Happy 1st Birthday Miss Sofia


Soon after Sofia’s birth over one year back, MB agreed with Lebanese parents R&E that he would chronicle Sofia’s life in the years ahead. She is the firstborn to R&E, and to date is not joined by additional siblings. On 10 February 2018, she was one year old. Already Sofia has been the subject of three of MB’s past blog posts, the most recent being a post on her Christian baptism.

R&E, continue to work in peaceful and prosperous Doha, Qatar, and are building a new house back in their Koura/north Lebanon home region where they and Sofia will one day return. The shell of the house is now complete and the more expensive internal finishings will soon start. Architect mom R will spend her 2-week August vacation painting arty pictures on the internal walls, as she informed MB in recent days.

The Middle East continues to provide a crazy backdrop to Sofia’s early life. Syria and Yemen remain in war-ravaged chaos. Neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan struggle financially and socially under the weight of displaced Syrian war refugees. Lower level extremist violence continues in Iraq and elsewhere. Qatar, where MB & R&E abide, remains under a non-sensical travel and economic blockade by (unneighbourly) neighbours UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. There is no end in sight to that particular saga. Recent comments from a senior Saudi politician maintained the high temperature, commenting that if the US closed its Qatar air base, Qatar would not last long, implying a Saudi-led invasion. The US, UK & France bombed Syrian government installations only a few weeks back in response to an alleged gas attack by the Syrian government on a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb. MB says ‘alleged’ on account of the fact that there is no actual proof, and international inspectors have not yet released their findings. An Independent newspaper article by reporter Robert Fisk makes for interesting reading in that regard.

Sofia remains oblivious to all the regional nonsense that goes on about her. At 13 months, she started to walk, cocking a snook of sorts to all the madness. A few weeks back, she travelled back home with mom R to visit happy grandparents and extended family. MB’s first below photo was provided by mom R from that trip. The second is from her recent birthday party.

Belated 1st birthday wishes to Miss Sofia from MB!

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Security


Security.

MB is playing catch-up with last weeks photo challenge!

There is security in numbers, it is said. This applies to camels as much as humans, a fact proven by numerous studies throughout the Middle East. There is, for example, no known incident of a male lion attacking a large pack of camels. True!

The below photo, demonstrates the typical herd shape adopted by a camel pack. The roadsign  on the left warns the public that a pack of camels is likely to cross at any time. True!

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Foto Friday – Doha


MB is departing the money laundering capital of planet earth (Switzerland) in the coming hours and will arrive in the Doha (Qatar), the ‘richest locals’ capital of planet earth, in the early morning hours.

In case MB’s recent camel pics have given followers the impression that Doha is some quaint one-camel sand-blown dusty outback desert town, it’s not.

This MB phone-shot is from the ‘West Bay’ area of Doha, where many Westies like to live.

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Let there be music


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

Qatar National Day


Today, 18 December, is National Day in Qatar and it’s a public holiday. We can describe it, for the benefit and explanation of HX non-Arab followers, as a sort of Islamic/Arab St Patrick’s Day. Read More

Eid Mubarak


Today is the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid Al-Fitr (the festival of the breaking of the fast) three-day holiday. The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 1oth month of the Islamic calendar.

The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Shawwal means to ‘lift’ or ‘carry’, as MB has just discovered on researching it, so named because a female camel would normally be carrying a fetus at this time of year.

‘Eid Mubarak’ is the common greeting to colleagues and friends out these parts leading up to and during the festival, meaning ‘Blessed’ or ‘Holy’ Eid.

So to any and all concerned, especially to friends & colleagues of MB out these parts – Eid Mubarak to all.

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The Sunday Shot


MB has stacks of pics in his photo library. So for next few months MB will scatter some of those pics around his blog posts. Time doesn’t permit much story writing at the moment so the pics will just have to do until circumstances permit otherwise.

The is a large bird market area in age Souq Waif in Doha, Qatar. Whatever about the rights and wrongs of such a place, it’s a very interesting part of the souq.

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A bird in the hand……….

Qatar – National Day


Qatar National Day is tomorrow, 18 December 2015.

The flags are out. The purple & white. And many photos of the ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the former ruler until June 2013, his dad Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Took a few shots at the Souq Waqif in Doha last weekend.

Mabruk al yaum Qatar!

 

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10 Random Shots – February 2015


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Football Matters


MB attended a football game in Doha, Qatar, last weekend. At the Al Sadd Sports Club. It reinforced his view that the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 is a good one.

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Rock me mama!


Back home in HX, the two favourite types of music of the natives are: country and western. Read More

I know them


Like many, MB has watched the refugees streaming into Europe on his TV screen over recent months. He didn’t realise until today that he actually knows some of them personally.
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Middle East Lifestyles – What about the ladies?


And so to the question from Coffeegrounded a few weeks back:

Are women not allowed to gather at cafes during the evening hours?
I live in pure ignorance of the Middle Eastern Lifestyles, mainly for fear that if I search to read about it I will be considered a person of interest…while living in a my native country that espouses freedoms galore.

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Middle East Lifestyles – Those from the Subcontinent


MB received a response to his last post that made him stop and think………….

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