Posted on August 2, 2013
Major panic last night. Laptop conked out when battery died. MB tried to recharge, but over period of few hours battery just wouldn’t take charge, and normally obedient laptop downright refused to turn on. What to do at time like that?!
Category: Graveyard, humor, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Laptop, Middle East Life, Photography, Riyadh, Riyadh airport, Saudi Arabia, The Dimwit Diary Tagged: Grave, Graveyard, Humor, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Laptop, Middle East Life, Photography, Riyadh, Riyadh airport, Saudi Arabia, The Dimwit Diary
Posted on June 13, 2013
It’s only a few short days away from MB’s departure back to the homeland, to kith and kin. MB will take break from the blogging for few weeks ’till he gets back from the Emerald Isle. But as will be burning out the camera with pics, will post up some good ones for all Crosser followers to drool over. Yes lads, drooling will be the order of the day for you all over next few weeks. Inshallah the sun will shine when MB is at home and he will blow you away with the awesome images. Read More
Category: arranged marriage, Birds, Black seed oil, Caroline Kennedy, Dubai, Fashion, Holycross, humor, HX, Irish man in the Middle East, Lough Gur, Middle East Life, Music, Muslim, Photography, uae Tagged: arranged marriage, Birds, Black seed oil, Caroline Kennedy, Dubai, Fashion, Holycross, Humor, HX, Irish man in the Middle East, Lough Gur, Middle East Life, Music, Muslim, Photography, uae
Posted on June 6, 2013
Marhaba & Hello from MB
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
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.
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.
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.
Thank God for music. Played this a few times last night. Switch to full screen. Amazing:
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.
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:
So hopefully see some of you at the festival, inshallah.
Like this one!
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!
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.
The corniche/harbour area of Beruit. Has undergone huge redevelopment in recent years. A must-see location.
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.
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.
The famous Rafiq Hariri Mosque. RH is Assassinated former Lebanese leader. Assassinated by Hezbollah according to recent UN report.
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!
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.
These 2 would not be out of place at some restaurant in Paris. Classic Lebanese sophistication!
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
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.
Occasionally give you link to other blogs I come across that catch my interest. Liked the following:
Letter to my 16 year old son
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.
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.
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!
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
Let the hunger games begin!
Cheers to DH!
Demonstration was good natured and noisy that day, with the soldiers smiling and joking. Suspect that would not be the case now.
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
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.
Category: Beruit, Beruit Holiday Inn, Burqa, gay, Gay Games, Hezbollah, Holycross, homosexual, Humour, Hunger games, HX, Iran, Irish man in the Middle East, Jordan, Le Grey, marhaba, Middle East Life, Music, Muslim, Photography, Poverty, Rafiq Hariri, Rafiq Hariri Mosque, reluctant Immigrant, Sharia, Shoe shine, Stoning, Syria Tagged: Beruit, Beruit Holiday Inn, Burqa, gay, Gay Games, Hezbollah, Holycross, homosexual, Humour, Hunger games, HX, Iran, Irish man in the Middle East, Jordan, Le Grey, marhaba, Middle East Life, Music, Muslim, Photography, Poverty, Rafiq Hariri, Rafiq Hariri Mosque, reluctant Immigrant, Sharia, Shoe shine, Stoning, Syria
Posted on May 31, 2013
Salam from Riyadh
It’s a balmy Saudi evening outside the hotel entrance door as MB writes his blog. Meanwhile, inside the lobby, MB is listening to the loudest painters making the loudest noises since Michael Angelo (another legendary Michael) dropped his bucket from the ceiling scaffold onto the marble floor miles below all those years ago. The artists in front of me are presently giving a touch-up to the ceiling which suffered some water damage during the recent 3 week monsoon. If you have seen the movie ‘Best Marigold Hotel’ you will get the picture. Each time the long-handled roller is dipped into the metal paint bucket it is producing a sonic wave throughout the entire city and structural damage is already reported to some major bridges. MB needs Panadol, or something stronger, asap. Or maybe MB is just tired and cranky after a busy week in the dusty desert. Maybe.
MB would seriously love a large cold bottle of White to relax the brain and quench the thirst, but such life pleasures are strictly forbidden in this stricter than strict Island of Islamic. If MB was in any other jurisdiction on the entire planet, a bottle from the ‘new world’ would presently be planked on the table in front of him with a long-stemmed glass sparkling in the evening sunshine . Or if that location happened to be some 3rd World haunt, then maybe a bottle of some local hooch would suffice, and the thirst would also be no more. So the thirst remains for the moment and the solution must await MBs return to the homeland next month alas.
Yes indeed lads, MB is heading home to kith & kin next month which coincides with the HX Festival. To be very truthful there is actually no HX Festival. But there are 3 festivals happening at same time in the surrounding localities. So MB will refer to them collectively as the ‘HX Festival’. In recent days it was announced in the local Press that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of assassinated US President JFK, will attend the event on account of the family connection with the HX locality. MB explained to some non-Irish Muslim Arabs yesterday that the ‘F’ in ‘JFK’ stands for the Irish name ‘Fitzgerald’. In 1852 one Thomas Fitzgerald emigrated from HX and a few generations later his grandson was President of the USA. The emigrant story that dreams are made of. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_Kennedy
The HX Festival will host a multitude of other events and MB will give you all the full itinerary next week. One event does however merit special early mention. Namely, the Photo Workshop hosted by none other than Irish/Arab Photo Shooter Supreme MB! Yes indeedee lads, for the paltry miserly sum of 20 Shekels (Euro) you can partake in the MB Photo Master Class at the HX lake front, which will ensure that you too can produce the Nat Geo standard pics that MB produces week in week out for the blog, and which you have now come to expect as a right. MB will not be bringing his camel, in case you were wondering, although he would provide nice backdrop to some shots. (Note to self – rethink the camel). It’s not yet publicised lads, but already the class is almost full, so get your booking application in asap.
It is not yet known if Caroline will book in for the Photo session with MB. Ok, MB will admit she is stinking rich multi millionairess with access to the entire professional photographer class of USA, probably for free. But have any of those Yankee Dog photographers ever produced an irreverent weekly blog from the land of beheadings and limb amputations? I am sure not lads. And could any of them milk a cow by hand, or make a wynde of hay with a pitchfork, or castrate a young bull turning him into a useless mutant good for nothing other than burger production? Yes lads, I think you will all agree – Caroline would indeed be selling herself very short if she chose other than MB. Inshallah she will choose wisely.
What else to tell you lads? Conversations lads, yes, conversations.
A few days back MB was traveling home from work in the company of an Aussie coworker and the young Sudan lad that MB has mentioned few times in the blog of late. MB & Aussie (Whities) sat in the front sea while Sudan lad (non-Whitie) sat in the back. All in their rightful place lads, hahahahaha! Joke lads – In case any followers with sub 150 IQ levels might be thinking MB has turned into some kind of racist Neanderthal. But am sure the blog has no sub 150 followers as it’s a minimum entry requirement.
Anyway MB & Aussie were shooting the breeze about the events of the past & the coming months. MB mentioned the HX Fest, photography, some wineries MB had visited on trip down under few years back. Aussie mentioned upcoming 25 holiday he will take on a beach down under, when he & surf board will hit the waves for few hours each morning. Wifey will set up camera on a tripod on some headland overlooking the waves to get the awesome shots of husband exiting the wave tubes just in time. Remainder of the days will be filled with restaurants, bit of shopping, friends. The good life down under.
We dropped Aussie to his hotel when MB gave permission to Sudan lad to sit in front seat! Sudan lad then said to MB – “MB, what the hell was that conversation?”. “What the f*ck are you on about Sudan lad” replied MB. “That entire conversation you had with Aussie, with talk of surf boards, festivals, photography – it was a totally and completely Whitie conversation. Two people from the 3rd world could not have had it. They would not even have understood it” shot back Sudan lad.
For once MB shut his mouth, and reflected on what Sudan lad had said. And came to conclusion that Sudan lad had said a mouthful. All conversations are products of our backgrounds. Pretty obvious I suppose when you think about it, but MB never had. Maybe you need to work in places like this to sometimes see the obvious, or have it shown to you.
This Weeks Pics
Are all from last years HX Festival, to give you flavour.
Mentioned Aussie pal above lads. He is very interesting character in his own right. Along with the day job he has spent time in recent years designing a self hypnosis app for surfers, designed to get them to perform at highest level every time, rather than the hit& miss performance that many experience during a surfing season. Now available for iPhone & Android. Am wondering if this app could be applied to other sports like tennis or golf? What say you Mr M?
So check it out lads on http://www.hypnosurf.com
Saw on the net yesterday that 3 young European girls made a topless protest outside a courthouse where a young Muslim girl is being tried for upsetting some Salafist Muslim group and allegedly insulting Islam. I hope the embassies of the 3 girls get them home quick. Such behaviour out these parts is very much ‘haram’ and would be considered akin to behaving like a prostitute (‘sharmuta’ in the Arabic). And you will never hear any words of sympathy out here for sharmuta or any sympathetic words why girls might get into that game like you might do in the west. So MB hoping they get tickets home real fast. They will not receive kind treatment in prison if they sentenced. To put it mildly.
As for the Muslim girl, she previously posted a topless photo of herself on facebook, which caused huge controversy. Although this is not why she is on trial. Read both links below if of interest:
Note to Muslim visitors – do not eat John Finn’s sausages – they are pork (khanzeer) so haram for you. Ask him for beef burger instead.
Harassment in Saudia Arabia
MB has told you all many times that the Saudi version of Islam is stricter than strict, and laughed at by people of other Islamic countries. Some of the behaviour seen here would probably get people locked in mental institutions in other countries, but not here.
This week some nutball religious conservative posted a suggestion on Twitter that people should harass women working in shopping centres to show them the error of their ways and prevent them becoming sharmuta. Thankfully, in a sign that the country might be going in a different direction, hundreds of Twitter people turned on the guy. But others supported him. Such is the thinking, sadly, of many in thee parts. MB read in separate report that Muslim Imams (Priests) are making weekly presentations to the office of the Ruler, King Abdullah, to change the law to ensure that women could no longer work in shops and shopping centres. Crazy in any other country. But not here:
In a related story MB saw the following from a fellow blogger earlier this week. No comment:
Kuwait shows respect for Saudi women driving ban
Last Thursday, Brig. Saleh Al-Najim, the head of a Kuwaiti delegation, stated that out of respect for the Saudi ban on women driving, his country will make the exception of not issuing driving licenses to Saudi women until they provide proof of their male guardian’s permission. I’m shocked and disappointed that the Kuwaiti government would exploit how politically weak Saudi women are to gain favor. But that isn’t why I’m writing this post. I’m writing it because this particular tactic of expressing an opinion about a sovereign nation’s internal laws by altering yours is something that has occurred to me before. A few years back I either dreamed or read somewhere that a politician proposed to the European Union that Saudi men not be allowed to drive in the EU until they end the ban on women driving in Saudi. Judging by the last Olympics, that type of restriction on Saudi men could actually work in making a change. How weird would it be for those banning people from driving their hard-earned cars because of their gender to have a taste of their own medicine?
