Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Early Morning Souk Al Waqif

One set of packers coming mid-morning, so AdventureMan is staying home, and offers to take me out to breakfast. I’m a cheap date – take me to the Beirut. I love this place.

As we get to the camel lot, we see they are being fed and dressed – a parade?

These guys look sharp. They have a lot of pride in what they are doing. And they have a dashing uniform. He told us they are a part of the Emiri Diwan.

On to the Beirut, and one of my reasons for loving these breakfasts – the souk cops, on their horses. The horses are beautiful, and well controlled. The cops are friendly and patient with all the tourists, and with us ‘locals’ too, when we ask them to pose with our Flat Stanleys. 🙂

It’s a real treat for AdventureMan to have a morning when he can sit outside with me and enjoy his favorite kind of breakfast:

We walked through the souks, and found that by 9:30, it is beginning to get HOT.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Moving, Weather | 6 Comments

Tawash Restaurant

We didn’t end up at the Brussels. As we walked into the souks, we smelled a whiff of grilling meat and decided we wanted Arabic food while we could get it. We walked up and down and decided this was the night to eat at the Tawash.

The Tawash is gorgeous. Somebody put a lot of thought into it. You can eat outside, along the walkway, or outside on the balcony, or outside on the upstairs terrace. Or you can eat inside, in a private dining room, or in a large dining room that can be separated by tent-like hangings that drop down between tables. It is beautifully thought through.

We chose the balcony – we wanted to be outside, but I don’t like to eat right out on the street, with people walking by and oogling my food.

We started with hummus and baba ghannoush, served with hot hot bread:

And then we had two great dishes, a traditional Kepsa (mensaf in Jordan) which is rice cooked with delicious spices and, in this case, chicken:

And a shrimp dish, the shrimp marinated in yoghurt, then fried, accompanied by fried vegetables, sort of like tempura – the batter was very light:

And we finished with strong, grainy coffee:

If you have special guests in town for only one night, this would be a great place to take them. It is a beautiful building, it has character and charm, the food is very good, the service is attentive without being intrusive, and it has a kind of magic, a uniqueness that sets it apart from the chains of restaurants also in the souks. If the weather allows you to sit outside – do so. Part of the charm for us was the great parade of humanity passing by as we conversed and ate. It’s an altogether lovely restaurant.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Community, Cultural, Doha, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions | 4 Comments

Clean Carpets

If you are parking in the parking lot on the upside of the long restaurant street, near the Beirut, near Dhow roundabout, and you look at the souks, there is a whole area down on the left that is being developed. There is a large interior souk with abayas and scarves, for example, and a man with the model tents that they will make for you.

There was also, recently, a man cleaning a carpet. I was fascinated. We have carpets. They need cleaning. I have seen carpets cleaned at car washed, and hung on racks to dry. It does not seem to me that people wash these carpets with enormous care, they just wash the carpets.

I would rather like to wash some of our carpets. This man gave me an idea how to do it – gentle detergent in a bucket, a gentle brush, like a dishwashing brush – and the carpet is flat on the ground. I can do this!

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Middle East, Random Musings | Leave a comment

Irish Jokes for St. Patrick’s Day

Thanks to an e-mail friend with the BEST jokes!

Gotta Love the Irish

Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!”

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”

+ + + +
Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and asks the first man he meets, “Do you want to go to heaven?”

The man said, “I do, Father.”

The priest said, “Then stand over there against the wall.”

Then the priest asked the second man, “Do you want to go to heaven?”

“Certainly, Father,” the man replied.

“Then stand over there against the wall,” said the priest.

Then Father Murphy walked up to O’Toole and asked, “Do you want to go to heaven?”

O’Toole said, “No, I don’t Father.”

The priest said, “I don’t believe this.. You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?”

O’Toole said, “Oh, when I die , yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.”

+ + + +
Paddy was in New York .

He was patiently waiting and watching the traffic cop on a busy street crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, “Okay, pedestrians. ” Then he’d allow the traffic to pass.

He’d done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk.

After the cop had shouted, “Pedestrians! ” for the tenth time, Paddy went over to him and said, “Is it not about time ye let the Catholics across?”

+ + + +
Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney.

“Did you see the paper?” asked Gallagher. “They say I died!!”

“Yes, I saw it!” replied Finney. “Where are ye callin’ from?”

+ + +
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut . The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, “Sir, have you been drinking?”

