Random Places


Greetings lads,

Hope all in good form. MB will be taking break from his Saudi paradise for the next week in good old Dubai, UAE. So looking forward.

Had suggestion for this week’s blog to do something on Chinese New Year lads, which is year of the snake. Did not have clue about the significance of the snake but looked it up this evening and discovered the strengths & weaknesses of people born in the ‘snake’ years.


Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Strengths
They often have a good temper and a skill at communicating but say little. They possess gracious morality and great wisdom. They are usually financially secure and do not have to worry about money. They have tremendous sympathy for others and would like to take actions to help ther fellow human beings. They are determined to accomplished their goals hate to fail. Although they look calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. They have a rich source of inspiration and understand themselves well. They are people of great perception. Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable.

Weaknesses
They are likely to be jealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about what they discuss with others, as it might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities. They tend to overdo things. They prefer to rely on themselves and have doubts about other people’s judgment. They are courteous  with polite manners, but they can be headstrong. They are fickle and usually have problems in relationships or marriage problems. 


So lads, it appears you can have great wisdom and at same time be jealous and suspicious. Bit confused by the Snake people must admit.

And the below are the most recent Snake years in question lads:

23/01/1917 – 10/02/1918

10/02/1029 – 29/01/1930

27/01/1941 – 14/02/1942

14/02/1953 – 02/02/1954

02/02/1965 – 20/01/1966

18/02/1977 – 06/02/1978

06/02/1990 – 26/01/1990

24/01/2001 – 11/02/2002


Just to confirm lads – MB is not a snake.
Great Wall, this location is approx 1 hour by car from Beijing, take cable care to reach the wall. Note cable car bottom left of pic.

This weeks pics lads are from random places. And I love random places! In honour of the Snake Year lads I give you a few pics I took when was in China about 3 years back. Ya, China lads – MB gets around. Did not have decent camera back then but the attached are decent enough. Plus a few shots of jewelry & other stuff from Global Village Market, one of my favourite places in Dubai. And other random places that I can’t remember at the mo.

You need fit body like MB to climb the wall lads

Valentines Day – by The Oatmeal
Should have included this last week of course lads. But did not see it in time. Gave you another from The Oatmeal few weeks back lads and had a giggle at this one during the week when I read:


Dubai Skyline, shot from hotel rooftop at Festival City area, near Dubai airport

Pagan Weddings in Ireland
Irish Government will recognise Pagan Wedding ceremonies lads, f any of you are thinking of same. Celtic Paganism is older than Christianity lads far as I am aware. Maybe someone can throw some light on this for me

Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.

The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-government-to-give-full-legal-status-to-Pagan-weddings-149628925.html#ixzz2LT4rfxc4

One you won’t see in Ireland!

Sheikh Mo (the  living legend!)
The actor Johnny Depp paid surprise visit to a school some time back lads dressed in his pirate outfit. But Sheikh Mo went one better lads. He visited a Dubai school last week dressed as – Sheikh Mo. Hard to beat that lads you will agree. Came about due to request by young schoolgirl. It seems lads that when any lady clicks her finger even male Royal Rulers will jump!
Dubai: Little Mira could not believe her eyes when “Baba Mohammad” walked into her classroom during the first class of her school day. Mira Ali Murad is a nine-year-old third grade student at the evening school shift of Al Ahliya Charity School in Garhoud, Dubai.

“When he came in he asked me who he was and I said ‘Shaikh Mohammad’. He said ‘bravo’ and shook my hand and left,” she said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, surprised Mira when he granted her wish by visiting her in her school on Sunday. Mira had asked Shaikh Mohammad, in a video message, when he would visit her school.

Prayer after work, as the lads face Mecca & the local cafe. Two Pakastanis walk past.
The Boss (do not scroll past!)
After posted last weeks song by The Boss lads I had a listen to some of his stuff. Must admit was never really a fan. But a concert called the Seeger Sessions is different from what you might expect. Some fantastic music and incredible musicians. Recommend you switch to ‘full screen’ for this one, some great angles and camera work, if that kind of stuff turns you on. Bruce sings an Irish folk song here, and I give you some  info on the song in the 2nd link below:
Ice cream after work while the bus waits for the lads to arrive for the journey home

Dragon Mart – Dubai

There is very large retail centre in Dubai called Dragon Mart, and as the name suggests it has 100% Chinese products. Really cheap stuff, from the proverbial needle to the proverbial anchor. They seem to have imported few new products since MBs last visit:

Soaps to ‘restore’ virginity at Dragon Mart
Dubai Now you can get curves like Jennifer Lopez for less than Dh60, or so certain products sold at Dragon Mart would have you believe.

From a Dh25 virginity soap that promises to tighten muscles, to a Dh60 gel that claims to push your ‘hip up’, dozens of dubious products are selling like hotcakes at various outlets in Dragon Mart.

“Our virginity soap has honey extracts and is very effective,” said a salesperson suggesting it be used at least twice a day to get its benefits in about two weeks.

Firmer buttocks, he claimed, could take a bit longer, as one needs to apply the gel for about a month. None of these products conforms to health stipulations.