Like this story. Husband presented future wife with expensive watch as gift. Watch broke and upon taking it for repair wife was informed that the watch was a fake! She is now divorcing the cheapskate husband:
Nice to see Pakistani girl Malala Jousafzai in Abu Dhabi last week to say thanks for the air ambulance supplied by UAE to take her to UK for treatment after she was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in her Swat valley homeland. Still under a death sentence from the crazies. She met with future ruler Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nihayn, son of UAE ruler.
Have not had chance to read DH blog this week. Think it’s about the expat wife and kids heading back to the cooler climates of the west leaving hubby to toil under the hot desert sun:
Have a nice weekend. I see some sunshine appeared in the Irish this week after long absence. Inshallah it continues to shine.
Take care all.
Category: Conversion, Holycross, humor, HX, Hypnosurf, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Lough Gur Festival, Malala Jousafzai, Middle East Life, Photography, reluctant Immigrant, Surfing Tagged: Caroline Kennedy, Conversion, Holycross, Humor, HX, Hypnosurf, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Lough Gur Festival, Malala Jousafzai, Middle East Life, Photography, reluctant Immigrant, Surfing
Posted on May 16, 2013
May you all have some salam/peace in your lives. Its a good thing to have for sure.
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.
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!
One of the comments says that Bob Dylan said this song was written by God. It’s probably true.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Dubai Police Force Cars
This story is still getting great PR for brand Dubai on the net. And they are not finished yet.
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!
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.
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 April 18, 2013
Warm greetings to you all lads
Weather improving at home, and getting hotter out here by the day. Late 30s most days at hottest time (bit of weather talk from MB).
In future lads MB will try to introduce some single subject blog posts. MB is attempting to get his blog to appear on a section of the website where good stuff gets posted by the blog site owner gurus for all bloggers to see (it’s called ‘Freshly Pressed’), but its impossible to get onto this with a blog like the HX, as it has too many topics and is just too general. Even though it’s still awesome. As you all keep telling MB lads. Thanks.
So it’s MB’s intention to make one of the blogs just like it is at the moment, and put a single mega sexy topic (if MB can think of something decent) onto another separate post, that just might catch the eye of the mandarins. Maybe every second week lads. MB still mulling it all over in his brain.
Only in this way lads can MB get up to tens of thousands of followers and sit back watching the advertising revenues pour in. MB can then spend one day each week writing, 2 days (if MB really wants to work hard that week) taking photos (in Africa or China) and take 4 days rest, as the good Lord no doubt intended for MB. Inshallah.
So lads, you will all agree that sounds like a plan. We do not know how it will pan out and we just never know what’s around the corner. Best of luck MB. Thanks lads. MB will not forget you all when he is stinking rich. Ya right!
This week’s pics
Still using MB’s pics from Dubai World Cup race night lads. Last 2 weeks MB gave you flavour of the people. This week MB gives you flavour of the occasion & the venue. Featured people hanging from the sky. Aerial display plane doing tricks in the dark of night. Fireworks. The fantastic Meydan stadium. Truly incredible occasion. Get there sometime if you can lads. Big recommend from MB.
Similar to the previous occasion MB attended 3 years ago, it was a real ‘spectacular’, giving great PR to brand ‘Dubai’. MB’s skill with the camera is on full view for all to see. You are really awesome MB. Don’t mention lads.
MB wants you all to be aware lads that you are part of the wordpress.com community. This is the website that hosts the HX blog and allows MB to compose the brilliance week after brilliant week. Approx 370M people around the world are reading blogs each month hosted by wordpress.com. We (you) were in the news this week when the site came under a hacker attack which attempted to plant malware on all (your) computers.
Ok lads. You will all remember the brilliantly witty & amusing piece MB did last week on the Munch painting The Scream. Well lads, be pure coincidence, the website also featured another blog on the artist Munch last week that MB discovered mere minutes after he posted his own.
MB decided he would say hello to a fellow blogger, ‘chew the Munch fat’ so to speak, and left comment in the comment box, complete with link to MB’s blog which MB thought might be of interest to all Munchers.
But just to prove how nerdy the art nerds really are lads, the blogger comes back all high ‘n mighty ‘n all, and tries his pathetic best to insult MB in front of the whole art blogger community. MB’s initial thought was just to tell Art Nerd to f**k off, but decided to take pity on the nerd, and merely explained that MB’s piece was ‘tongue in cheek’. Art Nerd did not have the good grace to reply lads so presumably he did not understand the phrase ‘tongue in cheek’. MB suspects he is American.
Art Nerd also informed MB that he too had written humorous piece on The Scream. What a joke lads. MB made the mistake of finding and reading the ‘humorous piece’ and discovered that there is more humor at a Saudi beheading.
Well, having looked at your blog I’m pretty sure you can’t have seen much of Munch’s work to draw your conclusion, but respect your right to express your opinion.
I have also written a more light-hearted assessment of The Scream entitled ‘The Scream – doesn’t it make you want to scream’ after one version sold for $120 million at Sotheby’s, New York in May last year. (Yes Mr Art Nerd, I mentioned that in my blog which you said you read!)
You might want to look at that.
So lads, whats the moral of the story? MB does not really have a clue. And is still trying to think of one.
The End lads!
God rest the victims in Boston and bring some comfort to the families. Three dead and 150 approx injured. Loads of news time. And an inhuman Godless crime.
70,000+ Killed in Syria in 2 years, maybe a million homeless. Disappearing from the news. A few pieces from MB. Irish charity ‘Goal’ is on the ground doing its best.
The whole story got lots of coverage in the Arabic newspapers in Saudi, but MB could not get the full story on any English site. The chucking out of the Religious Police guy is posted on YouTube but MB has not seen.
Only in Saudi Arabia!
Tasty chicken available at the fast food outlet
Dubai Police Cars
The Dubai police will not be outraced by boy racers. No Siree. No way. In recent weeks lads we have acquired a:
Only in Dubai!
