Posted on March 12, 2020
Thanks to guest blogger Miriam for her Reflections challenge this week. Readers can view her post HERE and a little bit about Miriam herself and her Showers of Blessings blog site HERE. A very active lady for sure. Read More
Posted on October 1, 2019
Posted on July 15, 2016
2013 Shot of one of the buildings under construction at a Zaha Hadid-designed project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Posted on March 14, 2014
Posted on November 23, 2013
Posted on November 22, 2013
Another Friday morning in Riyadh, the start of the weekend out these parts. Friday mornings are always quiet. Inside the hotel or outside. Few people visible as many have a lie-in. The Prayer channel from Mecca is on, as usual, on the hotel lobby TV and some Imam lad is singing verses from the Quran as pilgrims walk in circles around the holy kaba. Music generally is forbidden in Saudi, except when it relates to singing verses of the Quran or belting out the call to prayer five times per day. But suppose it’s more chanting than singing. The Imam is not backed by acoustic guitars and tambourines like you might see and hear in churches back home.
Posted on November 15, 2013
Posted on November 8, 2013
Tight for time today so MB will just briefly mention a party he got invited to last night. A meeting of two tribes. Two major families. And they invited MB along. No kidding. 300 Saudi males, plus MB walking amongst them with some HX swagger! Lots of sword swinging, dancing, poetry recitation, and much tribal singing from the Saudis. All very traditional and interesting. And MB stuck in the thick of it all. But no better buchaill (‘boy’ – in Irish Gaelic) to record the occasion. Made a few videos using the video mode on the camera, and took loads of shots. Will give you all the video next week, as will take some time to upload. But giving you a bunch of pics today to give you flavour.
Posted on October 9, 2013
MB decided to do au revoir blog post for you all on account of fact will be traveling through the sky from Middle East to Ireland on Friday morning, and later that day heading from Dublin to HX. So will be just too busy to cater for your ever growing needs. The HX family is growing weekly lads, al hamdillah, and it can’t be much longer before MB chucks in the day job to focus solely on spending the large advert revenue that is most assuredly heading his way. Allah u akbar for sure.
Posted on October 3, 2013
MB bit subdued tonight. Been long tiring week. Thank God it’s over and weekend is upon us. MB needs break. Thank God it’s Thursday, as we never say back home.
Enchanting HX & the enchanted lake. With pin marker on the football pitches.
Posted on September 27, 2013
Posted on August 2, 2013
Major panic last night. Laptop conked out when battery died. MB tried to recharge, but over period of few hours battery just wouldn’t take charge, and normally obedient laptop downright refused to turn on. What to do at time like that?!
Category: Graveyard, humor, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Laptop, Middle East Life, Photography, Riyadh, Riyadh airport, Saudi Arabia, The Dimwit Diary Tagged: Grave, Graveyard, Humor, Humour, Irish man in the Middle East, Laptop, Middle East Life, Photography, Riyadh, Riyadh airport, Saudi Arabia, The Dimwit Diary
Posted on March 14, 2013
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 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!
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.”
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.
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. 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.
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. He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977. His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo. 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. He speaks Arabic fluently.
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
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
Category: 3rd World, Afghanistan, Beheading, Burqa, Cafe, Comics, Dubai, Habemus Papam, Holycross, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Pope Francis, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo Tagged: 3rd World, Afghanistan, Beheading, Burqa, Cafe, Comics, Dubai, Habemus Papam, Holycross, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Middle East Life, mosque, Muslim, Photography, Pope Francis, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mo
Posted on February 14, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.
Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:
Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.
This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.
We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!
The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.
Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.
More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”
“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.
“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.
For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..
JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin.
In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.
We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.
But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.
In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.
Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.
In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.
This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.
It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!
Category: Ballyneety Golf Club, clouds, death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, honey, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Michael Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Spice powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines Day Tagged: Ballyneety, Clouds, Death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, Honey, Humour, Ireland, Irishman in Middle East, Micheal Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, Reluctant Emigrant, Riyadh, Spice Powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines day