Long Live the Sufis!

On Friday last, over 300 Sufi Muslim worshipers were killed during prayer time at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Many more were injured. MB read in some reports that the attack on the Mosque was unexpected. This is not true. The mosque was in a remote out-of-city location and was a prime target for the fascist DAISH/ISIS murderers who consider the very spiritual Sufis to be heretics who must be killed whenever the chance arises. Similar to their views on Shia Muslims, other Muslim sects or any others who do not fit into their extremist fascist Sunni Islamic view of the world. Any imbecile would have known that the mosque was a target. Target – with a capital ‘T’.

MB has a fondness for the Sufis since he encountered them on his trip to Sudan three years back when he wrote a post about his encounter and including many photos. The following is MB’s final paragraph of that post:

The Sufis consider themselves the original Muslims from the time of the Prophet (PBOH). All spirituality, chanting to Allah, playing drums and enjoying the celebration. And at same time putting on a real spectacle for the many non-Sufi observers who attend just to observe and enjoy. The more extreme Salafi & Wahabi schools of Islam would consider the Sufis to be heretics or some such and would not have kind words for them. In fact, many on the extreme wing of Islam (like ISIS) would have all the Sufis killed if they could. MB prefers the Sufis, with their dreadlock hairstyles and their music and drum playing, and the happy smiles on their faces. Smiling is not a strong point with their Islamic opponents.

Long live the Sufis!

Sudani Sufi (he’s the one in the middle!) at the graveyard in Khartoum, with 2 European teachers who were on a short UN programme teaching female teachers from Yemen. It was unsafe to carry out the programme in Yemen. August 2014.




Weekly Photo Challenge – Rare


It’s not often you will see an elderly Muslim gentleman standing beside a Western lady with a low neck-line. The lady has some Arabic influence however, as she is sporting an intricate henna tattoo on her face & neck, almost like a veil, which must please the Muslim gentleman no end!




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.

Eid Mub

A Suitable Girl

MB is very often a first port of call when life’s winds are howling. And so it came to pass again in recent days, when MB received the following email from a young Saudi friend:

Do you know a European Muslim girl living in uae?
I want a wife.
I did not find wife here.
Please help me.
The email was entitled – URGENT

Read More

Eid Al Adha

Eid mubarak to all lads.

It’s the 2015 Islamic Eid holiday. The Feast of the Sacrifice. MB went to Doha animal market (Qatar) earlier today. Read More

Photo Story – 4 of 7

The Islamic religious holiday of Eid Al Adha is the nearest thing that Muslims have to a Christmas. It’s a great family occasion and a big meal is consumed. It is a religious duty of all Muslims to sacrifice an animal at this time, normally a sheep or a goat. Cows, cattle, camels and others are also used when groups or extended families may pool together for the purchase of larger animals. The sacrifice is to honour the story from the holy book when Abraham gave thanks to God for sparing his son, after God had earlier tested Abraham by asking him to kill him. Abraham then killed a sheep as a sacrifice in thanksgiving. The same story appears in the Christian Bible, albeit both books state different sons names (Ishmael in the Quran and Isaac in the Bible). Read More

A Week Of Women – Day Nr 6

Dubai lady. Look under the cover!

Just because an Arab Muslim lady wears an abiya, like the lady in the below pic and like many other women in the Arabian Gulf, does not mean that she does not have the same hobbies and interests that a lady back home might have. MB took this shot at a food demonstration in the gourmet food and restaurant section of Galarie Lafatette in Dubai Mall. Her similarly dressed cousin was giving the demonstration at the time and a friend of MB was hosting the event.

As you can see she likes her style, within the confines of her culture, and has a high end canon camera. If MB may be a tad critical – her photo shooting technique is poor and that photo will have come out blurry for sure!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

The Challenge this week – to link two photos that ‘speak’ to each other. Tricky! 

Anyway here goes. From MB’s Sudan trip last week –
Two Western ladies, wearing fashionable designer labels, meet a dreadlock-haired Sufi Muslim man in Khartoum. Moments later the Sufi man is dancing with fellow Sufis, all wearing cloths that date back a thousand years, and some!

IMG_5490 IMG_5600

Preacher Man

Morning Crossers
Hope all full of the joys. MB is back in Saudi Arabian desert, dressed once more like Omar Sharif. Read More

The Recipe

Greetings lads

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

The Holy Book

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.


