Daily Archives: 01/09/2014

Living in the Middle East

I know it is a bit premature for me to make too many comments regarding life in the Middle East as we have virtually just got off the plane (only been here just under 3 weeks), however, from what I have seen and experienced so far, if anyone has the opportunity to do it, then it is well worth doing it. I can only say I wish we had done this many years ago! But then again, the time wasn’t right for us, so I guess this is the right time for us to be here.


Many countries (no names mentioned) should really pay some attention to their customer service, or should I say, their total disregard to customers which they consider acceptable service. You see, the problem is that when  you experience bad service day in day out in every establishment then you accept is as “the norm”. Since we arrived here, we have experience nothing but excellent service, courteous people (except on the roads) and a general level of service which we have never really experienced before, not even back home in the UK. One thing to watch out is the famous, “yes sir, we do have it in stock, but it’s the last one” (I fell for that one yesterday). One example of service was buying a printer in Carrefour today (cheap as chips), knowledgeable and helpful staff, I was in and out within a matter of minutes, simple, painless and effortless.


Well, driving here is a different story, all the courteous manners I referred to above go out of the window as soon as they get in a car, it is very much like driving in Bulgaria but on better roads and rather than being cut up by and Audi or a Merc with blacked out windows it’s by a 4 x 4 or a maniac in a pick up. The scariest part of driving is when driving on a roundabout, you just never know whether they will stop or not, some do, some don’t, so far my approach is assume they probably won’t stop and expect the unexpected at any time.


Dashboard reading 50 degrees!

Dashboard reading 50 degrees!

Yes, it is hot, for those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you will see photos I post every so often (like the one on the right) showing some extreme temperature which in most peoples’ mind, they struggle to get their head around. The biggest issue I have found so far has not been the temperature but the humidity, 79 or even up to 80% humidity makes it a bit “yuck” but we are extremely fortunate that we have air con throughout the apartment, it comes through fins in every corner of the rooms and we have a car with excellent air con. The reality is that you have to carry a cardi or similar for when you go into buildings because it is so cold! I can only compare this to the reverse of living in Bulgaria during winter. Temperatures of -15 or -20 (some extreme cases even colder still). In this case you seek for every opportunity to be in a warm environment. We used to go from a warm apartment to a warm car to a warm shopping centre and you wouldn’t spend much time outside.

19:00 hrs, 36 degrees, pleasant breeze walking around the compound

19:00 hrs, 36 degrees, pleasant breeze walking around the compound

This evening the girls had a hair cut, the mobile English hairdresser came home and sorted their hair out. After tea we popped out for a walkabout the compound which gave Kati the opportunitiy to ride her bike. She played in the park area and then the sprinklers came on, Kati had a fab time walking under the sprinklers and getting soaking wet (water is warm!).
Cathy is off to have her fingerprints done tomorrow, no, she’s not been a naughty girl, this is one of the stages in obtaining our RPs, we had been waiting for this appointment since last week when she had her medical (chest x-ray and blood test for TB and VD, all standard procedure even though this was done in Spain 4 or 5 months ago). So off we go to school tomorrow at 6:45 am (everything here is done early). Tomorrow afternoon we have to go and buy Katja’s school uniform and then roll on Sunday (first day of school, yes, it does feel weird!)
Katja had a play date today with her friend (who will also be in the same class as her) in one of the blocks close to us, she’s back there again tomorrow, this is great news for me as it gives me a chance to crack on with things I desperately need to do.

Beautiful Qatar

For a country which is mainly desert, there are some awesome places, we really, really cannot wait for temperatures to come down a tad so we can really get our teeth stuck into some serious exploring.

Umm Bab, Qatar, the sun sets... Photo by Ziad Hunesh

Umm Bab, Qatar, the sun sets…
Photo by Ziad Hunesh