Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Souk al Waqif: Soy Restaurant

I’ve heard mixed reviews of Soy, and since I love Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean foods I was eager to give it a try. I’ve been twice, love the menu, love the chairs, and holy smokes, the place is HUGE.

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I love the variety of restaurants in the Souk al Waqif, and it is nice to have this alternative. I will never order the Chinese set menu again, however. The main course, grilled shrimp, came with three delicious looking breaded shrimp on skewers. I carefully removed the tail and bit in – there was shell on the shrimp!

Maybe this is really authentic, I thought. Maybe real Chinese people eat the shrimp shell and all, but my lunch-mate scowled and called the waiter over and complained. “These breaded shrimp were deep-fried with their shells still on!”

The waiter disappeared, and we waited. He came back and told us that is the way they were cooked, every time. Well, OK, so we took the shell off and ate the shrimp, but you can bet money that we will never order that set meal again!

The set meals are a nice deal. 49QR takes care of a soft-drink (ironically, you pay for water, but the soft drinks come with the meal), and then your choice of one of three set meals – the Chinese, the Japanese or the Thai.

Back another time, I tried the Japanese, which I liked, except the Teriyaki chicken had barely any teriyaki taste. The miso soup was very good, the salad strange, and the green tea ice cream for dessert was good.

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My lunch friend had the Thai, which had a very good soup, a strange salad, a very good main course and a good dessert, I think deep fried ice-cream.

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I love the chairs. I love having comfy chairs with arms to eat in. I love it that the restaurant is huge, with lots of different dining areas, tucked away behind the other restaurants.

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My favorite part of the set meals are the soups and the rice. Both are excellent.

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Even after the Chinese shrimp disappointment, I would like to go back again and try ordering a la carte from the menu, to see how we like it. Even if a restaurant is uneven, often there are things they do really well, and if you stick with those things you can have a good dining experience. So my review is mixed, but it’s not like I am saying I will never go back. It was a good experience, and I want to give it another shot.

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October 22, 2009 Posted by | Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Qatar | 6 Comments

The Heart of Doha – Disney Does Doha?

“No, it’s not DOHALAND!” I snapped at my friend. ‘It’s called the ‘Heart of Doha’ project.”

We were exploring the project in it’s first phase, the destruction phase, which is turning old haunts into several circles of hell – shopping hell, driving hell, parking hell, disorientation hell. And just as we were inching our way into a new diversion, I saw the big sign describing the future this funky area of Doha and telling us to go to ‘Dohaland.com.’

Oops. I apologized profusely and she very humbly pretended not to be gleeful that she was right and I was wrong. Well, actually, we are both right. It is both ‘Dohaland’ and ‘The Heart of Doha,’ but I shouldn’t have snapped at her over something so inconsequential. Blame it on the rain . . . umm . . . .err . . . the traffic.

Dohaland. I’m sorry, it sort of cracks me up. It’s just like Disney – JungleLand, FutureLand, etc.

I remember when the Suq al Waqif project first started, how outraged I felt, and how delighted I am to go down there now, where the shop-keepers have electricity that is reliable, even air-conditioning wafting out into the corridors, the appearance of ancient woven mats shading the twisting cobblestone street which no longer reaches out and grabs your heels, or changes levels unexpectedly. How can you be a successful curmudgeon when it turns out so positively? Even if it is a little bit Disney-does-Doha, it is so attractive!

What I love about what has been accomplished so far is how it has enhanced the experience for everyone. If you go down into the souks, you see more people. You used to see only a few westerners, now you see all kinds, even tourists, even your neighbors; you see every nationality down in the souks now, and people are actually buying things, not just killing time. There is a great variety of shops and restaurants, and even if the parking spots are tiny, there is parking.

Have you visited the website yet? Dohaland.com? I love the vision, although in one shot with people in suits crossing the streets, I want to shout “Hurry! Hurry! Or you’ll get run over!”