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

LG Festival

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

Like this one!


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.



Another blog

Occasionally give you link to other blogs I come across that catch my interest. Liked the following:
Letter to my 16 year old son


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


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!



Reluctant Emigrant
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.


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

MB supporting SMEs in Beruit



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.


The Future

Greetings lads
Hope all well with you & yours.

A depressing week in many ways. Was talking to a Syrian friend in recent days and he made the point to MB that many people and groups in this region are becoming more & more extreme, wrapping a cocoon around themselves and their group, and totally intolerant of other groups and other beliefs. In years past people lived peacefully together and knew tolerance. The fathers and grandfathers of groups now killing each other once drank coffee together and farmed side by side and attended family weddings and funerals of the others. He reminded me that the birthplace of Christianity is Damascus, not Jerusalem  He knew one family growing up in Damascus where one brother and sister were a Christian nun & priest, and another brother & sister in the same family were Muslims. And everyone lived in peace together. This region of the world would seem to be on a journey to a dark & dangerous place.



But let us not talk of depressing things. The same Syrian introduced MB to some music. Or rather a musician, called Omar Farouk. Something different:


Hope you like lads.



This weeks pics, excluding match maker ones, are about the future. Have you ever wondered about the future lads? What type of houses and environments your grandchildren and their grandchildren might live in. Well, there is one partially built mini city in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which may provide some of the answers. It’s called Masdar City, and it adjoins Abu Dhabi airport.



Masdar city is a carbon neutral development and is a completely sustainability themed habitat. Uses design and materials combination to provide a way to live for large populations of humans that will not harm our planet. So the sun is used to generate heat and electricity. Building design provides courtyards where the surrounding building provide shade from the hot sun out these parts, and a lot more. In 2030 the daytime population of Masdar city will be 90,000 and habitant population approx 45,000. MB called recently to see it, avec camera. It’s presently small-scale, but extremely impressive. So arty architectural pics for you this week lads.

Masdar City
A place where businesses can thrive and innovation can flourish, Masdar City is a modern Arabian city that, like its forerunners, is in tune with its surroundings. As such, it is a model for sustainable urban development regionally and globally, seeking to be a commercially viable development that delivers the highest quality living and working environment with the lowest possible ecological footprint.
It is a community where cutting-edge cleantech research and development, pilot projects, technology testing, and construction on some of the world’s most sustainable buildings are all ongoing. As such, Masdar City offers a fertile environment that inspires creativity and growth to organisations operating in this strategic and dynamic sector.


Match Making – The Outing
Few weeks back guest blogger Miss L told us all about arranged marriages out here in the Middle East. Irish followers of this blog will all be aware of the famous arranged marriage festival we have every August back in Ireland in the small town on Lisdoonvarna on the West coast of County Clare. Where match making has taken place for  years and years, and where many a man has found a life partner. It’s fame is such that bus loads of American ladies are turning up in recent years to find that hunka hunka burnin (Irish) love.

T and TB

I am reminded of a great story told to me many years ago by a friend who was born and raised in Lisdoon, as many Irish refer to the town. Concerns a farmer from West Limerick, who attended the festival each Summer in search of a life partner, driving down each year on his old Massey Ferguson tractor, as he did not possess a car.

He attended the event over a number of years until eventually match maker Willie found a young lady who had no qualms about marrying a ‘tractor man’. Tractor Man now had a new wife to help him with milking the cows, saving the hay, plucking dead hens, feeding pigs and all the other bonding activities that farming couples engage in the world over. Bliss.

Straw bales

And being respectful of the occasion and the town that brought them together, the happily married couple continued in future years to take their summer holidays during festival time in Lisdoon to relive the thrills and spills of their first courtship. But they still had not acquired a car. And as there was insufficient room on the tractor for the new wife, the farmer, in most romantic fashion, threw a bale of straw into the transport box each year, hooked it up to the tractor, and off they would journey into the Lisdoon sunset. Happy as pigs in muck, as we say back home.

There will be many followers who do not know the joys of driving a Massey ferguson tractor or even recognise one, or of sitting in a transport box, or who would not even know a bale of straw if it fell on their head from the sky. So MB is giving you two pics by way of explanation – just for all you city slicker blog followers.


