Posted on March 21, 2013
Atlantis On The Palm Hotel, Dubai
MB arrives at the Atlantis
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)
This Week’s Pics
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.
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.
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).
And then come back for 2nd desert!
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:
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.
The Reluctant Emigrant (DH)
Ana Taaban lads (I am tired lads!)
The center piece display at the hotel lobby. The 2 ladies give you a sense of scale.
East meets West
Posted on March 15, 2013
Posted on March 14, 2013
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 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
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!
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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. 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.
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. He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977. His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo. 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. He speaks Arabic fluently.
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:
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:
Inside a mud oven – for cooking the bread
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!
Afghani man sorts the bread
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
Posted on March 7, 2013
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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……
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
The Gay Mormon & Coming OutRead 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.
GF: I am gay, homo, etc
MB: What’s ‘etc’?
GF: ‘Etc’ was joke MB
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.
Reluctant Emigrant – Ping Pong
Thanks to DH for another good one this week.
So expect invite from MB during next few days lads and become a HX Report – FOLLOWER
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!
Posted on February 27, 2013
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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 “
Jumairah beach, Dubai. Locals frolic in the Arabian Sea.
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
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.
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.
Philosophical gulls look out to sea and ponder life’s good and bad.
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
Mom and her 2 chicks, who hide their heads under her sari.
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.
Gull swoops low over the sand. MB is like speedy Gonzalez with the Canon 7D, and clicks just in time.
So long lads.
That’s it for another week. As the young lads around HX are fond of saying – be talkin tcha!
Man looks at Gulls and thinks….. what if I was born a bird? Birds look at man and think……. WTF!
Take care y’all.
Posted on February 20, 2013
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
One you won’t see in Ireland!
“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.
Dragon Mart – Dubai
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.”
Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai
Anyone for colour?
Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes.
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.
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.
Posted on February 14, 2013
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:
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.
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.
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.
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…………..
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!—
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.
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.
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!
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!
That’s it for another week. Regards to all. Enjoy your weekend.
Posted on February 7, 2013
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!
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.
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
Dubai News – Sheikh Mo
Sheikh Mo has done it yet again lads, God bless every royal & regal inch of him.
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!
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
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’
Hats off to The Oatmeal.
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.
Fans follow the ball flight
Crossing the fairway
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.
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!
Rest area out on the course
Wearing the Burqa
Firm wrists, swing it like a pendulum!
Swinger Nr 2
Posted on February 1, 2013
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!
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
- 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.
Posted on January 25, 2013
Sabah Al Khaire lads (Good morning lads)
Bit on the cold side at home I hear. Hopefully wood fires burning, electric blankets & hot water bottles serviced keeping you all snug & cozy. The weather in central Saudi Arabia is a delight for fair skinned Irish lads with lilly white skin who hate heat & direct sunlight. Its akin to decent Irish Summer weather at the mo with jackets required morning & evening. Nice.
Street art – Empty water bottle & cigarette butt
Dubai on the other hand is experience the usual seasonal foggy mornings:
Received another conversion attempt lads. An early morning attack this time. Landed down to the hotel lobby circa 7am to be greeted by young apprentice Imam (Muslim priest), who is attending the Imam College across the street. He was watching the prayer channel from Mecca at the time as usual, and upon seeing MB turned up the volume to head splitting level, in hope that higher volume was more likely to force the message into the brain of MB.
“Come listen to the Quran” he said, or words to that effect as he has minimal English. “You are giving me very large headache my young friend” said MB who felt the early stages of a migrane coming on. “Muslim beautiful, you must become” he replied with a beautiful Muslim smile, as I waited for the Indian lad at the coffee bar to land out my cappuccino (mafi sugar). “Muslim beautiful, Yahudi (Jew) beautiful & Christian beautiful” replied MB who was starting to enjoy the crack at this stage and was toying with the beautiful Muslim. Young lad was now obviously bit confused as he had obviously not previously considered the possibility that anyone other than Muslims could be beautiful and threw his eyes skyward, looking to Allah for inspiration. Before Allah could bestow some clever ideas MB got in again quick. “Have you ever travelled outside of Saudi my friend” said MB knowing he hadn’t, “you might get some new ideas”.
