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MahmoodsGarden surpasses 1,000 likes on Facebook

MahmoodsGarden surpasses 1,000 likes on Facebook

Yes! We’ve surpassed 1,000 likes on Facebook in under a week since launch of the page! Very happy. Thank you all VERY much indeed for making this happen. Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it.

I would really appreciate it if you would subscribe to the YouTube channel, just follow this link: http://YouTube.com/MahmoodsGarden and hit the “subscribe” button. This will allow you to get notified whenever a new episode or video is released.

Thanks again guys. Very much appreciated.

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A beautiful breakfast

A beautiful breakfast

Food isn’t that important to me any more, I get a much deeper pleasure having it with people I care about. That was the feeling I had this morning meeting up with my friend Karla Solano at Chai Café where we had a semi-traditional Bahraini breakfast, and talked running, amongst various other topics. It was really nice to see Karla again.

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The café itself is nice and cosy, situated on two levels at a corner directly opposite Bahrain Mall. The place is nice, neat, tidy and clean. The staff attentive and the food really good. Their menu is quite extensive and they even have monthly subscriptions to dallahs of various teas! Not sure if the service includes delivery, but the idea itself is quite novel. Very nice. I’m a sucker for chai karak!

Opting for the “combo breakfast” and a khobiz jibin (cheese bread) with chai karak, Karla and I compared running injuries 😉 and we discussed the various running events happening in the next six months in Bahrain. I didn’t know there were that many! In fact, the running calendar via the Bahrain Road Runners is quite well thought out and extensive; taking a runner from the basic 5km a the beginning of the season and gradually go to 10k, 15k, 17k coast-to-coast (which is gruelling I’m told due to the terrain) and finally culminating in a half marathon in January. I’ll certainly attempt all of those as not only do they sound fun to do, but I know from experience that if I can run those here in Bahrain, I can conquer those distances anywhere else without too much of a problem. My target now, is to get much healthier, build my core strength and push for better timings.

I’ll tell you this now though: I’m aiming for a half-iron-man in 2016 and at least two half marathons in 2015. Hope some of you can join me. That would be a lot of fun.

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An exquisite dinner

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A meal, normally – at least most I have been familiar with – do not last more than 30 minutes, with the first 20 probably trying to call everyone to the table and then messing about with plates and cutlery, etc., then 10 minutes to wolf it down and then back to whatever we were individually doing again.

I suspect that this is the same story for a lot of people, that’s why when I first heard from a French friend that every Sunday his family gather in their kitchen and start cooking from around 10 or 11am and then start eating around noon and that the meal actually habitually extends to 5 or 6pm I was skeptical to start with, but then the more we chatted that skepticism turned to incredulity; “How much can these people eat?” and another more urgent question was “What the hell do they talk about for all of that time, and they are family!”

That was a few years ago, Daniel Esperanza has since gone back to Paris and we did cross paths at exhibitions once or twice. He probably does not remember that conversation but I do, as it stuck in my mind since. I continued to have hurried meals, with probably the longest at the table being our traditional Eid and Christmas dinners – those extend to about an hour, max.

Last night, Frances and I approximated Daniel’s experience and we both rather enjoyed it.

Chaîne des Rôtisseurs logo

We were fortunate enough to be invited to a special dinner by our friend Ian Fisher (yes, the one and only!) to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs function which this time was held at the Diplomat’s Kontiki restaurant. The chefs have excelled in creating a Pacific Extravaganza consisting of eight courses for us to enjoy which in itself was a wonderful journey through which we savored the culinary delights of the region.

The food was good of course as was its presentation; however, what made that a much better experience was the people, the conversations, the new friends all of which contributed greatly to a fantastic atmosphere and made time fly. Four hours of chatting and eating felt like not more than 30 minutes!

Now I know what Daniel was talking about and I believe him. I look forward to recreating this experience at home and abroad often. The experience taught me that food was not just for eating; it also serves as a catalyst for building and maintaining good relationships. That cannot happen in a hurry.

