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, May 31, 2009

Hot 'N' Fresh

To round out our weekend, I was set on a Doha chicken sandwich. Not the McDonald's or Burger King kind, one of the cafeteria/juice stall style. Ok, keep in mind that we're not talking Luby's here. A cafeteria in this country consists of a minuscule room with a walk up counter and maybe two tables or so, if you're lucky. I had noticed that our local strip mall had already changed out and remodeled the brand new cafeteria that was already there.As our luck was running high, the newly opened Hot 'N' Fresh had two booths to offer, one for two and one for four. You know, no one really sits down in these places, but I always like to soak up the atmosphere and took a seat to order. As I sat down I thought to myself, Hot 'N' Fresh, what an appropriate name for a place that doesn't have the A.C. running in 117 degree weather. The second we sat, however, one of the workers was over in a flash to turn on the air. Mental note: Extra tip for the air. He presented us with menus that were typical of most area juice stalls. They had the usual juices, such as computer and Rolex, with a couple I hadn't seen, The Duhail Special (that's the area we live in) and The Hot 'N' Fresh Special. Don't bother asking. I have no clue what's in any of those. I satisfied my chicken sandwich craving and complimented it with a plain old fresh mango juice. It was indeed, hot and fresh, the sandwich, that is. David had a chicken burger with fries and got a bit more adventurous with a banana and kiwi mix for his juice. Halfway through our meal we realized why they didn't have the air conditioner running on our arrival. Could it have been electricity overload? Yes, we have now lost electricity at our evening meal two nights in a row. Bar the doors, we're coming to a restaurant near you!

Hot 'N' Fresh
Duhail (near Turkish Star-Environmental Rd)
Phone: 421-7171
24 hour service & delivery

Impression: Hot 'N' Fresh just as advertised. Tasty. Clean. Typical of most Doha cafeteria/juice stalls. Will go back.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

16 Candles Plus a Few

David's "50th" birthday celebratory dinner choice...none other than Bennigan's. He feels he's at home with family when there. He told me he wouldn't celebrate it anywhere else, so Bennigan's it was. Our shared buffalo chicken sandwich turned into a romantic candlelit dinner for two as we lost electricity halfway through our meal. Within a matter of minutes the staff had candles in place at every table. They didn't miss a beat and the patrons didn't seem bothered by the spontaneous added ambiance. David's birthday dessert was ushered in by the entire staff singing their own rendition of Happy Birthday. The manager informed David that they would NEVER forget "sir's" birthday, as they were celebrating Bennigan's ninth anniversary in Doha on that very day. We did get electricity back, only to lose it again after the candles were collected. They swiftly passed them out, again, and finally we did get the power back on with no more interruptions. It was a great evening shared with some of our favorite people.

P.S. David sends his thanks to all that left birthday greetings and also for the phone calls that he received!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

David Turns 50!

Happy Birthday,


Taking the day off for David's 50th birthday. Yes, he is officially as old as me now! Gotta get back to the celebration, check y'all later :D

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Much Does THAT Cost?

After two years in Doha, you just put it in the basket and get over it. The cost of living here is a bit high just depending on what you are tossing in the cart. I haven't figured out the rhyme or reason for certain products to be so high, as some are really reasonably priced compared to the U.S. It's just a lottery that we deal with. Full disclosure: CPChem does compensate us for the price differentials, but it still hurts to pay $8.00 for a box of home grown American cereal, so I opt out. I'd say I was cheap, but read on. It's all in your priorities. I've compiled a list of a few items that I buy on a regular basis just so you can have an idea.

13 oz can of Folgers Columbian Coffee
(remember when it used to be a pound?)

QR 21.50 or $5.91

2 Liters of "Fresh Milk" (make sure you ask for fresh or you will get Laban, which is sort of like buttermilk...ask Kristi)

QR 11.50 or $3.16

Note that is 2 liters, not a gallon!
one liter is a little shy of one quart

1 bottle of drinking water

QR 1 or 27.5 cents

Bargain, huh? Just one of those things that Qatar subsidizes.

5 gallons water for cooler

QR 8 or $2.20

ground beef (called minced beef here, fyi very lean)

QR 29.75 per kg or approx* $4.00 per lb
(*I was getting a headache from doing the double conversion)

fresh pineapple (peeled cored & sliced before your eyes)

QR 10.00 or $2.75 (flat rate)

fresh kiwi

QR15.50 per kg or $1.86 lb

Fresh tomatoes

QR2 per kg or 25cent per lb (from Syria)

QR 27.25 per kg or $3.65 per lb (from Holland on the vine)

Romaine lettuce (ice berg is sold at a premium here)

QR 2.50 per kg or 32 cents per lb

Cheddar cheese from the deli

QR32.75 per kg or $4.40 per lb

Turkey from the deli

QR75 per kg or $10.00 per lb (price varies)

Heaven forbid you want Butterball...QR105 per kg or $13.50 per lb

Tresemmee Mousse (the ONLY one at Carrefour)

QR36.00 or $10.00 per can!!!!