Here is what it is going to look like – and you can go to the Dohaland website and get a great big full screen map:

Dohaland

And here is what it looks like now:

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These machines are like huge dentist’s drills, with points that pound down into the hard-packed Qatar soil to break it up so that foundations can be built:

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It’s not unlike house-cleaning. When you pull everything out of the closets, out from under the beds, the drawers, those piles of things in the corner, for a while everything looks worse than it did before you started. Slowly, slowly, you create areas of organization and calm amidst the chaos, and slowly, slowly those areas expand, join, until the chaos is eliminated, you know where things are, and your living area is a calm and peaceful and organized oasis. I hope I get to see that day in Doha.

Update: Dohaland AKA Heart of Doha is now known as Musherib

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Community, Doha, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Humor, Living Conditions, Photos, Qatar, Shopping, Social Issues | 4 Comments

100 Ways You Should be Using FaceBook in your Classroom

I got an e-mail from Amber Johnson today, part of online college, and she asked if I would refer my readers to this article, 100 Ways You Should Be Using FaceBook in your Classroom. I always check these things out, and I was really impressed with the creative ways they have come up with making the classwork exciting, fresh and expedient.

(I love it when someone else writes my blog!) Because I use StatCounter, I know a lot of my readers come from schools and universities around the world, and I am happy to share a part of this article and to ask you to click on the blue type above to read the rest of it. It is full of great information.

100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom
October 20th, 2009

Facebook isn’t just a great way for you to find old friends or learn about what’s happening this weekend, it is also an incredible learning tool. Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings. Read on to learn how you can be using Facebook in your classroom, no matter if you are a professor, student, working online, or showing up in person for class.

Class Projects
The following ideas are just a starting point for class projects that can be used with Facebook in the classroom.
1. Follow news feeds. Have students follow news feeds relevant to the course material in order to keep current information flowing through the class.

2. Share book reviews. Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read. If it’s a peer-reviewed project, then students can more easily access each other’s papers online.

3. Knighthood. Playing this game promotes strong reading skills. This teacher explains how he used it with his ESL class.

4. Poll your class. Use polls as an interactive teaching tool in class or just to help facilitate getting to know one another with the Poll app for Facebook.

5. Practice a foreign language. Students learning a foreign language can connect with native speakers through groups or fan opportunities such as this one.

6. Create your own news source. A great way for journalism students to practice their craft, use the Facebook status update feed as a breaking news source for sports results, academic competition results, and other campus news.

7. Follow news stories. Keep up with news through Facebook on groups like World News Webcast that provides video clips of world news.

8. Keep up with politicians. Political science students can become fans of politicians in order to learn about their platforms and hear what they have to say first hand.

9. Create apps for Facebook. A class at Stanford started doing this in 2007 and still has a Facebook group profiling their work. A class at Berkeley also did the same.

10. Participate in a challenge. Look for challenges like the one held by Microsoft and Direct Marketing Educational Foundation that challenges undergrads and grad students to create usable products for Microsoft in return for experience and, in some cases, certification.

11. Bring literature to life. Create a Facebook representation of a work of literature like this class did.

Facilitate Communication

An excellent way to ensure students are more engaged in the learning experience is by strengthening the communication between students and student-to-teacher. These are just a few ideas to do just that.

12. Create groups. You can create groups for entire classes or for study groups with smaller subsets of students that allow for easy sharing of information and communication, without students even having to friend each other.

13. Schedule events. From beginning of semester mixers to after-finals celebrations, easily schedule events for the entire class using Facebook.

14. Send messages. From unexpected absences to rescheduling exams, it’s easy to send messages through Facebook.

15. Share multimedia. With the ability to post videos, photos, and more, you can share multimedia content easily with the entire class.

16. Post class notes. Post notes after each class period for students to have access for review or in case they were absent.

17. Provide direct communication with instructors. Instructors and students can contact each other through Facebook, providing an opportunity for better sharing of information and promoting better working relationships.

18. Allows shy students a way to communicate. Shy students who may not want to approach their teacher after class or during office hours can use Facebook to communicate.

Read the rest of the article here, by clicking on the blue type.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Community, Education, Interconnected, Technical Issue, Tools, Work Related Issues | 1 Comment