Tag Archives: doha

Singing Sand Dunes

During these holidays we seem to have done more than any other holidays and had a load of fun. Camping, days out and a trip to the Singing Sand Dunes, next part of the fun is Kati and I traveling to Australia, leaving tomorrow night.

As one of Qatar’s must visit sites, the Singing Sand dunes are located approximately 45 minutes from Doha, by the time you fight your way through traffic it’s more like one hour! To make it more fun, we traveled in a convoy of 9 vehicles, not sure how, but we all got there pretty much at the same time! earlier in the day, I went with someone to collect wood from the same site where we had collected wood from before. On these outings, a camp fire is a must!

I must admit I was a bit skeptical that we were leaving at 15:00 hrs as it is very rare that   you actually leave on time, plus fighting your way out of D town would make it a very late arrival. I was proven very wrong by those organising it who had been there before. That was the perfect time to leave as by the time we arrived, it had cooled down enough to climb the dunes, have a camp fire, have food and then head home. Timings were perfect!

We arrived to be greeted by a chain of enormous dunes and because it was a weekday, only one other small party of people in the distance, apart from that, we had the place to ourselves! Kids (and adults) had plenty of fun climbing to the top. I had been out on my bike earlier on and done 30 km which all of a sudden felt like an unwise thing to do before attempting to climb this monster! As we made our way to the top (which is a darn side steeper than it looks on the photos) you could hear the sand move and make a peculiar humming noise (hence singing sand), the more you made the sand slide, the louder the hum.

Made it to the Top! SSD

We made it to the top, this was the perfect opportunity for a family pic! The views from the top are simply breath-taking, especially when you can sit and watch the sun go down. As you can imagine, you can see as far as your eyesight permits you, it’s a mixture of undulating dunes in one direction and simply baron countryside in the other!

Dining al Fresco!

As the sun gave way to a beautiful half moon, we all settled to chat by a camp fire. We gave all the kids a luminous band which meant that we could see them in the darkness and relax a little. Rather than a BBQ, someone had collected a wide selection of yummy food including Shawarma,  Hummus and lots of other gorgeous middle eastern food! Once all goods were consumed, out came the marshmallows and the hot chocolate! Once all goodies had been consumed and the wood ran out, we all started clearing up and packing up.

One thing I would like to say (not my words) please, please, please, whenever you visit and enjoy any outdoor areas, be it in Qatar or Timbuktu, make sure you take nothing more than memories and only leave footsteps. TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME!

Singing Sand Dunes!


First Christmas in Qatar

You live and learn, as I’ve said on several occasions; every day’s a school day!

We have had a mostly pleasant Christmas day, I shan’t bore you with the finer details as to what we had for lunch (roast beef, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, honey-glazed carrots, shallots, and a lovely fruit salad for dessert!), oops, I just inadvertently did, but as I said above, we have learnt a valuable lesson.

OK, before I go much further, let’s go back a few, if not several hours back, mainly to around 1 am. This was more or less the time in which we were summoned to Katja’s bedroom (when I say we, I refer to the Royal we); Cathy went through to find out what all the fuss was all about. Katja was awake and very excited about Christmas (I am sure MANY other parents can understand this). However, she was too scared to come through to our bedroom as she was worried Santa would see her and she would have no presents. So; Cathy spent the rest of the night in her room, being woken up at regular intervals being asked “was that noise father Christmas? – at one point, even I was woken up by a sudden loud noise which was nothing more than a bottle of Fairy liquid falling into the sink following a sudden gust of wind (the kitchen window was open).

05:30 – Good time to open presents

With her dog from Santa!

With her dog from Santa!

Anyway, 05:30 arrived and Kati could no longer contain her excitement. We had packed a pillow case with little pressies (Kati’s Christmas stocking is in our shipment, currently in Dubai) so we improvised by using a pillow case. She had asked Santa for a dog with a lead so she can walk it (she misses Sophie like crazy, Sophie was our dog who is now living with a friend of ours in Spain and is being spoilt rotten). In addition to the dog she had loads of little gifts such as books, colouring books, pens, hair clips etc, etc etc. We spread opening presents throughout the day; starting with presents we had bought her. Then as we Skyped with Grandma in Spain, she opened Grandma’s present during our Skype call and the same thing again with Nanna and Poppa, Andy and Tim in England. The lesson we learnt is that for next Christmas, we will not buy her toys we have to assemble ourselves. Virtually every toy we bough had to be assembled, so you can imagine, it is now 18:30 and I have been assembling toys (with Cathy) since 05:30 am. Please, please, please, don’t get me wrong, we are so fortunate to be in the enviable position to be able to give our little girl so many toys for Christmas that it gives me something to complain about when it comes to assembling them. She has been such a good girl for the past few months,ever since arriving here really. Our famous shipment has been delayed and delayed, she has had very few toys since we arrived here; some people have been ever so kind and shared toys with her which has kept her going. It was beautiful to see her face light up as she opened her presents, I have never seen her so excited, I thought she was about to explode! Lesson learnt today has been to make sure when we buy pressies for Kati, they come assembled!

