Foto Friday – The Best Days of our Lives

All kids love a tyre! Khartoum, August 2014.


Let there be music

Unknown to most in MB’s homeland is the fact that in the majority land area of the Middle East, music is forbidden. In the local lingo, it’s haram. Allegedly, according to those of such beliefs, it’s not God’s will that people should sing or play or listen to music. Read More

Yum Yum

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

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

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

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


Lights mimic sea shells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then come back for 2nd desert!

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

Abu Dhabi Week

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

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

Wine glass – featuring finger print of MB

The Reluctant Emigrant (DH)

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

Ana Taaban lads (I am tired lads!)

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

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


East meets West