Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Salwa Road: Getting Worse Before it Gets Better

I have always avoided Salwa any way I could. I might cross Salwa, but only as a last resort. Salwa Road is a death trap, an unlimited speed zone, a cat and mouse game zone, a chicken-game road and a training ground for some of the worst maintained tiny little cars I have ever seen. Between the aggressive drivers with their big attitudes and big cars and the POS cars, it’s a nightmare.

The nightmare is getting worse.

This is from today’s Peninsula:

Salwa Road roundabouts to be converted as tunnels
Web posted at: 3/8/2010 4:58:36

DOHA: Several major roundabouts on the Salwa Road — Ain Khalid, Al Aziziya, Central Souq and Qatar Decor — will be converted as tunnels.

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) will start working on the project by the end of this year, official sources at Ashghal told Al Sharq.

Tenders for the project have already been floated. The project comes as part of the next phase of the Salwa International Road development project.

The project will help overcome the traffic jams on this important road. Conversions and alternative roads will be provided during the work as the roundabouts will be removed completely.

The sources promised that delays like those happened in the case of the February 22 road and Industrial Area intersection will not happen in the case of the new project.

Several nationals and residents were highly critical about the delays in these two major projects. Jabber al Khayareen, owner of a show room on the Salwa road said that they had suffered losses due the long road closure.

The shopkeepers had been complaining about the long closure of the Salwa road but officials were turning a deaf ear to their complains, he said.

He cited the heavy traffic jams at Ain Khalid roundabout after opening the Industrial Area flyover as an example of bad planning. The road which was closed for a long time opened to see heavy traffic from the new flyover to a bottleneck of the narrow road and a small roundabout.

He was also critical about the partial opening of main roads before completion of sideways and roundabouts and related service roads.

Another national, Mohammed al Nuaimi hoped that that new road projects would take into consideration the expansion of the Doha city and the increase in its population.

Yousef Al Sharhani, another national, said there was some improvement in the traffic scenario after Ashghal resumed works on various infrastructural projects and completed some of the major road projects.

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar, Safety | Leave a comment

Doha – Pensacola – Doha

I was always a KLM frequent flyer, when my destination was Seattle, the Amsterdam – Seattle direct flight was the least hassle from Kuwait. From Doha, however, there is an annoying stop in Dammam. a ghostly airport in Saudi Arabia, where all the men who have been working on the oil rigs and in isolated locations get on. Some families also board, but most of the passengers are men who like to drink and talk talk talk in loud voices when the rest of us just want to sleep en route to Amsterdam.

Now that we are flying to Pensacola, we could still go KLM, but one time when KLM cancelled my flight and didn’t tell me, they put me on an Emirates flight out of Kuwait around six at night that got me to Dubai in about an hour, and then put me on a Delta flight that landed early the next morning, not in Amsterdam, but in Atlanta. In another couple hours I was in Pensacola.

Hmmm. Let’s see – 23 hours of flying plus seemingly endless layovers in airport lounges and an additional annoyance factor of the landing in Dammam, OR a short flight + a very long walk in the new Dubai airport to the next terminal + checking in again because the airlines are not partners (bags are checked all the way through, though, so it is only a ticketing issue) and then a very very long flight that gets you there the next morning . . . I’ll opt for the long flight. Now that Delta and KLM are partners, all my miles still count.

Downside. It is a very long flight. There are also a lot of women and children on board, and the first time, I sat next to a little boy who threw up. I felt really sorry for the little boy and his Mom, and I was nice about it, but the smell of throw up makes me feel very much like throwing up. Memorable flight.

This time, because we needed to accomplish a lot in a hurry and needed to be at our best from the moment we arrived, we went business class. Wooo HOOO. I love the Business Class on this flight. All the things that matter to me – Privacy . . . Comfortable Sleeping . . . Quiet cabin . . . relatively clean restrooms . . .

This is what the sleeping pod looks like:

En route back to Doha from Pensacola, when I got to the departure terminal, there was an extra delight – a live pianist in the food mall. I don’t know if this is a paid pianist or a volunteer but she was GOOD! She was also enthusiastic and lively, and played a bunch of old Beatle’s songs. It brightened up what might have been a dull time.

