Marhaba


Salam lads

May you all have some salam/peace in your lives. Its a good thing to have for sure.

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Mentioned last week that we had some heavy rains out these parts in recent weeks. MB also mention the tornado that  he recently got caught up in (& survived) and the earthquake that shook the UAE that had its epicenter in Iran. We certainly don’t do weather stuff out here by half. If MB saw a swarm of locusts outside the hotel this evening he wouldn’t be half surprised.

So just to give you break from the jaw-dropping shots of famous world structures and places of recent weeks lads, MB has decided to give you some pics this week of the recent weather. Took a few shots coming home for work on night of the tornado, plus sat outside the hotel that night and took a few Nat Geo standard shots, for sport, of passing cars as the rains fell. Both arty & awesome then MB? For sure lads!

We are now back to to the regular hot hot hot. Today was circa 40 degrees and not at all exciting for the camera, just too bright, so it’s now packed away until MBs June trip back home.

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Big congrats to MB on reaching 40 blogs this week on this website. Thanks lads. Granted, some of the blogs are single shot photos in the Weekly Photo Challenge thingy, but they all count officially. And in their own way are as equally awesome as the regular effort you will agree.

Was a busy week workwise and the brain a tad tired. But we persevere lads. Onwards!

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Music

One of the comments says that Bob Dylan said this song was written by God. It’s probably true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq3YLhtuzTQ

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Thought

Stumbled across this earlier in the week on one of the blogs I follow:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat on you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother Teresa

 

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Maharaba

Have mentioned the Afghan restaurant where MB goes on occasion to you previously lads. It’s bit (or a lot) 3rd worldish, with flies having free reign and the decor & furniture certainly not of the 5 Star variety. If you are into hygiene and all things clean, then do not look too carefully at the plate you are eating from, or the basket that holds your delicious hot bread which has come straight from the mud oven. The little dish that holds the obligatory side order (served with everything) of raw chopped onions and raw green chillies will also not allow you to see your reflection.

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But there is not a single piece of processed food in any of the steel pots that contain the tasty grub. And as MB has said to you previously, he suspects the very tasty mutton is killed and skinned out back behind some sheets of plywood before landing few minutes later in the mutton pot in the kitchen. It doesn’t come any fresher than that lads! (must take look back there next time). In any event, the human body seems to develop a resistance over a few visits to anything that might more normally prove terminal, allowing the regular punters to just concentrate on enjoying the fine food and bottled water.

The Aghani staff are all very friendly types with smiles on faces when MB and others enter, and it’s generally part of the custom to shake a few hands on entering. For MB at least. The natives are always welcoming and seemingly happy to see a rare Westie enter the premises to eat amongst them. MB suspects that he is only one of one Westie who does. In all MBs visits he has experienced only an open friendly welcome and some natural curiosity about the part of the world MB comes from – and is he Amriki?. La, Irelandee boys, not too far from Britawnya.

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But MB had different experience yesterday when he went in for the evening meal. Was a staff lad sitting watching TV in middle of the small eating area and upon passing MB extended his hand, greeting the lad with a ‘marhaba/hello’. The lad was dressed in typical Afghani dress and had the beard and head gear of a conservative Muslim. Not that his appearance mattered to MB, who takes all as he finds them.

The lad did not accept the hand of MB and for a second or two MB thought he was distracted by the TV programme he was watching. But after another second or two it was obvious that the lad just did not want to acknowledge or accept MBs greeting. So MB withdrew his hand and proceeded to the food area to place his order from the owner who had no issue to shake the hand of MB and whom he knows well at this stage. With a strong honest grip and a wide friendly smile on his face.

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MB was in the company of his young Sudanese friend, a Muslim lad himself, who was intrigued as to why Afghani lad would refuse to shake the hand of MB. So on finishing our food young Sudani challenges young Afghani in the Arabic language. And the following is more or less the conversation that followed, with the Afghani giving his answer and reasoning for his behavior:

“Why did you refuse to take the hand of the Westie?”

“Because I want to refuse and because I hate him. Is he American or British? Damn his soul to hell if he is”

“No, he is Irish”

“It’s the same”

“And what if he is a Muslim? Or not. How can you judge the man before you know him?”

“Is he a Muslim?”

“No, he is not”

“Then I did not misjudge him”

MB could analyse the above conversation ’till the cows come home. But he won’t. It’s said that education is the solution to most of the world’s problems. MB agrees.

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Don Of All Trades

Want to introduce you to a blogger that I follow who writes some very funny stuff, usually. Unusual name – and a multi-tasker by the sounds of it. If you like your food or cooking, the following DOAT blog will be to your liking and put a big smile on your face. MB was in stitches reading it. Brilliantly funny composition!

http://donofalltrades.com/2013/05/09/chopped-a-time-i-didnt-win-10000/#comment-1799

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Syrian Women
Not a good time to be a Syrian woman. Especially if you are single, and your family have no money or food, and maybe you are stuck in a refugee camp in Turkey or Jordan hundreds or thousands of miles from home, with very little hope. In such desperate circumstances a young woman can become a possibly solution of sorts for her family, but at terrible cost. Which would not happen if times and circumstances in Syria were different. But this is life for many at the moment:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22473573

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Dubai Police Force Cars

This story is still getting great PR for brand Dubai on the net. And they are not finished yet.

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Irish Bus Strike

Ireland had a bus drivers strike during the week. Was interesting to read that the head of Bus Eireann (the bus company) lives permanently in Dubai, and just goes to work each day via skype! The tone of the reports was not generally favourable as you can imagine. But if those Irish journalist do-dos stopped to think about it – why would a lad like him who can afford to do so, chose to live in wet & miserable Ireland when he can have 24/7/365 heat and a 5 star life of luxury in Dubai Marina. No contest!

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/bus-chief-based-in-dubai-as-first-major-strike-looms-29255497.html

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Palm Island Hotel

And in case the bus lad needs another plush 5 Star to head to for after-work (after-skype) cocktails he will shortly have a 200M Euro hotel to visit on the Palm Jumairah, 5 mins drive from the Marina where he can shoot the breeze with fellow expats and gargle the fine beverages in the tax free Dubai sunshine.Allah u akbar!

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https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/?ui=2&shva=1#inbox/13eabf9b77efa240

IMG_6043MarReluctant Emigrant – DH

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/136-sharing-is-caring/

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So long lads

Another week down lads and our weekend already started over here. Yours just about to commence back home. Have a good one.

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MB

Tall, Taller, Tallest


Greetings & Salam to all

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

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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

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http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-search-and-rescue-operations-continue-in-flood-hit-areas-1.1180665
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/citizens-praised-after-rescuing-family-trapped-by-saudi-floods-1.1179412

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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:

Irish Rain
http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Discovery-of-20-year-long-rainfall-in-Ireland-in-2345-BC-revealed-206179261.html

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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.

Evening descends

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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From Wikipedia:
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.[9]

Clouds wrap around the top of the Burj Khalifa

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So for those who have not seen previously (and for those who have):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwe-pA6TaZk

Go on lads – play it again!

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The Hasidim
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:

http://nymag.com/news/features/east-ramapo-hasidim-2013-4/

Still wondering what the hell to write about!

The Burj disappears into the clouds

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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!

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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!

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Reluctant Emigrant – Let It Rain
In keeping with this week’s theme lads DH is also writing about the local weather, with great style.

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/let-it-rain/
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!

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I Quit!
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!

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MB