Lisdoon caught MB’s attention earlier this week when he noticed that the Lisdoon festival is going ‘pink’ this year, with the introduction of a gay & lesbian match making weekend as part of the overall event. Live & let live says MB, wish them well with all the craic! Match Maker Willie is handing  over the reins to drag queen Panti for that weekend only. Maasalama to all who may journey there!

LISDOONVARNA is going pink!!
Yes, Europe’s oldest and boldest Matchmaking Festival is getting more inclusive and is opening this season with a gay-themed weekend. 
The media are already very excited about it, judging from the chatter, and that’s just day one!
Dubbed ‘The Outing,’ the weekend will feature matchmaking events, concerts and more, all hosted by drag-queen Panti.
Event Director Donal Mulligan said, “We’re taking the best of old Ireland – music, dancing and matchmaking – and putting it together with the variety of entertainment on offer in the LGBT community.”



Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mo
Often make joking references to Sheikh Mo lads, as you are all aware. But he does fantastic job generally with his Emirate and it is the tolerant jewel in this MENA (Middle East North African region). This week Sheikh Mo is cracking the whip with his Ministries to ensure that all Government services will be available on smart phones within a short while. Plucked the following from his Facebook page earlier in the week:


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Met with around 1000 Government officials today and announced our vision for the Government of the future. The Government of the future works 24/7 and 365 days a year. It is as hospitable as hotels, fast in delivering & strong in its procedures. The Government of the future is innovative and adaptive. It improves the quality of life and helps people achieve their happiness. We started working on this vision. Today, we launched the “m-Government” project with the goal of providing all services via smart phones. Through m-Government, we aim to reach people instead of them reaching us. Through their smartphones we can make their lives easier. Our deadline for the m-Government project is 2 years. We will never tolerate any failure in achieving this goal.


Healthcare job opps in Dubai
If anyone interested lads:



Raha Moharrak
RM has just become the first lady from saudi Arabia to scale Mount Everest. When MB read the story he was more surprised that a/ she was allowed to do so by her family, and b/ that she did so in the company of 3 men, which I read in another report. Her family are obviously not of the traditional Saudi variety. Well done Miss Raha!


Katmandu: The first woman from Saudi Arabia to scale Mount Everest said she doesn’t intend to inspire a movement, but would be happy to change people’s opinions of Saudi women and Saudi women’s opinions of themselves.
Raha Moharrak told reporters in Katmandu on Tuesday after returning from the mountain that her next goal is to climb the highest peaks in all seven continents. She said she has already scaled five of them.
Moharrak, 27, was among hundreds of climbers who reached Everest’s 8,850-metre summit in recent days because of favourable weather conditions on the mountain.
“It was very personal thing. I didn’t do it to cause a movement, did not do it because of anything, but If I can change people’s opinion or the world’s opinion on Saudi women and if I can change Saudi women’s opinion about themselves I would be really happy,” Moharrak said.




Syria – Robert Fisk
Interesting commentary as ever from Robert Fisk. Just returned from Syria.

DW: Mr. Fisk, you’ve just returned from Syria. What were your impressions?

Robert Fisk: What you find is that there are large areas which have been destroyed, large areas which are largely depopulated, and large areas which are not only undamaged, but in which life more or less continues. This applies not only to the center of Damascus, it applies mostly to the city of Latakia, where there’s a large Alawite community, and the same applies to Tartus. So you do find certain areas of Syria where the government is still firmly in control and where some semblance of life goes on. You can go out to lunch; you can shop; you can go to your office.




Arab Hospitality
In a week when the words ‘Islamic’ or ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ or even ‘Arab’ were mentioned in not too flattering terms on world news TV channels MB would like to mention that about 2 hours ago he took break from writing the blog to go to the local supermarket. Got into a chat with a Saudi man and his son at the hot oven counter. After a few minutes chat they invited MB back to their house for dinner. MB went along and had great fun with the entire family (4 sons and 1 daughter), except for wife who remained in the kitchen as is the custom. Nice meal and great hospitality.



Have a good weekend
Deutschland uber alles! Champions League final Saturday night so final game of the season for the footy fans and something to shout about, apart from fact that its 2 German teams playing. And generally there is little or no support outside of Germany for either. To watch or not to watch – that is the question.

