE. Stayed overnight and headed back to Dubai, alas without meeting any of the Russian girls, who would no doubt have enjoyed MBs intellectual company.

UAE flag painted on the mountain slope. Maybe by ‘Banksy’. On the approach road into the Emirate of Fujairah. Photo by MB2.

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Shattered from the record breaking traveling. Wrecked. Headache for 2 days before eventual recovery. Marco Polo & Ibn Batuta together never covered as much ground in 24 hours lads. Have now contacted the Guinness Book of Records to advise them of my feat (& my sore feet – joke lads!) to see in what category I can claim world record. Am sure there will be more that one category lads. So presently checking the email on hourly basis but nothing yet. The lads at Guinness must be short staffed, or drunk! Haha lads, another joke!

Ok lads, the pics,  this week, in which birds feature a lot, are the usual awesome pics taken by MB as he casually walks round the Middle East listening to young lads shouting at him – “Sir, sir, please photo sir, need for Facebook, family want to show photo back home in Delhi /Sanaa/Karachi to family of future bride, Inshallah they will like me Sir. Sir, take very pretty photo sir”.

I normally reply along the following lines lads – “No sweat young lad, the Canon Master has landed & you are in safe hands. I will take 3 or 4 shots for you to make selection. I give you 100% guarantee that the ladies family will beg that you will take the young lassie off their hands, and will give even bigger dowry as result of the awesome photo”.

Rotana Hotel 5 Star resort – Fujeirah. Ruskie heaven.

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Needless to say lads this is normally the end result. And you just wouldn’t believe the amount of Hindi/Buddist/Muslim/Yahudi/Other wedding invitations I have turned down in recent years. If I were to attend them all I wouldn’t have a shekel/halalla left for my own kith & kin. You have to draw a line lads. That’s life. Anyway, they normally get over my rejection  within a few months and crack on with life, settle down, make a few babies and generally live happily ever after. And all thanks to MB lads. Masha’allah! (Praise the Lord).

A few of the pics are also from the Fujairah area from MB’s trip. Must acknowledge guest photo shooter this week lads – 12 year old MB (MB2) who took 1 or 2 of the shots. A star is born!

MB is Chess Grand Master lads. Very highly ranked.

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MB is not converting 

Have to make this announcement lads, as has come to my attention that a number of Crosser members are speculating that MB is thinking of jumping ship. To the other side. Seemingly my weekly updating of what my Muslim brothers get up to has lead some to come up with 1+1=3. Not correct lads. No way.

This news will obviously disappoint many of my Saudi Muslim brothers lads, but like the disappointed Indians/Yemenis/Pakastanis whose weddings I do not attend, they too will get over it eventually, crack on with life, and start milking the camels again.

And MB will just continue to do as MB has always done lads. And you will all continue to reap the benefits. Masha’allah!

Mountains, beach & the waters of the Gulf Of Oman at Fujairah, UAE. Never saw that Russian girl until I looked at the pic on the laptop later lads, I swear!

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The Dalai Lama

Have always been fascinated by the DL lads. Spoke to one or two people back home who attended one of his appearances/talks when he visited Ireland a few short years ago, maybe 2 or 3 years back. They confirmed that he has incredible presence and tangible spirituality.

Think Pope John Paul was similar in that regard. Even on TV you could get that feeling that he was a special human being with a huge spiritual presence. Met a Polish lady once who met JP when he was still a Bishop in Krakow (I think) and she told me she was so overwhelmed she cried uncontrollably. He just had a magic. Or maybe she had watched episode of ‘Friends’ before the meeting lads. Who knows!

Does anyone know any Muslim leaders or clerics with such aura? I have never seen. Muslim friends of MB – please advise.

Hungry bird on the beach

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Anyway lads, saw this DL piece on Fb during the week. Think Crosser MR had posted it up. Typical of the DL, stops you in your tracks and makes you think:

At the end of the talk someone from the audience asked the Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?”

The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know “

Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

Jumairah beach, Dubai. Locals frolic in the Arabian Sea.

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Meanwhile In Saudi Arabia

The head-rolling festival continues in full swing in Saudi lads. 2013 Head Nr 16 has been removed from Neck Nr 16 in last week, to keep the Kingdom safe and enable us to sleep easy at night. It was Jordanian drug dealer this time who fought the law. But as the old song says lads – ‘the law won’ – resulting in Jordanian’s head rolling in the sand looking up at his torso.