We are starting to see the early stages of a recovery in the property market. 400 queued for the latest bargains:
Was given to you all by the Arabs lads. From the bbc:
Reluctant Emigrant – Earthquake
There were 2 large earthquakes in Iran in recent days lads and DH is blogging about her experience of ‘the earth moving’ in her Abu Dhabi home. She was probably wondering what next, on a normal day. Little did she realise that just around the corner was – earthquake!http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/earthquake/
Ok lads. Gotta go solve world hunger and other stuff. Have a good weekend y’all. Take it easy.
MB (taking a quick look around the corner!)
Category: camera, Dubai, English arabic words, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, plane, reluctant Immigrant, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tasty chicken Tagged: camera, Dubai, English arabic words, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, Plane, reluctant Immigrant, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tasty chicken
Posted on April 11, 2013
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.
But one comment caught MBs attention (which he put in his brain to tell you later), when a guy mentioned people who post their ‘issues’ and personal problems up for all to see. His comment was: Face your problems – don’t Facebook them! Pretty clever words (for an American) thought MB to himself!
Why Edvard Munch is not as great an artist as MB
In 1895 the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted what would become the most valuable paintings in the world, called ‘The Scream’. http://www.sothebys.com/en/sales-series/2012/impressionist-modern-art-evening-sale/overview.html He actually painted 4 versions of the painting over a number of years.
This is Munch’s explanation of how he came up with the idea:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
If you believe the above lads, you have the IQ of the mug that contains the tea or coffee you are presently drinking. Munch is talking complete BS!
MB has a different theory. Herewith:
The diarrhea preventing drug Immodium had not been invented in the year 1895. The guy in the picture seems to be in a state of extreme discomfort. I think we can safely add 2+2 and come up with 4 lads. Munch painted a picture of some friend in a state of diarrhea induced stress. I think we will all agree that this is far more plausable explanation than the BS “infinite scream passing through nature” explanation. Thank you & Sukran lads.
We actually featured pic of RM few weeks back standing in front of a giant mining truck. And I am lead to believe ladies that this 20 something hunk of Irish manhood is still single and available. And if he can write like this ladies you can just imagine the sweet nothings he might whisper in your ear as he took you to Glynn’s Fish & Chip Shop in Bruff village for the 1st date. Emails of interest please to MB ladies, and MB will pass them on.
This is a project I was asked to go on by the company I currently work for. It appealed to me because this was not your typical mine site job. The job involved providing medical care to a group of environmental scientists who are monitoring a breeding program for flat back turtles offshore on an island approx 30k off the mainland…………
The job itself ran over 10 days and was all night-work. This involved getting on a catamaran style boat and traveling 30km to the island. We would anchor off the island waiting on tidal changes to allow us assess to the island via a small dingy with an outboard motor. While at anchor we would eat our dinner looking out at some of the best sunsets and surrounding I have ever seen, and the odd lighting show far off in the distance out at sea……….
I was unsuccessful in finding any hatchlings until the second last night, when I was digging out a nest, and there about 2 feet down – a little hatchling. It was amazing to see this process. When they come out of the shell they have a food source like the yoke of an egg attached to their tummy. They eat this and get the energy to dig their way out of a nest that is 3 feet down in the sand, make there way down to the beach and swim for the next 24 hours for survival. Truly amazing stuff when you see how small there are………
Category: Dubai, Dubai style, Edvard Munch, English arabic words, Flat back turtle, France, gay, homosexual, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, Munch, Photography, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia marriage, Syria, The Scream, uae Tagged: Dubai, Dubai style, Edvard Munch, English arabic words, Flat back turtle, France, gay, homosexual, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, Munch, Photography, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia marriage, Syria, The Scream, uae
Posted on April 4, 2013
Hope all well with kith & kin. MB arrived back in Saudi on Wednesday after 10 days in Dubai.
Apologies for all the spelling mistakes & typos in last week’s effort lads. Made the corrections in due course but alas after I published. Also had thought might mention a few small things to you this week that might make the blog reading experience more enjoyable. So please note:
This week’s pics are entirely from MBs visit to the Meydan race track in Dubai last Saturday night. Mentioned to you last week was intending to go there, and al hamdallah was able to attend. Took many pics, but this week I give you pics of some of the style on view. Some very tasty, some not. But all very interesting. Hope you enjoy.
Music – Conor Linnie
The idea with the music every week lads is that you click on the link, let the music play, and continue reading the blog. Got it?!
Ok lads – this week’s music suggestion comes from RQ, who has recommended her guitarist friend called Conor Linnie. Looked him up – he comes from Wicklow in SE Ireland. Happy to oblige RQ. Hope you all like lads:
A camera or a wife?
Met an Arab work colleague in recent days lads and remembered that a few months back he informed MB that he was about to buy decent camera. MB offered words of encouragement at the time and wished him well. On inquiring if he had made the purchase when our paths again crossed, he shocked MB with his answer.
“No MB, I did not buy the camera. Instead I am looking for a wife“.
MB was speechless. Dumbfounded. Stuck to the ground, and momentarily dizzy before regaining his composure. “A wife instead of a camera. Are you serious?“ replied MB, calling the teaboy at same time to fetch some camomile to help the brain relax from the shock. “Yes MB, I am serious.” Some moments of quiet reflection between us followed.
“And are you looking for any nationality in particular?“ asked MB as the camomile kicked in, and the brain suddenly returned to ‘razor sharp’ mode. “Local perhaps?” enquired MB. “I would love to take a local lady MB” he answered, “but for financial reasons I will now go for Phillipino or other“. “Masha’allah” (Praise the Lord) said MB, not exactly knowing what else to say, but added quickly “can you explain further?“.
