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!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chalk One Up for Joan

There's a first for everything. Joan was up with the chickens this morning while the rest of us slept in a bit and filed downstairs one and two at a time. Around 10:00am Joan mentioned how worried she was about Bill still sleeping, but did note that he was breathing before she left the bedroom at 7:00am. I was more worried about Bob and Sherry, who I never get up before when we're all together in Tennessee. Finally Bob and Sherry strolled down the stairs shortly after 10:00 and Joan decided this was her cue to check on Bill. Once upstairs she noted that Bill was moving his foot, but proceeded to wake him up and ask if he was ok. Well, not to worry, he was fine but just had trouble getting to sleep and there's nothing like a little sun coming up to put you right into that deep sleep that you've been waiting for. I guess the jet lag is catching up with a few of our guests. It may be affecting their brains, as well. Bob was mentioning to me that his dad had a twin sister, but they weren't identical. Uh, ok. Then there was Sherry tonight trying to calculate ten percent of a 320QR restaurant tab and told me that I was going to have to figure that one out for her. Then she decided she needed to change out some bills and gives me two 10QR bills for a 50QR bill. Sherry, math works pretty much the same on both sides of the world. Other than a few desert air gaffs, we made it through the day. We toured the town in daylight for the crew and stopped at a local juice bar for a refreshment. I'm sure the juice bar didn't know what hit them when seven white people walked into their neck of the woods and bellied up to the bar. We sucked down our juices to cool us down in the 107 degree weather. A little more touring and then a stop at Asian Traditional Restaurant, which is one of our favorites. It was a hit and described as a "keeper" which is quite a compliment coming from connoisseur Bob. I'm not sure what's in store for tomorrow, but if I were Bill, you can bet your boots I'd be checking on Joan bright and early in the morning just to make sure that she's ok!

Who's who:

Bill & Joan...David's Parents (also known as Grandaddy and JoJo)

Bob & Sherry...David's brother in law and sister

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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Knox/Owens Adventures Begin

We kicked off the first day of the Knox/Owens visit with the traditional kitchen curl off. Well, it's not exactly a tradition, but I suppose we can start one. JoJo needed her hair done and being a bit like Sykes wanting to be in the middle of the action, Sherry gave her a new "do" front and center. We decided that if Sherry's grandma-in-law Josie and my mom would have been here to witness the affair, they would have had a conniption fit. Grooming appliances in the kitchen would be a mortal sin in their book. After the curl off, we lazed around most of the day as David had to work and we were carless. That worked out just fine as we sipped on our coffee and caught up on the happenings of here and there while we waited for birthday boy to get home. We made dinner reservations at the Iranian restaurant that I had blogged about a while back. Dustin opted out as he had already made plans for "Pasta Night" with his newfound Doha friends at a local compound. We dropped him on our way out to eat and arrived at the souqs to soak up the atmosphere and the recently arrived humidity on top of the heat. The two "h" words have arrived with a vengeance making liars out of us for telling Sherry, "yes it's hot, but don't worry the humidity is low". Well, rumor has it that it slapped her in the face as she deplaned last night. But like me, Sherry...you won't melt. Our trip to the Iranian restaurant was quite pleasant. The food was enjoyable and the service impeccable. It was really nice, but the company was even better. After dinner, we strolled through the souqs a little more and Sherry decided to immerse herself in the culture. She purchased her first souvenir to take home...some nice henna art down her arm by a lovely Qatari woman. JoJo opted out with a look that said, "No way, Jose" with raised eyebrows. We topped off the evening at home with coffee and cake for David's day. It was a great day and we were just happy to be together.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008


Now, quit playin' around and put the coffee on. Go ahead and push the button, I'll be downstairs when the aroma hits me. HAVE A GREAT DAY...WE LOVE YOU, DEAR!

...you were right :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's Cookin'?