Young lad lifts his leg as he enters the water

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I feel its time for some poetry lads:

IF
you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

Gull swoops over MBs head. MB captures the moment.

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From this week’s Gulf News:

Jordanian beheaded for drug trafficking

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday beheaded a Jordanian man convicted of drug trafficking, the interior ministry said.

Faris Salam Salama Al Maghrebi was arrested while attempting to “smuggle a large amount of amphetamine” stimulant capsules into the kingdom, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

He was beheaded in the northern Jawf province, it said.

His execution brings to 16 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia so far this year.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/jordanian-beheaded-for-drug-trafficking-1.1150802

Philosophical gulls look out to sea and ponder life’s good and bad. 

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Lady Driver

Was told a number of times in Saudi that in the more remote areas the women can drive cars without any risk of being jailed. Had not come across it previously but the below story is case in point. If you read the full piece the locals were happy that she was driving, and presumably continues to do so:

Gull says hello to MB, as the evening sunlight catches his wings

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Mom and her 2 chicks, who hide their heads under her sari.

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Manama: A Saudi woman said that she had to disguise herself as a man to be able to drive a bus and help her needy family.

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, even though there is no legal text to support the ban.

However, Saliha who lived with her parents and four sisters in a remote area in the south west of the Saudi kingdom, said that she volunteered to take up the job to assist her old father.

“I live with my parents and four sisters and our conditions are very difficult,” Saliha said. “One day, my father thought about launching a bus service to drive female students in our area to their schools. He discussed the idea with the village men and they all agreed since they trusted my father and they were confident that he would be keen on protecting them. They also thought that driving the bus would be an opportunity for him to make some money,” she told local Arabic daily Al Sharq.

However, Saliha thought that she could help her father and do the job instead.

“I looked at his poor health condition and advanced age and I requested him to allow me to replace him, especially that I was a good driver. My father in fact taught me how to drive since I was young. It took some time before he was convinced that I could drive the bus instead of him,” she said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-woman-disguises-as-man-to-drive-bus-1.1150721

Gull swoops low over the sand. MB is like speedy Gonzalez with the Canon 7D, and clicks just in time.

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So long lads.

That’s it for another week. As the young lads around HX are fond of saying – be talkin tcha!

Jumairah beach, Dubai, again. This ladies head scarf tells me she is not local. Maybe some Muslim Crosser can take guess as to her nationality?


Man looks at Gulls and thinks….. what if I was born a bird? Birds look at man and think……. WTF!

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Take care y’all.
MB

Random Places


Greetings lads,

Hope all in good form. MB will be taking break from his Saudi paradise for the next week in good old Dubai, UAE. So looking forward.

Had suggestion for this week’s blog to do something on Chinese New Year lads, which is year of the snake. Did not have clue about the significance of the snake but looked it up this evening and discovered the strengths & weaknesses of people born in the ‘snake’ years.


Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Strengths
They often have a good temper and a skill at communicating but say little. They possess gracious morality and great wisdom. They are usually financially secure and do not have to worry about money. They have tremendous sympathy for others and would like to take actions to help ther fellow human beings. They are determined to accomplished their goals hate to fail. Although they look calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. They have a rich source of inspiration and understand themselves well. They are people of great perception. Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable.

Weaknesses
They are likely to be jealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about what they discuss with others, as it might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities. They tend to overdo things. They prefer to rely on themselves and have doubts about other people’s judgment. They are courteous  with polite manners, but they can be headstrong. They are fickle and usually have problems in relationships or marriage problems. 


So lads, it appears you can have great wisdom and at same time be jealous and suspicious. Bit confused by the Snake people must admit.

And the below are the most recent Snake years in question lads:

23/01/1917 – 10/02/1918

10/02/1029 – 29/01/1930

27/01/1941 – 14/02/1942

14/02/1953 – 02/02/1954

02/02/1965 – 20/01/1966

18/02/1977 – 06/02/1978

06/02/1990 – 26/01/1990

24/01/2001 – 11/02/2002


Just to confirm lads – MB is not a snake.
Great Wall, this location is approx 1 hour by car from Beijing, take cable care to reach the wall. Note cable car bottom left of pic.

