Weekly Photo Challenge – Evanescent


Evanescent.

For all the thickos like MB out there who do not understand the meaning of the word ‘evanescent’ – it means: soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing. Ergo, a moment in time, sort of thingy!

MB was around the Lough Derg area of his homeland in recent days and captured a number of shots of the locality. The below, in particular, seems to capture a moment in time for the two individuals in question. A minute or so after taking the shot, the guy at the back of the boat gunned the engine into life and the boat purred off into the distance, the moment in time gone forever.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage


Heritage.

When you grow up in Ireland, your heritage is all about you, and you are immersed in it from the moment you leave the womb. Sport. Music. Dance. Drama. Language. Literature. Castles. Prehistoric monuments. The list is endless.

In the Middle East, it’s a totally different kettle of heritage fish. And a totally different heritage. One similarity in the heritage of both locations, however, is ancient exploring and explorers.

Did you know that it was not Christopher Columbus who ‘discovered’ America.  It was an Irishman who did so – St Brendan the Voyager, hundreds of years before ‘Columbus the Pretender’. Google it guys – discover the truth!

The Arabs have a similarly famous voyager – Ibn Battuta. MB has mentioned in past posts that there is a shopping mall in Dubai called Ibn Battuta Mall – with each section of the mall themed on the different geographical locations explored by IB – China, Persia, North Africa, etc.

MB took this shot of some Arabic boats (dhows) at a heritage market in Qatar, December 2016; miniature models of the real thing.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflecting


Reflecting.

If ever you wish to turn water to wine, or you require the secret alchemist recipe to turn mercury to gold, or you wish to turn a simple semicircle to a full circle – just ask MB. He will have the answer.

This incredible semicircle to full circle reflection-shot is taken from MB’s photo cave – one of his Amsterdam trip with daughter MB2 shots in November 2016.

Wicked shot MB. Thanks lads!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Danger!


Danger.

If HX followers ever find themselves stuck between a Crusader army and an Ottoman army, MB suggests that you make yourself very scarce, pronto. One doesn’t want to get caught in the carnage.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threw out the Crusader mentality insult last week to those Turks who were suggesting that he had stolen the election; which many Turks suspect, from all that MB has heard from a number of Turkish friends. He won the election by some 1.5M votes, but there were almost 3M (mysteriously) unstamped votes included in the count, which were mostly in Erdogan’s favour. And many districts had allegedly more votes than voters. The old Irish cry of vote early and often seems to have been adopted with gusto!

MB took this shot through a shop window in April 2014, in a market in the historical Istanbul old town, from where many an Ottoman soldier, no doubt, set sail to do battle against the Western Crusaders in the holy land, back in the day. The Crusaders generally came off on the wrong side of those battles, from all that MB has read. Dangerous days in the past for the Crusaders. Dangerous days in the present for many Turks.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Wanderlust


Wanderlust.

Around the end of March each year, many an expat in the Middle East (and beyond) gets that wanderlust feeling and heads to Dubai for the richest horserace in the world; the Dubai World Cup. The DWC is the last race on the last night of the 4-month Dubai horse racing festival which starts in early November. The night must be experienced to be believed, with much on offer besides the racing. The Meydan Racing Stadium itself is a 1.2km mesmerising modern structure which contains a 5-star hotel within, and resembles an invading mega-spaceship of ultra-high luminosity, in the midst of the death-dark desert on the outskirts of Dubai city.

In addition to the attraction of the racing, one can also avail of the sport of ‘people watching’, as it’s also the biggest day of the year for ladies fashion and corporate entertainment. Think ‘ladies day at Ascot’ on steroids. The event overall is an eclectic mixture of multiple nationalities, and income levels from princes to paupers, with various ticket prices to suit. The after-racing concert this year (there’s always one) featured Aussie pop star, Sia.

So here’s  2 x MB shots from DWC night,  29 March 2014:

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“You really are the greatest MB” – Sia

Weekly Photo Challenge – Earth


Earth/Nature.

This week Cheri is asking for a scene that honours the outdoors.