After all that Grandmama-ing and house buying, I was exhausted, and I really slept a lot all the way home. I am paying for it now. I have never had jet lag so extreme or so long. Almost a week later, I am still unable to sleep through the night, falling asleep at weird times, like 8 p.m. and waking up around 2 in the morning. Aarrgh.

Other than that, my life is very dull right now. Packing boxes. Toting things I won’t need – 220v appliances, for example – to people that might need them. Packing more boxes, clearing out cupboards, trying to figure out what I need to keep and what I can freely freely give. Didn’t I just do this? Like yesterday? Leaving Kuwait for Doha?

Some nights I cook, some nights we go out to old favorite restaurants we want to hit one more time – The Majlis. The Little Sailor. The Beirut. Beijing. Royal Tandoor. Places we know we will miss when we are living in Pensacola. Trying to figure out what to take with me in suitcases, what to ship in our limited air cargo, and what I can live without for three months (!)

Of course, the carrot on the end of this long stick is living near our son and his bride and our little grandson. 🙂 Makes it all worthwhile.

Some ‘adventures’ are more irksome than others. This moving stuff is getting old. For those of you who are asking in the background, yes, the Qatteri cat goes with us. He is a member of our family!

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Customer Service, Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, Qatteri Cat, Travel | 6 Comments

Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Supporting Family with Book Proceeds

This tiny little 10 year old girl, who knew she didn’t want to be married, and stuck to her guns, has had a life-long effect, changing the laws in Yemen so that a woman must now be 18 to marry. On the other hand, if the legal age before was age 15, how on earth was she allowed to marry at age 10?

Divorced Before Puberty: Former Child Bride
New Book
by Amy Hatch (Subscribe to Amy Hatch’s posts) Mar 5th 2010 10:30AM

From AOL News: Parenting

Divorced at age 10. Credit: Amazon
Nujood Ali walked into a Yemeni courtroom and asked to see a judge, because she wanted a divorce. This may seem like a common tale of marital dissolution, but Nujood Ali was just 10 years old when she defied the cultural traditions and walked out on the husband who was more than 20 years her senior.

Nujood, now 12, chronicles her journey from child bride to celebrated hero in her new autobiography, “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.” Ghostwritten by French newspaper reporter Delphine Minoui, the book details how the young girl shocked citizens of her native Yemen after she walked out on her arranged marriage to a motorcycle delivery man. Nujood’s father married her off to the man for a dowry of $250, and for two months she begged her husband every day to return her to her family.

He refused, and so Nujood decided to take action. One afternoon, when her mother sent her on an errand, Nujood took a bus into the crowded capital city of Sanaa. She then hailed a taxi to the courthouse. Not knowing what else to do, she sat on a bench outside a courtroom all day, until a judge noticed her lingering in the empty hallway. He asked what she needed, and the girl said simply, “I came for a divorce.”

Now, two years later, the girl tells Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times that she is back in her home land and is supporting her family with the royalties from her book, which spent five weeks at the top of the bestseller list in France. Her brothers, who once criticized her for shaming their family, seem to have no problem with their sister now that Nujood is the family breadwinner, Kristof writes.

“They’re very nice to her now,” Khadija al-Salami, a filmmaker who mentors Nujood, tells the Times. “They treat her like a queen.”

Nujood’s story isn’t just one in which a single child takes a stand and changes her life. The preteen’s courage set off a domino effect in Yemen, where very young girls are routinely sold into marriage. Following Nujood’s successful divorce petition, two girls, ages 9 and 12, also filed to legally end their marriages. Her ordeal also prompted Yemen’s lawmakers to increase the age of consent for marriage from 15 to 18.

Nujood has been honored and feted by journalists in many countries, and, on a visit to Paris last year, even met with France’s Human Rights Minister, Rama Yada, and Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, with whom she discussed the problem of child marriage.

What are Nujood’s feelings on marriage now? She tells Time magazine she “no longer thinks about marriage.”

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Biography, Books, Character, Cultural, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Marriage, Women's Issues | | 6 Comments