Construction waste – a study of green & brown
His level of English was insufficient to understand MBs question so he asked young Egyptian male receptionist to translate. Upon hearing the question Egyptian lad was too afraid to translate it correctly, and even with my limited Arabic I knew he translated as “are you good Muslim?”. The spineless Egyptian smiled a spineless smile and looked at MB thinking he was off the hook. “No BS please young Egyptian lad” said MB, feeling like wanting to break spineless Egyptian’s nose. “Have you ever travelled outside Saudi” said spineless Egyptian, fearing for his nose, to beautiful Muslim, but was still and will always remain, too fearful to ask about the possibility of new ideas entering beautiful Muslims brain should he ever see the wider world. “La (no)” said beautiful Muslim. “Inshallah you will” said MB. “Inshallah” replied beautiful Muslim, as he pondered the thought, trying to calculate how his future might go. MBs coffee arrived, MB sipped, the caffein kicked in, beautiful Muslim refocused on TV screen, headache symptoms receded and all was well with the world. Beautiful world!
This week’s theme lads is all about calculation. Friend who has very sharp brain recently informed MB that they had just had “calculation day“. A day full of calculations, from college activities to other aspects of their daily life. And suggested it would make good topic for the blog. Bit like the book Ulysses lads, a day in the life sort of thing. My mind focused on the thought lads and within 15 mins my brain was so tired from ‘calculation’ thoughts, I had to take rest in my bed. When you think about it lads almost everything we do in life has some calculation involved. What time to get up in the morning? What time to leave the house to get to work on time? Or to get the kids to school on time? And so on and so on.
I suggest you do not think too much about it lads, as you will only exhaust your brains and need to lie down. So just crack on with life lads, but be aware that calculations are lurking everywhere and its only when the calculations go awry that life takes a turn for the worst. Get the calculations correct lads and the world will be truly beautiful for you & yours. Inshallah!
Plastic & rubble
This weeks pics are mainly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am not impressed with the disrespect that many many Saudi give their country. So the photos reflect. They are all shot on residential or commercial area streets. Everyone seems to throw food wrapping or papers out their car windows, or dump their rubbish on any available open space. Construction companies are the worst culprits. I do not know why the authorities do not crack down on such behaviour.
Back to the more traditional HX this week lads (that you all love), after the more photographic efforts of late. Paid extra dollars to the Yankee Website to enable colour and other features, so you will be even more mesmerized in the coming weeks & months.
As usual lads – if you think any friends would enjoy the HX just send on details, and welcome contributions from any & all.
1,000m long x 200m wide open area, filled to capacity by construction waste, dumped illegally to save cost of dumping in registered tip
HX Music (Dedicated to friend KB, who moved family to Australia last year)
Let there be music lads. Irish icon Christy Moore, from many years back. From 2004 reunion concert I think. Told you previously that I was lucky enough to see a Planxty concert as a young lad. Will always remember. Copied the following from one of the comments on YouTube. The guy is not far wrong.
I’ve seen the Stones,Clapton,Ferry,Elton John, the Police, the Boomtown Rats, Ian Dury, George Michael, Squeeze, Dire Straits, Paul Young, Southside Johnny, Genesis, Neil Finn (Crowded House), the Pogues, the Dubliners, Mary Black, Christy on his own, and many others. But the Planxty concerts, I first saw them in 79 , have a magical, ethereal, almost mystical aspect to them. The only other concerts that have come close, in my experience – but a totally different experience, are Springsteen’s.
Dubai: Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, Wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has donated Dh25 million to the UAE national football team for their achievements.
The sons of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Shaikh Rashid and Shaikh Saeed, have provided Dh12 million for the team and more donations and rewards are expected, with companies and businessmen coming forward with cash prizes and cars.
Striker Ahmad Khalil has already been given a new Range Rover for scoring the winning goal against Kuwait in the semi-final.
Dubai: A couple have been jailed for one year for kissing in public despite the man claiming he gave his female friend CPR when she suffered an asthma attack.
The 28-year-old Indian man claims he was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when he kissed his asthmatic 25-year-old Filipina girlfriend in a lifeguard tower where an Emirati woman said she saw them cuddling and kissing.
The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the defendants of committing a lewd act in public.
They were also fined Dh1,000 each for consuming alcohol.
Graffiti & rubbish sculpture
23% of Saudi couples are now affected by snoring lads. It’s even affecting our “intimacy“. If any of you can come up with cure I am sure the Rulers will reward you, as well as UAE footballers at least! Ideas please lads:
Manama: Around 23 per cent of couples in Saudi Arabia sleep in separate bedrooms due to the snoring of at least one spouse, a study indicates.
