Monthly Archives: April 2015

Love Cycling?

Have you ever pushed yourself to your limit? Then how do you know that you have one?

For those of you who have known me for a while will know that I love my bike(s). When I was younger, these usually had a big four cylinder engine between the front and rear wheel, however, prior to that, I loved cycling. As a kid I would cycle to school pretty much every day. In the past five years or so as I have grown a bit older (not quite grown up yet), I have rediscovered my love for cycling. One of my dreams would be to go on a long cycle tour. Cycling is not only healthy, but a fantastic way to take in all of your surroundings. Today, Doha Joy Rides posted a fantastic video which I thought I’d share with you (I apologise as there are a couple of swear words here and there). It’s in four parts. Enjoy…

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Staycationing in Qatar

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
Mark Twain.

Spring Break heralded a very welcome break. With Cathy still recovering from her surgery in March, she returned to school for the last week before Spring break but really (and I mean really) struggling with a horrible cold.
Qatar as I am very quickly getting used to seeing and saying is a land of surprises. I must admit we had a lovely relaxing week off (mostly).

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The weather is getting progressively hotter but still quite pleasant as temperatures have come down following relatively windy (and dusty) days. We had a great time swimming and just chillin out. Last night (Friday) we popped over to our favourite hang out in Doha, the Souq. There were several activities going on, which we thoroughly enjoyed while having a pizza. Before leaving we made a compulsory stop in the park where Katja got a chance to release some energy (mostly provided by a chocolate ice cream she had earlier on!)
Our staycation wasn’t just relaxing and chilling out by the pool, it also included a trip to hospital. This time it wasn’t for Cathy, but for me. Some things here will never cease to amaze me. We arrived for my appointment which was for 08:40 (Katja had a play-date). When I say hospital, I mean it is a bit more like a hotel with slightly more personalised attention. Patients are not patients but refered to as guests, there are people doing rounds with a trolley serving tea and coffee and extremely comfortable sofas and chairs throughout. Before seeing the Doctor a nurse checked my blood pressure and temperature (I have a real phobia of hospitals and Doctors, I am surprised my blood pressure wasn’t sky high!). I saw the Doctor at exactly 08:40 (appointment time), this was followed by an ultrasound and blood tests. I then returned to see the Doctor with my results and it was then decided that I needed to have my gallbladder removed as a gallstone is causing considerable discomfort. I was then referred to for surgery and met up with the surgeon. A lovely chap who worked in the UK for 20 + years. We agreed on a follow up appointment and to also arrange to meet the anesthetist and to have more blood tests for surgery. I did all this and we were back home by 12:30! Not bad for 4.5 hrs. I am seeing the surgeon again on May 6th as well as the anesthetist. Surgery will be on May 10th. The surgeon said I will be in hospital one night and week to recover (all going well that is). I am looking forward to starting cycling again after this.

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June, July and August will be spent mostly traveling! June kicks off with me heading off to Bulgaria for a few days. I come back to Doha and the following weekend I am driving a friend’s car across Saudi Arabia and into Abu Dhabi and flying back to Doha. Then on June 25th we fly home to the UK until the end of July. We will then head back to Doha and 10 days later head off to Sri Lanka.
Staycationing in Doha during these holidays has been great as it provided a much needed rest for all of us, however, I must admit; we are really (REALLY) looking forward to the summer!!!

 

Having Fun in Qatar

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”
― Hans Christian Andersen

We are currently on Spring Break (or Easter as it is better known in other countries!). So, with Cathy still recovering from her op, we are taking it relatively easy and doing things around home as opposed to traveling anywhere.
It seems to be that there’s always something happening in Qatar which is why we are not exactly devastated at the prospect of spending time here and continue getting to know this interesting country.
Souq Wakif
The Souq is one of our favourite places here in Doha, the smells in the spice Souq, the atmosphere and the buzz is just tremendous, without any shadow of doubt, a very special place. Last night was even more exciting than usual as there were also loads of activities to go with it. There was wrestling, marching bands (see video), tight rope walkers and loads more. We went over with a friend and her two kids who are slightly older than Katja and enjoyed an evening of entertainment and a lovely pizza watching the world go by, what more can one ask for (apart from a cold beer to go with it)!

