Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pete’s Pigeon

“There’s an ongoing problem with the pigeons,” the former resident told my husband.

I remember the pigeons. We all have these two story entries, and the pigeons love them. The problem is, that they nest, and so when company comes, there might be pigeon droppings in your entry – aaarrgh.

I’ve always loved the sound of pigeons coo-ing, so it didn’t bother me so much. I pay the gardener a little extra and he makes sure the entry is cleaned every day. When guests are coming, I scrub any late additions myself.

LLLOOLL, I can see they have installed beds of nails to keep the pigeons from roosting.

00Pete'sPigeon

Our resident pigeon has two perfect eggs; she pooped enough to build up a foundation above the nails, and now she roosts, safely, on the sharp nails. She takes turns with another pigeon, I am guessing the male, sitting on the eggs.

00PigeonEggs

Sorry for the poor quality of these photos, but the windows are dirty, salt streaked, and I am shooting through a screen. Also, I don’t know which one is the daddy or mommy pigeon, or even if they are daddy and mommy or mommy and friend. I don’t know that much about pigeons, I just love the sound of their voices. I guess I should be appalled by the pigeon poop, but I feel lucky to have two pigeon eggs, and protective pigeon parents, it seems like a good omen to me.

00DaddyPigeon

It would be a health issue if any of the pigeon windows opened, but none of them do. When the eggs hatch, and the pigeons fly off, I will get the guys with the tall ladders to come clean the dropping off – again – and hope they will roost in another spot next nesting season.

Pete thinks this is the greatest show on earth. He has windows all over the house, and there is always something happening. The gardener is watering the lawn in back (well the dust in back, but we are going to have the trees cut back so the lawn and bougainvillea will grow once again), washing off the entry in front, the birds are flying in and out of the trees, the pigeon is roosting on her eggs, or flying off to find some bugs or whatever pigeons eat. He is losing his excess weight (I hope I am too!) running up and down the stairs. He is NOT bored! Anything but bored! He loves this place.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Doha, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions | 12 Comments

Day of Miracles

When I woke up yesterday, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I was overwhelmed. There was so much to do, so many things I didn’t know how to do, where to start. But AdventureMan is up and out the door and I need to get started. I didn’t even unpack suitcases the night before – after we got Pete settled, AdventureMan took me grocery shopping.

Big mistake. What was the date? Yep, June FIRST. Also known as pay-day. The grocery store was mobbed, the parking lot was pure anarchy. I got out and started shopping, AdventureMan found a parking spot and then found me. About one third of the way through my list I just looked at him and said “I can’t do this. I am exhausted.”

By the grace of God, as we approached the check out lanes – there are about 30 – I saw one lane that was kind of invisible, no customers there, and we were checked out in a flash. AdventureMan had picked up a roasted chicken and some flat bread, so we went home, put away the cold stuff and I left all the rest for the next day. We were in bed by 9 and I think we were asleep 30 seconds later.

So here is what I faced – unpacking five suitcases, checking what was in the kitchen, figuring out where I wanted things to be, putting away last night’s groceries and re-arranging the furniture the way we liked it.

If you could see me work, you would laugh. I don’t work in a straight line. I would unpack a little, hang up some clothes, carry some things downstairs, check out a cupboard or two, rearrange, check the expiration dates on food left behind and throw out what was left behind.

I have lived in this very villa before, I know it well. The curtains are all screwed up, so as I go from room to room, I fix them the way they are supposed to be. It may sound irrelevant to you, but it matters to me!

Every now and then, overwhelmed, I would take a break and try to hook up the internet, or lie down for a few minutes with Pete, who still needed some cuddle-time to get him over his travel traumas. No luck with the internet.

Around two in the afternoon, I had all the suitcases unpacked and put away, the kitchen re-arranged, I had a great visit with my dear friend and neighbor – who is packing out, just as I move back in – and I was ready to collapse. I fixed myself a sandwich, and sat down.

The doorbell rang.

It is Ranjanthan, the maintenance man, and he has a fistfull of work orders placed by the company. Thank GOD I had been all over the house. “Yes” “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” “No” (Yes, this needed fixing, no, the curtains are actually working, no, I don’t want this, yes, please fix this . . . )

One thing was to fix a dressing table, affix the mirror, but the dressing table had the wide-screen tv on it, and it was in the bedroom (horrors), and I wanted the TV in the upstairs family living room, etc. He did everything! He called in an assistant, and they moved all my furniture around to where I wanted it, they changed the TV, they hauled away an unsightly piece of furniture left behind, and a barbecue we didn’t want. He said he would send a man who could connect the additional cable box, maybe two – three days.

AdventureMan walked in just as the maintenance team were leaving, and his eyes popped out. When he had left me that morning, I had been straggling out of bed and I was afraid I might have an infection and need to go to the clinic. Poor AdventureMan, starting his new job, the house phone isn’t working, my cell phone isn’t working, and what if I am sick? He walks in, and our house is just the way we wanted it to be, all the projects are complete, and, in addition, I am not sick, I am just fine.