We have just watched the Queen’s speech and are winding down from what has been a mostly enjoyable day. Tomorrow we are out with Doha Joy Rides for a bike ride around Aspire Zone.

As the year draws to an end, I shall leave you with the following though: “Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us — a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead.” — David Cameron

Take care of yourselves and each other.

Camping on Purple Island

One (of the many) way to make me happy, is to send me a text out of the blue asking me if I want to go camping. Too right I do (and I am speaking on behalf of all three of us). A couple of days ago I received a text asking if we would like to go camping, of course, we said yes, straight away!

A few days ago I received a text asking if we would like to go camping. Being lovers of the great outdoors and enjoying every bit of the Qatari winter, we jumped at the opportunity to spend some time under the stars but also to make new friends. we have only just come back from our last camping and we enjoyed it so much, we were keen to go out again.

On the Sunday we met up to collect some wood (after all, you can’t go camping and not have an open fire!). We are blessed to live in what perhaps can be deemed to be the world’s largest (and fastest) building site, all we had to do is drive a few hundred yards and chuck some wood in the back of the car.

We met up on Monday at 12:45 and headed out of Doha direction Al Khor to stay on Purple Island. Having done a little research, the island received its name from the dye from snails which can be found locally (this I read on some blog or another). It took around 45 minutes to get to our destination. We left the cars in the “car park”, it was more like a patch of desert; the remainder of the trip would have to be done by foot, it was only between 5 and 10 minutes from the car. The fact that the main area is only accessible by foot is the best and perhaps the worst part of it. When I say worst, I mean that very loosely as it just adds to the fun, but as when we go camping we tend to go over the top with what we take, meant that we had to do several trips to the car and then the same again when we packed the car. Being inaccessible by car is the best bit as it means that you feel safe as there aren’t any 4×4’s tearing around the place and kids can run around, play and feel safe. To reach the island you need to cross a couple of fords (and I don’t mean the cars!), at low tide, this is no major problem, however at high tide it means getting your shoes wet! We visited the island December 22nd, arriving at around 13:30 and the tide was low, when we tried crossing it the next day at 07:00 hrs it was knee deep (but the water was very pleasant). Trying to get the tents up was “fun” as it was pretty windy, fortunately, the wind died down so it wasn’t too bad. We then went out to explore this beautiful area. Basically, Purple Island is where the desert and mangroves (swamp) meet the sea. The area is green and full of wildlife, even for an ornothologically (I know there’s no such word) challenged person like me, I was amazed by the variety of (feathered) birds! we spent the evening chatting around the camp fire while the kids played happily, I would call that a win, win situation. When you live in a city like Doha, one of the nicest things one could wish for is to see the stars and lights at a distance, a chance to see some greenery and some wildlife, a place where you can get away from it all, somewhere you can feel complete peace and tranquility; this is certainly a great place which comes mighty close to all this!

Once the last bits of wood burnt out we headed to our tents, the sound of nothing was quite deafening but beautiful (this was interrupted by the occasional plane and a helicopter at 05:00 hrs). We all got up fairly early and re-lit the camp fire with some bits of wood I had found. It was sad to leave this place after such a short visit, but great to know it’s on our doorstep and accessible whenever we want to go back!

Kati said that her favourite part of the trip was telling made up stories in the tent in the morning watching the sunrise.

Purple Island Camping Trip

Confused in Qatar

Have you ever woken up after going into a deep sleep and not knowing what time of the day it is and feeling confused? I’ve heard of this being called sleep drunkenness.

Confused download

No chances of me being drunk in any way, shape or form, after all, we haven’t had our RPs yet so therefore not able to buy alcohol, yes, I know we can go to a bar etc, etc but we haven’t got round to it yet. Mind you, in saying that, we will be going out on Thursday to an all you can eat/ drink brunch but more about that on Friday….or maybe Saturday!

The reason I used that phrase as an opening line is that yesterday I became so engrossed in work and on online meetings that I totally forgot where I was. I mean completely. This has happened to me in the past when I was traveling a lot between Spain, UK and Morocco and on one ocassion I had to switch the TV on in the hotel to figure out where I was. Yesterday after having to cut short a skype meeting and fly out the door to pick little Katja up (after all, what kind of responsible dad would I be if I was late on her first day, for more on that look at yesterday’s post Carmageddon). As I flew out of the door in our apartment I was completely lost as to where I was, it was only when I opened the downstairs door and that wall of 45 degrees heat hits you and then seeing my Qatari number plate on the car that I suddenly remembered where I was!