This weeks pics lads are from random places. And I love random places! In honour of the Snake Year lads I give you a few pics I took when was in China about 3 years back. Ya, China lads – MB gets around. Did not have decent camera back then but the attached are decent enough. Plus a few shots of jewelry & other stuff from Global Village Market, one of my favourite places in Dubai. And other random places that I can’t remember at the mo.

You need fit body like MB to climb the wall lads

Valentines Day – by The Oatmeal
Should have included this last week of course lads. But did not see it in time. Gave you another from The Oatmeal few weeks back lads and had a giggle at this one during the week when I read:


Dubai Skyline, shot from hotel rooftop at Festival City area, near Dubai airport

Pagan Weddings in Ireland
Irish Government will recognise Pagan Wedding ceremonies lads, f any of you are thinking of same. Celtic Paganism is older than Christianity lads far as I am aware. Maybe someone can throw some light on this for me

Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.

The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-government-to-give-full-legal-status-to-Pagan-weddings-149628925.html#ixzz2LT4rfxc4

One you won’t see in Ireland!

Sheikh Mo (the  living legend!)
The actor Johnny Depp paid surprise visit to a school some time back lads dressed in his pirate outfit. But Sheikh Mo went one better lads. He visited a Dubai school last week dressed as – Sheikh Mo. Hard to beat that lads you will agree. Came about due to request by young schoolgirl. It seems lads that when any lady clicks her finger even male Royal Rulers will jump!
Dubai: Little Mira could not believe her eyes when “Baba Mohammad” walked into her classroom during the first class of her school day. Mira Ali Murad is a nine-year-old third grade student at the evening school shift of Al Ahliya Charity School in Garhoud, Dubai.

“When he came in he asked me who he was and I said ‘Shaikh Mohammad’. He said ‘bravo’ and shook my hand and left,” she said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, surprised Mira when he granted her wish by visiting her in her school on Sunday. Mira had asked Shaikh Mohammad, in a video message, when he would visit her school.

Prayer after work, as the lads face Mecca & the local cafe. Two Pakastanis walk past.
The Boss (do not scroll past!)
After posted last weeks song by The Boss lads I had a listen to some of his stuff. Must admit was never really a fan. But a concert called the Seeger Sessions is different from what you might expect. Some fantastic music and incredible musicians. Recommend you switch to ‘full screen’ for this one, some great angles and camera work, if that kind of stuff turns you on. Bruce sings an Irish folk song here, and I give you some  info on the song in the 2nd link below:
Ice cream after work while the bus waits for the lads to arrive for the journey home

Dragon Mart – Dubai

There is very large retail centre in Dubai called Dragon Mart, and as the name suggests it has 100% Chinese products. Really cheap stuff, from the proverbial needle to the proverbial anchor. They seem to have imported few new products since MBs last visit:

Soaps to ‘restore’ virginity at Dragon Mart
Dubai Now you can get curves like Jennifer Lopez for less than Dh60, or so certain products sold at Dragon Mart would have you believe.

From a Dh25 virginity soap that promises to tighten muscles, to a Dh60 gel that claims to push your ‘hip up’, dozens of dubious products are selling like hotcakes at various outlets in Dragon Mart.

“Our virginity soap has honey extracts and is very effective,” said a salesperson suggesting it be used at least twice a day to get its benefits in about two weeks.

Firmer buttocks, he claimed, could take a bit longer, as one needs to apply the gel for about a month. None of these products conforms to health stipulations.

But retailers swear by them. Ask them if the products have any side effects and the standard response is: “No. It’s all herbal.”

http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/xpress/soaps-to-restore-virginity-at-dragon-mart-1.1148980

Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai

Anyone for colour?

Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes. 


Saudi Marriage

Like our pre-marriage courses in the West lads some Saudi cleric has come up with similar idea. Assume he had look at the Irish model:

Manama: A leading Saudi religious figure has called for holding compulsory special workshops on matrimony for all young men and women about to get married.

“The justice ministry should ensure that the marriage contract is not endorsed by a court of law unless the two spouses prove that they have gone through the mandatory workshop,” Saeed Al Qah’tani said.

The scholar attributed his call to the high rise in divorce rates in the Saudi kingdom.