“Yes indeed MB. To take a local will involve immediate expenditure of 30,000 Dirhams (Euro 6,000) to her family – just to take permission from them for the marriage. Then I must immediately buy her jewelry to value of minimum 10,000 (Euro 2,000) as is the local custom. And that’s before any marriage costs, good accommodation for her to move into, clothes, and many other things. I cannot afford. So that is my reason MB“.
“Well my friend, life is never simple“ said MB, “and you must do what you must do. But can I suggest that you review your original decision to chose the wife before the camera. For fraction of the cost of a local woman you could acquire top of the range Canon. Might I suggest the ‘5D Mark 3’ model, as it has many advantages:
The young Arab lad sat back in his chair and looked to the sky in deep thought. No more words were exchanged between us as he pondered the life advice he had just received. MB stole quietly from the room, and wondered what the coming weeks and months might bring for his young friend. A camera or a wife? Just another of the forks in the road we meet on life’s journey.
Time for another camomile!
Dubai Style (forget Gangnam!)
As I already informed you lads, went to the horse racing at Meydan last Saturday night. Some very fine fillies on view, in addition to the horses. Haha lads!
Will give you some different pics next week, also from same night but with different theme. In the meantime take a look at the Dubai ladies. My personal favourite must admit is the Indian lady in the blue Sari, Nr 65 towards the end. And to make Irish ladies really sick, please note ladies that all the pics were taken between 7pm & 10pm on a beautiful warm Dubai night. No wind, no rain, no sleet nor snow!
Pleased to receive any feedback from female Crossers – what do you like or not like. Have given them numbers for easy reference. To all male Crossers – please keep comments and thoughts to yourselves! Enjoy:
Ok lads. Thats it for another week. Enjoy weekend. Regards to all.
Category: camera, Conor Linnie, Dubai, Dubai style, Fashion, Fillies, hats, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, ladies fashion, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, Music, Photography, uae Tagged: camera, Conor Linnie, Dubai, Dubai style, Fashion, Fillies, hats, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, ladies fashion, Meydan, Meydan race course, Middle East Life, Music, Photography, uae
Posted on March 29, 2013
Selling blankets outside the Mosque
Where’s my whip?!
And in new addition to the blog lads I have challenged work colleague and friend OL, who likes taking pics, to give me one pic per week for next four weeks which I will feature. Trying to motivate lazy OL to get off his ass and start using his camera again. And am also featuring great pic from young HX based apprentice Shooter TM. This pic is a real gem. In honour of the two contributors I am calling this section of the blog The Tom & Osama Corner (HX native & Egyptian).
This lad seems to have bought that red blanket
So now throwing this invitation out to all lads – anyone can send pic to MB to include in the HX – until I change my mind – which is a man’s prerogative! But if MB thinks the pic is garbage he will just delete and inform you that (sadly) it did not meet the minimum MB requirements (which are unspecified and ever changing!)
So MB, trying to avoid a crowd gathering around and maybe lynching MB, lowered his camera, and said “lau samah, mafi photo” (excuse me, no photo), trying to stop the old lad shouting.
But just as MB raised his camera to take yet another prize winning pic, a large rough hand grabbed MB by the shoulder from behind. The same lad. Lots more shouting ensued into the face of MB, which finished in a question the MB understood fully – “Muslim?”. “La, Christian” (no, Christian) replied MB. The shouting then continued, and MB understood that it roughly translated as ” Please Mr Christian gentleman, would you be so polite as to leave the grounds of the Mosque” – or words to that effect. So MB, still keeping his personal safety foremost in his thoughts, lowered his camera, and his head, walked quickly to his car, and drove off.
A cure for ageing?
With life expectancy soaring, we’re desperate for new tricks to stop the outward signs of ageing, but can you turn back the clock without resorting to plastic surgery? Kelly Rose Bradford investigates the cutting-edge – but knife-free – secrets to eternal youth.
Enemy at the Gates
Fire fighter Abdullah Badhan Al Subai had to rescue a young boy from a burning building in Jeddah lads, and there is great pic of him in the below link as he brings the boy out. He has removed his own oxygen mask to place it over the boys head, at risk to himself. “Ara twas nothing” said Abdullah (using Irish English), as the media heaped the praise on the new Saudi hero.
Dubai: A Pakistani man will be executed for repeatedly slitting a prostitute’s neck and stealing her cash and mobile phones. The 29-year-old murderer A.K. lost his petition on Monday before the Dubai Cassation Court that confirmed the capital punishment against him. Dubai’s highest court rejected his plea to have his capital punishment cancelled or reduced to imprisonment.
Paris: Backlash is growing in France against a court ruling in favour of a Muslim employee of a private nursery school who was fired after she refused to take her headscarf off. A new poll has found that four-fifths of people in France would back a proposal to ban Muslim headscarves and other visible signs of religion in private companies. France’s Interior Minister, who is in charge of religions as well as being the top security official, came out against the ruling last week. In the poll released Monday, 85 per cent of respondents opposed the decision, and more than 80 per cent said they back a ban in private workplaces and schools.
Truck load of spices & seeds
MB went through torture to get the ‘shoe shot’
The Tom & Osama Corner
Tom’s Shot from HX. Can you see the fox & the duck lads?
Category: Enemy at the gates, France, Getting older, Hero, Holycross, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Market traders, Michel Telo, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Racism, reluctant Immigrant, uae Tagged: Enemy at the gates, France, Getting older, Hero, Holycross, Humour, HX, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Market traders, Michel Telo, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Racism, reluctant Immigrant, uae
Posted on March 14, 2013
Salam to you all.
We have new Pope al hamdallah lads. The German was a non-entity I think. But had impossible act to follow after JP2. All the TV commentators caught wrong footed when the name was announced, as they struggled for info on Francie. Was nice to see!
