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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Under Pressure

We all know that I already have decision and commitment issues. It's nothing new. My dad always brings up at inopportune moments a story from my younger days when I was riding a motor scooter and couldn't make up mind on which way to go around an approaching tree. Yep, hit it dead center. Now that I have to face these two road signs as I enter D-Ring in Doha, it just reinforces my hangup. So, do I yield or do I stop? Do I yield or do I stop? Do I yield or do I stop? Do you know how many times I can ask myself in that fifteen second approach and still not come up with an answer? Then all of a sudden it hits me, just like I had a V-8. There isn't a stop sign in Doha that I stop at, so why would I start now? Duh.

Under Pressure ~ Queen

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Still Expect Amazing

...says the girl living in her little "bubbled" world

When I would normally be joining the masses screaming with indignation regarding Qatar's ticketgate scandal at last night's Asian Cup final, I find that I can't because I'm so sickened that this could actually happen. I'm like the mom whose child has done something wrong but can't talk about it because after all, it's my angelic child. The same is happening here. My home away from home, World Cup 2022 hosting country, Qatar, has disappointed me and it hurts. I'm a huge supporter and defender of most all when it comes to this country, so today I fall a bit more silent than usual because I have no answers. Let's back up. Last night with one eye on my twitter stream and the other on the tv watching Australia and Japan vie for the Asian Cup Championship, I gleaned more info than I ever wanted to learn. As it seems, fans with valid tickets to the game were being blocked entrance and told that the stadium was full. One twitterer this morning excused the happenings by saying that ticket holders were supposed to be there 45 minutes prior to game time. That's fine if it's true, but the people have to be informed of such limitations for entry. Rumor has it that ticketless people were let in to ensure that the seats were full, perhaps to make naysayers of Qatar's World Cup 2022 bid win to take notice of a sold out attendance. Can you say backfire? Estimates of those outside the gate were anywhere from one to ten thousand depending on the twitterer's guesstimate. Riot police were even called in to make sure everyone played nice. The truth of the matter is if it were only one fan, it would have been a travesty, but the numbers we are talking about is enough to be heard around the world. Such a shame, for up until that moment, Qatar had executed a nearly perfect tournament. If one can find the silver lining in all of this, and you know that would be me, Qatar has to have learned a good hard lesson here. You cannot fool the masses. Play the game right and let the chips fall where they may. You have eleven years to work this out, Qatar, so I still Expect Amazing. Don't let me down.

The game was a nail biter with Japan winning in extra time, 1-0. Congrats!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bored or Just Clueless in Doha?

Nothing to do in Doha? Are you kidding me? I often hear that phrase and wonder on what planet these people live. Certainly not Planet Qatar. Yeah, it can get a little slow during the summer months, but once that humidity lifts there is a plethora of events to choose from. Here's just a sampling of the next thirty days...

Click away to get more information
and immerse yourself in the happenings of Doha!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Petrol Prices Up in Qatar

Today's top story in Gulf Times...

25% more, that is! I would complain (like it would do me any good), but that brings the grand total for a gallon of Super 97 octane to a whopping $1.04 per gallon. Yeah, how do you like them apples? I knew you would. We knew the writing was on the wall. I mean, we've paid the unwavering price of $0.80 per gallon since moving here in 2007. Compare those prices to the U.S. or even much worse, to Europe's outrageous prices. I'll keep my grumbling to a minimum, as I can always downgrade to premium at $0.89 per gallon. Oh, and the attendants around here pump the gas for you, which brings me back to my usual public service announcement...Tip your servers, please!

Some local reactions on twitter...

To put it all in perspective, I found this 2010 gasoline cost chart by country...

Happy pumping ;P
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heart and Soul

heart and soul - WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

heart and soul
adv 1: with complete faith; "Qatar put their heart and soul in the game"

Qatar suffered a heartbreaking loss to Japan last night in the Asia Cup 2011 quarter finals. It was a real nail biter to the end, even though there was a mass exodus upon Japan scoring their third and final goal that ultimately sealed Qatar's fate. Such an act deflated me. How could it not deflate the team? They slapped the faces of those that were trying so hard to bring them a victory home. Kudos to those that stayed and cheered them on to the end. They were proud of their boys, and for good reason.