“The rate has exceeded 50 per cent in some regions in the country and this is alarming,” he said. “This clearly indicates that there is a serious and grave issue about understanding and appreciating the responsibilities of spouses towards each other,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Okaz on Sunday.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-scholar-calls-for-mandatory-marriage-workshop-1.1147325

Typical Yemeni style necklaces


Ring & henna


Gotta go lads

Sorry bit rushed this week lads. Not one of the better efforts I’m afraid. Just under bit of time pressure. Have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there.

MB

Pearls

Happy Valentines!


Greetings ladies

It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.

Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:


Spice powder castle

SpiceMar


Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.

HoneyMar

This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.

Clouds over North Riyadh construction site. I have noticed that Muslim clouds and Christian clouds are the exact same.

Afghan Clouds


We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!

The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.

Afghan Pot


Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.

More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”

“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.

“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.

For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/online-matchmaking-a-hit-with-saudi-couples-1.1146326
And did you know ladies that St Valentine himself is buried in Dublin? If you are struggling to find that amusing rugged handsome stinking rich type ladies, you only need to run down to Whitefriar St, touch the coffin or alter with your hand, and within 24 hours, hey presto, your new man will appear. Unlike the on-line matches mentioned above ladies, this is 100% certain to produce the results. Best of luck!—

Sunset up the street from the Afghan cafe.

Afghan sunset

 
St Valentine
 
Was St Valentine a true blue Dub?

JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin. 

In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.

We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.

Fertility festival
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.

But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.

In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.

Exhumed
Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.

In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
 
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.

This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.

It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!


Took shot of this guy at the golf last weekend lads. He did not appear to have much interest in the goings on.

Bird
Music
Spotted this on Fb during the week lads when one of my pals posted up. Good happy clappy one to put a smile on your faces:

Everyone who attended the golf last weekend got free 4×4 Mercedes. Just for showing up to give our support. Long live Sheikh Mo.
Mercedes

Dubai

Another tourism project given the green light by Sheikh Mo during the week lads. Should be a good one. Will be located in Dubai Marina. We are good to go:
“I love the smell of traffic fumes in the morning” – from the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. North Riyadh street. Right next to the Imam University – a production line for Saudi Imams.

Pylons & traffic

Dubai Parking

And with 3M+ visitors expected at the above venture lads our cars will need the latest in parking technology. Just let the robot take care of it for you lads.
“There is nothing as majestic as a pylon” – MB

Pylon

Ballyneety GC

Want to wish all involved the best of luck in their attempts to revive local Golf Club at home. Was great social and sporting outlet before it closed few years ago.
Arab lad gets an oil change, car out of pic.

Car oil change
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for trying to sort out all the red tape lads. Read on:
Regardless of where you are living lads, you will always need the puncture repair facility. 

Car Puncture
And the puncture repair lad. God bless him.

Car tyre man
The Alter Tomb

Want to mention writer and Guinness drinker MQ from the HX heartland back in Ireland lads, who published mini novel at tail end of last year. It’s fictional account of a tomb he discovered in a local graveyard dating from 1618. The story also features a character we featured in this blog long time back – one John Murphy who is buried in grave in same place, also discovered by MQ, and has inscription on his gravestone that he was 219 years old when he died (I gave you all pic of this headstone previously lads).The novel, and that piece of the story in particular, got front page publicity in the local LL newspaper at home recently, about one year after the HX report on same!

MQ

MQ
The Alter Tomb from 1618

Alter Tomb
 

English words from Arabic
I am dedicating this piece to Crosser JMc lads who is a wordsmith in her own right. Is on a sabbatical at present from her writing career with the HX. Inshallah she comes back soon.You will be surprised to learn so many English words have Arabic origin lads, if you give a damn in the first place. You really are full of BS this week MB‘, I can hear many of you shouting lads. But sometimes lads we just don’t know what is good for us, and it takes gurus like MB to point it out.
Thanks to Crosser MC for sending pic of his gaff in Sweden to MB. Free accommodation is available for all Crossers at MCs house – all year round lads, but limited to 30 day max stay, when MC & his missus will vacate the master bedroom to allow Crossers to feel very much at home in Sweden. Big thanks MC.

Mossy hse
Oman
Nothing like an Arab Spring to get the rulers to loosen the purse strings lads. The Omani people will now reap the rewards:
But in the end lads we are all heading to the same place. The Graveyard at Grange Church, HX. Pic from my trip home at Christmas. 

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Adios ladies (& Happy Val)
That’s it for another week. Regards to all. Enjoy your weekend.

