Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Worst Thing About The Best Vacation

“This is the BEST vacation we’ve ever had,” AdventureMan said to me, and I agreed.

The only problem with the best vacation we have ever had, ever, is coming back to normality.

I might be a little slow getting up and running, my friends, as the Qatteri Cat needs a lot of snuggling, the laundry needs doing (hate to wash out the smell of the campfires), I am planning for the next trip, and even the one after that (details details details, but cars need to be reserved, hotel reservations made, doctor appointments, visits with friends and family . . ) and oh yeh, guess we might be needing some groceries!

I wasn’t planning to blog today, but when I saw all your comments, I was a goner.

Have you noticed there is more time in your day when you are not blogging?

June 26, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Travel, Zambia | 11 Comments

Summer Break

Dear friends, AdventureMan is whisking me off on a summer break holiday. We will be totally out of reach – no computers, no telephones – for a while. I expect to be back around the beginning of July.

See you then!

June 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Doha Nightlife

AdventureMan could hardly wait to show me the change in the very heart of Doha. When I lived in Doha, the Souk al Waqif / Iranian souk was off limits to most Americans, considered a very traditional place, and a dangerous place for a casual visitor.

Of course I went! I have found that if you dress modestly and behave respectably, you have little to worry about in Qatar, or Kuwait, or even Saudi Arabia. People are gracious and kind, and you find the most interesting things – tools for the old coffee roasting braziers, old weavings, old pieces of hand crafted silver . . . you just have to take your time and look.

My favorite booth in the old Doha souks was the man who hand embroidered the men’s bisht, and who pounded the silver flat with a leather covered hammer. I loved the colorful scribe’s booths – sadly, now missing, in the interest of a much larger parking lot for the souks.

Oh! The changes!

They have totally updated the souks – put in reliable electricity and running water, and did not raise the rents for the merchants. Painted everything, gave it a historically accurate facade, put covers over the walking paths made of the old beams and palm branches to shield shoppers from the heat.

But the most amazing change of all is the nightlife. The square where the hardware merchants used to vend their nails and chains and locks, where the shoemakers would mend and polish your shoes is gone, and in it’s place are multiple restaurants and cafes, interspersed with antique shops, specialty shops: people who carve miniature dhows and sailing ships, a shop for sharp edged swords and khanjars, a shop specializing in custom made eqals (the black band that holds the gutra on the head; Qatteris have long tassles coming from the eqal down the back), a couple places for smoking the narghila, and assorted souvenir shops.

Restaurants! Bright twinkling lights! The smell of roasted meats and fresh fruit drinks! Places to sit out in the courtyard, the sounds of laughter . . . Doha has a nightlife!

In the midst of the bright lights, the shops, the restaurants and music, there is a police station, and I think it is brilliant – the police dress in traditional clothing:

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 7 Comments

Doha Hosts Anti-Corruption Conference

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Crime, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 8 Comments

Qatar National Bird

AdventureMan loves the Qatar national bird – the crane:

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 7 Comments

Palm Island

There used to be a resort out on Palm Island, with a couple restaurants, a swimming area, an amusement park and boats that took the trip out there and back every half hour or so. Now, it’s all gone, flattened. All that is left of Palm Island is this:

And it isn’t even a palm tree!

June 15, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 5 Comments

Truck Loading in Doha

We don’t know what is in these huge sacks; we see the same in Kuwait and think it may be cement on the way to be mixed – or sand to mix with the cement. They are not secured. It may be that the sheer weight of whatever is inside glues it to the truck bed, but we don’t want to be anywhere near these trucks when they go around a sharp curve – or a roundabout.

Here is a close-up. You can see they are not secured in any visible way:

June 15, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatar | 4 Comments

Doha Olympics 2016

Although Doha has been eliminated from the competition, the signs are still up, glorious signs. My favorite one is the woman archer:

Although I also like the joy of the young boy with the banner:

Is it just me, or do most of the women on the banners in Doha bear a resemblance to a young Sheika Mosa?

I love the Doha spirit. The 2016 Summer Olympics were a long shot, and Qatar took the chance. It was seriously considered. Not a lot you can do about the “searing” climate, and, unfortunately, it isn’t cold enough or snowy enough to be considered for the winter olympics, but they have some great golf and tennis tournaments, an a big bicycle tour in February.

June 15, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 4 Comments

Venice in Doha

I love this sign:

June 14, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Qatar | 5 Comments

Doha Dhow Building

We were so sad, visiting Oman, to see that dhow building has gone into decline in Sur, and then equally delighted to see the craft being revised and guarded in Doha. The new dhows being built preserve the design of the older working dhows, and include extra, labor intensive and expensive touches, like the wood carving:

I had to start with this one, because it includes the fabulous QCPI (Qatar Center for the Presentation of Islam) building in the background – what an impact it gives the Doha skyline!

June 14, 2008 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | 10 Comments