Well, in Ireland we have tonnes and tonnes of nature, and tonnes of outdoors, all green and naturey. Is ‘naturey’ a word MB? Did anyone ask that question to James Joyce? MB replies. And quit with the inane questions lads. Pleezze.

Anyway, there is so much nature in Ireland, we can say that nature is second nature to the Irish. That’s clever MB. Yes, MB knows it is lads, now whisht up a while.

Yes indeed, the Irish are boggle eyed from all that emerald greenery. So to liven nature up  a little, and prevent naturey over-familiarisation, the Irish are likely to throw in some music, at a whim, just to help nature out a little.

Here’s an example, from 21 June 2015, at the stone circle in MB’s HX homeland:

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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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Weekly Photo Challenge – Security


Security.

MB read in the dim and distant past, or heard it from some sage or other, that street performers help lower street crime in the areas in which they operate. MB guesses that street criminals just get chilled out when the hear the music, smoke a joint or a fag (Irish slang for ‘cigarette’), and just go with the normal flow, rather than engaging in their more usual dastardly criminal activity flow, like stealing MB’s camera and such like.

MB just looked up the statistics for ‘street buskers help to lower street crime’, and guess what? Google never even heard of the theory, nay, never even heard of the absolute fact. Prompted by that particular piece of ineptitude, MB just looked up the google share price and was not surprised to see that it’s down 3.16 points on the day. No wonder, MB is now thinking, if the googlers (people employed by google) don’t even know that street musicians help to reduce crime, then they don’t know diddly squat.

So get your s**t together googlers. Feed your knowledge from MB’s HX blog, and stop the share price rot.

MB is just now running off to do a search on Bing and Yahoo and see what they throw up. They can’t be as bad as google, surely.

MB came across this guy, playing a tune on board a ferry that was crossing the Bosphorus Straits, on 11 April 2014. How do you know the exact date MB? Just because MB does lads. For sure, MB didn’t find it out on google. And MB can safely report, that there wasn’t a single crime during that 15-minute crossing!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Dense


Dense.

MB’s WPC effort this week is a shot he took with his Samsung phone last night, as he took a stroll along the waterfront in Geneva. Awesome shot MB. Thanks lads.

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Green – Follow-up post


Green.

MB was chuffed with the reaction to yesterday’s ‘green’ photo challenge post. So he has decided to give followers some extra ‘green’. Thanks, MB, you’re a lege. Don’t mention guys.

The time is 5.30am. The date is 08 August 2013.

MB could no longer lie on the sheet-of-plywood that constituted a ‘bed’ in the sleeping carriage of the British-rule era train en route to Haputale. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep in the preceding 24 hours, hungry as hell, and with serious back ache from the previously referred 1/2″ thick plywood ‘bed’, MB arose to face the day.

The rickety train continued to chu chu its way through the high hill country of central Sri Lanka, winding around acute bends, climbing inexorably towards destination Haputale.

The darkness had now lifted, enabling MB to take in the views from the train corridor outside his badly misnamed ‘sleeping carriage’. MB could immediately see that he had entered God’s country, with stunning vistas around every corner. He grabbed his Canon 7D and framed his shots. Click, click, click………..

Some shots from the moving train:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – It’s Easy Being Green


Green.

On 08 August 2013, very early morning, MB found himself disembarking an old train at the train station of a small town called Haputale in central Sri Lanka. He had taken a bone-shaking ten-hour journey from Colombo on the islands west coast, travelled inland about as far as one can travel in, in Sri Lanka, before one starts to travel out.

So there was MB, smack bang in the middle of high Sri Lankan hill country, with no advance booking for accommodation, no contacts and no clue how he would solve his immediate and pressing needs of food and sleep. MB wasn’t even sure if this small Sri Lankan town had accommodation or cafés or even a spare bed for a wandering Irishman. But fate would take its course and MB would just see what hand of cards fate would deal him.

MB has previously written about his Haputale adventure so he won’t repeat the story.  But if anyone’s interested, click here for the low-down.

