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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Arab in America

I ran across a few tweets from someone I met recently in Doha that has put a spin on my reporting. While Qatari Adventures gives my take on what it's like to be an American in Arab lands, Ramy flips that around by giving his take of America while on the road in L.A. ~ California, that is. Ok, so Texans don't quite count California as a true representation of America, but we won't tell Ramy any better. These witticisms, if you may, hit on a few striking differences in our cultures.

On with the tweets...

One of the many things I'll miss about Doha...saying "fill'er up", just like we did in the olden days in America. No, Ramy, those gas stations were open. Now, get off your duff and do it yourself.

I love this one. This is truly one of my first complaints when arriving in Doha. Back off people, give me my space is what my eyes were glazed with on my first trip to the local mall. In America, there is a transparent two to three foot buffer zone that envelopes us and no one crosses into that zone without an "Excuse me", or an "Oh, I'm soooo sorry"....well, if you live in Texas, anyway. Kudos for picking up on that quirk so quickly, Ramy, and if you value that air that you breathe, I suggest you not breathe others', unless you've practiced up on your apologies.

LOOOOOL, definitely a no fly zone here, dear. This tactic will fly no where in America, not even California. Open your car door, get your lazy patooty out of your car and help yourself. Oh, if only that concept could catch on in Qatar.

Yep, no interaction with the fuzz here. You better be checking the MOI traffic website to see if you've been flashed by the many cameras around town or you just might not catch that flight out of Doha as you planned.

No reason to worry about hiring someone to close your criminal record here. Qatar will handle it for you. It's called deportation.

No doubt Ramy's running into as many quirky things in L.A. as I am in Doha. It's eye opening to see America through an Arab's eyes. Looking forward to more tweets as his trip unfolds. Safe travels!

You can follow Ramy here @ramykhalaf

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dashing Diva

Ran across yet another new salon under construction in Doha today. You read right, this one is NOT a saloon. It's the Dashing Diva Nail Spa & Salon. Where do they get these names, anyway? Can't wait to dash through that hand and come out a diva. I'll be sure to post pics.

Dashing Diva ~ Environmental Road (Landmark Area)
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Well, Don't Just Sit There

If you're sitting on your duff in Doha these next few weeks, it's not for the lack of scheduled events in the desert. To say that Qatar is shakin' these next few weeks is an understatement. Here are some of the highlights...

January 18th is Doha Tweetup time, (not to mention my mom's 85th birthday ~ Happy Birthday, Mom!) The venue is Al Tabkha Restaurant on The Pearl and EVERYONE is invited. Take a moment to meet the tweeps you stalk on a regular basis. Click here to reserve your spot!

January 21st ~ 23rd is going to be a special treat at Katara with the Vienna Boys Choir performing live. No need to travel to Austria when they'll be in our own backyard. I have my tickets. Get yours HERE!

January 25th-28th
Vroom Vroom! It's the Qatar Motor Sports Show 2012 bringing you luxury cars, sports, cars, ridiculously EXPENSIVE cars, live demonstrations and so much more to the Doha Exhibition Center. Checkout their site for all the nitty gritty.

February 2nd-5th The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is on tap. Meander around the Doha Golf Club and see your favorite golfers swing away.

February 13th-19th Khalifa Tennis Stadium will be buzzing with the Qatar Ladies Open. If you haven't had the opportunity to watch the tennis greats of the professional world in action, now's your chance. I'll be there behind the players' bench. You can buy your tickets here or at the kiosks set up at Doha's main malls.

February 16th
If all that is not enough, Yusuf Islam, who we all know as CAT STEVENS is coming to Doha. Details are forthcoming. I hope to be able to hop on that Peace Train!

Peace Train performed live in 1976 by Cat Stevens

What are you waiting on?
Buy your tickets and mark your calendars now!
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Qatar in 60 Minutes

If you live in the states (or elsewhere) and didn't tune in to "60 Minutes" on CBS last night, you missed seeing my little corner of the world. What used to be an unknown, unpronounceable nation is becoming a household word. Well, maybe that's going a bit far and yes, it's still probably unpronounceable to you and me both, but make no doubt about it...it's more than just a blip on the radar these days.


A tiny country asserts powerful influence

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Gender Bender

I may never be able to show my face in

Doha's Rogers Diner, again...

As if things aren't already lively enough for me in Doha, I go and hatch one of those uh-oh moments that left me shaking my head. I shared it on my facebook page earlier this week, but instead of gaining sympathy from my so called "friends" they laughed at me. I mean, I could be scarred for life, people. Nonetheless, I'm thankful that my mishap didn't occur at one of our usual hangouts and that no one I know was in sight, Mashalla.

I swear, they were foot washers!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Home Alone

Because you asked or would've
if you cared ;) ...

