Posted on December 14, 2018
The National Day celebrations have already started in Qatar with lots of events kicking off yesterday. National Day is Tuesday 18 December, which is a public holiday. Amongst other functions on 18th, the Emir of Qatar will officially open the new Doha Metro System (a project with MB involvement), which is a sort of poke in the eye to the blockading neighbouring states. The Metro project has finished more or less on time, despite the severe impact of the land and sea blockade of 05 June 2017, and the fact that almost all materials for the project had to be imported.
MB took this shot at one of the celebratory events last night:
Posted on December 13, 2018
To anyone who read one or more of MB’s blog posts during the year, or liked, or commented, or shared, or interacted in any way – Big thanks for all the crack during 2018. Read More
Posted on December 9, 2018
Qatar National Day public holiday is just around the corner. 18 December to be exact. National Day celebrates the succession of Shaikh Jasim to the throne in 1878, and his subsequent founding of the State of Qatar. On National Day, the national flag will bedeck anything to which one can attach a piece of string or some bunting.
The below shot, featuring a number of Qatar flags, or a very similar version, appeared a few weeks back on one of MB’s posts. MB mentioned at the time that he would return to the scene again to get a sharper shot as the previous one was somewhat blurry. Anyway, MB did just that last night, placing the camera on a concrete wall before pressing the button.
Posted on December 6, 2018
Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More
Posted on December 5, 2018
HX Report has followed the progress of baby Sofia since her birth on 10 February 2017.
Sofia is the daughter of Lebanese parents R&E who are friends of MB, all earning their crust in Doha, Qatar. It’s MB’s intention to chronicle the life of Sofia in the years ahead as she grows up in the crazy Middle East, against the backdrop of regional shenanigans. Read More
Posted on December 1, 2018
Posted on November 30, 2018
Posted on November 26, 2018
Thanks to blogger Patti for her Splash challenge this week.
MB has taken a bit of license on the theme and offers, instead of water, a splash of colour! MB was mooching around Doha’s Souq Waqif last Friday night and came across a bright blue chair in a sea of brown and orange that he had not previously noticed.
Posted on November 22, 2018
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar – The Life of Pie
The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most recognisable buildings in Doha and a must-visit destination for tourists to the country. The building has featured in previous HX posts, but MB took some new pics when out walking earlier this week which he gives you below. Check out the MIA website if you want to learn some more. Read More
Posted on November 15, 2018
The Pigeon House
Many people in the HX locality go for weekend walks around Lough Gur lake. And if one takes the walk from the car park to Ash Point on the Knockadoon Hill side of the lake, one will happen across the old stone remains of a Pigeon House on one’s left-hand side.
A Pigeon House was used in medieval times to house pigeons (really MB?!) which were a source of meat, eggs, and fertiliser. The one at Lough Gur is some 400 years old, maybe much older, and the specifications are included in the information plaque next to the structure.
Posted on November 11, 2018
Supporting music and the arts in the Middle East is one sure way to fight extremist ideologies.
Thank God Qatar is hugely different from some of its neighbours. There are many clubs or bars where one can go to listen to music, and to enjoy a beer or whatever else might take your fancy. The Doha jazz festival finished last night and a new Salsa Music & Dance club recently opened in a prominent hotel, providing two example of the more relaxed scene in Qatar than exists elsewhere in the region.
The Qatar Philarmonic Orchestra is playing since 2008 and is made up of over 100 professional musicians who were originally recruited mostly in Europe and the Arab World. They play regular concerts at a number of venues, the most recent being the Johann Strauss’ Vienna on Friday night last.
From the website of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performs and promotes western and Arabic music in order to inspire the children and adults of Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music. The Philharmonic is a member of the Qatar Foundation, which is supporting Qatar on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.
The orchestra was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in 2007. The orchestra of 101 musicians was chosen by a jury of international music professionals through auditions held in European and Arab countries. Selection criteria were driven by musician quality. The Philharmonic held its Inaugural Concert on October 30th, 2008, conducted by Lorin Maazel.
MB was surprised not to see the below piece listed on the programme for the evening. But the sneaky German conductor had pulled a fast one on MB and others by keeping it for his encore!
So with the usual apologies for MB’s terrible hand-held camera video, voila:
Posted on November 10, 2018
A night out listening to a philharmonic orchestra is not one that many back home would think possible in the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East. But that’s the night out that MB and others had last night in Doha, Qatar.
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was playing a concert entitled Johann Strauss’s Vienna conducted by young award-winning German conductor Elias Grandy. The Strauss concert was played at the Qatar National Convention Centre, a spectacular venue, in one of its small auditoriums.
If you wish to read a little more on the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, click here.
Posted on November 4, 2018
MB’s efforts for this week’s Photo Challenge from Blogger Ann Christine – Blending In/Standing Out.
MB is not sure if the four dhow boats on Doha Cornice last week were blending in or standing out. Maybe a bit of both.
But Mr. Crow, standing on top of a Celtic Cross outside a church in Adare, County Limerick in late September as MB passed by, was definitely standing out!
Posted on November 1, 2018
Posted on October 25, 2018
Weather – Qatar.
Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.
The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.
Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.
MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.
It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.
Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.
Have a nice weekend!