Tonight, just for grins, I took a look at all the search terms that brought people to Here There and Everywhere.
These are the top twenty-five, in the almost three years this blog has been up and running:
Do you notice anything? Not a single reference to Kuwait? Not a single reference to expat living? LLOOLLLL, my whole point in doing the blog was to write about cross-cultural living, and my biggest hits are birthday cakes and funny cats and hummers? Yes, it is truly humbling.
I’ve shown you mine – show us yours. What search terms bring people to your blog?
Both pigeon eggs have hatched. We have been in Doha one week today. I wonder how the pigeons felt, with all the comings and goings of workmen – it has not been a quiet nursery.
Both Daddy and Mommy Pigeon are still taking turns keeping the little ones warm. They are very shakey, it is all they can do to move their little necks.
I’ll be your pool-buddy,” AdventureMan said, as we lounged against the side of the pool. It was the best, the very best anniversary present he has ever given me.
My pool buddies are gone. One is coming back, one is not. The pool is big and beautiful, but being alone at the pool isn’t a lot of fun. Although AdventureMan doesn’t like pools as much as I do, he is willing to make the sacrifice – make the time – to make me happy.
We’ve been married 36 years. We didn’t go out last night, instead we had artichokes and tacos, and burned the wedding candle my parents gave us 36 years ago in Heidelberg. Artichokes, because at the first family dinner AdventureMan attended, my mom served artichokes as a first course, and AM thought it was some kind of a test. Tacos because in our 36 years together, it has always been one of our favorite meals, and because I found all kinds of Mexican food supplies in Qatar.
Then we walked over to the pool, swam, bounced around, talked, and when we got out – even though the temperatures were still high – there was a breeze, and we even felt just a tiny bit chilly! Chilly in the blazing heat of the Gulf summer is GOOD!
Just for our 36th anniversary, there was also a full moon. We walked home, cool and breezy, under the light of a great big romantic full moon. 36 years, and it just keeps getting better and better.
We were all at dinner, having a wonderful time when the traffic issue came up.
“There’s so much traffic now!” they were all saying.
To me, traffic in Doha is pretty tame. It’s been six years since we were here for the first time, and Doha was still “sleepy little Doha.” We took photos of the changing skyline almost monthly from the spit where the Bandar restaurants used to be (one day they just disappeared!) and gasped at how fast Doha was changing.
There are a lot of changes. Traffic on the ring roads has been greatly streamlined, although it seems they continue to engineer D ring, over and over again. I just hope one day they will get it right and it will be open, all the way from the road to the north to the airport.
There are traffic lights at the roundabouts, and the traffic flows so smoothly I am astounded. There is still a lot of traffic around the seven to nine at night shopping/dining/visiting time, but the traffic lights have regulated the formerly death-defying roundabouts.
“Go! Go!” I told AdventureMan as the light started flashing green, and he just looked at me as if I had grown a second head.
“Flashing green means STOP!” he informed me.
“Flashing YELLOW means stop,” I informed him right back.
“Not in Qatar,” he said with the tone of voice that says ‘don’t argue this point with me.’
At dinner I learned he was absolutely right. If you enter a traffic circle on a flashing green and the light changes, the cameras – they are everywhere – will take your photo. They will take your photo and you will have a fine, a whopper of a fine, QR6,0000. That translates to around $1,700 in US Dollars. Gasp. And – here’s the cruncher – it is ENFORCED.
There was a time when I lived in Qatar before when the huge SUV behind me pushed me into the roundabout when I wasn’t moving fast enough for him. You still see the cowboys drive up on the sidewalks to cut across an empty field, but there are fewer and fewer of those empty fields left in Qatar. There is none of the speeding and weaving along the ring roads we used to see – there are cameras EVERYWHERE. People get fines for waiting at the airport doors, instead of parking. People get significant fines for going even 10 km over the speed limit. Points are assessed for moving violations, and they add up fast.
I’m going to have to improve my driving skills. I developed some aggressive habits, driving in Kuwait, and I am going to have to tone it down to survive the cameras in Qatar.
I am very interested to see how rapidly behavior can change when penalties are enforced. I am truly (and happily) shocked an how effective it can be. I await with great interest the year-end statistics, to see how the accident rate has been brought down – I bet we all get a very good surprise.