According to the unofficial study, several of the spouses have, however, complained that the issue had affected their intimacy and even their relations with the larger family, local news site Sabq reported on Wednesday.
“I was forced to file for divorce from my husband because of his snoring,” a woman was quoted as saying by Sabq. “My husband refuses to see a doctor because he does not believe he has a problem and attributes his snoring to being exhausted from work. My family has flatly rejected my complaints, arguing that I was interested in trivial and frivolous matters and causing problems and apologised to my husband for thinking about filing for divorce,” she said.
Oil drum with bottle
I wish to extend my good wishes to young (21 year old) Crosser PRO who comes from the HX area at home and who will shortly be stationed in Afghanistan by his British army employers. PRO played football for MB only few short years ago as 14, 15 & 16 year old. Now, in the mere blink of an eye it seems, PRO will enter an altogether different world. I can not help but still think of him as the young smiling kid who played right full for me on the team. I can not think of him as young adult soldier. Make sure you calculate well young PRO. Important.
Recent email from him surprised me I must admit. He and others in his squad were disappointed to miss the February selection and will now await the March posting. I might previously have thought, had I considered it, that any young lad would not look forward to a tour of duty in such a location. The opposite is the case it seems. Strange to my way of thinking, but such is the way of the world.
Stay safe young PRO, respect the locals & their customs, and we are praying for your safe return. Salam.
PRO is now part of a very long line of Afghan history. The rulers and army top brass condition the squaddies to obey the orders, not to question why, but merely do or die. Take a look at one of my favourite pieces of TV ever. A great anti war piece. Sad that the BBC have now cut the final scene where you see the boys getting shot close up. Added greatly to the message. But still very much worth viewing: From Black Adder – Final episode.
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier…………….Rudyard Kipling (From The Young British Soldier)
Posted on January 18, 2013
Posted on January 17, 2013
Happy new year to you all and inshallah we will have a good one. If you are planning holidays at the moment lads keep visit to MB in mind in his lonely desert hideaway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can not just turn up at the airport, we must organise an invitation for you, which will enable you to apply for visit visa in your country of residence. When you land please be aware that music, alcohol, dancing, much sport, cinemas, talking to unrelated females and all frivolous behaviour is generally considered haram and likely to land you with a jail sentence and a public flogging of varying severity depending on the transgression.
Great evening sky at Caherguillamore with winter tree skeletons
However, assuming you are not an unrelated female, MB will be able to drive you around the city to experience the Thrill of the Saudi Roundabout and/or the Thrill of the Saudi Traffic Light Junction. The UAE has Ferrari World and much else for family excitement, but I assure you lads that it is as nothing compared to the ‘everyday driving style’ of the Saudi male. He goes around the roundabouts in the wrong direction if it gets him to his exit quicker, there appears to be wholesale national colour blindness in relation to the colour ‘red’ – as red traffic lights are considered as important as the used tissue he just threw out his drivers window onto the public street. Please in your wisdom God/Allah – inspire the Royal Ruler to ban all Saudi males from driving anything faster than a camel, punishable by the the standard beheading, and allow the Saudi females to take ownership of all automobiles in the Kingdom. I assure you God/Allah that if the Ruler trys my suggestion for one month he will never change the law again. One for my 2013 bucket list, inshallah.
Windy evening sky at Rockbarton
Great time at home for 2 weeks with family & friends. Lots of rain to remind MB that he was no longer in the desert and some great skys. Took lodza photos over the hols especially in early morning. Gave you a few in last 2 blogs, and giving you a few more of them today. Especially some sky shots. Hope you like. Never realised how many telephone and electricity cables we have at home until this past holiday. Could not get a shot without them.
Sky with bird, behind my house, early days January
Ok lads, a few tales to tell you from the holiday period and the usual nonsense. Appealing to all Crossers in 2013 to send me stuff for inclusion or any ideas you have that I might tackle. Have already received very good suggested topic for next week from one of my more intelligent friends/acquaintances. So lets have them lads. MB awaits a flood of replies (get real MB, think of the stuff yourself and stop bothering us!)
Sky at HX (over Conway’s House)
In a medical first for Ireland lads, if not the entire planet, a very close female acquaintance of MB caught man flu over the Christmas holiday. Now in the past lads, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that the same female had less than zero sympathy for any male of the species who contracted the dreaded man flu and would look on him as a Saudi male would look at a red traffic light, a worthless useless object for ridicule and scorn. But when the shoe suddenly went on the other foot lads, same lady threw herself in a heap into the bed, turned on the electric blanket for 2 whole days and moaned like a cow in the last stages of mad cow disease, just before the vet arrives to end the misery.