Ciao for now lads.






Dia Dhuit lads
Hope all in the full of your health.
The lads head for prayer
MB arrived back in Dubai on Sunday last and has a few more days left in the Desert Oasis before his return to Saudi. Dubai is looking good, full of tourists and lots of activities for all.The biggest event of the annual Dubai social calendar takes place this Saturday night – The Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race. Huge corporate entertainment night, big style night for the ladies (hats, hats & more hats), and will see 60,000 or so attend the event. You have never seen a racing stadium like Meydan, which hosts the event. The grandstand is 1.2Km long and the lighting after dark provides a spectacular backdrop. Inshallah I will be there with the camera ladies and will give you few pics next week. If you like the horse racing, and aware many of you do, then take look at the following links:

The awards night of the big Photo Contest I mentioned some months back (hipa.ae) was on recently lads and sadly MB did not feature. Some great pics in the winners enclosure, so pleased to give you link to take a look. Next year for MB inshallah!

Where’s my whip?!


Was traveling in the car of a young Saudi guy recently. He is a young judge in the courts in Riyadh, but presently on time out to finish his Masters. He had CD of illegally downloaded songs in the car player, so he obviously has not yet read the chapter in the law book about copyright. Anyway, his CD had one or two decent songs including the following one which is very catchy addictive tune by young Portuguese singer called Michel Telo. A kind of ‘one man boy band‘ and he is big hero with the young ladies as you can see. Anyway, have played it loads of time, great tune, hope you like:
So just click on the tune lads, and let it play while you read this weeks HX!


This Week’s Pics
Dropped a few young lads to the local Mosque last Friday  (see next story) and took a few shots. Nothing special, but will give you flavour of the buying and selling outside, before the prayer starts inside.

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!)

MB receives verbal attack!
Did a good deed last weekend lads but paid a heavy price. Let me explain.

Some of the young lads in my hotel needed lift to the Mosque for Friday prayer and asked MB if he would oblige. “No problem young Muslim lads” MB replied, “I am a brother to all” and threw 5 of them into the 4×4 for the short spin. Had the camera with me (of course) and lads asked me to take shot outside the mosque so they could send to family members back in home countries of Egypt, Yemen. India & Bangladesh.

Photo taken, lads disappeared into Mosque, and then MB noticed loads of Muslim traders selling everything you could think of around the outside of the mosque. Fruit, veg, blankets, male perfumes, batteries, holy books, arabic clothing, and loads of other stuff. MB immediately thought of the story in the Bible where Jesus  (the Prophet Isa, as the Muslims refer to him) gets angry with all the traders in the temple, gets out his whip, and lashes the hell out of the sinners for making money in holy place, and kicks them all out.

As MB did not have whip in the car he instead decided to take some pics, as future evidence against the sinners. So politely and as discreetly as MB could, he mingled with the Muslim lads, cracking a few jokes as he wandered around. All went well, as the traders obligingly gave permission to MB to take some pics of the buying & the selling.
Happy Muslim
But then MB came up against an elderly conservative Muslim man. He had big beard, and his taub (white dress) was above his ankles – a sign of Wahabi Muslim, the very conservative Saudi version of the religious practice. His brand of Islam would consider photos to be haram (forbidden) I am informed, especially photos of the face. But he could hot have been in any doubt about MBs photo as MB was clearly pointing the camera away from him, in preparation for the shot.

He was buying some goods from a trader at same time trader gave permission to MB to take pic of his goods, which were nicely laid out on blue sheet on the ground. Picturesque for sure. But as soon as MB raised the camera to his eye, the old lad started screaming and shouting at MB in excited Arabic. MB had no clue what the lad was saying, but he certainly was not enquiring if MB uses Canon or Nikon.

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.

So MB moved away as quickly as possible, and the shouting thankfully died down. MB, calm as one of the cucumbers he had just seen at the veg stall, moved onwards towards the Mosque entrance and saw great photo opp in the hundreds of shoes lying outside the door, which is the Muslim custom.

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.

Some nice spring onions lads

But MB still needed the ‘shoe shot’, so drove around the block few time until the shouting man had entered the Mosque, and took the shot from the car with the window lowered. Success!
And that lads is the story of how MB got all the pics for this weekend’s HX Report. Allah U Akbar!