Qatar Goal

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunny Reflections

After several days of rain, I woke up to the most beautiful Doha weather ever yesterday morning. I donned my gym clothes, hat, sunglasses, and iPod for an afternoon (ok, an hour) of walking/running on the corniche. John Denver was blaring in my ears, "Sunshine on My Shoulders Makes Me Happy", as I was singing the same out loud oblivious to any passersby giving strange looks my way. JD quickly transitioned to "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" with the lyrics "life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle". Truer words have never been spoken as I sit here in Doha Qatar, sipping my morning coffee while watching camel racing live on the tube (unfortunately with the rain returning). I look back to my hectic life just prior to moving to the Middle East and wonder just how this happened. We're going on four years here and a day doesn't pass without that question crossing my mind. Growing up, I always heard the expression "never look a gift horse in the mouth".* Do you think that applies to camels, as well? Nonetheless, I'll continue to embrace this adventure one day at a time and enjoy the ride while reflecting on "Poems, Prayers and Promises" ...

how long it's been since yesterday, what about tomorrow?

Poems, Prayers & Promises ~ John Denver

*Origin of phrase

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

At Your Service

I had the fortunate pleasure these last few days of showing some Doha visitors around town. Their host and my friend, Ms Pink Pumps Courtney, works by day and therefore was unavailable to give them a proper touring of the culture and charm of Qatar. I found out about their dilemma when Kristi and I were invited to share tea with them at The Ritz this past weekend. Courtney was going to schedule them for a spa day at The W. Horrors, Kristi and I thought. They may as well be sitting in downtown Houston if that was going to be their Doha experience (nothing against The W~I love the place). At that moment I hung up my shingle ~ Syb's Taxi and Tour Service. First stop, Hong Kong Beauty Center. Now that Courtney's buddy, Katie, has had her full body exfoliation, she may never be the same. While she was being scrubbed, Courtney's mother-in-law Candy and I opted for the surreal experience of facials to the tune of call to prayer. Ah, memories of a lifetime. After that we headed over to Turkey Central for a beautiful maza tray and grilled chicken. The next day it was Ric's Kountry Kitchen. Yeah, I know it's more of a Western thing, but that's what makes it so interesting. Seeing everything from Texas flags to Hoosier pennants smack dab in the middle of Doha is not what a visitor expects. It's just an affirmation that even though the odometer says you're 8000 miles from home, you're closer than you think. We rode around town and I was able to point out a host of landmarks such as Katara, the Amiri Diwan, Museum of Islamic Art, among many others and discuss what I know of the local culture and traditions. I was in my element. They did me more of a favor than I did them. Thanks, Ladies. Until we cross paths, again...

Related post: Indulge Us

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adventure Bridge Update

It's Day 2 of nonstop rain in Doha. Yes, it does rain here a bit in the winter and we all know how the saying goes...when it rains it pours. You would think that I'd love it being that it's so rare, but about right now I'm thinking, Khalas (that's enough, stop, finish)! Other than the dreary weather report and my mom's birthday yesterday~HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!, I leave you with this follow up:

Five months ago I reported on...

Just thought you might want a progress update...

Moving right along
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thumbs Up, Dude!

On a sad note, Miss Kristi left us this morning...

But on a brighter note, I saw Qatar's resident Cheerleader today! Like camels, I can't get too many sightings of this man. He just makes me happy with his contagious thumbs up and his love of his country...

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Qatar vs China Support Team

Here are a few off the field pics from Qatar vs China in the Asian Cup on Wednesday night at Khalifa Stadium. The fans were spirited and fun (minus the booing every time China had control of the ball, which luckily was not that often!).

Congrats, Qatar!

Qatar vs China pics
Asian Cup 2011

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