Our five year adventure in Doha, Qatar ended 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!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Can You Read the Signs?


On our weekly Bennigan's run, we have to go through a small diversion to a temporary road. I get tickled every time we go by it, because there are so many signs and I always wonder how in the world they expect you to read them all and keep your car on the road at the same time. I couldn't even get all of them in the pic. Anyway, I think they get their point across which is really funny because safety doesn't seem to be a real concern here. Just down the road you'll run across a sewage drain that has no cover on it with no warnings or flags around it. If you don't have a sense of humor, it's time to get out of Doha!


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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fall is in the Air




For those of you back home that are curious about the weather in Doha this time of year, fall is definitely in the air with 60's for the lows and 80's for the highs. You couldn't ask for anything better, except possibly throwing a little rain in the mix. To be fair, it did sprinkle yesterday morning for about ten seconds. Good thing I had the kitchen door to the patio open or I would have never known it. It made all the Qatar blogs, if you can believe ten seconds of sprinkling (or, as my friend Freda would say "a heavy spit") would do that. We're even having a spattering of clouds in the skies which makes you feel just a little more at home. The only disadvantage of the lack of cold weather that I can think of is getting into the Christmas spirit. It makes it a tad more difficult, but with the kids coming this year it will be a lot easier. So, you guys back at home enjoy your cool cold weather and we'll soak up a little more sunshine. Tootles!


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Down at the OK Saloon





I finally got David to the saloon yesterday...not the Gunsmoke one, the barbershop one. It was time for his semi annual haircut. I know, he's such a pill when it comes to cutting his hair. We went down to what is called Burger King Roundabout in search of the perfect shop. When I saw it, I knew it was the one... The Al Jaziera Saloon. Yep, only the best for my sweetheart. I took a couple of pics from outside the shop. Can you tell by the picture that I had everyone's attention? I made my exit back to the car and waited patiently. As over thirty minutes went by, I wondered what was keeping him. Good gosh, he was in the chair when I left him. Apparently after his haircut, the assistant lathered him up and whipped out a straight razor. David probably half expected to see Matt Dillon sitting in the barber chair next to him. He also received a facial, a massage, and eyebrow and beard trim. Grand total: fifty riyals. Not bad for all that pampering. I can't even get my eyebrows waxed for that. Bottom line: He looked quite spiffy when all done. I think I'll keep him.



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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reliving the '70s



I was out and about in Doha yesterday listening to one of our many eclectic radio stations and this blast from my past hits the radio waves. I immediately started bobbing up and down and realized that there was a van full of Indian workers in the vehicle to my right. They were smiling at me as we made "eye to eye contact", and I was embarrassed to say the least. You don't see too many old white ladies jammin' in their cars around here. As a matter of fact, you don't see anyone doing that regardless of age, race, creed, or religion. Anyway, this song just might bring my '70s friends back to the disco era. Fran & Lucy, are you out there? Denise?? Can y'all say "The Keg"? Of all the songs for this radio station to bring out of the archives, it beats me why they chose this one. It was definitely played at the clubs in my day, but I wouldn't exactly call it a classic. Leave it to Abu Dhabi's 103.7, "The Coast" to find it. Nevertheless, it did the trick. I had visions of disco balls dancing in my head all day. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take David's leisure suit to the cleaners.



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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Schedule



Since we've pretty much nailed down our Thanksgiving/Christmas schedule*, I figured we better let the family in on it.

Thanksgiving:

Us: Dinner with our Doha friends with all the traditional trimmings, but keep in mind that traditional is loosely translated in Doha speak. Lots of substituting of ingredients will transpire.

Kids: Kayla and Kristi will be visiting JoJo & Granddaddy in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. They are flying out tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday). Unfortunately JoJo and Granddaddy already drove an hour to the Nashville airport today. Oops, try again! Shea is driving in from Fort Bragg with three of his army buddies for a whirlwind tour of Port Arthur, Houston, and Austin. Oh, to be so young as to drive eighteen hours one way and then eighteen hours back in four days. I haven't heard any official word from Dustin, but I'm thinking he's joining Shea in Port Arthur for Thanksgiving with the Trahan family.

Christmas:

Us: David and I are sitting tight in Doha awaiting the arrival of the kids (minus one).