Washing before prayer. Like the way you caught the sun on her face MB. Don’t mention lads. Take these kind of shots all the time.
Two things struck me about him. He has warm smile and I suspect a very good sense of humour. MB said to himself, after the brief initial words at the window balcony, that MB could easily spend a night in the pub back home in HX with Francie. Talking about the price of cattle Why Mrs Dillon’s chickens are not laying as many eggs as they used to. What local sinners might be up to, or even how the HX football team are doing at the mo. Being from Argentina he might have some useful pointers for us on the football. Yes lads MB could easily shoot the breeze with Francie over a few glasses of Red I think.
Anyway, good luck to him – Habemus Papam!
Ex Catholic lady, now a Muslim married to local Muslim, explains the traditions & Islamic practices
This weeks photos lads….. Come from very interesting recent visit to Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, and from the back streets of an area called Bur Dubai (in Dubai) which is a haven for tourists seeking fake (or real but cheap) designer bags and such like, plus one or two other pics besides. Hope you like.
Who says a lady in a Burka can not be glamorous?!
The Jumairah mosque just mentioned is one of the venues for the ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ centres for cultural understanding founded by the legend himself Sheikh Mo. They also run cultural breakfasts & lunches in one of the oldest areas of Dubai (Bastakia area) & also heritage tours of that particular locality.
Inside the Mosque – the dome ceiling
The mosque is open to non-Muslims at 10am every morning and a Muslim lady (a very glamorous one on the morning MB visited with family & friends) separates the fact from the fiction for the visitors. It’s explained that many beliefs that non-Muslims may have about Islam are very often absolutely nothing to do with the religion itself, but more probably geographical cultural traditions from the different areas of the Arab world. Like the Burka for example. Anyway lads, if ever you are lucky enough to come out these part I give a high recommend to visit Jumairah mosque in Dubai.
Picture is the Kabba at Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam
The Great White Satan
So there I was on Wednesday night lads, watching the Barca game in the hotel lobby, in the company of a work colleague from Sudan – Khartoum, in the Arab Muslim North of that country. He happened to invite 2 fellow Sudanese friends along, one of them was only very recently ‘off the boat’ and just getting to grips with the scene in Saudi.
Mohammad shows us how its done
This guy threw intriguing question at MB……
“Sir, are you treated well in Saudi Arabi or do they treat you like a Great White Satan, as Saudi is very strict Muslim country, and you are kaffir (non-believer)”.
Preparing to pray
Or similar word to that effect lads. My work colleage, his friend, smiled broadly, as he has witnessed many times recently how MB is treated by the average Joe out these parts. Yes indeed lads, the average Saudi Mohammad treats MB (or any Western lad) with extreme politeness and respect, which is often in contradiction to the way he treats his fellow Saudi’s. It is amusing for me at times to take it all in, and thankfully am blessed with GSOH to smile at it all.
A few examples lads:
Was passing through Security going to work last week in company of colleagues from India & Sudan (same Sudan lad as above Barca story). Security Guard made everyone show their ID cards. But when MB moved his hand towards his bag to get his ID, Security Guard immediately indicated that in the case of MB the card was not necessary. On seeing the more favourable treatment received by MB, young Sudanese friend nearly got sick!
I definitely prefer her without the veil!
A few days later I had to leave the project during the working day, and had to pass through exact same Security gate. As I approached the barrier, Security Guard (a different guy) asked me to get out of the car. Most unusual behaviour thought MB, as they never check MBs car boot (trunk) and normally wave him through, unlike the treatment they give to 99% of others.
Anyway, on getting out of car SG asks MB to enter the Security Gatehouse. At this stage there are 2 or 3 vehicles stuck behind MBs car waiting patiently. On entering the gatehouse SG immediately presents MB with glass of cola and slice of cake – it’s his birthday! MB wishes him well in broken Arabic and SG is v pleased to receive the warm MB b/day wishes. MB, feeling guilty about the waiting fellow motorists, wolfed back the cake & cola asap and shook hands with SG wishing him luck for life. SG smiled from ear to ear at his new Irish friend.
Flower box outside the Mosque
On asking for mutton stew at the Afghan cafe last weekend the owner and I watch together as he spooned the warm aromatic meat and sauce into the bowl from the big pot. On seeing a chunk of meat with some fat on it he immediately flicked it back into the pot knowing that this particular piece of meat was not honouring his Irish guest. He flicked his eyes to the rest of the customers and smiled at MB. The clear message was that this piece of meat would be ok for the regulars but he was ensuring the MB only consumed the best cuts. MB said ‘sukran jazilan’ a few times (‘thanks very much’) and owner was very happy & proud man.
A Muslim cat lazes in the morning sun at the Mosque entrance
So lads, I did not give full answer to the question asked by young Sudan lad watching the Barca game. Merely told him that I am treated very well. Too well in fact. Have reported to you a few times in the past that I experienced preferential treatment a number of times in the UAE on account of fact that I am Western expat. The fact that I am not a Muslim is not even a consideration. But in Saudi I must say that the experiences are even more numerous. Maybe its a cultural thing. I have not quite worked it out yet.
So in the meantime lads, I guess I will just keep drinking the cola & eating the cake!
If a man or woman is sentenced to death out these parts there is possibility under Sharia law that the family of the dead person (assuming the death sentence was imposed for murder) might accept blood money instead of seeing the guilty party executed (by beheading in Saudia Arabia). Recent case is causing some disquiet as the family are asking for millions of dollars to spare the life of the guilty party. Read on lads:
“We need to have a ceiling to avoid the tragedies that are unfolding today,” a blogger posted on the site of Sabq, a news provider. “The victim’s family should pardon the culprit, ask for a sensible amount or refuse to pardon him. The option to ask for incredible amounts of money should be ruled out and the government should step in,” the blogger, I Am Here, wrote.
