Posted on February 6, 2015
Posted on June 7, 2013
Posted on May 9, 2013
Greetings & Salam to all
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
Hope all well lads. We are getting belted with rain in the Middle East at the moment. This weeks blog from DH (below) is all about the rain in UAE, and MB can confirm that we are also getting rain of biblical (or Qoranical) proportions in Saudi for last few weeks. It’s very late to get such rain in this region so we are not sure if just one of mother natures little quirks, or the rain gods are displeased, or global warming. Who knows?!
And then the sun came out for a moment
And if you thought you are getting heavy rain in Ireland this past while lads then please think again. It seems that in 2,345 BC Ireland suffered 20 years of continuous rainfall, and numerous umbrella millionaires were born. The following link gives you that story lads and there is also mention of 10 years non stop rain in 540 AD. So please all Irish lads, quit your moaning and belly aching about a mere 9 months of wetness. There could be plenty more on the way:
MB has no clue what to write about this week lads so he will have a cuppa qawah (coffee) + some choc to try to kick-start the brain. This week’s pics are mainly from last week’s visit to Dubai and MB had the good fortune to be outside the Burj Khalifa (Khalifa Tower – in English) on a cloudy evening & night with his best camera, and he just went mental with the pics. The pics are over a few hours, and go from early evening daylight to later dark of night. Hope you all like.
The Burj, as some of you might know, is the tallest building in the world at approx 830M high. When you are on the viewing deck on Floor Nr 126, there is still a height equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building in NY to get you to the top. MB’s pics do not convey the height of the structure, as they are all too close range. If you are a few kilometers away, looking at the adjoining 50 & 60 story buildings then you can really see the perspective and appreciate the scale of it all.
From wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa
MB still wondering what to write about!
Tornado in the desert
Yes lads, MB got caught up in a tornado in the Saudi desert this week (yesterday actually) and for once MB did not really have a solution if his office complex got sucked up into the Saudi sky. It came upon us in an instant lads, and within seconds our bright sunny mid afternoon sunshine disappeared, to be replaced by night-time like darkness and a thunderous noise.
Met this dog with his owner on the street. Owners were happy when MB emailed them the pic. Even in liberal Dubai there are many areas where you are not allowed to own or walk a dog. Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims so they do not have them. Saudi Arabia has population of some 25M people but I have never seen a single dog!
MB was in his office being his beautiful brilliant best when the deafening tornado noise erupted without warning and went on for 10 or 15 minutes. The amount of desert sand sucked up by the wind took visibility down to almost nothing as deepest darkness descended. Within 30 seconds the entire interior of the offices were covered in fine sand dust as it blew in through every possible orifice – doors blown open, tiny cracks at edges of windows and others. Computers, desks, humans – all covered within seconds. Many seasoned locals immediately had scarfs over their faces with only eyes visible as they sat at their work stations. But most like MB did not have such attire, and just choked on the dust.
The office complex immediately started to shake with the ferocity of the force of nature at work, and it seemed for a while like everything would come away from the foundations and we would all end up in Iran within a short while. Mercifully (God is Irish surely) the building structure held good and eventually the storm passed. We were then battered by extremely heavy rainfall for 2 hours or so, which caused huge flooding throughout the locality. Driving home later involved trying to find shallowest parts of road-lakes to drive slowly through, with some Arab lads struggling in their broken down cars in middle of the lakes (haha!).
But MB survived to tell you the tale lads. So all’s well that end’s well. Allah u akbar!
Still wondering what to write about!
Where the hell is Matt
MB is sure many of you will have seen the Matt Harding videos online, where he dances in numerous locations around the world with the local people. And just conveys a great sense of fun and the goodness of humanity, regardless of race, creed or colour. It’s referred to as a ‘jig’ on Wikipedia, but its unlike any Irish jig you will have ever seen. Really great great stuff, and MB defies anyone to watch this without a smile on your face. I see some of the YouTube comments admit to crying while watching. Can understand why.