Kids: Shea is flying into the Houston area on December 15th for a three week holiday. He will join Dustin, Kayla, and Kristi for Christmas Eve celebration at the Trahan household and Christmas dinner to be announced. On Christmas day, Dustin, Kayla, Kristi, and Ryan (stand in for Shea) will board a flight to Doha. The army didn't sound too keen about Shea jetting to Doha, so he avoided all the red tape and opted out. Besides that, he is scheduled for deployment at any time between now and April and the Army would not care that mommy and daddy spent a gazillion dollars on an overseas flight.

So, let the holiday season begin. Enjoy the turkey, enjoy the shopping, enjoy the COLD!!


*The schedule as we know it...of course it could be all thrown out the window tomorrow.



As usual, I can't control myself!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Yard of the Month


I pass by this private villa nearly everyday when going back to our compound. Don't you love it? Grass being the hot commodity it is over here...I think this owner is onto something, but I do wonder, does he have to mow it?

You know me, always shopping for a cartoon or something to go along with the posts. I've got to get me some of these. I'll feel like I'm walking around back in the states!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Another Day in...



The dust (or would that be the sand?) is settling in Doha for me. Regina should be tucked away in her Onalaska Lake home while I'm regrouping in my pink villa in the desert. I have the washer in overdrive, the oven in full force and our vacation pics uploading for printing as we speak. I know, the oven part sounds far fetched, but I am baking brownies for our U.S. military guys and gals stationed here in Doha. They may not feel blessed, but we certainly feel blessed to have them here. One of our Chevron Phillips wives here in the compound has graciously spearheaded this service project for the past couple of years. The response and gratitude from the military personnel has been overwhelming. It's amazing how one small deed and such little time spent can mean so much to someone, but it truly does. The only other pending matter is that Sykes is m.i.a., once again. He scooted out the door between Regina's legs before she could catch him the other night. I'm not so worried about him, but I know she's fretting over it. Kumar, my gardener, has been put on high alert regarding Sykes, aka Jingles. I like to look at the bright side...maybe I can put out some pretties for Christmas without knowing that they will crash and burn in his presence. Seriously now, I'm not kidding...ciao!


Please note: The brownies look edible...that's all I could hope for :)

Update: Ok, the joke's on me. I just double checked to see what time the goodies were due... it's November 30th, not the 23rd!! I have two batches of brownies if anyone wants them. You know where to find me. Arrrrrgh!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sundown on Regina's Doha Adventures





We survived the dune bashing, but unfortunately Regina's trek has come to an end. We dropped her at the Doha airport last night for her to catch her 1:45a.m. flight this morning. We've enjoyed her stay and hope she has done the same. Thanks for sharing yourself with our side of the world, sis. Until next time...Syb























Friday, November 21, 2008

From Relaxation to Trepidation


A quick post before we're off to indoctrinate Regina into the Qatari ways of dune bashing. I'm not so sure she knows what she's gotten herself into. I guess as long as we survive it, all will be good. Our high tea at The Ritz yesterday was as enjoyable as always. It was a first for Regina and I think she decided, "Yeah, I could handle this". Larry, there are always jobs available for experienced refinery folks! After we were totally stuffed of sweets and treats, we got home just in time to take David to dinner. We opted for an evening at the souqs for shopping, eating, and tattooing. Don't worry Larry, it's only temporary. Wink, wink. A note to my Doha friends: The weather couldn't be any more enjoyable for outdoor dining right now. These November nights are absolutely gorgeous with the shisha scents and Arabic music in the air adding to the ambiance of the bricked meandering streets of the souqs. It was a lovely relaxing evening....now we're off to the dunes....ayyyyyy!



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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Dream Store



Regina has been after me all week to go to the "Dream Store" here in Doha. Ok, so she only asked me once, but it was with great anticipation. I laughed to myself, (actually out loud) and thought, "why in the world would she want to go to that store?". Apparently she had heard my friend Kim, go on and on about it, but surely Kim had tongue in cheek as she did so. When a non Doha resident thinks Dream Store, I'm sure they are conjuring up visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Well, I took her and the joke was on me..it's still not Hobby Lobby, but by Doha standards, it's even better...more like Neiman Marcus. 'Tis Christmas season at the Dream Store (News flash: we do still live in a Muslim country). There were aisles of stockings, gift bags, Christmas trees (no holiday trees in sight!), and Christmas decor galore. Nothing there that Regina really wanted or needed, but I can see where I'll be making a trip back there very soon. Three out of four of my kids are coming for Christmas, so I'll have to do my best of turning the pink villa into a "White Christmas". Ha, I can dream.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Honk if You're...