It's day four for me in Doha, alone, since David has journeyed to Saudi Arabia to bring home the bacon. Ok, so bad choice of words, be it Saudi or Doha, but you know what I mean. Before we returned from our Texas hiatus, I had many moments that I questioned my decision to stay on in Doha while David worked and lived elsewhere. I'm happy to report that my fears, whatever they were, have been put to rest. I'm not afraid (except for maybe walking into restrooms not of my gender~fodder for another day, folks), I'm not bored (yet), and I actually have a sense of new found freedom. Ha! I do have an uncanny way of grasping the positive in a dreary situation. So, freedom is what I'll cling to (as if I didn't have it before). Lunch dates, pedis & manis, massages, walks on the corniche, facebook, twitter, blogging are all at my disposal, so no pity party here. I just hope my freedom doesn't need more bacon than David is sending home!

A few pics from my cornciche outing today ~ 84F and beautiful...

West Bay
Still construction, but not nearly what it was when we arrived in 2007

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ron Paulitics

I interrupt this blog to espouse the views of my activist son...

Jeff (left) and Shea (right) leading the pack

Yes, that would be my eldest, Shea, marching nearly ten miles around Austin, the capitol city of the great state of Texas this past weekend. He and his friend, Jeff, went downtown to check out the march, but ended up leading it. I'm not exactly sure what it is about the elderly Ron Paul that so attracts the young, but I appreciate the way it energizes them and gets them thinking. Whether one agrees with his politics or not, invigorating the future of America is a good thing.

“When you have decided what you believe,
what you feel must be done,

have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Disclaimer: The intent of this message is a reminder to let your voices be heard. In no way am I trying to coerce, hoodwink, brainwash, or trick you into voting for any particular candidate. Now that I got that out of the way, Vote on, America.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where the Sidewalk Ends

I appreciate the fact that Doha is really moving forward in providing information and directing people these days, but the placement of this sign smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open this past weekend left me shaking my head.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Qatar Airways ~ Sky High Pricing?

Recently the hash tag #QatarAirwaysFail cascading on twitter got my attention and I wondered what all the hype was about. Then I ran across an article on Doha News’ tumblr, Qataris Renew Boycott Calls Against Qatar Airways, that really peaked my curiosity regarding the subject. Not being one to jump on the bandwagon without doing my own research, I found that the proof was indeed in the proverbial pudding. Perhaps locals and expats, alike, do have a little or a lot to be griping about. One return flight booked for the same city on the same day will cost you (and more importantly me!) 45% more on Qatar Airways as opposed to British Airways, if you’re going to London, anyway. That’s what I call a chunk of change, folks.

Here is another random search I did. Qatar Airways vs SriLankan Airlines with a Doha to Colombo return trip selected...

To be fair, the only other price I checked was a Lufthansa vs Qatar Airways flight to Frankfurt. Lufthansa beat out Qatar Airways by only a 10% savings, which I would have to opt for Qatar Airways in this case for the service alone.

The moral of the story here, check out the competition and decide where YOU want to spend your extra moolah...in the air or at your destination.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tsonga Reigns in Doha

It was a mysterious looking mist filled night at Khalifa stadium for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open when Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga approached the chair umpire and cried, "It's impossible!". I didn't know what he was referring to until a serve or two later when Gael Monfils stopped play to confer with the umpire, as well. Play ended abruptly and a barrage of workers took to the courts to rough up, what appeared to be slick paint brought on by the 100% humidity in the air. It was quite a spectacle, but with the latest technology in court grooming (steel brushes and towels?), play resumed. Despite the fact that the crowd pleasing Federer and Nadal were absent from the action (Federer due to injury, Nadal due to loss to Monfils), the French came through with finesse making our prime seats worth the money. After a crash and burn that looked to be tournament ending, Tsonga went on to take out fellow Frenchman, Monfils, in two sets. Qatar Tennis Federation closed out the 20th anniversary of the ATP World Tour in high fashion with a light show montage of past champions of the tournament, as well as presenting many of them live on the court afterward.

Tsonga celebrates his win at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open

Photos by me ;)

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Morning in Doha

I received an email a while back from an artist asking permission to put one of my snapshots of the Doha skyline to canvas. After a thoughtful period of, oh, maybe a half a second, I said YES! How cool is it to have a moment in time captured by moi hanging on someone's wall in a beautiful array of soft acrylics? VERY cool, from my perspective. The artist, Alena Carvalho, was kind enough to send me the lovely final result...

Morning in Doha

Here is the actual picture that I snapped this past summer. Upon request of Alena's client, the cranes that dot Doha's skyline were not included. I'm not sure how I feel about that, as the cranes in Doha represent the rapid growth that this desert city has experienced. You can check out this print along with other works by Alena at her website here.
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