As things turn out, Haputale wasn’t half bad, as long as one wasn’t expecting 5-star standards. And if life throws you lemons, MB was thinking, make lemonade! He found ‘lemonade’ in abundance in the people and place in the coming days, and achieved his primary goal of sitting in the famous ‘Lipton’s Seat’ atop one of the highest points in the original Lipton’s Tea Plantation, where the legendary Sir Thomas Lipton had sat to relax of an evening to contemplate life and the universe, some hundred years previously.

Oh ya. And there was lots of green!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop


Atop.

For 900 years, since the middle of the 6th century approx, the Hagia Sophia Greek Orthodox Bassicila in Istanbul (known as the Ayasofia in Turkish) was the largest cathedral in the Christian world – atop the pile, so to speak. It then became a Mosque for 500 years, until it was converted into a museum in 1935 by a secular Turkish government. Its dome roof is still studied by architectural and engineering students worldwide, and it was a groundbreaking structure in its day, and even beyond.

If you follow Turkish politics in more recent times, then you will be aware that the Hagie Sophia has become one of the meats (there are many) in the internal Turkish conflict sandwich. There is much demand from Islamists that it reconverts to a Mosque, and in recent months a Muslim performed Islamic prayer on the floor of the building. There are also some other smaller buildings with the same name, but in different towns in Turkey, which are also the similar targets of the Islamic brothers. To the best of MB’s knowledge, some have already fallen.

Prime Minister Erdogan is a master fox in the overall political scheme of things, playing and relying very much on the less educated strands of society, who are also more prone to the urgings of the Muslim Imams. Turkish politics are in a huge state of flux at present, and it remains to be seen which way Erdogan will eventually go on this Hagia Sophia matter. If he wins the constitutional election next month, he will become an all-powerful President, and may very well not bother too much with this issue thereafter. Inshallah.

MB is now thinking back to a conversation he had a few short years back with a young Istanbul tourist guide who had taken part in the mass demonstrations in Taksim Square/Gezi Park of 2013. There were multiple groups involved in the protests and many seemed to have different agendas. MB’s young Turkish friend explained that all the groups, albeit from different strands of society, had one common bond. They did not want any further Islamisation of Turkey.

MB recently discussed this point with a Turkish friend in Qatar. He was of the opinion, given recent history and particularly the fact that Erdogan has used the recent military coup attempt to castrate the more secular opposition to his government, it will only be a few short years before Turkey becomes akin to Saudi Arabia in many Islamic respects. MB spent two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (2012 to 2014) and has visited Istanbul multiple times so he can speak with a little authority on the subject. Suffice it to say, that many, if not the majority, in Saudi Arabia wish they could have what Turkey presently enjoys in terms of social life and culture. It’s sad, to put it mildly, that Erdogan should be taking his people in the opposite direction.

OK! MB knows this is just a Weekly Photo Challenge post, but he recently thought of posting something on the current Turkish situation. Today’s theme just opened the door, and MB decided to walk right in!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Wish


Wish.

It is thought that one in every three camels spends their time wishing their lives away.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – The Road Taken


The Road Taken.

But if you lived in Amsterdam, it would be ‘The canal taken’ – Mais oui???

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Weekly Photo Challenge – A Good Match (MB’s challenge to Banksy)


A Good Match.

The guideline for this week’s photo challenge from Ben is as follows:

“This week, share a photo of a satisfying pairing from your own life. You should by no means limit yourself to edible stuff — You can mix and match places, people, objects, and activities that represent your idea of a harmonious, pleasing combination.”

And no better man to ‘mix n match’ people and/or objects and/or anything else you care to mention than artist Banksy. MB has used a Banksy shot or two in previous weeks challenges, from his visit with daughter MB2 to the Moco Museum in Amsterdam in November 2016, which featured a Banksy/Warhol exhibition.

MB has tried to look up this painting online to find an explanation. ‘A painting on a painting’ was the only description MB could find, so he remains in the dark as to any deeper meaning. Maybe it’s just a piss-take on art generally. MB will very much welcome the thoughts of HX followers in this regard.

However, who but the artist himself can really shine a light? So Mr Banksy, assuming you are a follower of MB’s HX blog (and if you’re not you certainly should be!!!), please tell MB WTF this painting is about???!!! MB can clearly see that it’s got ‘a good match’, but apart from that………………………..

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