Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Stuck in Traffic on Musheirib

With all the re-routing off Al Rayyan as we convert to the Heart of Doha, I found myself inching along Al Musheirib this week, along with the noon-time crowd. When there is nothing else to do – take some photos. We drive right by every day, but do we look?

Many of these spots will disappear.

Boutiques? (!)
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And here is one of my favorites – see it, just over the street sign? Cheep and Best?

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October 31, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Humor, Living Conditions, Qatar, Shopping | 4 Comments

Halloween Baby

You won’t hear all mother-in-laws say things like this, but you’ll hear me say it, and often – we are so lucky. Our son chose a wife who is a true companion, and whose style suits our own, sometimes so much it is scary.

They are expecting a baby – and she is beginning to be “great with child”. She wrote us this morning that she won a Halloween costume contest. We knew they were toying with the concept, but the reality is hilarious. Alien!

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Saturday mornings can be depressing for us, as AdventureMan heads back to his job. Not so this morning – we were dying laughing!

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Family Issues, Halloween, Humor, Marriage, Relationships | 5 Comments

The More Things Change

“. . . When we first came to Doha,” I laughed to my friend, “the first thing my husband warned me was never never to get behind a truck carrying concrete blocks. They weren’t tied down, and now and then a bump or a lumpy corner would send concrete blocks all over the roads. They don’t do that any more. They have rules now.”

Spoken too soon.

The very next week, I saw three trucks in a row, laden with concrete bricks, moving slowly down B-ring; one red, one white, one blue. I got stuck, first behind one, then behind the second.

No one was endangered as I took these photos. Traffic was at a standstill.

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October 30, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Building, Doha, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Qatar, Safety, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments

Halloween and Extreme Pumpkins

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All it took was one Google: pumpkins carved

It took me to Extreme Pumpkins.com, and it will give you minutes of helpless laughter. People are SO creative!

Yesterday I bought a pumpkin, not the traditional American sugar pumpkin with it’s thin skin, but a thick, ribbed Indian squash, and when I took it, the clerk said “You want the WHOLE thing??”

It’s not that big. But normally, people buying this kind of squash here buy it in pieces, not as an entire (carvable 🙂 ) pumpkin.

This is not my pumpkin; it is another from Extreme Pumpkins.com I am making cat pumpkins this year. 🙂
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October 29, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Food, Halloween, Humor, Living Conditions | 5 Comments

Turmeric Kills Cancer Cells (Pass the Biriyani, Please!)

Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’
From BBC Health News

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical – curcumin – has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

Cancer experts said the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments.

Dr Sharon McKenna and her team found that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

‘Natural’ remedy
The cells also began to digest themselves, after the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals.
Dr McKenna said: “Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

“Rates of oesophageal cancer have gone up by more than a half since the 70s and this is thought to be linked to rising rates of obesity, alcohol intake and reflux disease so finding ways to prevent this disease is important too.”

Each year around 7,800 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the UK. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death and accounts for around five percent of all UK cancer deaths.”>

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Diet / Weight Loss, Food, Health Issues | , | 6 Comments

Where to Start a Difficult Conversation?

“Mom,” my son started out, “I have some bad news.”

My heart sank. They are expecting a baby in late January. Please Lord, let this baby be OK.

He starts into a long story, which has to do with an old friend who lost a job, who is staying with them temporarily, who has been very helpful, and on and on and on; I live in a family where nuances are important, and details help understand the conclusions, but it is hard to hold your breath that long!

Then he gets to the point. While he and his wife were at work, the friend was in the house recovering from jet-lag and it started raining hard. His friend thought he heard drips in the attic, and upon exploration, they discovered a small leak in the roof. He will call the contractor we work with, but he wanted me to know.

Bad news?

“Son!” I said, laughing, “when you start a sentence with ‘I have bad news,’ it needs to be followed immediately with ‘I am OK, my wife is OK and the baby is OK’ so I don’t have a heart attack!”

We both laughed. He said “yeh, I thought about that about halfway through the explanation, but I didn’t want to break the train of thought.”

