Posted on August 11, 2019
Muslims the world over are celebrating the festival of Eid Al Adha in the coming days. The dates may differ slightly in different countries, as far as MB is aware, as Eid starts on the 10th day of a certain lunar month. Read More
Posted on May 23, 2019
On a few occasions in the past, MB has offered his blog site to friends who had something to say and needed a forum in which to say it.
In recent days, friend and work colleague Mrs Joy, from Punjab State in India, asked MB if she could use his blog site to publicise the events of the last year which were extremely traumatic for her, particularly in the earlier stages.
Joy has an appropriate name. She is one of the happiest souls one could ever meet, with a great sense of humour. She is truly a joy to meet and chat with. In India, in her younger days, she cared for street dogs and would personally intervene if ever she witnessed any cruelty to animals by anybody. That small fact alone will give readers an idea of her nature.
In June 2018, Joy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a married lady with two daughters, aged 6 and 12. Needless to say, after the initial shock of discovery, thoughts immediately turned to treatment and survival and where the best treatment might be procured. Returning to her home country of India was considered, where many very high-quality cancer treatment hospitals exist. However, on discussing the matter with various doctors and with some patients who had received treatment in Qatar, she decided to proceed with the treatment in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) – NCCR (cancer treatment department) in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Choosing the local option ensured that she would remain with her family, avoid the stressful disruption of moving home for a relatively long period, reduce the cost of treatment dramatically and her two daughters could continue their schooling without interruption.
Her choice turned out to be an inspired one. The treatment and care received was beyond excellent and was truly world class. Chemo treatment started in June and ended in December when the tumour had reduced to a size that enabled an operation to take place. The operation took place in February and the tumour was successfully removed. Medication and treatment continues to this day, and will hopefully ensure that there will be no reoccurrence.
Joy informed MB that the hospital staff became like her second family. She received treatment from physicians from multiple nationalities including Arabs, Irish, British and from her home country of India. At the time of the operation, she encouraged her husband to focus on looking after their two children at home, rather than spend all his time being with her at the hospital. She could tell him this only because of the comfort and security she felt in the care and company of the great family-like HMC staff.
As MB and Joy sipped cups of green tea together earlier today, it was obvious to MB that Joy’s great spirit has returned. The wigs are now long put away and her hair is returning to its normal thick voluminous self. And her great broad Indian smile is back on her face. Thank God!
By publicising her story Joy wishes firstly give a huge thanks to all the staff and management at HMC for the remarkable job they do. Secondly, Joy wishes to encourage anybody who might find themselves in the same predicament, to look first to the locally available world-class facility at HMC in Doha. Joy is one of the many living proofs that there are few better options available anywhere else in the world.
Finally, Joy has asked MB to post the below piece, written by a friend, which may be forwarded later to HMC or other local organisations or publications. MB is very happy to do so and wishes Joy lots of joy, joy and more joy, long into the future!
Joy’s contact details are included below if anybody would like to contact her directly for advice or just a friendly chat about matters medical. And please also feel free to share this post on your own social media sites.
ONE WOMAN’S BIG THANK YOU! – To the State of Qatar
On 27th June 2018, Joy Grover received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Joy’s world fell apart.
The day after she received the terrible diagnosis she was due to fly out to India to visit her family. Needless to say, the doctor told her she had to cancel the trip. Joy, who has two young daughters, felt she had no choice but to follow the doctor’s advice and she cancelled the trip. Joy and her husband decided not to share the awful news with many members of their family especially her father-in-law who is now in his 80’s.
Joy visited a well-respected doctor based in Qatar, who she already knew through friends and she told the doctor she was thinking of flying back to India for treatment. This decision was based on Joy being in Qatar with her husband and children but no other family available to help her through this terrible time. However, the doctor advised Joy not to do this and told her that it would be in her best interest to have the necessary treatment in Qatar as it was the best available.