I try to keep my posts at a "G" rating, but today's is pushing the envelope. Put the children to bed :)



While I was sitting at the Rome airport, I got the funniest email from on of my local Doha friends, Peggy. It's a true "only in Doha" story and for it to happen to her, our quiet, reserved, low key friend makes it only funnier. I've copied and pasted it with Peg's permission:

OK Ladies here is one for the books!!!! I went to the jeweler yesterday and the door was locked so I was window shopping a bit when he walked up. I told him, "Oh I'm glad to see you're here I was just about to leave." Then he answered, "Yes, I was horny. To which I replied, "EXCUSE ME?!!" He looked at me and said, "How do you say it?.....horn-y, horn-y...I was in my car and I saw you so I was horny." Then he showed me with his hands.....(OK, ready for this), He was HONKING!!!!! Ya know, HORNING at me.....
I have been laughing ever since!
Peggy


My guest author is Peggy Buchanan who is from my neck of the woods with a home in Labelle, Tx. That's her with her husband David ("Buck") who came to Doha from the Port Arthur refinery.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Italy Comes to an End


We've walked until we can't walk anymore. Thank goodness we are catching our flight back to Doha tonight. We've parked ourselves in the t.v. room at our Rome hotel waiting for a couple of hours to pass before we go to the airport. It turns out that Florence is known for its shopping and naked statues. Problem is, I'm not a huge shopper and the jury's still out on the naked statues. There was that one red leather jacket that I so regret not purchasing. You know how that goes, you snooze you lose. Florence was nice, but I think it came in third to Venice and Rome. The funniest thing we found in Italy was the fact that people stand at the counters in restaurants to eat and drink. Then we found that it wasn't so funny, because the reason they are standing is so that they don't have to pay extra to eat their food. The cafes add a 10% service charge to "wait" on you (and this is NOT their tip) and on top of that they add a $1.50 "coperto" charge for each person sitting to cover their dishes and table setting. Go figure. Our Dolly Parton look alike waitress quickly flipped out the menu and pointed this out to me when I very innocently asked if the service charge was given to her for a tip. As Steve Martin would say, "Well, excuuuuuuuuse me!" Hence, you see Regina standing to eat her gelato. The trip was great, but I think I can speak for both of us and say we're ready to just "veg"out for a while. And the good Lord knows, that we won't be walking in Doha if we value our lives. Thanks for joining us on our Italy travels. See y'all back in Doha!




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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Venice in Pics



I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed Venice and I hope Regina did the same. This is the alleyway to the hotel in which we stayed while there and below that is the pastry chef that we encountered on our way out of the alleyway this morning. Lucky us...he handed us one of his inventions after we snapped his pic. He made us feel so special with his hand made offering that we quickly decided that walking down creepy alleyways wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be. Before we left Doha, we had read about how Venice often floods in November due to blah, blah, blah ( you do the research) and we considered skipping it altogether. We would have truly missed out on a beautiful and charming city with the added bonus of no cars to be found. What a true treasure to find while knowing what traffic is to be found waiting for us back in Doha. Regina, aka the pigeon lady, had fun as you can see in St Mark's Square, which was partially flooded as predicted. It didn't deter us, as we decided it was just all part of the experience. We are now in Florence, but haven't really seen much as we arrived after dark this evening. Our hotel is not in an alleyway, but we did have to take a long steep flight of stairs with some not so light luggage. We failed to ring the little bell at ground level, which I promise you will not happen again. Time to get a little shuteye...I hope you enjoy the pics!