Where the Hell is Matt? is an Internet phenomenon that features a video of Dancing Matt (Matt Harding) doing a dance “jig” in many different places around the world in 2005. The background music in the video is the song Sweet Lullaby Dancing Remix by Deep Forest. The video garnered popularity on the video sharing site Youtube. There are now five major videos plus outtakes and background videos on YouTube.
In 2007, Jawed Karim, one of the founders of YouTube, stated that Harding’s video was his favorite on YouTube at that time.
Clouds wrap around the top of the Burj Khalifa
So for those who have not seen previously (and for those who have):
Go on lads – play it again!
Think I mentioned BBC World News programme recently about the Hassidic Jews in their native Israel, where there is much conflict with the secular majority. But because they hold balance of political power they are influencing the whole political situation in the country to a far greater degree than their 20% of the population might merit. And like religious zealots everywhere, tolerance is not a quality they possess in any great abundance. Preferring to look in tunnel vision fashion at everything from their own very narrow perspective. And when you believe that God is also on your side, and only on your side, then you become one seriously difficult group to deal with.
Follower MOD posted the following link on Fb recently which tells story of the Hassidim in USA and issues that are arising. Long read but very interesting, if you are into this kind of politico/religious stuff like MB:
Still wondering what the hell to write about!
The Burj disappears into the clouds
Dubai Police Cars
Think I mentioned recently lads that the recent purchase of some dream machine cars by Dubai police force was possibly big PR exercise by the Ruler to promote brand ‘Dubai’ around the globe. The following article confirms same, with confirmation that the Ferrari will spend most of its time in the tourist spots, rather that chasing boy racers on the major highways.
And to blow everyone away lads it has been decided that the Ferrari will be driven by female officers. MB smiled when he read that one – living as he does in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed drive cars – at all. Dubai’s Sheikh Mo is really giving a poke in the eye to the backward thinking of many out these parts. As MB has often said – Long Live Sheikh Mo!
What oh what to write about!Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
MB though that the 70s or 80s band Depeche Mode were all dead with only some remaining memories in Madam Touseau’s or some musical museums. But how wrong can MB be lads? (not a serious question lads). DM will play the after-race gig at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – for God sake!http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/tabloid/depeche-mode-to-close-abu-dhabi-f1-1.1180240?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26282937If MB does not think of something to write about soon lads he just might give the whole thing a skip this week!
Reluctant Emigrant – Let It Rain
In keeping with this week’s theme lads DH is also writing about the local weather, with great style.
Met this Arab couple on the street who were trying to take self-portrait with their camera phone. MB appeared before them like a Photo God and took this shot, which he email later. They are still smiling!
Just could not think of anything decent to discuss this week at all lads. Humblest apologies (a rarity for MB). Will produce better effort next week inshallah. There will be days like this!
From one of Ireland’s finest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-h2AgbaVNA
Have a good one lads!
Category: Burj Khalifa, Depeche Mode, Dog, Dubai Police, Dubai skyline, Hassidim, Holycross, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Matt Harding, Middle East Life, Photography, Rain, reluctant Immigrant, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo, Tornado Tagged: Burj Khalifa, Depeche Mode, Dog, Dubai Police, Dubai skyline, Hassidim, Holycross, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Matt Harding, Middle East Life, Photography, Rain, reluctant Immigrant, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo, Tornado
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
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.
Category: Acacia tree, Beheading, Birds, Burj Khalifa, Chess, Conversion, Dalai Lama, Dubai, For the birds, Fujairah, Humour, If, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, Muslim, Philosophy, Photography, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Women Tagged: Acacia tree, Beheading, Birds, Burj Khalifa, Chess, Conversion, Dalai Lama, Dubai, For the birds, Fujairah, Humour, If, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, Muslim, Philosophy, Photography, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Women
It's a mad HX world!