A Night Out in Doha


MB attended a night out with work colleagues last night at the La Cigale Hotel in Doha. The event comprised a sit-down dinner and musical performances by two well-known Lebanese male singers.

A few shots from the hotel and the event follows, and there’s a short video clip of one of the performers at the end. To convert the drink menu prices into Euro, divide by 4. Pricy!

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International Women’s Day – Minus 3


Welcome & Best Wishes to Baby Sofia.

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Friends & work colleagues of MB, E&R, were blessed with the arrival of their first child on 10 February 2017, a beautiful baby daughter called Sofia. Mom R is an architect and is very artistic in addition. In the months leading up to Sofia’s arrival, R spent much of her time making nice things for her soon-to-arrive daughter. The result is a sort of ‘Shrine to Sofia’ in the family apartment.

E&R are not posting any photos of Sofia on social media and neither will MB. However, MB will give followers some of the ‘shrine’ photos. And mom R has also given MB the above photo for inclusion in the post. As followers can see from the pic, R is an accomplished photographer in addition to her other attributes, and many a heated photo chat is had between MB & R when they meet.

As followers will deduce from the photos, MB has visited the home of E&R in recent days. MB wants followers to take particular notice of the final photo in the series. It’s a desert dish called ‘Mghli’, and it is a traditional Lebanese dish that is served to visitors to celebrate the arrival of a new-born. The base is made from a custard-like crushed rice, and the topping is of chopped coconut, assorted nuts and dried fruit. MB can 100% confirm that it is damn tasty, and MB licked his bowl extremely clean!

R&E are Lebanese Christians working in Qatar. The Lavant area of the Middle East (which includes Lebanon)  is in a large and distressing state of flux at present. Syria is no longer a country, and may never revert to a unitary state again. 500,000 dead from all sides of the conflict and 50% of the 25M population displaced from their homes puts an end to that possibility MB is sure. Jordan and Lebanon are struggling to cope with millions of Syrian refugees within their own boundaries, as well as Syrian-related militancy within segments of their own populations. The Palestine/Israel conflict on Lebanon’s Southern border needs no further elaboration from MB.

So the region that baby Sofia arrives into does not present her with a happy welcome. She is lucky to have great parents and extended family, and lucky that E&R are working in a safe location.

Here’s hoping that the region Sofia will grow up in, and work in, will be a better and safer place than it is today.

Good luck and best wishes from MB to baby Sofia.

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A Lebanese Wedding – Faces & Fashion


Last post on the Lebanese Wedding!  Read More

A Lebanese Wedding – The Food


The Food. OMG. The Food.

Read More

A Lebanese Wedding – Music 1


The Lebanese like to dance!

A Lebanese Wedding – Arrival at the Party


The wedding party venue was formerly know as Nahr El Kalb (as mentioned in a post of yesterday), but it’s now called ‘The Legend Venue’. It sits in a valley of the river Kalb (The Dog River) and is only a few hundred meters from Lebanon’s Coastal Highway, not far from the town of Jounieh.

MB captured some shots on his arrival to give followers a flavour:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ambience


Ambiance.

Most of MB’s recent posts relate to his end December Lebanese wedding experience. And for this week’s photo theme of ‘ambience’, he, of course, needs look no further that the wedding party venue of said wedding. The venue was previously called Nahr El Kalb in Arabic (meaning ‘The Dog River’), but is now called the less mystical ‘The Legend Venue’. It sits in a spectacular small river valley setting, and has a very spectacular entrance lobby which leads visitors into the spectacular dining hall area when any Irish guy attending blurts out WOW! Ambience!!! Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Resilient


Resilient.

The Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand – If something is standing for almost 1,000 years then it’s pretty safe to describe it as resilient. See MB’s previous post of today for more on Balamand Monastery.

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A Lebanese Wedding


If you want to go to a real wedding dear HX followers, MB suggests that you make friends with some younger Lebanese people and get yourself invited to one of their awesomely spectacular weddings! Read More

Photo Story – 1 of 7


Suddenly, one early afternoon in February 2012, MB found himself face to face with a Hezbollah street demonstration in Beirut, in support of President Bashar Al-Assad in neighbouring Syria. Read More

War


When the war started my family moved to a village in the mountains outside Beirut. My grandfather came with us as he had no other choice. His wife, my grandmother, was dead many years past. He then lived with us in the village house until his death. I remember as a child enjoying waking up each morning and looking forward to hearing my grandfather’s stories from his younger days. Read More

Not Easy


In Europe people take freedom of travel for granted. Want to go to France? Of Holland? Or Germany? No problem. Go online or pop into any travel agency in your local town or city and buy a flight ticket. Jump on the plane and off you go. Arrive, flash your EU Passport briefly to the Immigration official, and head on out to the open streets. Easy peasy.

With similar language, religion and culture for the most parts, one might think that the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region is tailor made for freedom of travel and open access to work. But for historical, political, security and other reasons it’s not. Very not.  Read More

International Day of Non Violence


Beirut, Lebanon. February 2012.

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ME Culture (5)


The walls of the 12th century Crusader castle at Byblos, Lebanon. Byblos is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city/town in the world (at approx 8,000 years) and was founded by the Phoenicians. The castle walls are decorated with the columns of a former Greek (or Roman?) Temple which was demolished to make way for the castle. The stone columns of the temple were cut using a rope, water and sand. As shown in the second pic.

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Monday Mono – Al Hamra St, Beirut.


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