Estee Lauder Double Wear base makeup

QR160.00 or $44.00 (I won't get caught, again, low on this product!)

The good news is that you can get just about anything you need in Doha these days, well almost. Everyday new products pop up on our shelves that weren't there just the day before, but the key is you better buy it when you see it. It may be there just for a fleeting moment, never to return. Happy shopping!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh, No She Didn't!

This past weekend something really strange happened, by Doha standards, that is. Twice in one day at Landmark Mall, I witnessed a mom whacking her kid! Honest to goodness, I have never seen that in this country. No one ever disciplines their kids, much less giving them a much needed pop. Ok, I'm not a child abuser, it's just that every now and then, kids behaving badly need a little attention getter to bring them back to earth. I hate to say it, but witnessing it was refreshing. The first occurrence was at TGI Fridays, the land of unruly kids. I missed the alleged crime, but caught the ensuing backhand. I have a feeling the kid spit her spaghetti back at the mom. Lol. It was all pretty disgusting as the mom was mashing up the tomato covered pasta with her hands and feeding the toddler as if she were a little bird. Not to worry, the child didn't even cry, it was more like a "love tap". After Fridays, David and I made our way to Starbucks for a caffeine injection. It was fairly early on a Friday afternoon, so we got seating up front where it's usually overtaken by a sea of white thobes. Ahh, Friday morning mosque services giving us a shot at the prime seating. Have I ever mentioned that Qatari men LOVE their coffee? I felt a little evil for sitting in "their" spot, kind of like taking someone's "unofficial" pew at Sunday morning mass. Anyway, there was a Muslim couple next to us with three young children, of which all were taking their turns in screaming and crying for the usual reasons...NONE. Mom glanced my way with a look of exasperation and I smiled back and said, "it's ok, I went through this with four of my own". She breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that I understood. Moments later one of the kids went over the line and before she knew it, she had popped his face. He was already screaming anyway, so who knows if it really hurt. It brought memories of my mom and her famous saying, "if you don't stop that crying, I'm gonna give you something to cry about!". I, in turn, repeated that line with my brood more times than I care to mention. Will these children be scarred for life? I don't think so. Will that one tap bring on a barrage of future beatings? Not likely. Will these children, just perhaps, learn a little something such as life entails boundaries with consequences for those that don't abide by them? A good possibility.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Fought the Wall
And The Wall Won

A wise man once said, "when driving in Doha, it's not if you get in an accident, it is when you get in an accident". I just never knew it was going to be with a non moving object. I'm always so careful in tight situations...always paranoid that I'm going to hit something, even though I'm feet away. I must have been in lala land yesterday when pulling into a parking space at Landmark. Maybe I was just so excited about my impending pedicure. Who knows. Anyway, I didn't feel it, but I heard it. I was in such denial getting out of the truck thinking, maybe not. Oh, but when I saw it, my tune changed to definitely so. I rubbed a bit of the purple paint away and thought maybe after I get home it will just rub off. Yeah, the purple mostly rubbed off, but so did the white. Ouch, it's not looking pretty. I think I'll just let this one slide and see if David notices it. I don't see how he won't as he has to walk around it to get to his side. If by some wild chance he doesn't see it, no doubt, Sakeel, our car washer will bring it to "sir's" attention when he arrives on Thursday. David will understand, Inshaalla.

I Fought the Law ~ Bobby Fuller

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Red Phone Moments

Have I ever mentioned that I get a little nervous when I get a call on the "red phone" aka my U.S.A. connection? When it rings early in the morning I know it's one of the kids because sleep is not on their agenda. I just never know what words are going to blurt out of their mouths. Well, with Dustin, it's never a blurt...just one monotone drawl like his last phone call to me. "Mom, I have bad news and badder". Geez, Dust, what now? Surely it couldn't be too bad, since he didn't share it with David when he answered the phone. "I missed two of my finals". OMG, this is coming from a kid that for all the years he's spent in school should be a doctor or lawyer by now. It has taken me years of training by Dustin, to not be a reactor (insert cleansing breaths here). He had already contacted both professors involved, pleading his case and asking for mercy. Dustin has come a long way from his black and white days. Growing up, he never understood the words, "maybe or we'll see". You had to tell him "yes" or "no". There was no in between. Thankfully, he now understands that there is a gray area in life, and where there's a will, there is a way. Hence, his teachers have granted him leniency due to his new found will.

Funny, that is not even the story I was going to tell when starting this post. Kayla's phone call to me this morning was the subject at hand. "MOM! I ran over an armadillo!". Being a true Texan, I wasn't sure if I should be proud or upset! She told me that she was sure that she lined her tires up right so that she wouldn't hit it. I laughed as I thought of what armadillos are known for...suddenly jumping when they get spooked. It all made sense to Kayla when I told her that, since she was sure that she didn't feel her tires go over it. Apparently what she heard was the big thud of it hitting the bottom of her car as he jumped. For PETA purposes, we'll assume the armadillo was just stunned and made his way across the road. It's all good.

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