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!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Earn How Much?!

This newsflash came out in the local papers a couple of days ago. Even though it's not really shedding new light on the financial rewards of the laborers working in Qatar, it does confirm what we've suspected all along...they're working for peanuts. That's what I would call $330 for a month of honest hard work, anyway. The shocker in the survey conducted by Qatar University is that the workers are "happy" to toil nine hours a day for six days a week in the grueling heat and sandy conditions, not to mention being piled on top of one another in their work camps. That happiness seems a stretch, but perhaps it gives us an idea of the economic situations in their own countries. Just one more reason for us to count our blessings.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Say No

...to drugs, stealing, killing, and oh, especially


Ok, so it's not just me being sensitive to what I've been reading in the papers this week. I see that the popular local forum at ILOVEQATAR.net is on board, as well. While perusing the news, I'm finding that sex is more "haraam" in Qatar than killing someone. Day after day in the "Court Roundup" section of the Gulf Times, people are being sent to prison and subsequently deported for "illicit" sex. Now, I'm not an "illicit" sex advocate, BUT the next story will read "Local kills pedestrian due to reckless driving", yet he will receive a suspended sentence (after paying blood money and/or a fine, of course). Heaven forbid you steal a bed sheet (wrong, again, I know), depending on your nationality (my guess) you will get a six month jail term and then shipped home.

Examples from this week...

Court Roundup ~ March 28
Court Roundup ~ March 30
No legal system is perfect, but this one seems to be perfectly inconsistent.

Bottom line: I'll refrain from "illicit" sex, stealing, drugs, and reckless driving and all will be good. Piece of cake.

P.S. I still love Qatar :P

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Cats R Us

It seems like only yesterday that I was assisting in a kitten delivery at my front doorstep. As of Saturday morning, fertile Myrtle has bingo-ed, again. This time she had the decency to take refuge in our patio mini jungle and spare me the gory details. Nonetheless, she has added four youngin's to Doha's ever growing cat population. We tried to capture Momma cat, as we affectionately call her, after popping out her last litter, but failed miserably. Two of those (Spitty and Honey~we have to stop naming the strays, it somehow validates our ownership) live in our backyard and I'm thinking four more will eat us out of house and home. Come hell or high water, we're catching her this time around and taking care of her reproducing ways. Like David told me years ago regarding my own fertility, it's time to stop having them and start raising them. Amen, I say.

Note: Below are dumpster diving cats around our villas that I captured with my cell phone on my morning walk. These are not rare scenes, but the usual, unfortunately.

Moral of the story: Please spay or neuter your pets. Cats in Qatar is a non profit organization dedicated to helping foster care and rehome cats and kittens in Qatar. Click on the Feral Cats tab to learn about their trap neuter and return program.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Not Need to Worry"

...easy for him to say

As most of the world knows by now, David and I, along with our four grown children are taking a trip to Bali come this May. Yes, I've sung it from the rooftops, tweeted it on twitter, statused it on facebook, and even did an ambiguous blurb on a previous post. The lowdown is that the four kids are going to fly from Houston to Bali via Doha and then back to Doha for a ten day or so visit. It's so rare for all six of us to be together and to have them as a "captive" audience is just about unheard of. Geez I hope we don't live to regret this. Anyway, I have all six plane tickets, our hotel is booked, and I'm working on a "pick up" from the Bali airport. My sweet friend, Gina, recommended Alex in Bali for any driver needs I may have. I've been emailing Alex back and forth trying to get a straight answer out of him whether he can accommodate six people for our transfer to the hotel. His response...

Okie dokie, Alex. I leave it in your capable hands.

Note: I have been to Thailand and have witnessed a family of five on a motorcycle (missed that pic but got this family of four).

Why would I dream Indonesia would be any different. Hang on to your hats kids, this might get interesting.

One final thought: Isn't it ironic how much I can spend on flights and hotels and then don't want to spring the extra few bucks for the hotel to arrange a proper transfer? Sometimes I just don't "get" myself.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Doha Twestival 2011

Kudos to the Doha Twestival organizers and sponsors for bringing such a successful event to Aspire Park and raising $25,000 or so for Reach Out to Asia. I was able to match up a few new faces with names I was already following on Twitter but had never actually met in person. It was also nice to reacquaint with those I had already connected with at previous tweetups. For a bonus, there was a Gene Simmons lookalike in the crowd enjoying a Tasmeem cupcake.
(Haha, @haniarif, the devil's food cupcake made me do it.) Great times, great food, great people. Rock on Doha Tweeps!

