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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Qatar crisis – There is no crisis – We won!


Further to MB’s comprehensive and quite deadly ‘Qatar/Gulf Crisis’ update blog post of recent days, MB now brings further joyous news to all. If heretofore, followers had considered that there was still a lingering, albeit minuscule, smell of crisis in the Gulf air, MB is most pleased to inform all that the air is now mountain-fresh and rosy-smelling. Read More

Qatar Blockade – Update


Way back mid-June, MB published one of the most succinct, informative and entertaining reports on the Qatar/Gulf crisis seen in world media. Peers gasped for breath. Read More

Qatar Blockade – MB’s trying to sort it out!


Followers will, no doubt, already be aware of the ‘Qatar Blockade’, to give the subject matter its Twitter hashtag handle. On Monday morning last, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, along with some other Islamic power-houses such as Maldives and Libya Eastern Region. All flights between Qatar and ‘The Others’ were cancelled indefinitely on the following day with travel bans imposed on citizens. The land border with Saudi Arabia (the only land border that peninsular Qatar actually has) was closed with some red & white ‘danger’ tape and plastic bollards, like you see on construction sites back in Ireland. ‘Danger – Do Not Enter’ signs suddenly appeared all along the frontline. “WTF?” shouted all the normal (powerless) citizens of the Arabian Gulf who, to a man and woman, hadn’t a clue what was going on.

And there you have it, dear followers. You are all as wise as all the locals on this matter. Tweets from ‘The Donald’ soon revealed that he was in the thick of it, and in all probability had rubber-stamped the whole escapade, which is still unfolding. ‘The Donald’ was in Saudi Arabia a few weeks back and departed with USD 100B in weapons contracts, while Ivanka gladly accepted a USD 100M donation to her ‘Female Entrepreneurs Fund’ from the Saudi King; her without the headscarf. Tramp. Trump.

Anyway……..

While all the expats were scratching their heads and scratching their butts trying to figure it all out, Mr Mohammad & Mrs Fathima Al Qatari made an immediate bee-line for the supermarkets and cleared all the shelves of perishable goods. Generations of dealing with Arab volatility has thought the Qatari lads and lassies a thing or two about dealing with a crisis. Monday and Tuesday saw some of the longest queues in Qatari supermarket history. Fresh milk was gone by Monday evening, leaving only UHT Goats Milk for dim-witted expats like MB, when they finally cottoned on to the fact that shopping is what one does when a crisis strikes. Food shopping. Comfort shopping. Any kind of shopping. Even MB got a little caught up in it all, buying a dozen organic eggs on Tuesday evening, rather than his normal half. How comforted was MB?! Struth!

MB heard only today that there is no chicken available in the shops, him not being the greatest of chicken fans and unaware of that particular chicken fact. The desert sand does not provide much sustenance for your average chuck, so the chicken farms of the Gulf are primarily located in Saudi Arabia where an odd bit of muck and dirt resides; Islamic chickens one and all no doubt. The chicken trucks are therefore presently stacked ten-a-chicken-breast at the blockaded Saudi border, as MB writes this chicken missal.

For the information and ongoing education of HX followers, the Arabic word for chicken is ‘dajaj’ (some word), and MB swears that almost 75% of the items on every restaurant menu in Qatar have the ‘dajaj’ word included somewhere. Dajaj this and dajaj that and dajaj the other. It’s akin to spuds back in Ireland. A must-have dish with every meal, in whatever format suits the moment. More dajaj please. And can I please order some desert dajaj? And a dajaj to go. Shukran.

So is there a threat of invasion MB? Well if there is lads, let’s hope it’s an invasion of chickens, or eggs. But which will come first MB? That’s the proverbial question lads!

Anyway, MB is not fearful of invasion. The HX Blog has numerous followers in Saudi Arabia and UAE, from MB’s sojourns in those regions. So the fact that MB is known to be presently residing in Qatar, means in all probability, that none of the hostile governments (of some 120M population) will risk sending troops across the border of Qatar (of some 2M population). Or if they do, it will only be to meet with MB to negotiate the terms of their surrender.

And that’s the story to date lads. MB will keep you all a(chicken)breast of developments, even before they happen.

Watch this space. Yesterday!

20170608_174331Lulu Supermarket today. Doha, Qatar. UHT Goats Milk. Yuk!

 

 

 

 

 

Foto Friday – Inside a Qatar Shopping Mall


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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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Camel Racing in Qatar


Take your average camel race………….. Read More

Foto Friday – Camels


MB went to watch camel racing today. More photos will follow, but here’s one for the moment, for MB’s Foto Friday.

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