Getting Older – Your skin
Getting older ladies? Worried about all those wrinkles? Then worry no more ladies – MB gives you the solution. Surgery – no. Knife – no. Just a quick visit to your doctor from time to time ladies and you will have skin as smooth as a babies bottom! Read on ladies:

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.

Yes, I’ll take them

Enemy at the Gates

Did you see that Movie lads – Enemy At The Gates. When Russia was losing badly against the Germans at Stalingrad and they needed a hero to motivate the people. And so the young sniper Vassili Zaitsev becomes a Russian folk hero as he battles his wits against the German sniper Major Konig. Take a look at the movie trailer lads –
And take a look at the full movie if you have not seen. A good one.
As the line from the movie says – ‘What we need are heros‘. And that is exactly what we found in Saudi Arabia last week lads.

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.

Weighing the veg


UAE Death Sentence
I have often mentioned the death sentences in Saudi Arabia lads. But the UAE also has the same penalty for certain crimes. In Saudi its the swordsman who cuts off the head. In UAE they use firing squad. The punishment was confirmed last week for a man found guilty of the murder of a prostitute. He will now face the firing squad after Sheikh Mo signs the order to proceed:

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.

There is no outcry over here when someone gets the death sentence like you would see in some Western countries where the punishment still exists, or where people campaign against it. Its not that people are worried about protesting from what I can see, it’s that they generally approve of such a punishment for those guilty of extremely serious crimes. Think all surveys in Western Europe show majority opinion against it.

France & Head Scarfs
Interesting court decision in France last week where a court sided with a Muslim lady, who was fired by a Nursery School for refusing to remove her head scarf. 85% of the public are against the court decision, and the Politicians are also speaking out against the ruling. As we have seen in recent years the French are at the forefront in bringing in legislation against dress codes they believe are contrary to the freedoms they espouse. Which in the Muslim world is just seen as anti-Muslim legislation.
Some holy books & some head male head scarfs

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.


Mentioned a few times recently to you lads about the preferential treatment I get out these parts due to fact that I am Westerner (a white bread). But thinking about it, my treatment may also be because of my management position – very high lads! Hard to tell. But what is very clear is that many non-Westies will treat me much better that they will treat members of their own community. Must admit that I also saw some of this during my London days. It was often said in the construction trade that nobody treated an Irish man worse than another Irish man. Not generally true of course, but the statement did contain grains of truth.
I was recently discussing some of the above with my young Sudanese work colleague, who seems to be getting weekly blog mention at this stage. I told him the story of the TV programme ‘Roots‘ back in the 1970s which was controversial at the time in America, telling the slavery story and how the Africans were treated on arrival. There is famous clip in which the Plantation boss forces the African worker to admit his new slave name. I found it on YouTube and young Sudan lad enjoyed it immensely. He now refers to himself as ‘Toby’ – his new slave name. Thankfully a whipping did not prove necessary.

Truck load of spices & seeds


Reluctant Emigrant – DH
Had the pleasure of visiting DH at her Abu Dhabi palace during the week lads. DH & her blog were featured in a recent article in the Irish Times. So big congrats from MB, and urge you all to click on the link and become followers. Amusing read each week.
This week DH tells us about her recent trip to Beiruit:

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?

Osama’s Shot from Dubai:

Slan lads

Ok lads MB has exhausted his creative juices for this week. Sin e for now. Enjoy your weekend.
Regards & Happy Easter to all.

Habemus Papam

Hello lads
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 listener

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!

Blood Money
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.”


Entrance Door – Dubai Museum

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.

Ned Kelly
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.[10] 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.[6]

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.[6] He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977.[3] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][6] 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.[6] He speaks Arabic fluently.[10]

Ladies Purse


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

Enough Lads!
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


For The Birds!

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

Burj K

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 “

Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

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


I feel its time for some poetry lads:

you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

Gull swoops over MBs head. MB captures the moment.


From this week’s Gulf News:

Jordanian beheaded for drug trafficking

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. 



Lady Driver

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!

Jumairah beach, Dubai, again. This ladies head scarf tells me she is not local. Maybe some Muslim Crosser can take guess as to her nationality?

Man looks at Gulls and thinks….. what if I was born a bird? Birds look at man and think……. WTF!


Take care y’all.