@NazQatar busy tweeting

Shabina (one of the brains behind @dohanews) with her daughter, Aya

and @MAbdRabbo

@faizzz and @Vallath

New to the twitter scene @DavidnDoha (maybe you should have smiled for me?) with @MohsinAltaf

Check out the 160" screen on which our
live tweets were displayed

the future of twitter~ @Aya
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Al Who?

Thanks, Shabina, for posting the following video on

Doha's information station, DohaNews tumblr page.

Stephen Colbert can be absolutely brilliant in his cavalier interviewing style and the video below with Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera News Network based in Doha Qatar (yep, that's us guys) is no exception. Ayman does a great job on the receiving end of Colbert's dishing and keeps his cool and composure on Al Jazeera's behalf. Al Jazeera conjures bad images in the States, maybe because we never heard their name without the mentioning of Bin Laden in the same sentence. Since living in Qatar, I've enjoyed watching their "slant" on the news...some with which I agree and some with which I don't. Hmm, sounds like news in America, which varies greatly from MSNBC to Fox. Kristi, of Qatari Adventures has even looked into a summer internship with Al Jazeera, to her paternal grandmother's dismay and to her maternal grandmother's, "Al who?".

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Qatar Marine Festival

David and I made a trip to the Qatar Marine Festival at Katara this evening after hearing nothing but rave reviews on it. It was the perfect evening to meander around the festival grounds viewing the sand art, huge sea creature displays, seal show, dancing waters, miniature golf, and so much more. The event was free, which gave many families an opportunity to enjoy great activities with their children that maybe they couldn't otherwise afford. After walking around, we grabbed us a bite to eat and sat on the wall at the waters edge and people watched, while soaking up the carnival atmosphere. Congrats on a wonderful event, Qatar Marine Festival!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Syb's Musings

I can barely keep up with my Qatari Adventures blog for I have so many more important things going on...you know, things like twitter, Facebook, planning an awesome trip to Bali with our four kids (yes, I'm so excited!), and now Tumblr. I didn't intentionally jump on the Tumblr bandwagon. I only joined to help support a friend and her new project. My problem is that I know it's just hanging out there in cyberspace with my name on it beckoning me to keep it current and fresh which brings a question from my friend, Gina...

Oh heavens, "NO!", I don't think I am...

Put it this way, one thing is for sure, I'm NOT going to lose sleep over this new Tumblr gig (repeat to self 10x ).

Click pic for "Syb's Musings"

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Barney Fife Moment

I've recently discovered that I'm a Barney Fife wannabee. Heck, I've known that all along, I just get reminded every now and then. Yesterday I was at LuLu grocery shopping and minding my own business, well, almost. I'm bit nosy like my dad and like to observe everything going on in my nearby vicinity and maybe even a bit beyond. Anyway, there was a lady just a few yards from me twisting tops off of rosewater bottles. That's not a perfume over here, that would be a cooking condiment. She was literally breaking the seals and sniffing the fragrance to see, I presume, if it were to her likings. The first one (that I saw, anyway) must have not passed the muster because she set it back on the shelf, picked up another one, and broke the seal, again I was aghast. I promptly looked at her wide eyed and in my most authoritative voice said, "You cannot do that!". Yeah, I know, I can't believe I haven't been deported, yet, either. She looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and tilted her head as if to say, "Watch me". I repeated myself with just as much indignation as the first time and she says, "Why not?", all innocently and slips the bottle in her basket motioning that she's purchasing it. I said, "Yeah, and how about the one on the shelf?!" She turned away, casually picked it up and set it in her basket. I hesitated, turned, and went my own way knowing that without a doubt, she put those bottles right back on the shelf for some other unsuspecting soul to pick up and purchase her hand me downs. She won. Arghh, I don't know why I take things like this so personally, but I do.

Just one time,
I'd love to scream out those iconic words, "CITIZEN'S ARREST, CITIZEN'S ARREST! That would be pure music to my ears. Now, stay out of trouble, folks ;P

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Must in Doha Headgear

I took this picture on my nasty sandy windy walk yesterday morning, which by the way, bore the same elements this morning. I'm patiently waiting for this sandstorm to pass to unveil the beautiful Doha weather that I had so grown to love. Anyway, please note the furry hat with ear flaps donning the bike of one of the villa workers. This is standard wear for all security workers, maintenance peeps, and gardeners in our neighborhood. Keep in mind that yesterday's low was 66 °F with a high of 75 °F. I would say he brought it along to keep the sand out of his ears, but I know better. This hats pop up all over Doha the moment the mercury dips below 80 °F.

I did a little research to find out exactly what this furry little hat is called. It is a ushanka, which literally translates from Russian as "ear-flaps hat", so my source says anyway. As a reward for my diligent searching, I stumbled across the cat version, as well. Very appropriate for our cat population in Qatar, no?

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