Outside Dubai Museum
And in a related story lads the Saudi Gov are thinking of switching to Firing Squads from the more traditional ‘beheading by sword’ method. The Swordsman’s Union of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia (SUKSA) is none too pleased at the moment. Negotiations are ongoing:
Firing squads could replace executioners
Manama: Saudi Arabia could soon replace beheading with a sword by a firing squad when carrying out the death penalty in public.
“A specialised committee made up of representatives from the ministries of interior, justice and health as well as the commissions of investigation and prosecution, the public security and the prison general directorate are looking into a study that replaces beheading by a firing squad,” sources told local Arabic daily Al Youm.
However, the country’s area governors have already been given the right to resort to the firing squad, the sources said.
“They can use their own discretion for the execution if the court does not specify how the capital punishment verdict is to be carried out,” the unidentified sources said. “Using the firing squad is not against Islam.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
How many times have I informed you in the past lads that Sheikh Mo is a total lege? Too many to count lads.
Well this week lads he has gone and done it again. On Facebook. SM stuck up a post few days back informing us that the Government is disolved, some new appointments have taken place, this ministry is no more, some new Ministry is now in place and the Dubai ship sails merrily onwards. First I heard of it lads. And now with one simple posting on Facebook Sheikh Mo gives us the glorious news that that he has disposed of some tyre kickers and introduced some fresh young blood into the scene of Government. Allah u Akbar!
Imaging the scene in Ireland lads if you wanted to do the same. Endless sleep inducing debates in our Parliament, long winded BS speeches from lacky gobshite politicians, election fever (disease actually), loads of TV time taken up at the expense of football & golf, and just general time wasting mayhem. But not in Dubai lads. No Siree lads. Call them in. Hire them. Fire them. And post it all on Facebook following day.
Any brand you like lads!
From Sheikh Mo Facebook page
Brothers and Sisters, The formation of a new Cabinet in the UAE government will be announced soon. It will include new and young faces. We will have four new ministers and a new ministry, in addition to some structural changes. The former team of ministers have performed their duty, serving their country. UAE never forgets the achievements of its loyal citizens. Such amendments are made to accelerate the pace of development in our country and to further achieve the aspirations of our people. There will be young faces with new ideas and energy to keep up with the rapid changes and to deal with our people’s top priorities.
I recently thanked an Australian friend for giving Irish Aussie legend Ned Kelly a decent burial after all these years. Nice to see respect for Ned and his Irish homeland, from the sons and daughters of the criminal classes of Britain from few centuries back. Good on ya sports!
A crowd of up to 200 people gathered at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wangaratta, 252kms north east of Melbourne, Australia, to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating the life of Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (1855-1880). The son of John ‘Red’ Kelly of Moyglass, Co. Tipperary and Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Ned Kelly was the last and arguably the most famous outlaw in Australian history. The Kelly Gang – Ned, his younger brother Dan, best friend Joe Byrne and Dan’s friend Steve Hart – were all born in north east Victoria, still known as Kelly Country.
The fame of Ned Kelly today thrives in Australia and abroad, and the story of the Kelly Gang is still a polarising one. Most commonly, Ned Kelly is considered a folk hero, while others decry him as a criminal. Regardless of personal opinion, it remains true that a great Australian compliment is still to say that one is “as game as Ned Kelly”.
Ned Kelly’s wish, for his body to be given to his family so it could be buried in consecrated ground, took a long time to fulfil – 132 years, to be exact. After his execution, the outlaw was interred within prison confines, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the remains of condemned prisoners were uncovered, and subsequent mitochondrial DNA testing through a descendant of Ellen Quinn Kelly positively identified Ned Kelly’s skeleton.
Ned Kelly was buried in a private ceremony at a tiny rural graveyard; where he finally rests in the arms of his family and the heart of Kelly Country.
A purse or wallet of your choice
John Brennan – New CIA Chief
As part of the ongoing Irish take over of Planet Earth and the entire Universe lads, I am pleased to announce the appointment of one John Brennan as new head of the CIA in the good old U S Of A. Non-disclosure agreements prevent me divulging if the HX & Crosser Brotherhood had anything to do with the appointment lads, but let us just say that not much goes on in this world in terms of Irish advancement without the guiding fatherly hand of the the higher echelons of Crosserhood.
Brennan is the son of of Roscommon emigrants to the US and no doubt served his time back home every summer helping the cousins pick potatoes and milk the cows. If any of you fancy private trip around CIA HQ in Langley, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA lads, please drop me discreet email and will see what I can do.
Perfumes & Handbags
Brennan, the son of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, was raised in North Bergen, New Jersey. He attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University in New York City.
While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting, and felt a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire to do public service. He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977. His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo. He also received a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980. He speaks Arabic fluently.
The Oatmeal – At The Gym: Who is looking at whom
Every time I read one of the comics by the Oatmeal I laugh out loud! If you have ever been to the gym you might recognise some of the characters in the following:
A belt for your man ladies
Was The Irish Famine Genocide?
For the history buffs amongst you lads. Recent book on the Irish famine. Case not proven it seems:
Inside a mud oven – for cooking the bread
Happy Iranian/Persian New Year lads
As part of the HX ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ programme lads, I give you little piece on Persian/Iranian New year which is only few days away:
Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
Reluctant Emigrant (DH) – Growing Old Gracefully
Thanks yet again to DH for putting smile on the face of MB. This week DH is faced with the potential beauty of Botox!
Afghani man sorts the bread
It has been another bumper rewarding HX lads, am sure you will agree. Thanks MB. Don’t mention lads.
Hope all have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there!