MB

Swingers


Salam to all lads.

We are blessed with favourable weather in the Middle East at present, albeit still a tad cool to be jumping into the swimming pool – before noon at least! But even in our short sleeve shirts the gentle breeze in the winter sunshine is refreshingly welcome. Inshallah we will have another 3 months or so of same before the temps start to get to the uncomfortable levels again.


Beer sellers enjoy MBs joke!

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Europe’s best golfers were swinging their clubs in Dubai last weekend at the Emirates GC lads, across the road from Dubai Marina. MB managed to get down for few hours on Sunday to mix with the great and the good, and most of this week’s photos are from same. Big thanks to Crosser PMc for getting the entry tickets (with Clubhouse Pass) for MB. May your own clubs provide you with a bounty of birdies in the years to come Mr P – a sort of a Golfer’s prayer lads in thanks.

Practice makes perfect
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Silence is Golden

Was having a chat with a friend at work today lads when his phone rang. He immediately launched into a frenzied conversation in Arabic which went on for some time, with much hand movement as is the practice out here. Upon completion of the conversation he clicked the ‘End’ button, and a little red faced from the stressful call he had taken, he turned to MB and said:

“Arabs, why do they have to talk so much? That guy called me to make a very small point, but of course he felt the need to give me his entire life history at the same time. There is a reason Mr Mike that God gave us all 2 ears and only 1 mouth – he wants us to listen more and talk less”

Now I must explain lads that my colleague & friend is 100% Arab himself, born & bred, so his comments were not what you might sometimes hear from some donkey expat with zero brain cells. No lads, this was coming from the horses mouth, and he was also making the profound point about listening more than talking. I assured him it is the Irish way. He smiled,  happy in new knowledge that there is one place on the planet that is oasis of listening. If only he knew the truth!

This couple caught my eye lads (hehe!) Dubai is a fashion & style fest all year round. There are really no restrictions on how you dress as long as its reasonably modest and does not give offence, bearing in mind local sensibilities, religion and customs. The neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah passed a rule in recent weeks preventing tight clothes that emphasis body shape or reveal too much flesh. Presumable this young lady has Dubai address
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Balls!
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Dubai News – Sheikh Mo

Sheikh Mo has done it yet again lads, God bless every royal & regal inch of him.

It doesn’t get any more Regal than this lads
Sheikh Mo

The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the most exclusive residential addresses on the Planet lads, but is short of a decent shopping mall. The world renowned Mall Of The Emirates (with real ski slope) is 15 mins away, but you really don’t want to be wasting your time shopping with poor people.

So what does Sheikh Mo go and do lads? Yes lads, he simply issues royal instruction to the Palm developers (Nakheel) to crack on immediately with a new mega mall plus hotels plus other stuff, and have it ready by 2016 for a bit of shopping for the locals. When complete lads they will be able to cut 12 mins off their shopping trip as they make the 3 minute trip down to the new local. Masha’allah!

That is how it’s done lads, Dubai style, Sheikh Mo style. Let it be a lesson to you all lads. Long live our hero Sheikh Mo!

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/nakheel-mall-on-palm-jumeirah-set-to-open-in-2016-2013-02-07-1.494218

Quote from Sheikh Mo earlier this week (tear in my eye as I read):

“Before evaluating the future, we have to take a quick look at the past, for it is the foundation of tomorrow”His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The golf  shopping area with Marina in background
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A wayward golf ball lands next to MBs feet
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—–


Comics

My blog received a follower a few weeks back lads and I noticed that the guy in question was also a follower of another blogger called ‘The Oatmeal’. The name intrigued me so I looked up The Oatmeal. What a laugh. Brilliant intelligent comics of the ‘laugh out loud’ variety. To MB’s sense of humour at least. Giving you one of his comics this week called:

‘When your house is burning down you should wash your teeth’
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/house

Hats off to The Oatmeal.