Kayla has left me with a tough act to follow. What a great blog, Miss Roving Reporter. I could smell Maw Maw's chocolate on bread as you spoke about it. That was just one of the staples that I grew up on. Not candy and chips, but chocolate on bread was our treat. I don't know why, but mom would always be so embarrassed if we spoke about it outside the family. Not that it really was a secret recipe...just that it was such a simple treat that we were so appreciative of, I guess. Not very highfalutin. Had to look that word up, it really is one! Basically it was just a chocolate syrup (homemade of course) that she meticulously spread onto bread and then baked till the chocolate hardened a bit. And, I'm not using the word meticulously loosely, either. That syrup was spread so carefully to the edge of the bread, making sure every millimeter was covered, yet making sure there wasn't one drop over the edge. Anal? Now you know where I get it. Another thing that mom didn't share with the world was her shrimp gumbo that was so loved by our family, but sheltered from the outside world. If you would have seen her gumbo, you wouldn't have believed she was born and raised in Cameron, Louisiana. Her gumbo had no roux. She just browned her onions and bell peppers and more or less added the water and shrimp. It was sort of like Jesus turning the water into wine. I never understood how she did it, she just did. Rice was also a daily commodity at our house like any other good Cajun family. Gravy was only one of the many things we put over rice. Let's see, sweet peas, stewed potatoes, butter beans, blackeyed peas, and Chef Boyardee. Yes, right out of the can poured over rice. Mom always told us you needed the rice to soak up all the extra sauce. Having four kids of my own now, I'm sure it was so that she didn't haven to open so many cans! I did have four brothers besides my sister, you know. She had to stretch those meals, somehow. Thinking back, my favorite meal was when she would make fried potato sandwiches. Add mustard, salt and pepper and you've got a gourmet meal. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Can't tell you the last time I've had one of those. Then there was the "after swimming" menu...peanut butter and syrup sandwiches. There was nothing else like it to stick to your ribs after a long day at our local "Lakeview" swimming pool. Mom wasn't alone, Dad was also known for throwing a few things into the mix. We'd have "pancake Sunday nights" every now and then, making breakfast still my favorite meal anytime of the day. He had a few secret recipes up his sleeve, as well. His "sugared popcorn" couldn't be beat. Then there were his homemade donuts. Ok, so that wasn't one of my favorites, but trust me, they were gobbled up. I wasn't really sure in what direction today's post was going. I certainly didn't plan on going into a diatribe of the Trahan's eating habits while growing up. But you know, food is one of those things that's close to our hearts. As mom and dad provided these simple meals, I doubt that they realized at the time what fond memories that were making for us. Thanks, mom and dad!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Coverage

A word from The Representative (that would be me, Kayla)...

What a BEAUTIFUL weekend it was for the crawfish boil! Ryan and I set out towards Groves, Texas on Saturday evening, surprising Maw Maw with our early arrival. She thought we wouldn't be there until Sunday, but little did she know I was just 10 minutes down the road when I called to ask if she had an egg, some vegetable oil, and some water. Those were the ingredients to go along with the brownies in a box we were picking up at HEB. Once we got to her house, she was preparing her famous "chocolate on bread". I did have to repeat that a couple times to Ryan. He couldn't grasp the idea of chocolate being put on bread. After making the brownies and talking with Maw Maw until nearly 2:00 in the morning we all headed to bed so we could be somewhat energized for the TACBSRTF (no clue what mom was calling it). Ryan came and woke me up at about 10:30...there were a few extra voices in Maw Maw's living room and I'm thinking he wasn't venturing into the unknown without me. It was certainly time for me to wake up so I got into my crawfish boil attire and off to see Maw Maw, Aunt Marge, Uncle Jerald, Aunt Charlene, Baby, and Joyce all conversing about the day ahead. Ryan was quickly introduced to a small preview of what he would be seeing once we arrived at Uncle Mark's house. A moment later, we loaded up the cars and headed that way. Surprisingly when we arrived, there were already quite a few cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. hanging out and having a good old time. Among a few "Howdys", I introduced Ryan to Uncle Mike who was quick to shake his hand and let him know that he "better take care of Kayla" or he'd have some gangs after him. I was quick to release the 15 second hand shake going on and continue with introductions. I knew Uncle Mike favored me, but gee...I didn't expect him to be so protective. Thanks Uncle Mike! I love you too! With empty tummies we waited patiently for the Crawfish to boil and the rest of the relatives to arrive. We had the largest turn out I can recall. Tons of Crawfish to be eaten and lots of other delicious foods to go along with it. I always look forward to Aunt Janie's brisket and was happy to hear Uncle Jame's say "Aunt Janie has brisket and she'll be here in a bit" so I held tight and waited it out for the good stuff. I only call that the good stuff because I'm just not a huge fan of peeling crawfish. I ate about three pieces, only because Ryan so kindly handed to me, already peeled of course. If I'm not mistaken, he ate three tubs of it. He was stuffed!! But of course had to make his way to the desert table to see what else was in store. After a quick round of dessert...Volleyball was in the making. The court was being sprayed and raked and people were gathering around to get dibs on the first game. Boy, was it HOT! After two games, I took a break and chilled inside in the A/C for a little while. A few glasses of tea later, I decided I needed to get a few pictures of volleyball before we headed out for the day. So back into the heat of the day, I snapped a few photos and said my farewells. I had such a lovely time and I believe Ryan did as well. I just hope I met the expectations of my mother in the photography department. Thanks for the help on that Aunt Regina and Uncle Mike!! I'll forever be grateful for you helping me not fail my mother twice!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Tribute

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulez

Today's the day...TSATCBFR. If you're thinking I'm depressed that I'm missing it, you've missed the mark. I'm excited to see what my roving reporter, Kayla Michelle Knox, comes up with. This is her chance at redemption. If you remember correctly, I wasn't overwhelmed by her prom covering skills, but, it's a new day and I feel quite confident. No pressure, Kayla. She's supposed to be reporting back to me after today's event, pictures included. I'm salivating with anticipation and what makes it worse is that you guys are eight hours behind me. No telling when I'll get the low down. Oh, and to help you novices out on the art of peeling crawfish, I've included a tutorial below. And please, while you're peeling, remember the matriarch of the Trahan family (aka mom). She sure does love crawfish, but doesn't fancy peeling them. So please peel her a few for me, because you know I'd peel her a plateful, if I only could. Seriously, now. And remember on this fine celebration...if you drink, don't drive and if you drive, don't drink. Be careful everyone. Bon appetit!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Made to Order