In another hour, the air conditioning men arrive and clean out all the filters and make sure everything is working. We were just about to leave for dinner, when the door bell rings, and it is the guy who is going to handle transferring the additional cable to the new TV location. He can’t do it until Friday, because it will be complicated, but . . . meanwhile, he gets our phone working, our internet working AND the VOIP phone – all working.

My friends, God is good. These workers – they are angels. How often do you get all these house-things settled in less than 24 hours on the ground? We were just totally blown away, our hearts so full of gratitude. Even our delayed arrival was a blessing in disguise, a protection for Pete.

After that, AdventureMan takes me to Biella’s. When we first got to Kuwait, I knew everything was going to be all right because there was a Biella’s at the Marina Mall. What a pity, it didn’t have enough inside space for the long hot months, and went away. Thank God, there is still a Biella’s in Doha, and we had a great meal, our first real relaxation.

Money in Qatar is just the opposite of money in Kuwait. In Kuwait, the Dinar is worth about 3.65 dollars, so you eat modest meal and your bill comes to like 8 – 11 KD, which sounds small, because we think in dollars, but it is $29 – $40. In Qatar, a dollar buys around 3.6 Qatari riyals, so when the bill arrives, it is 184 QR, which can be a sort of stunning number if you are thinking in dollars, but it is $51. (we had the fancy fruit cocktail drinks, starters, and panini. We don’t normally have the cocktails, so our bill was higher than normal, but the prices are actually pretty close between Kuwait and Qatar.) Sorry, no photos this time, just too tired! We had a nice, relaxing dinner, drove home and then – exhausted – were in bed before ten, sound asleep!

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Safely in Doha

Yes, my friends, we are safely in Doha, with the normal out-of-touch sort of things that happen when you move. For some reason, and partly it’s because I am a technology dunce, unless things are clearly spelled out in the instruction booklets, I could never figure out how to include the plus sign in phone numbers, and without them, things don’t seem to be working. I still have my Kuwait phone, but I all my messages fail, and the only ones I am getting are from advertisers.

Just after I wrote the last entry, a team of FOUR customer service – or maybe three and some slightly more elevated personages – a guy in a suit with a radio – came to get me in the lounge; they were taking me to see my cat. The lounge – God bless them abundantly – came up with a plate of salmon for Pete, and with my escort, we went down to immigration.

This is the really funny part – and it’s all technicalities, but my residence visa has been cancelled, and I have been stamped out of the country, so I cannot go to Lost and Found where Pete is being held pending our flight, the immigration police are very clear about that, but since he is just baggage, they can send someone to bring Pete to me.

Surrounded by my escort, and now also by four or five immigration policemen, they bring Pete to me, and I get to give him a little scratch under the chin and collar, he gets to hear my voice. He is not terrified, but he is healthily intimidated by all the unknown persons and noises – and he is alert, so alert. He is not hungry. His pupils are dilated. I only keep him for about three minutes when I send him back; I am holding up about ten people at this point, all of whom dropped their duties so that I could comfort my cat.

When it came time for my flight, I asked the lounge to call Lost and Found and find out when the cat would be loaded, and the answer was – he was just being loaded now. I checked again at the gate, and they were prepared. Everyone apologized profusely, and explained that the pilot on the first flight just could not take a chance; the ventilation in the pressurized cargo compartment was not working and he didn’t want to put Pete at any risk. God bless him. I don’t mind the inconvenience; I honor his carefulness. Sometimes what appears to be an inconvenience is really a protection; the blessing I had this time was to know and understand that this, truly, was a blessing.

But I also needed to tell you about it, or you might have the wrong impression. It was not an airplane annoyance. It was a conscientious pilot. Thanks be to God.

Pete was carted separately to and from the plane, and hand carried to me in arrivals. LOL, I had no other baggage, just Pete! I got through the screening quickly, AdventureMan had schmoozed his way into arrivals and was there with the importation paperwork, and we were out of the airport in a flash, and in our villa a mere ten minutes later.

Another LOL, by the way, at all of you who like the name Qatteri Cat better than Pete! Honestly, one reason I don’t unveil is that as long as I am Intlxpatr, married to AdventureMan, I am so much more interesting than the very ordinary person that I really am!

Pete will always be the Qatteri Cat, because he was found, as a small, tiny, hungry kitten, wandering on the Doha Corniche by a family who had to give him up when he was around 5 months. I loved him the minute I saw him, but he only had eyes for AdventureMan. And poor AdventureMan, he was so worried about Pete he was in a nervous tizz when we arrived, he had been so afraid something would go wrong.

Seeing the two of them reunite in Doha was a beautiful sight. Pete’s food and cat litter were all set up, and he has a whole new environment to explore.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, Qatteri Cat | | 6 Comments

   

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