“Just water,” says the priest.

The trooper says, “Then why do I smell wine?”

The priest looks at the bottle and says, “Good Lord! He’s done it again!”

+ + + +
Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender, “Pour me a stiff one – just had another fight with the little woman.”

“Oh yeah?” said Charlie , “And how did this one end?”

“When it was over,” Mike replied, “She came to me on her hands and knees.”

“Really,” said Charles, “Now that’s a switch! What did she say?”

She said, “Come out from under the bed, you little chicken.”

+ + + +
Patton staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Paddy. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Kathleen.

He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.

Managing not to yell, Patton sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding. He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood.

He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.

In the morning, Patton woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Kathleen staring at him from across the room.

She said, “You were drunk again last night weren’t you?”

Patton said, “Why you say such a mean thing?”

“Well,” Kathleen said, “it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but mostly …… it’s all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Humor, Ireland, Joke | Leave a comment

No! No! Proposed Traffic Law Change is a Step Backwards!

You see it all the time, at the roundabouts. Those fellows – it’s always guys – in the hot cars, the Porche, the Cayenne, I don’t even know all the names. The light turns red; they don’t care. They see a gap, they go.

I would love a look at the statistics. I would love to see who is getting all the fines for jumping the red lights. I bet 90% are all the same nationality.

And now they want to LOWER the fine for running the red light???

Just when Qatar has proudly announced that traffic deaths are falling dramatically with the ENFORCEMENT of the new, stricter laws?

No! No! A moderation of this fine is a step backward! Please, please, don’t do it!

Lower fine proposed for running a red light
The Advisory Council seeks a review of the traffic law

By Nour Abuzant
Staff Reporter

The Advisory Council has proposed a review of the traffic law with a stress on reducing the current fine of QR6,000 for jumping the red signal, a member of the council said yesterday.

According to him, the draft proposal recommended a significant cut in the fine and suggested that the penalty be structured around a more practical model based on the circumstances of the violation and the number of times a motorist committed the same offence.

Senior officials of the Traffic Department had defended the stringent rules which came into force in October 2007, saying they had been issued to combat the mounting number of traffic accidents which claimed scores of lives on the country’s roads.

Advisory Council member Mohamed al-Hajery, who was one of the 20 citizens felicitated by the Traffic Department for their clean traffic record yesterday, told reporters on the sidelines of the ceremony that the House preferred a more pragmatic approach to the issue.

The awarding ceremony was part of Qatar’s celebration of the GCC Traffic Week, currently being held under the slogan “Beware of Other’s Faults”.

“The tendency of my fellow members is to take into consideration the number of previous traffic violations and the circumstances involving the jumping of the red-light,” al-Hajery said.

“You cannot treat someone who jumped the signal after a minute the light turned red and after a fraction of a second it turned red from orange,” he said.

“I think that the appropriate fine for a driver who jumped the red light without a criminal intention is QR1,500 – QR2,000.”

Al-Hajery stressed that his pleading for a more lenient treatment did not mean he was promoting traffic violations. “Anyone who deliberately jumps the signal should be treated like a potential killer and no mercy should be shown to him.”

He said he was in favour of treating each case of jumping the red light individually.

The Advisory Council members had on February 19, 2008, refused to ratify the 2007 law, arguing that “ it did not strike a balance between the crime and the punishment”.

In late July 2008, the Advisory Council members gave the law a “test period” that ended in October 2008, to check the effectiveness of the law.

The law had introduced for the first time a negative points system that might lead to the suspension or cancellation of driving licences.

The Advisory Council member said that he was personally against the system. He explained: “Sometimes, the (negative) points are registered in the driver’s account and sometimes against the owner of the vehicle. In some cases, your son drives the car and you sustain the points. It is an ineffective system and should be re-examined.”

However, Traffic Department director Brigadier Saad al-Kharji on Sunday said he was not aware of any intention to reduce, at least for the time being, the current fines.

“Anybody who respects the traffic regulations has nothing to fear,” he said arguing that after two and half years of its implementation, the law had “proved effective in reducing the number of casualties, if we take into consideration the increasing number of vehicles in the country”.

He said: “Our target is to save lives on Qatar’s roads and there is no fine that can equal the life of a human being. It is not true that our aim was just to collect money.”

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Doha, Education, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Qatar, Safety, Technical Issue, Values | Leave a comment