It arrived this morning...my made to order corner table to fit behind my sectional. David came up with the bright idea that we needed a table behind the sofa, which in turn got my wheels to turning. Well, we do have a villa carpenter named Jo-El (spelling changed to how it sounds in English). I called the front desk for them to send Jo-El to hang some pictures and then cornered him about making me a table. I told him nothing fancy, just plywood and I'll throw a piece of material over it. "No problem, madame, no problem." I just had to find the plywood, which was not a small task. I started with the yellow pages and let my fingers do the walking. Only problem was, they could walk, but they couldn't speak Arabic. So, I assigned David the job of finding out where we could ascertain a single piece of plywood. The wood souqs, duh. Do they have souqs for each individual product in this country? Sure enough, we found the wood souqs with the directions given to David. The souqs were set up like garages one after the other, all connected, but each was an individual lumbar company. I use the word company loosely. The hustle and bustle, as well as the traffic in the area was ridiculous. Kristi and I sat in the truck while David bargained for a piece of wood. They loaded it up in the Tahoe and we were good to go. Jo-El came by for some precise measurements on Thursday and told me he would have it for me today. When it arrived this morning I was surprised to see that he had gotten Francisco, the painter to sand and stain it. All I had requested was a rough semblance of a table. Well, he outdid himself as the fit is perfect as it curves around the back of the couch. Of course when I asked, "how much", he ducked his head, laughed shyly, and said "whatever you think, madame". I hate that answer. They've got my number. They know that I'll pay them a lot more when they say that, because I'm such a sucker. Nevertheless, a win win situation for all.

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Friday, May 23, 2008


In less than a week, my wonderful in laws will be here trying to shake off the jet lag that 8000 miles tends to create. No mercy. When you're here for only a week it's chop chop. The only problem is that I haven't figured out what "chop chop" will be. It's getting a little warm here for desert excursions, but I guess when you travel that far, it's a no brainer. Like I said a few days ago, I haven't melted yet. David and I need to sit down and map out an itinerary so that next week we're not sitting here staring at one another twiddling our thumbs. But for some reason, I think if we just drove around the whole time, we would encounter some pretty unusual sites. Let me rephrase that, we would run into some usual sites. Some of those scenes we are already taking for granted, but those "new eyes" will spot them instantly. I'm thinking in the eating category, we'll do the extremes...all the way from Turkey Central to The Ritz. I'm sure we'll throw Ric's Country Kitchen in there somewhere, as well. Note, eating out is near the top of my main objective list. In the words of Gomer Pyle, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.


A clip from an old Gomer Pyle episode for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Not enough? Ok, here's another one...

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's Another Day In....

First stop...braving the dust storm to drop Dustin off at ASD to spend the day with Kristi and friends at school. What school in America would allow this? No problem here. He's already attended a couple of days. Next stop, City Centre Mall to pick up a rocking chair I've been wanting. I don't know why I didn't pick it up the first time I saw it. When I got there it wasn't on sale any longer, so I told them I wanted it at the sale price and was told "no problem". Is anything ever a problem in this country? One of the ever so happy store assistants hauled it through the five story mall for me. Thank goodness. Back to the house to drop off the chair before I go to the "punctury". Is this a word in any other country? I researched it and couldn't find it. On the way, I spouted my usual, "are you crazy?", "get off the road!", "where did you learn to drive?" rantings and I did capture a pic of what I witness on a daily basis. See that white suv passing the black one? Yes, he is as close as he looks if not closer. Anyway, back to the punctury. I've had a slow leak in one of my tires and was instructed by boss man to take care of it. So, while I sat in the car, they jacked me up, took it off, pulled out one huge nail, and had me back on the road in less than fifteen minutes with QR20 ($5.50) less to my name. If you could only witness the construction firsthand in this country, you'd wonder why the puntury is not in my daily routine. Now a quick stop at my handy dandy local grocery for milk and bread. I just love going there. They are so happy to carry my milk to the counter for me. "Madame, I get that!" The hole in the fence at the strip mall where the store is located was no doubt made by a speeding Qatari driven Land Cruiser that didn't negotiate the turn around. I've really no clue, but it's a good guess. As I'm heading home and reach the "hood", I run across a gentleman roped to a date tree. I don't know if they're really called date trees. I just know that they produce dates. I'll leave that research up to you. I found the scene quite interesting and stopped and asked if I could take his picture. Duh, of course you can, wait, let me get a friend. He didn't really say all that. I got that from translating his face. So, I snapped my two for one pic, not getting the original scene that I had hoped for. He was quite proud to show off the dates hanging on the tree, but I was more interested in the twelve inch curved blade that he was using to cut the fronds and the date bunches. Unfortunately, he tucked it away the blade to pose for the picture. It's just another day in Doha.

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