Ladies from the 3rd World arrive at Riyadh airport to work as maids for the locals. From Indonesia or Bangladesh by the looks. Some will be treated well, others will not. Such is the lot of women from the 3rd world who must earn money to support families at home
Category: 3rd World, Afghanistan, Beheading, Burqa, Cafe, Comics, Dubai, Habemus Papam, Holycross, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Pope Francis, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo Tagged: 3rd World, Afghanistan, Beheading, Burqa, Cafe, Comics, Dubai, Habemus Papam, Holycross, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Pope Francis, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo
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
Posted on February 14, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.
Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:
Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.
This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.
We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!
The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.
Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.
More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”
“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.
“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.
For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..
JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin.
In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.
We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.
But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.
In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.
Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.
In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.
This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.
It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!
Category: Ballyneety Golf Club, clouds, death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, honey, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Michael Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Spice powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines Day Tagged: Ballyneety, Clouds, Death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, Honey, Humour, Ireland, Irishman in Middle East, Micheal Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, Reluctant Emigrant, Riyadh, Spice Powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines day
Posted on February 7, 2013
Salam to all lads.
We are blessed with favourable weather in the Middle East at present, albeit still a tad cool to be jumping into the swimming pool – before noon at least! But even in our short sleeve shirts the gentle breeze in the winter sunshine is refreshingly welcome. Inshallah we will have another 3 months or so of same before the temps start to get to the uncomfortable levels again.
Beer sellers enjoy MBs joke!
Europe’s best golfers were swinging their clubs in Dubai last weekend at the Emirates GC lads, across the road from Dubai Marina. MB managed to get down for few hours on Sunday to mix with the great and the good, and most of this week’s photos are from same. Big thanks to Crosser PMc for getting the entry tickets (with Clubhouse Pass) for MB. May your own clubs provide you with a bounty of birdies in the years to come Mr P – a sort of a Golfer’s prayer lads in thanks.
Silence is Golden
Was having a chat with a friend at work today lads when his phone rang. He immediately launched into a frenzied conversation in Arabic which went on for some time, with much hand movement as is the practice out here. Upon completion of the conversation he clicked the ‘End’ button, and a little red faced from the stressful call he had taken, he turned to MB and said:
“Arabs, why do they have to talk so much? That guy called me to make a very small point, but of course he felt the need to give me his entire life history at the same time. There is a reason Mr Mike that God gave us all 2 ears and only 1 mouth – he wants us to listen more and talk less”
Now I must explain lads that my colleague & friend is 100% Arab himself, born & bred, so his comments were not what you might sometimes hear from some donkey expat with zero brain cells. No lads, this was coming from the horses mouth, and he was also making the profound point about listening more than talking. I assured him it is the Irish way. He smiled, happy in new knowledge that there is one place on the planet that is oasis of listening. If only he knew the truth!
This couple caught my eye lads (hehe!) Dubai is a fashion & style fest all year round. There are really no restrictions on how you dress as long as its reasonably modest and does not give offence, bearing in mind local sensibilities, religion and customs. The neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah passed a rule in recent weeks preventing tight clothes that emphasis body shape or reveal too much flesh. Presumable this young lady has Dubai address
Dubai News – Sheikh Mo
Sheikh Mo has done it yet again lads, God bless every royal & regal inch of him.
The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the most exclusive residential addresses on the Planet lads, but is short of a decent shopping mall. The world renowned Mall Of The Emirates (with real ski slope) is 15 mins away, but you really don’t want to be wasting your time shopping with poor people.
So what does Sheikh Mo go and do lads? Yes lads, he simply issues royal instruction to the Palm developers (Nakheel) to crack on immediately with a new mega mall plus hotels plus other stuff, and have it ready by 2016 for a bit of shopping for the locals. When complete lads they will be able to cut 12 mins off their shopping trip as they make the 3 minute trip down to the new local. Masha’allah!
That is how it’s done lads, Dubai style, Sheikh Mo style. Let it be a lesson to you all lads. Long live our hero Sheikh Mo!
Quote from Sheikh Mo earlier this week (tear in my eye as I read):
“Before evaluating the future, we have to take a quick look at the past, for it is the foundation of tomorrow” – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
My blog received a follower a few weeks back lads and I noticed that the guy in question was also a follower of another blogger called ‘The Oatmeal’. The name intrigued me so I looked up The Oatmeal. What a laugh. Brilliant intelligent comics of the ‘laugh out loud’ variety. To MB’s sense of humour at least. Giving you one of his comics this week called:
‘When your house is burning down you should wash your teeth’
Hats off to The Oatmeal.
UAE Visa Amnesty
Mentioned the UAE visa amnesty last week lads. Is throwing up some hardship cases for the authorities to deal with. Friend of mine did a deal with the authorities in recent weeks. Got a reduced penalty, which was still a substantial sum, and paid it off. Now he is free to exit and enter the UAE as he pleases. He visited him family in England last week for first time in twelve months.
Fans follow the ball flight
Crossing the fairway
The Saudi Arabian Labour Ministry will now allow the Saudi women to work in Pharmacies lads. They will issue some rules shortly and the ladies are good to go. Allah u akbar.
Training & Weight Loss
Giving you all 5 unusual tips to aid your fitness & weight loss training ladies. All with scientific basis, but you will not have heard previously!
Rest area out on the course
Wearing the Burqa
Category: Burqa, Comics, Dubai, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, Photography, Saudi Women, Sheikh Mo, Silence is golden, swingers, UAE Visa Amnesty, Weight Loss Tagged: Burqa, Comics, Dubai, Humour, Ireland, Irish Man in Middle East, Middle East Life, Photography, Saudi Women, Sheikh Mo, Silence is golden, Swingers, UAE Visa Amnesty, Weight Loss
It's a mad HX world!