Frances and I wish to thank Ian and Rosemary for their hospitality and hope that we can return the favour one day.

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‘Don’t wait for change, be the change’

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Good advice. And one that should be kept in mind at all times especially in our lethargic Arab societies.

The advice comes from a young lady who demonstrated an iron will to fight injustice and offer venues for inter-faith and inter-cultural rapprochement through cyber activism which, if not emulated, then at least supported, because ultimately her efforts leads to hope of a better future.

Thanks for your efforts Esra’a, and you have my full support.

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Case Deferred

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We went to the court this morning with a number of people already present and offered their support. But due to the main judge’s family bereavement, for which I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali on the passing of his mother, the case has been administratively deferred to be heard on May 8th.

I would also like to sincerely thank everyone who was present and all of those who called, emailed and texted their support as well.

In particular I would like to thank the lead advocate Ms. Fatima Al-Hawaj and the legal team offered by the Bahrain Human Rights Society to assist Ms. Al-Hawaj in the case, Lawyers Nawaf Al-Sayed and Lo’ay Qarouni; Tawfiq Al-Rayyash, Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, the head of the Bahrain Journalists Union Mohammed Fadhel, journalists Mohammed Al-Sawwad from Al-Waqt (who was involved very recently in a similar case), Mohammed Aslam of the GDN, Mohammed Abbas of Reuters, Sandeep Singh Grewal from the Bahrain Tribune and Adel Al-Shaikh from Al-Wasat.

I would also like to sincerely thank my family who have always stood by me. My wife Frances, my brother Jamal and sister Maha as well as my children. I am sure that if my other siblings were in Bahrain they would have not hesitated an instant by being present to offer their support.

The legal team have asked for the case’s documents for their review and preparation, and we await the new court’s date to present our case before the High Criminal Court.

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Blogging Baby!

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I would like to extend many many happy wishes to the blogging couple Tanya and Hashim for the arrival of Naief just a few minutes ago!

3.8kgs and blonde! Mother and baby are doing well.

May he live in your shadows and your protection for a very long time to come, and may Naief also give you many happy memories.

Mabrouk Naief and welcome! May you live long and prosper.

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The Dome of Ma’atem Al-Ajam – Bahrain

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The Dome of Ma'atem Al-Ajam - Bahrain

The Dome of Ma’atem Al-Ajam – Bahrain, originally uploaded by malyousif.



Arif and I went to pay our respects to two separate families this morning to offer our condolences. The first is a old friend whose shop was right next to ours in the old souq and had his father pass away yesterday. That was in the old city in Ma’atem Madan.

Then we went to pay our respects in Ma’atem Al-Ajam, the dome and magnificent chandelier of which is shown in this picture, and offered our condolences to one of our neighbours whose uncle just passed away yesterday as well.

This is "Ma’atem Al-Ajam Al-Kabeer" or the Grand Persian Religious Hall, is one of the most beautifully attired halls in Bahrain. This is the picture of its dome with its huge chandelier.

I hope all of you do not suffer any bereavements my friends, and hope too that you have a wonderful, happy and peaceful Friday.

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First hand Hajj experience

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My friend Rami just came back from performing the Hajj Al-Kabeer (the Grand Pilgrimage) and he came back with a lot of pictures which he thankfully just posted so we too can live the experience through his eyes.

These are some of the pictures he took, mostly with his mobile phone, and they do cover a lot of the things which he insists that I should experience first hand before too long too!

Rami's Hajj Rami's Hajj Rami's Hajj

My brother Jamal, his wife, our mother as well as our friend, blogger and cinematographer extraordinaire Hisham Khalifa (no relation to Rami!) have also performed the Hajj this year and they all came with wonderful stories to tell and all praise for this year’s organisation. Some even said that the Hajj this year was “too easy” and they don’t feel that they have suffered enough to be on a “real Hajj!”

Well, regardless, I wish them all that their Hajj is accepted by Allah and their misdemeanors forgiven

حجٌّ مقبول و ذًنْبٌ مغفور إن شاء الله

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