When you have bad news, get it out on the table. Start with “I have bad news, (fill in the blank.)” Then go into the background, and the proposed solutions. My son did everything right, except for the part about I was scared for him and his wife and the baby.

On the other hand, after all that build-up, I was so happy that it seemed like such a small problem, compared to the possibilities.

My husband tells a joke, the point of which is to build up gently to bad news. Not to start with “the cat is dead” but to start with “the cat was on the roof . . . ” The day came when I had to call him with some very bad news, and because I am wired to laugh in the face of the worst things that can happen (it is a sort of hysterical reaction, I have to work hard to control myself at funerals and weddings, I cry at weddings and want to laugh at funerals. The big things are just too overwhelming for me so I react inappropriately. Our family joke is that “inappropriate” is the grown-up word for “stupid”) I had a very hard time not starting off with “the cat was on the roof,” which would have been totally inappropriate but I was overwhelmed, knew I needed to let him know immediately, and you think when you get to be a grown-up you will have all the answers, but we don’t. We really don’t. Like you, we do the best we can.

What I really like was that when our son gave us the bad news, he also had a proposal for how to handle it. Wooo HOOO.

Then he told us they are planning their Halloween costumes. First, because his wife is now very visibly pregnant, they were looking for a cheap doll to take apart and glue some appendages coming out of her little basketball-tummy, but now they are looking for tentacles, a la “Alien”. LLLLOOOOLLLLL! I thought it would be the perfect occasion to wear her wedding dress, our son could wear a tuxedo and the friend could go as the angry-Papa, carrying a shotgun. Yes, we are a little weird in our family, but we have a great time.

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Biography, Building, Character, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Friends & Friendship, Halloween, Living Conditions, Relationships | 11 Comments

Women: Unsung Heroes Awards

Wooo HOOOO, Doha! Don’t you love it? Unsung Hero awards for WOMEN, and what women!

This is from today’s Gulf Times

Three women to receive ‘Unsung Hero’ awards

The 21st Century Leaders Foundation will honour three women at their inaugural awards ceremony on Friday at Grand Hyatt Doha.

Qataris Eman Ahmed al-Obaidli and Sara Mohamed al-Shamlan, and Palestinian Helen Shehadeh will be the first recipients of the Unsung Hero Award.

The Doha 21st Century Leaders Awards was established this year to mark the humanitarian and environmental achievements of individuals who have made a serious commitment and a significant impact to their chosen cause.

Eman, a retired elementary school teacher, has spent the past seven years engaging the people of Qatar in becoming more aware of children with physical disabilities.

Eman has also raised significant awareness within Qatar for Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare spinal disorder that affects her son Ghanim.

With her son as a constant source of inspiration and with a strong belief in his independence, Eman has founded Ghanim’s Wheelchair Foundation which has donated hundreds of wheelchairs to other special needs societies in the Gulf.
She also started Ghanim’s Sport Club in 2008 to allow both physically disabled and able-bodied children to join in activities as varied as karate, skateboarding and basketball.

In the future, Eman’s vision for Qatar’s community includes independent accessibility for wheelchairs and integrated sport clubs.

The second Unsung Hero award goes to 16-year-old Sara, a student from Qatar Academy, who harnessed her passion of photography to raise awareness of some of the poorer expatriate Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi children in Qatar.
Initially started for a community service project for school, she documented a number of young children in the Abu Hamour area of Doha and went on to sell the prints in her father’s jewellery shop and at a jewellery exhibition. Sara quickly raised a huge sum that was used to provide the children with a proper education and basic necessities such as shoes and toys.

Daughter of well-known Qatari businessman Mohamed Marzooq al-Shamlan, managing director of Marzooq Al Shamlan & Sons, Sara considers her father a major catalyst for her way of thinking. Sara’s work is supported by the Qatar Charity.

The third recipient of the Unsung Hero award is Helen Shehadeh, a Palestinian woman who at the age of 75 is actively continuing to teach blind students.
At the age of two, Helen herself lost her eyesight overnight as a result of a diphtheria epidemic. In 1981, Helen founded the Al Shurooq School for the Blind which aimed to provide blind and visually impaired children with an appropriate education and equal opportunity, while rehabilitating and integrating them into the local community.