Al Zubarah Fort
This morning we decided to head out of the city for a bit. A few weeks back, I popped over to Al Zubarah fort. It’s a nice run and they have a couple of tents there where you can sample some awesome typical Qatari food and teas as well as the girls getting henna tattoos. Not bad considering it is all free! It was also a chance for Kati to get on a camel. She has “chickened out” a couple of times on previous ocassions but this time she was determined to be a real risk taker!. It was pushing 40 degrees so the idea of standing out in the sun for too long wasn’t my idea of fun but after a false start she summoned the courage to hop on with daddy. The first go she “chickened out” so I went up on my own. I guess seeing that I survived it gave her some confidence so she decided to come up. She was very proud of herself and talked about it most of the way home!
We are now coming to the time of the year in which going out during the day isn’t as pleasant as during winter. As we were driving along the temperature on the car went up to 42 a couple of times. As the heat has been dry, it has been quite bearable but this is the start of the hot season. As I said on previous posts, we really cannot complain as we hop into a nicely air conditioned vehicle and go to a nicely air conditioned apartment, I do feel sorry for the poor sods that have to work outdoors!

 Have a Nice Day! 

 

Back to Normality…. Sort of!

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”
― Joe Ancis

Even though I haven’t written much (or at all really) in the past month it’s been due to lack of time and not due to not much happening.
Exactly four weeks ago at this time I was pacing in a small room while Cathy was undergoing surgery. For her it has been a month of ups and downs and having to take it easy and plenty of rest. Easy in the first week but as she felt better it became harder. On the 19th we had our second visitors since we moved to Qatar. Tim and Andy (Cathy’s brothers) came and staid with us for a little over a week. It was good to spend time with them and to show them all the interesting sites Qatar has to offer.
March ended on a very sad note. A friend of ours and Cathy’s colleague passed away completely unexpectedly. She was only a year older than us. In the weeks following Cathy’s operation, she coordinated many meals and was in touch with us on a regular basis. It was an incredible shock and a very sad loss.
Today, four weeks to the day, Cathy had a follow up check up and has been given the all clear to go back to work. Hurrah! During the past month I’ve had the chance to sleep in; sort of. As katja doesn’t start school until 7am, it meant being able to set the alarm for 5:40 am which is a luxury compared to 04:50! However, all good things come to an end and tomorrow we are back to getting up at 04:50 am.
We started 2015 traveling and it seems to be that that patter will continue. June I am going to Bulgaria. A few days after returning from Bulgaria I am driving a friend’s car to Abu Dhabi. The drive from Qatar through Saudi and into Abu Dhabi should be interesting. I am not expecting it to be very scenic but it’s one for the bucket list. On the 24th of June we fly home to England and staying until the 31st of July. We come back to Qatar for 10 days and then head off to Sri Lanka for 2 weeks. We have been invited to attend the Esala Perahera Festival in Kandy. We will also pop in to see the family who we met on the beach when we were in Waduwa in February. If you remember, they had never had a photo taken and were very excited when I took photos of everybody as a group. We didn’t have the opportunity to print the photos out and give them to them then; so we will hopefully do it this time round.
Thursday morning I woke up a bit earlier than usual; a little after 4:00 am. As usual, I checked the latest Facebook postings and cought up with the latest news on Twitter. One thing came coming up time and time again on Facebook and this was about some incredible sand storm. I knew it was a bit windy but never heard a thing. I looked out of our bedroom window and was greeted by an amazing seen of what looked like very thick fog. This was pure and unadulterated SAND! By order of the education council schools were shut thus giving kids a long weekend (teachers in a number of schools were requested to attend work as usual, unless they had children). Needless to say, once daylight broke, the seen was pretty amazing. It had been one of the worst sandstorms Qatar had seen in over a decade. We were lucky as we had our A/C switched off and all windows shut; many weren’t so lucky!

Life is precious, life is fragile, it is tragic, it is fun, it has its ups and downs. Just because today was terrible it does not make it a terrible life. Take the chance to hug a loved one and tell them you love them. We don’t know how long we have on this planet so make the most of it. Enjoy today as there may not be a tomorrow. Don’t complain about getting older, this is a privilege denied to many.