Tag Archives: camels

Friday Fun in Qatar

As the days go by and we discover more and more about Qatar we like it more and more and our curiosity to discover more places grows and grows. I know this is “the honeymoon period” and in time certain things will irritate me and annoy me but hey, let’s enjoy this time while it lasts!

The morning started at around 2 am when the alarm on Katja’s phone went off for some unknown reason (she doesn’t have a phone as such, we use an old phone to play music for her while she falls asleep). She was freaked out and so where we for that matter, of course, it was quite hard to go to sleep again after that. Anyway, eventually we got up  at 7 am which is about right for us. We had breakfast and cleaned the apartment (OK, Cathy cleaned) and then at around 10:30 we popped out on a camel hunt. We set off and made sure we had enough fuel by topping up the tank. I found a better petrol station and closer than the one before, I also found out that there are 3 types of petrol, the most expensive one being 1 QR a litre which equates to 17p or 21 cents of a Euro, of course, I splashed out, my hire car deserves only the best so I spent all of £4,97 or 6,26€ in filling up the tank!

The Camel Hunt

We headed off towards Dukhan which is a coastal something (town/ city / village), but after 10 of 15 miles we decided to head back into Doha as it was a bit mad to go out on a bit of a wild goose-chase (or camel chase as the case was). On the highway towards Dukhan, all you can see is one construction site after another, this is of course complimented by road improvements. On that note, I should mention that the roads we have driven on so far are absolutely amazing generally speaking. While you do have to put up with all the roadworks and diversions, generally speaking, main roads are pretty fab.

Doha City

Amazing Doha!

Amazing Doha!

I downloaded an app for my phone which is a fantastic GPS, it really knocks spots out of anything else I’ve tried! So we decided to head towards the city centre and find Souq Waqif – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souq_Waqif even though it is Friday and everything is shut. Thanks to this amazing app we found the Souq without any issue. We then headed towards Villagio Mall but on the way there I had to make a stop to take this photo (Cathy wanted to get out and have a walk on the beach, it was 42 degrees at the time, needless to say; we didn’t!). Doha is a fusion of ultra modern and more traditional buildings (new construction but in more traditional style).

On the way to the mall we went past some incredible buildings, and I mean amazing buildings, lots of greenery and palm trees, most impressive!

We arrived at the mall and watched some ice hockey while we decided where to eat. There’s a good selection of places to eat, i’m not sure if a number of them were still shut because it was relatively early (12:30) or because itis Friday. After a lot of deliberation we had a couple of Shawarma Sandwiches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma and Kati had a pizza from Pizza Hut, it was all very nice and not a bad price either for just under 10€!

We headed back home after this, GPS app took us a fantastic road which made us realise how close we actually live to this place! We had a short rest or we tried to but Katja was having none of it, she went into complete meltdown mode, one of those meltdown specials that you see in supermarkets where you can’t help but feel sorry for the parent having to deal with it! This behaviour was jeopardizing our afternoon party in lot 1 so we had to deal with it pretty swiftly. Child having been taken care off and made to see the error of her ways and now in a very sociable mood we headed off to lot one which is a 3 minute drive. Trust me, in this heat you really don’t want to be walking too far. We met a great bunch of people, Kiwis and Americans and some other nationalities, in fairness, I have never been in the same room with some many Kiwis! We had a great time, Cathy had a couple of ciders (with alcohol), I abstained, not only have I been quite naughty with my Shawarma sandwich, I wasn’t going to drink too. Also, here there’s zero tolerance when it comes to drink driving, penalties are harsh even for small quantities which would be legal in other countries.

Katja had a fabulous time with all the kids there, thank goodness her mood had improved, we have taken all her toys and books of her for the day but we did say that if she was good we would go for a swim. In fairness, it was Cathy and I that really wanted a swim and we weren’t going to shoot ourselves in the foot by punishing her. Fortunately her behaviour warranted the reward.

The End of a Fun Friday

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Sunset over our compound

The clubhouse car park was full so we decided to park at home and walk across the bridge and go for a swim. As we walked across the bridge I couldn’t help but to stop and take a photo of this amazing sunset, it’s not brilliant quality as Blackberries are not renowned for the quality of their photos but it was truly magnificent.

The pool was packed but we managed to have a nice swim, Katja had a go at swimming by herself without floats, she’s doing ever so well, particularly swimming under water!