Other award recipients on the night include film stars Josh Hartnett and Sir Ben Kingsley and film-makers Danny Boyle and Christian Colson.

Women recognized for making a difference. . . Ahhhhhh. . . . it is a red letter day. 😀

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Character, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Fund Raising, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar, Women's Issues | 2 Comments

Short Fat Women of the Future

I found this on AOL’s Lemondrop.com link this morning, LLOOLLLL!

Well, here’s a self-confidence booster — you’re not short and fat, you’re just highly evolved.

According to a study by Yale researchers, humans are still evolving, and women are evolving to become shorter and fatter. It is estimated that in 10 generations, women will be two centimeters shorter, weigh one kilogram (around 2.5 lbs.) more, and look back and wonder what kind of freakish monster Angelina Jolie was. (“What are these jeans called ‘long’ from the Gap?)

But we won’t just be jolly little trolls, we’ll also be healthier, with the study expecting women to have lower cholesterol and better heart health, start menopause later, and have more children earlier in life. The study observed over 2,000 medical histories from Framingham Heart Studies in Massachusetts. Shorter, heavier women have more children, who also grow up to be shorter and heavier.

Let’s also not forget that in addition to shrinking downward while expanding outward, we’ll all also have super-hot faces. Short, fat, healthy and hot. Totally awesome.

You can read the original article on TheMedGuru.com

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Beauty, Diet / Weight Loss, Health Issues, Living Conditions | 6 Comments

The Social Contract

Without accountability, does the social contract exist?

Wikipedia on the Social Contract:

Social contract describes a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states and/or maintain social order. The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up some rights to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed.

Social contract theory formed a central pillar in the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most of these theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any structured social order, usually termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, an individual’s actions are bound only by his or her personal power, constrained by conscience. From this common starting point, the various proponents of social contract theory attempt to explain, in different ways, why it is in an individual’s rational self-interest to voluntarily give up the freedom one has in the state of nature in order to obtain the benefits of political order.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Random Musings, Safety, Social Issues | 6 Comments

He’s on the Roads Again

This also from today’s Gulf Times. This 25 year old was convicted of killing an Asian driver, due to his reckless driving, and the court fined him the equivalent of $1370. He also had to pay the family of the man he killed about $41,000. Oh. Wait. He “and his insurance company” will pay the fine.

And they didn’t take his driver’s license away, they suspended it. Oh. His jail sentence is also suspended.

Do you think because his license is suspended, that he isn’t driving?

What do you think he has learned about the value of a human life?

What do you think he has learned about equality before the law?

What do you think he has learned about accountability?

Do you believe he will be a better driver now that he has learned the consequences of reckless driving?

You will note that I did not use the tags “Doha” or “Qatar” on this post. That is because these are not situations unique to Qatar, unique to the Gulf countries, unique to the Middle East . . . in every country, including my own, there are pockets where justice depends on who is on trial. I would venture a guess that no country is exempt, that it is always a question of degree. So the question for us, as parent,s is how do we raise children who respect the value of life? Who respect the law? Who see themselves as equal to every other person before God and before the law?

Jail term suspended

A Doha appeals court has suspended the three-month imprisonment given by a lower court to a local motorist for reckless driving that caused the death of an Asian driver on June 27, 2007.
According to sources, the fatal accident took place in Shahaniya soon after midnight, “when the accused swerved left suddenly, for unknown reasons, colliding with a pickup driven by the deceased in the opposite direction.”

According to the court papers, there was no median separating the two lanes that ran in the opposite directions and the pickup was damaged in the crash.

The Qatari motorist was 25 at the time of the incident.

The appeals court ordered him to pay, jointly with the insurance company, QR150,000 as blood money to the family of the Bangladeshi victim (32).

The Doha court of first instance ordered to cancel the driving licence of the convict, but the upper court suspended it. A fine of QR5000 was upheld.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Social Issues | 3 Comments