Our five year adventure in Doha, Qatarended June 1, 2012, but the memories will always remain. It's back to Texas where I have decided...Qatar isn't cornering the market on "quirky", as I once believed. Thanks for opening my eyes to the world,Doha!
Kristi & I picked up our works of art yesterday at Cafe Ceramique. Here are the pre & post firing pics. I'll let the final products speak for themselves. Okay, so maybe Van Gogh doesn't have to look out. We don't care...we had fun, anyway :) signed: starving artists
Our Chevron-Phillips ladies group took a cruise in the Persian Gulf yesterday on a dhow, similar to the one on the right. I forgot to take a picture of our boat! We had about 15 women gather at the docks at 9:00a.m. to start our five hour journey. The temperature & weather cooperated (no more 20% chance of rain as previously forecast...just hype, I guess) to make for a great day. The crew served us a beautifully catered lunch of shrimp and other meats (unidentifiable, but good nonetheless!), soup, various salads & dessert. It was topped off by "homemade" instant Nescafe coffee...yum! Notice the picture of the tugboat & barge we spotted on our outing. I'm pretty sure my couch and other cargo from the states are on it. Ha! It was picked up from my house in Port Neches the 3rd week of August & has yet to be seen by us. Rumor has it that arrived in Doha on November 12th, but is waiting to clear customs. Anyway, back to the cruise. The water was an absolutely beautiful aqua green color. We docked near a deserted island for anyone who wanted to swim. We only had two brave souls that ventured into the waters. The temp was in the low 80's, but the water was really chilly. We just spent most of the time sitting on the observation deck getting know each other. A lot of us had never met before. On Sunday, one of our ladies that hails from Thailand is going to school us on the art of cooking Thai Pad Noodles. That should be interesting. No excuse for sitting on your duffs around here. Something is always on the calendar. Oh, the sign on the toilet door is just typical Doha style, just had to share it. But, the kilt...hmm, I think that's his own personal style. I can't say that I've seen that one before.
The fine for a motorist driving an automatic car and caught resting his legs on the dash board or the side seat is QR10,000 ($2750.00) and a jail term of a month to three years, Al Kharji said. (Director of the Police & Traffic Department, Colonel Mohamed Saad Al Kharji speaking to two Independent Schools)
Man, I can't believe I'm going to have to give that up.
Since we've already waited too late to mail off our Christmas cards to the U.S. (known just as "America" over here), we thought we'd get a head start via the internet to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas season filled with faith, hope & love. Merry Christmas from us to you! *****Merry Christmas from the Knox Family****
We dropped Kayla at the Doha Airport last night around 11:30pm. She should be in London right now, waiting on her connection to Atlanta and then on to Austin. I don't envy her right in the least. We're making the trek from Doha on December 17th, arriving in Austin on the 18th. I'ts going to be a marathon flight for us. I sort of procrastinated booking our flight (you know, the credit card game...waiting for that cutoff on the billing cycle!). So, you know what that gets you? A 30 hour flight home. We're flying Doha to Kuwait, Kuwait to Washington, D.C., D.C to Chicago, Chicago to Austin. I'm already exhausted just thinking about it. Our first layover in Kuwait is five hours. Coming back to Doha will be much better...Austin to D.C., then D.C. to Doha. Much simpler. The good news is that the extra eight hours or so of delays is saving us $1000 on the three flights. If my calculations are correct, that equates to $125 an hour for waiting. I have to look for that silver lining somewhere. On to more important things...food. Our Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday turned out great. Turkey, dressing and all the usual trimmings. There were about 36 guests in all. Our neighbor, amazingly fit four round tables each seating nine people in her livingroom. The only thing missing was the Dallas Cowboys. They were actually televised live here, but I didn't feel like setting my alarm for 1:00am. I settled for a few peeks of the replay the next morning. Signing off from sunny Doha where the current temp is 82 degrees with 45% humidity.
***Enjoyed your visit, Kayla...have a safe trip. we love you!***
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had your share of goodies. We will be celebrating the holiday today at one of our neighboring villas. A Chevron-Phillips family is graciously hosting the event and expects 40 or so turkey hungry guests to show up. The four of us (Kayla's still here) will head over there around 1:00pm. We do have breaking news to share. There is a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Our Qatar Tribune newspaper keeps reassuring us that it will rain in Doha in the next two weeks. It looks like we also might be having a cold front coming through. I noticed that the high next Tuesday is 78 degrees. Our highs haven't been below the mid to upper 80's this fall season. I'm not complaining, though. I could definitely handle these temps year round, but somehow it makes it seem strange to plug in my Alan Jackson Christmas c.d. The Qatar forums that post on the internet are urging us to run out and purchase space heaters, before they are all gone. Apparently last year it was unusually cool here and people were caught without blankets or heaters and with none to be found. I guess you have deduced by now that there is no heat in our villas. Gotta run and get that tater salad ready. Check ya later!