Copious amounts of tissues and medicines were purchased by the male relations of the family, who fully understood the symptoms, to assist the helpless victim. Mercifully, praise the Lord & Allah u Akbar, after 2+ days of TLC from those same male relatives (that she had laughed at under similar circumstances in the past) she regained her strength sufficiently to resume public appearances. A much more humble, understanding and wise woman for her experience.
So beware ladies. A new strain of the flu seems to have developed and you too are now at risk. So before its too late, have a few words with your man about your past behaviour and he will accept your apologies with good grace I assure you. If the dreaded man flu hits you you will very shortly need all the TLC you can get!
Family inform me that we have new visitor to the tree at back of our house in recent months – a Collared Dove (note the thin black collar around his neck)
I had to return to UAE after the holiday to renew my Saudi visa lads and took the opportunity to buy a few necessities. Namely one pair of shoes, one shirt and one trousers.
So knowing the items I needed I headed to the Ibn batuta Mall in Dubai and parked the car – 7.30pm. Walked into the mall and entered the first shop I encountered that had all the required items – 7.32pm. Had look around the shop and selected the approx correct size of the preferred shirt & trousers, headed to the fitting room – 7.34pm. Shirt ok, good to go. Trousers ok but leg adjustment required. Called assistant who pinned one leg to correct length. Put on own clothes and handed items to assistant – 7.39pm. Selected shoes of correct size and tried them on – all ok, good to go – 7.43pm. Paid the bill and was assured trousers would be ready for collection following evening – 7.46pm. returned to car – 7.49pm. Total shopping trip = 19mins start to finish.
For God sake ladies why does it take even the fittest of your number approx 4 hours to carry out the same task? I could play a whole round of golf in the same time FFS! Please ladies, please please please, take inspiration from MB and try to do better in 2013. Your man, if you have one, will respect you all the more if you do. And if you do not have a man, then a quicker shopper is a much more attractive proposition that one who is not. For your own sakes ladies, please take note!
Main Street, Bruff Village
God help Syria. Speaking to Syrian female friend last week she informed me that in addition to the UN confirmed 60,000 dead (& that only includes victims where both first and family names could be confirmed) there are over 100,000 in prison and nobody has access to them so its unknown whether they are dead or alive. There are also millions now displaced within Syria and much food shortages. Cold temps and no heating or cooking oil. Petrol now over 5 USD per liter.
A friend said to me back in Ireland over Christmas that he heard a story that 150 people were killed recently in a single week in in Syria and he could not believe it. I informed him the figure is not correct, it is more accurately about 500 per week getting killed. He found it incredible. And I noticed Syria is disappearing from the TV screens back home. But you can believe it lads – 500 per week are getting shot or blown to pieces while the UN does nothing for various BS reasons.
And as in most wars its the women & children who often bear the brunt of the conflict.
God help Syria.
Rape ‘significant’ factor in Syria conflict
The Cliona Foundation
A good news story from back home. Great fund raising night was had last Saturday night for the Cliona Foundation, which I have mentioned in the past. And getting lots of well deserved publicity.
Secret Millionaire returns to Limerick
There’s so much doom and gloom about these days that it’s just so brilliantly uplifting to come across a good news story and particularly when it’s to do with Limerick. You may recall the RTE 1 Secret Millionaire documentary aired in September last, which covered our own special Limerick. Unbeknownst to the organisations that were approached by a seemingly ordinary chap whom they were led to believe was a Producer doing a documentary, and who later revealed himself as the Secret Millionaire – Richard Mulcahy was intent on helping those less fortunate than himself. From an unassuming background, Richard made his fortune in a number of areas including software development. Having spent a week in Limerick filming at the beginning of the summer, Richard will return to Limerick for the Cliona’s Foundation annual social night in Bulgaden on January 12 2013 along with the other organisations spotlighted in the SM programme.
Bruff village church with part rainbow
Saudi Man & Saudi Women
Mentioned to you a number of times in the past lads that the Saudi King Abdulla is much loved by the people and is considered to be doing his best to improve the lot of women in the country. He recently appointed a load of women to an advisory council, where they will have to enter through separate entrance as the men in the council are unrelated and they are not allowed to mix. But the conservative clerics are cheesed off with his decision and think the women should be at home cooking and cleaning. They landed to see the King a few days ago to raise a protest. Thankfully he made them wait for 2 hours, before instructing his assistant to inform them to clear off and not be wrecking his head. Can imagine their faces when they heard!