Golfer follows the trajectory of his ball & hopes for the best

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Bird in the 5 Star Emirates GC Clubhouse – a bird with taste

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Swinger Nr 1

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UAE Visa Amnesty

Mentioned the UAE visa amnesty last week lads. Is throwing up some hardship cases for the authorities to deal with. Friend of mine did a deal with the authorities in recent weeks. Got a reduced penalty, which was still a substantial sum, and paid it off. Now he is free to exit and enter the UAE as he pleases. He visited him family in England last week for first time in twelve months.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/amnesty-presents-hard-choice-for-mother-of-five-1.1141486?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26270919


Fans follow the ball flight

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Crossing the fairway

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Saudi Women

The Saudi Arabian Labour Ministry will now allow the Saudi women to work in Pharmacies lads. They will issue some rules shortly and the ladies are good to go. Allah u akbar.

Media City in background as golfer & caddy walk towards the green
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Fans

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—–


Training & Weight Loss

Giving you all 5 unusual tips to aid your fitness & weight loss training ladies. All with scientific basis, but you will not have heard previously!

http://gulfnews.com/life-style/five-strange-fitness-tips-that-work-1.1142524

Rest area out on the course

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Towers
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Wearing the Burqa

One Saudi Imam got himself in bit of trouble this week lads. Most considered his call for very young girls to wear the Abiya/Burqa as extreme and bringing bad publicity on Islam religion.
Official shooter puts MB camera in the shade!

Firm wrists, swing it like a pendulum!
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Scoreboard
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—–
The End
That’s it for this week lads. Enjoy the weekend. Wrap up tightly if you are in Europe. Get out the shades if you are in the Middle East! Take care lads.

You will only see umbrellas in Middle East used as protection from the sun. the ladies like to keep the skin wrinkle free
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Dubai Marina towers provide spectacular background to the golf

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I prefer it in B&W!

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Swinger Nr 2
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MB
__

Tea Time


Greetings lads. M’sa al khair. Inshallah you are all in fine fettle.
MB is on short trip to Dubai as family just landed out here for 2 month break and just not possible to bring them to Saudi for various ‘cultural’ reasons. The Golf (Dubai Desert Classic) on in Dubai this weekend so maybe get there on Sat or Sun before my return to Saudi. Incidentally lads, am invited for ‘out in the desert’ trip on my return to the Kingdom and will hopefully get some good photos for you all. Hope to do that next weekend.
This week’s pics lads are mostly from a small roadside restaurant/cafe that I happened across last weekend when was in need of a cup of tea.
Pressure of time this weekend lads will result in shorter HX than normal I think. Lets see how it goes.
MB sips Chi in the Afghan cafe and watches lad walking down the dusty street 
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DH – The Reluctant Emigrant

Giving pride of place this weekend lads to fellow blogger, writer (presently some way through her first book) and general raconteur DH. Met DH today for coffee in Ibn Batuta Mall in Dubai.

Was expecting some kind words for the HX blog lads, but some 10 seconds into the conversation DH informs MB – “You are not using your blog in correct way MB, I will give you 2 hour instruction session in due course and show you how its done“. And like all men everywhere lads, I just took the beating, nodded my submissive head a few times thanked DH for the constructive criticism, for her benevolence and kind heart.

So lads, expect some amazing things in next few weeks when DH puts MB on the righteous path. Allah u akbar!