Eventually, after much thought and many prayers, Joy made the decision to stay in Qatar and accept the much-needed help and treatment for her disease. A factor in this decision was also, that in her home country of India, the treatment required would come at a huge cost and in Qatar all the treatment for cancer is provided with minimal charges.
Joy and her family were able to take the much-needed trip back to India to see their family just for 10 days before the gruelling treatment began. She spent a lot of time praying and keeping her faith and strongly believes that this has helped her to get through the emotional and physical ordeal of this life-changing event.
Joy says “I want to shout out loud to everyone who lives here and say that we are blessed with world-class health services in Qatar and the wonderful facilities and treatment are second to none. From the first visit to Hamad Hospital, all the way through chemotherapy and the continuing treatment I have been receiving, it’s no wonder that Qatar was recently voted by London’s Legatum Institute as having the 5th Best Health Care Service in the World and No. 1 in the Middle East.
The staff, doctors and nurses were faultless and looked after me as one of their own, showing endless compassion and empathy, so much so that Joy did not feel she missed or needed her family around her as the nurses and staff became her family.”
Joy also added “I want to reiterate that the treatment in Qatar is second to none. Hamad Medical Corporation has invested in the best and latest technology and medicines, and everyone should feel very proud to have access to this world-class service.
Joy wanted to express these heartfelt thanks, firstly to help others in the same or a similar situation to herself, so that they can be reassured they are doing the right thing in having their treatment in Qatar. And secondly, Joy wants to thank publicly from the bottom of her heart, the State of Qatar, his Highness The Emir Sheikh Tamim and his Highness The Emir Father Sheikh Hamad for taking the decision to establish a world-class medical service that is accessible to all the residents of Qatar, and HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al Kuwari, Minister of Health for generously providing an amazing health care system and the awesome staff, doctors and nurses at Hamad Medical Corporation. Joy is also very grateful to her colleagues and ex-colleague for supporting Joy during her journey.
For more information please contact:
Mrs Joy Grover
Mobile: +974 3118 0149
Posted on April 20, 2019
Posted on March 3, 2019
Architecture. Big thanks to Amy for the challenge.
The Al Shaqab horse arena in Doha, Qatar, is an architecturally-impressive mega-structure situated on the northern outskirts of the city. It features hugely impressive indoor and outdoor arenas of equal scale, which host show jumping, dressage, and other equestrian events. There is an emphasis on promoting the Arab horse breed. The below shots feature the outdoor arena FYI.
MB attended Al Shaqab for the first time yesterday afternoon to view a Swiss watch company Longines-sponsored international show jumping event, featuring over 40 horses and riders from many countries, including three from MB’s Ireland. Everybody who attended got a free USD 1,000 Longines watch to boot, which was extremely generous of the Qatar/Longines people. Longines company are producing quality watches in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, since 1832. MB just thought he would give them this little plug/mention in thanks for the awesome freebee, which should see sales hit an all-time high in the coming weeks.
MB did not have any super duper camera & zoom lenses with him. All below shots were taken on MBs Sony RX 100 M6 pocket camera.
“You’re a genius MB. How do you keep on doing it?”
“Thank you guys. Nail on the head, MB guesses. Genius.”
“And did you not take any shots with your Huawei Chinese Camera Phone thingy MB?”
“Of course MB did guys. But MB will save those for another post. Too much awesomeness could be just a little too much for followers to handle in one single post.”
“BTW guys. MB was just kidding about the free Longines watch!”
“Ha ha ha, MB. What a kidder you are!”
Posted on January 10, 2019
Posted on December 14, 2018
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:
Posted on December 9, 2018
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.
Posted on December 6, 2018
Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More
Posted on November 30, 2018
Posted on November 22, 2018
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
Posted on November 1, 2018
Posted on October 25, 2018
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!
Posted on May 23, 2018
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.
Posted on May 4, 2018
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!
Posted on March 1, 2018
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.