P.S. I'd like to give a big CONGRATULATIONS to my nephew Kennie on his new accounting job in Houston. He's a recent Lamar University grad & we're very proud of his accomplishments. Way to go Kennie!!
Just wanted to check in & let you know how much fun the girls & I had today. We went to an eatery called Cafe' Ceramique. You don't just eat there...you put your artistic talents to work. After we ate lunch, the server cleared our table while we selected our very own ceramics to paint. The choices were anything from Christmas ornaments to doggy bowls, to serving platters to camels. You then pick out five colors to use along with two "puffy" paints. Kayla chose a martini glass for her ceramic, while Kristi & I chose serving platters for ours. Three hours later, after a lot of blood, sweat & tears, we turned in our masterpieces to the staff. They will "fire" our ceramics to give them that shiny glaze that will supposedly intensify the colors that we used. We've been told that we probably won't recognize them when we pick them up next week. That actually might be a good thing! If they truly look different when we pick them up, I'll update with new pics. A few more pics of artists at work
Have y'all given up on me. My daughter just informed me that I haven't blogged in over a week. Shame on me. We were in Abu Dhabi for four days for Kristi's soccer tournament, so cut me some slack, Kayla. Kristi and her team played a good tournament. They didn't win, but the experience was great. Kristi stayed with a family that lives in Abu Dhabi and that was responsible for getting her to the games and playing host to her. We on the other hand, unfortunately, stayed at The Sands Hotel which was billed as a 5-Star, but I would beg to differ. Anyway, all in all it was a nice time. There was a bit of sadness, though. It was the closing of a sporting era that we have so enjoyed for the last 20 years or so. I guess we have to wait for the grandkids to come along to get all tied up in sports, again. On second thought, maybe we could use a break. We flew in from Abu Dhabi Saturday night and met Kayla at the Doha airport. She had arrived from Austin just an hour or so before us. Yesterday, the girls and I went down to the Corniche for an aerobatic show performed by The Red Arrows from the U.K. They performed out over the bay with some really nice maneuvers. It was a lot of fun. You know, one of those things that you say "we oughta go", but you never get in the car to go. Well, we did it and were happy that we did. Look closely in the picture with the three planes, one of those planes is flying upside down. Kayla pointed that out to me, you know how observant I can be...or not. They also did a palm tree formation that I missed, because I had parked my truck Doha style and was being honked at from afar to come move my car. If you can't beat'em, join'em. Other than the air show, we've been doing the usual eating & shopping...the two main Doha pastimes. Kayla's visit will be short, so we have to get it all in while we can. Have a good one!
Ok guys, it's time for a quick geography lesson. Some people still do not understand where we actually live. My mom, for example, freaked out when she found out that we have a birds eye view of Saudi Arabia. She just figured this out when my Aunt Marge (hey, Aunt Marge!!) was reading her my Inland Sea story the other night. Mom, I'm not meaning to single you out...but I do have to have something to blog about. So click on the Qatar map and familiarize yourselves with the area. Yes, we do border Saudi Arabia. Not only that, we are sitting on the Persian Gulf staring out across Iran. Just kidding, mom, we can't actually see Iran with the naked eye...maybe with some good binoculars though. While your checking out the map, notice Abu Dhabi east of Qatar. That's where we're heading tomorrow (Wednesday) morning for Kristi's soccer tournament. We'll fly back Saturday night & Kayla will be at the airport waiting on us, as her flight arrives a little before us. She'll be here for Thanksgiving Dinner which we will be sharing with the rest of the Chevron Phillips employees and families. We'll actually celebrate it on Friday, since we are in Qatar & there's no such holiday for the guys. Remember, Friday is the weekend so they will be off. Kayla heads back out at 2:00am on Saturday. A short visit for such a long trip, but we'll take what we can get. On another note, I failed y'all today. As I was heading home after dropping Kristi at a school function, I saw a little Nissan pickup truck driving around with a loose ram in the back. I didn't really think anything at first, but then had to chuckle...only in Doha. I had my camera in the backseat, but wasn't quick enough at the draw. I promise, from here on out it won't be out of my reach. You see, I've already made good of my word. That's Kristi calling KFC to oder chicken burger meals for delivery. David told me to bring home food. I one upped him, I had the Colonel deliver it.