This weeks blog from DH. As usual DH, sukran gizan. May your blog always have traffic. Inshallah.
And as special treat for you all lads I give you pic (with her kind permission) of Irish/Abu Dhabi blogger DH, as shot today at Dubai’s Ibn Batuta Mall:
DH, at Ibn Batuta Mall earlier today
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MR – Childhood
Thanks to my friend MR for allowing me to use the following piece which she posted on Facebook after the recent school shooting in Connecticut, USA. She generally writes on topics more close to her heart, and rarely on other stuff. I am encouraging her to get more ‘logical’ (private joke between us!) and I like the following:
I was reminded yesterday of my childhood by my friend Tony Jay. Thanks Tony. As a child my play time was all the time. I was lucky enough to have been raised on a farm where my friends were the cows, the foxes, the birds. My playground were the trees, the fields and the rivers.
School was my challenge as it curbed my freedom. I realised as an adult the education I received outside of school was to be the basis of how I perceive life today but I am grateful for my formal education in being to able to read and write so that I may communicate and read so many wonderful books and my education was my choice eventually as it was only till I was older that I realised which field I wanted to work in and so having said this I now refer to what has happened in America at the School in Connecticut.
I watched Sky News last night regarding this tragic event. A reporter stating how 5 year old children are drilled about what to do if their is an attack on their school. WOW……is all I said to myself. To think that a 5 year old is at this tender beautiful age is subjected to the world they face, a world where you must own a gun to protect yourself from those who also own a gun. The quote ” Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword” came to mind. I feel as deeply as everyone at the heartache of this situation but is it not a result of the mentality that the world has become.
I worked last year in a care home for Dementia and one lady who had been a school teacher said to me as we were having a trip down memory lane that the children of today are being educated by violent computor games and being subjected to all types of violence in the media..it is everywhere and I absolutely agreed with her. I told her about my childhood where I now realise it was my own imagination was my play and guns were no part of it.
I send Love from the deepest part of my heart to the families and friends in America but I also send Wisdom that all of us now realise that ALL OF US have been responsible for what happened in Connecticut and that from this heartbreaking lesson all of us play a part for change that children maybe allowed to be children. Freedom is never won by violence and children need to know that. My own son asked me at 17 asked me could I become a british citizen as I have the right to do so my mother being English but I was born in Ireland and I asked him why. He said he wanted to join the British Airforce. I told him NO and I also told him I was not going to be a part of him getting into a plane with the intention of killing people. He never asked me again and he is now an engineer. I was shocked that he asked me and that made me deeply aware of the influence of the violence that plays a huge part on all our children.
Change is so needed on this beautiful planet we live on. In light and Love Emoji
Arrived in Dubai on Tue night, camera at the ready – Mosque, Jumeirah Road, Dubai. 
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Dubai Panoramic Photo
Attended a Photo night in Dubai few nights back lads and one of those who gave a presentation was the guy who shot this amazing panoramic shot of Dubai – from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The viewing deck is on floor 126 as he reminded us, and many of us have visited that deck as a ‘must see’ Dubai thing. As he informed us on the night the distance from the viewing deck to the top of the building is the same height as the Empire State building in New York!
The guy & his assistant brought a video camera with them to record their efforts and was scary just even watching it on the night. The camera used was some high tech one brought from Switzerland just for the purpose, from a manufacturer that I never heard of, using some fancy lens that I also never heard of. The final shot is a stitched panorama of some 48 individual photos, and you can zoom in with your mouse and get close-up of any area you wish.
Afghan cafe/restaurant owner makes chi (tea) for MB in Riyadh last weekend. Most places outside the Riyadh city centre area are very basic, generally small in size and not very hygienic with very small menu selection. The TV was tuned to one of the Afghanistan TV channels and was giving us the news from home in the Pashtu language. Big relief according to the owner & his customers that the US would soon pulling out.
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Dubai Parkour

Another Dubai video doing the rounds at the mo is of an English Parkour activist doing his stuff in some of the older areas of the Emirate. First section of the short movie is in the Spice or Gold Market area along Dubai Creek, and second section is from the Bastakia area (Bur Dubai). Both great places to visit if you are ever out this neck of the woods

For those in saudi on lower income, or those with small business like my Afghan friend, this Chinese make of motorbike is popular
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Home deliveries are possible
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— 

Saudi Walls

I have only departed Saudi a few days lads and I discover that some Ministry has introduced a new ‘wall’ rule. All shops that have both male & female staff must now build walls within the shop at least 1.6m high to separate the males from the female staff. Its obviously a very good idea lads as it will:
  • Provide work for the construction industry
  • Prevent any funny business going on in the public areas of the shops between the male and female staff.
We Saudis can now rest easier in our beds at night in certain knowledge that the segregation of the man and the woman continues in the proper way. Allah u akbar. Read on lads:

Indian lad delivers eggs to the Afghan restaurant and is pleased that MB is taking his pic
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UAE Amnesty for illegals
The UAE Government recently introduced an amnesty for all those living illegally in UAE. If you come as a tourist, or your work visa gets cancelled (after your employment ends) you have 30 days to leave the country. Or you incur a daily fine. After a long period the fine becomes unpayable for many and they live illegally.
The current amnesty involves handing yourself in to the authorities, an iris scan takes place, you do not pay any fine but you receive a permanent life ban from the UAE. You are then free to leave, and must purchase your own flight ticket. The following link relates to one family from Pakistan who can not afford the ticket:
Driver stops for Chi at Afghan restaurant before delivering the blocks
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Salam
Ok lads, gotta go. Maybe bit boring this week. Can’t always be awesomely brilliant I guess. Take care y’all. Chat ya next week inshallah.
MB