The following 2 links tell the tale:
Riyadh slams world reaction to maid’s beheading
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday criticised world reaction to its beheading of a Sri Lankan maid convicted of killing her employer’s baby, the official SPA news agency reported.
Riyadh “deplores the statements made… over the execution of a Sri Lankan maid who had plotted and killed an infant by suffocating him to death, one week after she arrived in the kingdom,” the government spokesman said.
Rizana Nafeek was beheaded on Wednesday in a case that sparked widespread international condemnation, including from rights groups which said she was just 17 when she was charged with murdering the baby in 2005.
Nafeek was found guilty of smothering the infant after an argument with the child’s mother.
Back in Dubai for few days before heading to Saudi. Typical Friday morning scene from the UAE when the Indians get out the cricket bats for relaxation and fun after the week’s toil
Entering Dubai Marina from Abu Dhabi direction, Marina towers in the background
Have a nice weekend
Ok lads. Take care, and regards to all.
Posted on December 30, 2012
Happy New Year to all.
Galtee Mountains, Limerick/Tipperary/Cork border
Fog engulfed Galtee Mor (highest peak)
Bridge @ Bruff village
Ballygrennan Castle, Bruff
Mary Howard’s Pub, famous Bruff watering hole
My daughter & pal running by Ash Point, Lough Gur
Knockfennell, Lough Gur, shot from the opposite Knockadoon hill
Knockadoon, looking west
Chat next year. Take care all.
Posted on December 25, 2012
Greetings all. A few photos of the past few days around the HX homeland. Cheers all!
Caherguillamore – Solstice Morning 21st December 2012 (x4)
Solstice late afternoon – Grange Stone Circle
Grange – Entrance to O’ Sullivans/Lough Gur on the Old Rd
Three swans over Lough Gur – Christmas Eve morning
Sunday morning commemoration of 1920 shooting of 5 IRA fighters – Grange Church Graveyard
Sky behind MB’s house on Christmas eve
Have a good one!
Posted on December 13, 2012
…there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation.
This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him…
there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray,
I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years,
forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity
only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful,
benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
– Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
I am somewhat concerned about Saudi women working as per your article “Saudi Men & Women – Mixing haram!”
With my limited knowledge of the region (he has much knowledge I assure you lads – do not be fooled), I think it is probable that many would think that women could potentially start work working and it ends in sexual freedom. Simply different cultural upbringing and approaches.
My concern is not about prostitution or even free consensual sex – it is the wider implications on employment and change in society.
With Saudi women not working in the mainstream mixed arena and very few women working at all, the change to society and expectations re women will be dramatic and stressful to all and sundry. Many men will feel that they have lost their mojo as it will be seen by most that they cannot support their family – this is an issue that will cause immense and extreme frictions within families and tribes – a serious issue seldom understood by outsiders.
As a result of women not working, they are used to an ‘easy life’ with the families and the like (very tribal) hence they have drivers, several maids and nannies etc – this is all expected and provided by the male of the family. Consider female ‘freedom’ and potential implications – fewer drivers, maids and nannies as the women want to have freedoms and take responsibility, to drive, to look after kids etc – I suggest that to those who do not know or understand the society that this will not happen for generations.
Herein lies the ultimate Catch-22 – the status quo is actually driven by the women, particularly the elders as they see it as their right to be looked after and pampered by their men. Children are looked after by maids – women are driven about and dropped off and picked up at the front door of every establishment – no woman will ever do grocery shopping nor carry any bags.
I hear much noise about womens rights etc in Saudi and the region – what surprises me is that only the rich and well off families in our society can afford 1-2 drivers, a house maid, a cook and a nanny per 1-2 children, yet this is common place for the vast majority of families in Saudi. I am not sure which society model is correct – but I know many women who envy Saudi luxuries.
Freedoms come with a price and I think we should spend some time understanding the price we have paid for our so called freedoms in the west. I know many western women who live in the region and complain about the so called ‘second class’ status of women – but the vast majority of these same women never want to leave because life is easy and you are pampered to etc.
Simply different cultural upbringing and approaches.
- USA – 35%
- Rumania – 10%
- China – 11%
- Others 44%
- Rumanians & Chines would love MBs reviews
- Rumanians & Chinese had anything in common at all
DH – Reluctant Emigrant
– T.S. Eliot