It’s The Weekend


The National Day celebrations have already started in Qatar with lots of events kicking off yesterday. National Day is Tuesday 18 December, which is a public holiday. Amongst other functions on 18th, the Emir of Qatar will officially open the new Doha Metro System (a project with MB involvement), which is a sort of poke in the eye to the blockading neighbouring states. The Metro project has finished more or less on time, despite the severe impact of the land and sea blockade of 05 June 2017, and the fact that almost all materials for the project had to be imported.

MB took this shot at one of the celebratory events last night:

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Celebrations


Celebrations.

Qatar National Day public holiday is just around the corner. 18 December to be exact. National Day celebrates the succession of Shaikh Jasim to the throne in 1878, and his subsequent founding of the State of Qatar. On National Day, the national flag will bedeck anything to which one can attach a piece of string or some bunting.

The below shot, featuring a number of Qatar flags, or a very similar version, appeared a few weeks back on one of MB’s posts. MB mentioned at the time that he would return to the scene again to get a sharper shot as the previous one was somewhat blurry.  Anyway, MB did just that last night, placing the camera on a concrete wall before pressing the button.

Voila!

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It’s the weekend


Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More

It’s the weekend


Read a book!

The Doha International Book Fair started yesterday and runs until next weekend. So many books!

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It’s the weekend


Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar – The Life of Pie

The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most recognisable buildings in Doha and a must-visit destination for tourists to the country. The building has featured in previous HX posts, but MB took some new pics when out walking earlier this week which he gives you below. Check out the MIA website if you want to learn some more. Read More

It’s the weekend


Dhow boats fly the Qatar flag on Doha Corniche, with view of the Westbay skyline in the distance. As shot by MB on an evening walk earlier this week.

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It’s the weekend


Weather – Qatar.

Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.

The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.

Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.

MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.

It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.

Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.

Have a nice weekend!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Twisted


Twisted.

Back in HX land, the word twisted is generally used in the context of some local or other having consumed far too much alcohol in some local pub. That lad was totally twisted might be one description of said lad by some (non-twisted) observer. Anyway, MB is not going to show you all some HX pub or street shot for this weeks photo challenge. He will, instead, give you all something far more circumspect, religious even, from the local Islamic perspective, in the midst of this holy month, Islamically speaking, of Ramadan,

The spiral mosque at Fanar, next to Doha’s Souq Waqif, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the whole of Qatar. It is part of the larger Doha Islamic Cultural Centre, where one can enter and learn a little of Islamic history and holy sites in an open area on the ground floor, in addition to taking evening classes in Arabic on the upper floors, which MB has done in the past. The mosque prayer area is accessed at first-floor level, if one is so religiously inclined.

MB took the below shot from the nearby souq, capturing some pigeons in show-boat mode, to the backdrop of the spiral mosque.

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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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Weekly Photo Challenge – Out of this world


Out Of This World.

No, it’s not Wakanda! The night skyline of the Westbay area on the Doha Corniche is impressive and otherworldly. Most of the architecturally spectacular buildings are office blocks owned by big local companies or government organisations. The building on the extreme right on the below shot is the Sheraton Hotel.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Beloved


Beloved.

MB delves into the world of Middle East politics for this weeks photo challenge. The topic is one he has covered previously, but the photo not. Read More

Foto Friday – The Ruler


We are just over 6 months into the blockade of Qatar by neighboring states. Qatar National Day Public Holiday is almost upon us and MB expects that this years will be bigger and bolder than ever. MB has previously shown followers photos of the Ruler, Sheikh Tamim, from around Doha, and such photos continue to proliferate as Qatar dwellers show their support for the Ruler and the State against ‘the others’.

MB took this shot last night on Doha Corniche and it’s pretty typical of what’s on view at the moment.

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A New Irish Passport


It was not until MB arrived in the Middle East (ME) some nine years ago that he learnt the true value of his Irish Passport. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Corner


Corner.

Camels race around the corner at a track in Doha, Qatar – shot from MB’s camel racing excursion of some months back. Note the robot jockeys on the camel’s backs. The robots and their whips are controlled by remote controls in the hands of the owners who follow the camels in 4x4s on roadways outside the track perimeter.

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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