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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rome and Venice


We arrived in Rome, not so bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:05 a.m, Wednesday morning. We walked to our hotel from the train station in a roundabout way, but at least we made it. The clerk apologized to us that our room was not ready yet. I didn't even realize that there was a possibility of that. We just wanted them to hold our luggage so we could head to St Peter's Basilica for our audience with the Pope. After receiving directions and luggage in check, we were hitting the pavement. I hate to rat on her, but Regina was dozing off while the Pope was speaking. Actually what that did was to take the pressure off me, so that I could nod off as well. Please remember that there was NO sleeping on the plane and the exhaustion was setting in by the time the Pope arrived. After a two hour siesta we hit the streets of Rome, unfortunately in the rain. Despite it, we covered a lot of ground and decided that there was no way we were going to recover the calories that we burned. We were tired to the bone when we hit the hay that night. The next morning we got in line to tour the Vatican Museum and St Peter's Basilica and what a line it was. That picture in front of the columns was just a small portion of the line, but thankfully it moved quickly. We thought this tour would be a low key, easy, non walking thing, but we were dead wrong. I never knew buildings could cover so much territory. I swear we walked five miles in those buildings. They were more massive than we could imagine. That evening we spent hours walking the streets of Rome, most of them not having a clue as to where we were. We arrived in Venice this afternoon via train. We've only been here a few hours and have fallen in love with it. It exudes charm. We were lucky enough to have a man see us with our rolling luggage in a back alley look for our hotel. He kindly pointed it out for us.
Thank goodness, because no where on it was the name of it. See the alley way? That's the way to
our hotel. Scary, huh? Well, scarier is the price you have to pay for that hotel with no name on it. That's it on the left and that's Regina and me standing in front of it. Ok, so I purposely left out the front door of the hotel to make it look a little worse, if that is possible. Don't get me wrong, we are loving it here. Tomorrow we'll head out to St Mark's Square to see what's happening. Ciao!





























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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Arrivederci!


We're walking out the door. Maybe we'll get to report in from our first stop, Rome. Gotta go! I love y'all.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

CPChem Celebrates!

Ok guys, here's the edited version of the CPChem's party that we had on Friday night at the Doha Golf Club. As you will no doubt see, it was a fun affair with food and drink galore. A lot of people let there hair down (well, what hair they had!) and checked all construction snags at the door. Now, you might have to speed read as you look at the pictures, I just couldn't spend anymore time on it, as all these pics were running around in my dreams. Thanks, CPC...let's do it again, sometime!




Anyone who would like pics or a c.d. (with or without captions), just let me know.

12/23/08 update: I added this video for those that couldn't access it through Youtube. I hope it works for you!

video

thoughts
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Animal House II


Coming to a blog near you!! Stay tuned. The pics are still on the edit room floor for now. Speak now, or forever hold your peace. As John McCain has said many time during his campaign, "I will name names and I will make them famous!". CPC may want to send me a disclaimer on this one...haha!


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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Qatar Built this City


Our day started with a pancake and egg breakfast, before heading out to 10:00am mass. Yes, smarty pants, I cooked it. Breakfast is the only meal you are sure to get at my house. Mass was nice other than the fact that David developed a cough attack and asked if I had some mints or anything that might be of help. I so proudly whipped out an unopened pack of mints, and commenced to open it. As I tugged on the little pourer outer thingy, the whole package came apart and cute tiny heart mints flew in every direction. Bless me Father for I have sinned...let this mass be over please. I survived the embarrassment and David survived his cough (he salvaged a couple of mints from the pew). After a little afternoon siesta, we headed to the beach for a shell seeking mission. Regina collected herself a Doritos bag full and we headed out to The Pearl to see how they were coming along with Qatar's under construction man made island. You know, we do have Dubai to compete with. We were actually able to drive onto the island and were directed by security guards on where to park. We were then picked up by a security guard in a golf cart and headed out. We were glad he didn't ask us where we wanted to go because we had no idea where we were going or what we were getting into. We thought we were just taking a peak. He dropped us in front of an unknown building and as we walked in we were confronted with a beautiful pool of water with soft lighting and colors surrounding us. It was absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful architecture, tile, mosaics, bridges, lighting, and ambiance galore were just beyond the next set of doors. There were quite a few visitors rambling around and I can only imagine how crowded it will be when it eventually opens. The construction is still going strong so I'm sure it will still be quite some time. My two new Qatari friends thought that I was trying to take their picture, when all I really wanted was the sunset. I obliged them and then they asked if it was for a magazine. Now they think they are world famous, haha!


















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