Todays Trivia: Queen Elizabeth is 81 years of age The Queen Mum died at age 101 in March, 2002
We finally made our trip to what is known as the "Inland Sea" on Friday. We had 7 vehicles in all for the trek out into the desert. Our main objective for the day was scuba diving, snorkeling and old fashioned adventure. No, no scuba or snorkeling for me...I'm not that adventurous. Unfortunately, no scuba for David either. His scuba gear hasn't made it here yet, and there was no gear in town to be rented due to the beautiful weather we're having. Our volunteer guide, a coworker of David's, is known to have quite of bit of desert experience and a little bit of a wild streak. I was really afraid of what might be in store, none the less, "Go west, young man" (actually North, but I have been known to be directionally challenged) was the motto for the day. One of the scarier parts was coming up to steep dunes and not knowing who or what was on the other side. I decided then that the "lead" car is not what you want to be. Ain't no tellin' what might be on the other side...suv, 4-wheeler, or errant beast. We really had the advantage being about 5 or 6 cars back, observing and learning from their mistakes...like watching them back down the hill after finding out that they didn't have quite enough speed to make it over the top. The tan Pathfinder in the pic on the left is our fearless leader. Fearless, schmearless...he can have it. There was no way on God's little tan earth over here that I was going over "Singing Dunes". I don't care what song it sang. The song was actually a big roar as the suv slid down and I do mean slide, brakes engaged the whole way down. The pic on the right is Kelly retrieving her cowboy hat that she lost while whooping and hollering on her ride down. After two of the vehicles braved their way down that big dune, we were back on track toward the sea. Next up, a flock of (wild?) camels were crossing our path. Hungry wild camels, that is. As the gang was " breaking bread" with the local beasts, I was snapping away hoping to get that one great pic. You be the judge. Can you say, "Perier"? I think that camel could. Anyway, the camels were real troopers letting everyone pet them, feed them, and gawk at them. Somehow I believe that this wasn't their first rodeo. Oh, and the pic below is Kristi's newest found friend. Cultural diversity is what Qatar is all about. You gotta love it. Okay, enough camel talk...forging ahead. Over the dunes and through the sand to our final destination only to be told to take our caravan elsewhere, "the Emir is having a private party, and this area of the beach is reserved". Well, if you're going to be upstaged, by all means make it by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.We were sort of wondering who the big a__ yacht in the sea belonged to (pardon my French). It did seem befitting of a sheikh, duh. So, off to another area of the beach that the scuba divers were not happy about. We took a few pics of Saudi Arabia across the sea for posterity and headed back out of the desert toward home to their usual dive area. They got their dive, we got our adventures and memories. The end.
Happy Birthday to Me from my dear friends at JGA...aren't they talented?!
I just had to share. I also received a nice singing voicemail from Dustin & Kayla that was too complicated to share. And while I'm at it, I'd like to send out huge birthday greetings to Shea who is celebrating his 24th birthday at Fort Bragg, NC. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHEA!! We love you and are very proud of you.
As Kristi stated in London, "My life is complete, now". This being said after taking her picture with an ever still, never smiling Buckingham Palace guard. Now, mine is complete here in Doha. Fox News has arrived. Yes, "fair & balanced" live news is here and blaring on my television. Back in the states "Fox News Live" with the flowing flag were emblazoned on the bottom left hand corner of our tv, regardless of which channel we were watching...a testament of my faithfulness to their programming. I do have to admit television viewing in Doha (up until yesterday at 10:45a.m.) was not what it was in the states. We do not get any "first run" shows here. Everything here is reruns of tv series, mostly the ones that have been canceled in the states. We do get a few current sitcoms, but we are seasons behind you guys (at least a season, if not more). We do get CNN, but it's a European version. Anyway, Fox News is my answer to that now. It's the exact same one that you guys are watching...well, some of you guys (wink, wink) .
I've been keeping a secret from my mother-in-law, JoAnn. I can't contain it any longer and must come clean. There is a place here in Doha that will make her heart go still. We've known about for months, actually I knew about it before David even had a job offer over here. We couldn't take any longer, so yesterday we made our way over to the Ponderosa. Yes, you heard me correctly, The Ponderosa. Not just one, we have two!! Can it get any better than that, JoAnn? I know, Bill is holding you back right now...keeping you from calling the travel agency for the next flight to Doha. All kidding aside, we actually really enjoyed it. Sorry for the betrayal JoAnn! It's funny I think the Qataris really enjoy it, too. There was a good number of them there. We stumbled by the 2nd restaurant quite by accident the other night. It's near our neighborhood & quite convenient. We also found that there is also a grocery store in the same strip mall that is roomy, clean, and reasonably priced. That works for me because the nearest grocery store to us (that I knew about) is in a very congested mall area. Anyway, I just had to share the little jewel that we have found here in the desert...haha! Other than that, today is Sunday...the first day of my work week, you know, washing, cleaning, scrubbing. That's even more unbelievable than the Ponderosa in Doha!
That's me in the pic, just in case you didn't recognize me!