But retailers swear by them. Ask them if the products have any side effects and the standard response is: “No. It’s all herbal.”

http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/xpress/soaps-to-restore-virginity-at-dragon-mart-1.1148980

Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai

Anyone for colour?

Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes. 


Saudi Marriage

Like our pre-marriage courses in the West lads some Saudi cleric has come up with similar idea. Assume he had look at the Irish model:

Manama: A leading Saudi religious figure has called for holding compulsory special workshops on matrimony for all young men and women about to get married.

“The justice ministry should ensure that the marriage contract is not endorsed by a court of law unless the two spouses prove that they have gone through the mandatory workshop,” Saeed Al Qah’tani said.

The scholar attributed his call to the high rise in divorce rates in the Saudi kingdom.

“The rate has exceeded 50 per cent in some regions in the country and this is alarming,” he said. “This clearly indicates that there is a serious and grave issue about understanding and appreciating the responsibilities of spouses towards each other,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Okaz on Sunday.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-scholar-calls-for-mandatory-marriage-workshop-1.1147325

Typical Yemeni style necklaces


Ring & henna


Gotta go lads

Sorry bit rushed this week lads. Not one of the better efforts I’m afraid. Just under bit of time pressure. Have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there.

MB

Pearls

Happy Valentines!


Greetings ladies

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:


Spice powder castle

SpiceMar


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.

HoneyMar

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.

Clouds over North Riyadh construction site. I have noticed that Muslim clouds and Christian clouds are the exact same.

Afghan Clouds


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.

Afghan Pot


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…………..

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/online-matchmaking-a-hit-with-saudi-couples-1.1146326
And did you know ladies that St Valentine himself is buried in Dublin? If you are struggling to find that amusing rugged handsome stinking rich type ladies, you only need to run down to Whitefriar St, touch the coffin or alter with your hand, and within 24 hours, hey presto, your new man will appear. Unlike the on-line matches mentioned above ladies, this is 100% certain to produce the results. Best of luck!—

Sunset up the street from the Afghan cafe.

Afghan sunset

 
St Valentine
 
Was St Valentine a true blue Dub?

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.

Fertility festival
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.

Exhumed
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!


Took shot of this guy at the golf last weekend lads. He did not appear to have much interest in the goings on.

Bird
Music
Spotted this on Fb during the week lads when one of my pals posted up. Good happy clappy one to put a smile on your faces:

Everyone who attended the golf last weekend got free 4×4 Mercedes. Just for showing up to give our support. Long live Sheikh Mo.
Mercedes

Dubai

Another tourism project given the green light by Sheikh Mo during the week lads. Should be a good one. Will be located in Dubai Marina. We are good to go:
“I love the smell of traffic fumes in the morning” – from the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. North Riyadh street. Right next to the Imam University – a production line for Saudi Imams.

Pylons & traffic

Dubai Parking

And with 3M+ visitors expected at the above venture lads our cars will need the latest in parking technology. Just let the robot take care of it for you lads.
“There is nothing as majestic as a pylon” – MB

Pylon

Ballyneety GC

Want to wish all involved the best of luck in their attempts to revive local Golf Club at home. Was great social and sporting outlet before it closed few years ago.
Arab lad gets an oil change, car out of pic.

Car oil change
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for trying to sort out all the red tape lads. Read on:
Regardless of where you are living lads, you will always need the puncture repair facility. 

Car Puncture
And the puncture repair lad. God bless him.

Car tyre man
The Alter Tomb

Want to mention writer and Guinness drinker MQ from the HX heartland back in Ireland lads, who published mini novel at tail end of last year. It’s fictional account of a tomb he discovered in a local graveyard dating from 1618. The story also features a character we featured in this blog long time back – one John Murphy who is buried in grave in same place, also discovered by MQ, and has inscription on his gravestone that he was 219 years old when he died (I gave you all pic of this headstone previously lads).The novel, and that piece of the story in particular, got front page publicity in the local LL newspaper at home recently, about one year after the HX report on same!

MQ

MQ
The Alter Tomb from 1618

Alter Tomb
 

English words from Arabic
I am dedicating this piece to Crosser JMc lads who is a wordsmith in her own right. Is on a sabbatical at present from her writing career with the HX. Inshallah she comes back soon.You will be surprised to learn so many English words have Arabic origin lads, if you give a damn in the first place. You really are full of BS this week MB‘, I can hear many of you shouting lads. But sometimes lads we just don’t know what is good for us, and it takes gurus like MB to point it out.
Thanks to Crosser MC for sending pic of his gaff in Sweden to MB. Free accommodation is available for all Crossers at MCs house – all year round lads, but limited to 30 day max stay, when MC & his missus will vacate the master bedroom to allow Crossers to feel very much at home in Sweden. Big thanks MC.

Mossy hse
Oman
Nothing like an Arab Spring to get the rulers to loosen the purse strings lads. The Omani people will now reap the rewards:
But in the end lads we are all heading to the same place. The Graveyard at Grange Church, HX. Pic from my trip home at Christmas. 

IMG_4085Mar

Adios ladies (& Happy Val)
That’s it for another week. Regards to all. Enjoy your weekend.

MB