Sudan – Henna Party


MB arrived at Khartoum airport in dark of night. Read More

The Holy Book


Marhaba & Hello from MB

IMG_8188Mar

Firstly lads, an apology from MB. In last week’s blog MB used an Arabic word that he though was acceptable translation of the English word ‘prostitute’. It was subsequently pointed out to MB that the word used is a street-slang swear word, not suitable for common usage (as in MBs blog) and likely to cause offense. The Egyptian lad who originally gave me this word failed to point out this important fact! This is not MB’s style as you are all aware. So big apology to all, especially to MB’s Arab lady followers of which there are thousands – not!

Met this kid on the street selling newspapers and magazines. Streetwise as hell, huge confidence, great attitude. He will be Prime Minister of Lebanon some day

IMG_8221Mar

The news from all over the Middle East of late just seems to get darker and darker. Acceptance of others views and beliefs seem to be shrinking. Saw interviews on the net recently with various Sunny clerics who were preaching the need to destroy (kill) their Shia neighbours, who also read the same Quran holy book. On the grounds that the Shia are somehow heretics who must be put to death for having a slightly different interpretation of the book. Bit like we use to do in Europe when we burned heretics and witches at the stake. Inshallah the Middle East does not have to wait 300 or 400 years to see basic human tolerance and decency prevail. As usual, as in most places, the majority of people are decent and reasonable, but an intolerant crazed minority can cause havoc and misery for all.

IMG_8324Mar

Was talking to a Syrian friend few days back and he told me that he had other Syrian friends around to his house recently. His friends are supporters of Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian Prime Minister and his government. I expressed surprise that the trouble in Syria with tens of thousands of people now killed had not affected his friendship with his friends. I am aware that he regularly posts anti-Bashar pieces on Facebook and has been advised by friends inside Syria that it would not be safe for him to return home. He replied to the effect that he could not allow Bashar Al Assad to affect 40 years of friendship he has enjoyed with his friends, regardless of their views, and they would continue to be his friends. In the midst of much blood and darkness and death, my friends attitude was a bright light. A small light for sure, but hopefully one that spreads far and wide in the future. Most have now come to conclusion that in the case of Syria there are even darker days ahead. Let us pray not.

IMG_8345Mar

Met a Lebanese man in recent days through work, and in response to MB’s ‘min ina anta?’ (‘where are you from‘ in Arabic) he informed MB he comes from the city of Tripoli, where a number of people had been killed in gun battle in recent days as result of troubles spilling in from neighboring Syria. Meeting him reminded MB of trip to Lebanon in early 2012 and the fantastic few days enjoyed there with family. And the friendly people encountered. In memory of that trip, and in big hope that Lebanon at least will be spared the trouble of the region MB is giving you some pics this week from that trip. Hope you like.

IMG_8365Mar

Music
Thank God for music. Played this a few times last night. Switch to full screen. Amazing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtSjM3YU7Qw

Lots of poverty throughout the Middle East and absence of welfare benefits make it even tougher than in the West. Stopped to speak to this man for few minutes, who was begging for money.

IMG_8374Mar

HX Festival
As informed you last week lads, MB will be heading home in few weeks for the HX Festival (3 local festivals actually). If you are of a mind to travel then take a look at the itinerary for this year’s event. Specifically this is the list for the Lough Gur Festival, but there are two other Festivals taking place in the neighboring villages for Bruff & Knockainey. Mentioned daughter of JFK in last week’s blog Caroline Kennedy – who will attend the Bruff event to dedicate a local building to the memory of her great-grandfather, who left the village in 1852. MB will have to use the grease gun on the Canon 7D before he goes back, it’s going to be hectic few weeks & photo opp heaven:

LG Festival

So hopefully see some of you at the festival, inshallah.

Like this one!

IMG_8375Mar

Beware the lady in the Burka who wants a hug!
Spare a thought lads for the misfortunate Indian lad who got the surprise of his life last week when a lady in a burka (abiya) suddenly hugged him in the lift. Obviously he assumed that the Arab Muslim lady was so overcome by his Indian masculinity that she threw religious caution to the wind and just gave in to her animal instincts. He later discovered this was not the case:

No lads, we did not have earthquake. MB is just playing mind games with you all, with his incredible camera wizardry!

IMG_8388Mar

ABU DHABI: They say a hug costs nothing, but for an Abu Dhabi resident it proved otherwise.
Indian expat Noushad lost Dh29,000 when an abaya-clad con woman stole his bulging wallet after locking him in an unexpected embrace in an elevator recently. The incident happened in broad daylight in the Al Raed Automatic Laundry building in the capital’s Tourist Club area.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/hug-from-an-abaya-clad-woman-costs-abu-dhabi-man-dh29-000-1.1193020?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26287020

The corniche/harbour area of Beruit. Has undergone huge redevelopment in recent years. A must-see location.

IMG_8396Mar

Sharia law – Husband to be whipped
The law in Saudi Arabia applies to women and to men. The judges really do not care about male or female. Justice comes from Sharia law which is based on the teachings of the holy book:

Manama: A judge in Saudi Arabia has upheld a flogging sentence against a husband for slapping his wife even though the wife later said that she forgave the husband and wanted the case dropped.

Beruit & Lebanon generally – Incredible food. Maybe the best MB has come across in all his travels. This pic is from the rooftop restaurant at Le Grey Hotel in the corniche.

IMG_8401Mar

The man was sentenced to 30 lashes and 10 days in jail and ordered to attend special sessions on marriage counseling and on how to treat and deal with spouses.

The court in Al Qateef in the Eastern Province said that the wife could witness the flogging in retribution for the physical pain her husband caused her.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-judge-ignores-wife-s-mercy-plea-upholds-flogging-sentence-against-husband-1.1193486

The famous Rafiq Hariri Mosque. RH is Assassinated former Lebanese leader. Assassinated by Hezbollah according to recent UN report.

IMG_8413Mar

More English words from the Arabic
More educational stuff from MB lads, who continues to amaze you weekly with his eclectic mix of photos, wisdom and general ‘stuff’. Awesome!

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/heritage-culture/it-s-arabic-1.1127251

The Lebanese consider themselves extremely sophisticated and a cut above the other Arab nationalities. These local girls spoke French as their language of first choice as they lunched next to MBs table. They informed MB that they are equally comfortable in both languages.

IMG_8427Mar

These 2 would not be out of place at some restaurant in Paris. Classic Lebanese sophistication!

IMG_8417Mar

Gay Games 2018
Yes lads its now down to 3! London, Paris or……………………….. Limerick! Organisers have short listed Limerick, along with 2 no-hope non-entity cities to host the 2018 Gay Games. Am sure Amsterdam & Orlando will be sick as parrots to get booted out. With approx 10,000 participants it should be a fun week in HX if Limerick wins the hosting. 2018.gaygames.org if any of you want to participate lads.

The grave/shrine of Rafiq Hariri

IMG_8458Mar

Federation of Gay Games announces finalists in bidding for Gay Games X
Limerick, London, and Paris continue in race to host the world’s largest sport and culture festival open to all

Today the international Federation of Gay Games announced that groups from Limerick, London, and Paris would continue in the bidding process to host Gay Games X. The three finalists garnered the most votes from among the members of the FGG’s site selection assembly, who for the first time designated this short list by online instant runoff voting. Unsuccessful in the vote were groups from Amsterdam and Orlando.

http://gaygames.org/wp/blog/2013/06/01/limerick-london-and-paris-selected-as-finalists-in-bidding-for-gay-games-x-in-2018/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

IMG_8501Mar-2


Another blog

Occasionally give you link to other blogs I come across that catch my interest. Liked the following:
Letter to my 16 year old son
http://katrinaannewillis.com/2013/05/23/a-letter-to-my-16-year-old-son/

IMG_8503Mar

HX Homeland
If any of you followers wonder what the HX land is like lads, I give you link this week to our local community newspaper called the Vale Star. It’s focus is almost entirely on local sporting and community group activities. Some of you Arabs might enjoy a quick scroll through it. Gives good idea of life in rural Ireland.

http://www.vsopublicationsltd.ie/wp-content/uploads/pdfpapers/Vale%20Star%2030-05-2013.pdf

Many in the Middle East were recently very surprised to discover that Hezbollah are involved in Syria, fighting on the side of Bashar Al Assad and his government forces. MB came across a Hezbollah demonstration in support of Assad on his visit last year and wrote about it in his blog at that time. Absolutely no surprise to MB that these guys got involved.

IMG_8537Mar

Iran
Big news in Iran last week lads. A judge can now sentence those guilty of adultry to death by other means “where the possibility of stoning does not exist”. That phrase is not actually defined. So presumably it will apply in the sandy areas where there are insufficient suitably sized rocks. One can only but have sympathy for the lads throwing fist fulls of sand in the past for days on end as they tried in vain to stone (sand) the sinners to death. But no more. Mashaallah!

IMG_8539Mar

It was interesting to read in the article that if a sinner can free him or herself before death they are pardoned. But a man is only buried to his waist whilst a woman is buried to her shoulders, lest any of the rock athletes should see her bare breasts during the stoning games. Hardly seems fair.

Pics of Bashar Al Assad at the Hezbollah demonstration

IMG_8541Mar

Let the hunger games begin!

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/iran/iran-amends-law-on-stoning-for-adultery-1.1190780?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26286255

IMG_8546Mar

Reluctant Emigrant
Cheers to DH!

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/public-displays-of-affection/

Demonstration was good natured and noisy that day, with the soldiers smiling and joking. Suspect that would not be the case now.

IMG_8547Mar

Slan lads
Ok lads. Another week down. Planning a good sleep tomorrow on the Muslim holy day. Take care all. Have a nice weekend. May the sun shine!

MB supporting SMEs in Beruit

SAM_1092Mar

MB

The famous bombed out and bullet ridden Holiday Inn Hotel in Beruit. Still standing to this day and testimony to the war of the 1970s. Let us hope no repeat of that fiasco for modern Beruitis. Inshallah.

SAM_1140Mar

Marhaba


Salam lads

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

IMG_7318Mar
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.

IMG_7317Mar
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!

IMG_7316Mar


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

IMG_7313Mar


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

 

IMG_7310Mar


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.

IMG_7309Mar
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.

IMG_7308Mar
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.

IMG_7300Mar
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.

IMG_7295Mar


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

IMG_6058Mar

 

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

IMG_6057Mar


Dubai Police Force Cars

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

IMG_6056Mar

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

IMG_6046Mar
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!

IMG_6045Mar


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/

IMG_6040Mar


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.

IMG_6035Mar

IMG_6033Mar

IMG_6029Mar


MB