After lots of swimming and playing we headed back home, Katja had a big smile and very proud of her achievement, we will continue to work on it as she is getting more and more confident swimming. Having the pool on our doorstep is great, as the days go bye, daytime temperatures will start to drop and we’ll be able to go swimming in the daytime which is great as Katja finishes school at 12, it means I can do more swimming with her during the day. Once she starts school there will only be swimming at weekends.

We had a lovely yet simple tea, baby carrots with humus and very spicy  mango pickle dips, a great end to a mostly enjoyable day (it was all enjoyable except for the meltdown bit).

Tomorrow; the great car hunt….

 

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Second Weekend in Qatar

Thursday being our new Friday and having weekends made up of Friday and Saturday will take some time to get used to, but like everything else, it is all part of adjusting to a new country, a new lifestyle and of course, a new and most interesting culture. Last weekend which was actually our first weekend in Qatar was taken up mostly by running around sorting stuff for Katja’s birthday party which meant that we had no time to explore our new surroundings etc etc.

Settling into a Routine

One of the important parts of settling in is to get into some sort of routine, at least this works for us. Part one was unpacking and setting up home, this was soon followed by having a set of wheels and then settling into some sort of routine, by the way, having a routine and being stuck in a rut are two very different things!

So, what’s our routine? well, just like anywhere else in the world, shopping is a necessary evil, I hate it with passion but hey, it’s one of those things that just has to be done. While we are on our honeymoon period with Qatar I must admit I don’t mind it all that much, however, I am sure that in time I will soon grow to seriously dislike it as I do in all other countries we have lived in. After school finished I will pick Cathy up and we will then go shopping. We have our shopping list ready so it shouldn’t be all that bad – The whole point of doing the shopping today is to get it out of the way, done and dusted, then tomorrow we can go out and explore this fascinating country….. after we have cleaned the apartment of course!

After shopping we’ll pop across to the club house and have a bite to eat then go for a swim. We have always had bar Friday, this entailed meeting up with friends, have a few beers and some food. Here, it is bar Thursday (not quite the same ring to it but I am sure we’ll get there in the end), this entails meeting friends, having a bit to eat over a couple of glasses of fresh cold water (remember, no alcohol in the club house) then followed by a swim, not too shabby at all really! A little anecdote for you! Our bar Friday routine has been so ingrained in Kati’s mind that when she was learning the days of the week, allegedly, she corrected the teacher when it came to Friday, Kati said: “it’s not Friday Miss, it’s Bar day!”

This morning I am having a bit of a catching up morning, Kati’s gone for a play date with one of the girls in the compound, they are both of a similar age and will be in the same class at school together. Kati gets to play, I get to catch up on things, win win situation! When Cathy finishes school today Kati will go for a quick medical check up for school, weight, height all the usual stuff and then on Sunday 7th September, Kati starts school (yes, it does feel strange saying that, the Sunday bit, not the starting school part).

What’s on the agenda for the weekend? camel crossing

We’ll head out for a drive tomorrow, Kati is desperate to see some camels so we’ll head out into the “countryside” or desert without going off road of course as we are in a hire car. Jeremy Clarkson (I think it was him) referred to hire cars as the best 4 x 4 ever made, however, we won’t be doing that as I don’t want to lose our deposit! As from October there’s a place that does camel races so we’ll definitely be going to that, Kati will love it, no doubt! As the weather is still quite warm, we are looking for things to do that involve being close to air con or in an air conditioned environment. We really can’t wait to go and explore when it cools down a bit, probably in 4 to 6 weeks more or less. When we come back we have an invite to go to one of the other teacher’s houses for refreshments, rumor has it there’ll be beer, of the real variety! One of the (many) things we like here is that things seem to start early and finish early. We have our tea at around 17:30 and end up going to bed at around 21:00 hrs, this suits us just fine. When Kati starts school it will definitely be early nights for her. I’ll be taking the girls to school at 06:15, classes start at 07:00 and Kati this year will be finishing at 12:00; Cathy finishes at 15:00. So, if you think about timings, we will be getting up at around 05:00 which is not an issue at all for us as we are early birds anyway.

Saturday we are off looking at cars, we can’t do a great deal until we have our RP (Resident’s Permit) but at least we want to identify what to buy; this is usually the real fun bit. Then after that I chatted with someone on Twitter and we’ll arrange to meet up with him, it will be nice to meet someone who isn’t a teacher!