In the past six weeks we’ve traveled a lot, by car, plane and ferries, it’s hardly surprising that a certain amount of confusion may creep in, it’s either that or Alzheimer’s setting in !


Having been warned about the serious traffic in Doha I was a little apprehensive as to what would happen Sunday morning when 243,000 kids in the 300 + schools in Doha went back to school! Please note that the word “Carmageddon” is a borrowed word and not my creation!

Anyway, before I go steaming in to Sunday let’s catch up on what we did on Saturday!

Saturday started as most “normal” Saturdays, we were summoned by our child master at around 05:30 and informed it was time to get up. “Note to self: must train child to switch TV on and leave us alone until we wake up naturally! ” Anyway, we were all awake and so the day began. We looked out of the window and hey, guess what? It was sunny and hot, even at this unsociable hour you can already feel the heat coming in through the windows. As Saturday was the last day of Katja’s summer break and Sunday was to be an early start we had to make sure she didn’t have a nap as the plan was for an early night.

Early Morning Swim

We popped over to the club house at 08:30, it was already 39 degrees. We had a quick swim as you really don’t want to be in direct sunlight for much more than 1/2 an hour, even with factor 50 sun cream. From there we popped into the rugby club, there were two reasons for this trip: 1) Katja is interested in rugby and there was an open day and 2) they have a bar with alcohol (not for this time of the morning but to see what the crack with it is). Anyway, thanks to WAZE (this is a fab GPS app for smart phones) we managed to find our way there. They were holding an open day, unfortunately at 4 years old Katja is too young. Kati of course was most disappointed so we headed off to Villagio Mall for a consolation ice cream (for those wondering about my diet it is Sunday to Thursday).10615459_10152732863949797_909813543231414030_n There we had an ice cream (it looked nicer than it tasted) and then we popped into Carrefour to pick up a couple of basics. There we found they had a special offer on LED TVs and as we really needed one we picked one up. The TV in the apartment is a very old one, Cathy’s iPad has a connector for the TV which means we can log onto www.filmon.com and watch UK TV (BBC, ITV, Cbeebies etc, etc). We then drove home and enjoyed our new toy, or I should say, Katja enjoyed the new toy with a Cbeebies marathon!

After tea it was time for a bath and a very early night ready for an early start on Sunday morning, she was fast asleep by 18:45 and apart from waking up once, she slept right through until we woke her up at 05:30!

First Day at Qatar Academy! 10629273_10204407843854420_8414197443870855981_o

The big day had arrived, not sure who was more excited about it, Katja or me! She got herself dressed into her uniform very quickly and couldn’t wait to leave! Eventually after breakfast at 06:15 we headed out to school, I was very unsure as to what to expect as far as traffic was concerned. We only live a few km from school but in the last couple of days I have noticed an increase in traffic. Anyway, we drove to school and managed to avoid all the traffic, we took exactly the same length of time in getting there as we have done so far! Still worried about Carmageddon I headed to school early to pick Kati up. At this point I should mention that her school day is from 07:00 to 12:00 hrs, next year she has after school clubs etc etc. So, I set off at 11:30 to pick her up, I  was at school by 11:40 and sat in the car until just before 12:00. What have I learnt today? That we are incredibly fortunate to be so close to school and miss out on the traffic jams which obviously don’t affect this area! I picked Katja up from her class and she’d had a great day, thoroughly enjoyed her new class, teachers and new friends.

Awesome Sunsets

I am not the greatest photographer on the planet, however, when I see something I like I try to capture its beauty as best I can and making the best of the equipment I have, after all, I am an estate agent (of sorts) and not a photographer!

Sunset Over our Compound DSC05307

One of the (many) things that has impressed the hell out of me since arriving in Qatar 3 weeks ago (to the day) is the amazing sunsets. As you can imagine, living in the desert (sort of outskirts of desert I should say) there aren’t many clouds out here. In saying that, I did see a cloud yesterday, if I hadn’t been driving at the time, I would have stopped to take a photo of it! Interestingly enough (to me anyway) even though there’s a distinct lack of clouds, there’s also a distinct lack of blue skies too. Don’t get me wrong, the skies are sort of clue, but not the blindingly dazzling blue skies you see in southern Spain where it takes a few days for your eyes to become used to it’s sheer brightness. One explanation I had from a friend in New Zealand is that due to the sand blowing from the desert in every direction it “dulls” the bright blue. Judging by the amount of dust on the car every morning, this does make a lot of sense.

As I walked out of our compound yesterday, I took the opportunity to take a photo of the sunset, remarkably enough, this is quite early as most of you who follow this blog would have hear me say in the past. I took these photos from our compound yesterday at around 17:30!


As lovers of the great outdoors, we have brought our camping gear over, I am saying we have brought in a futuristic sense as it is all in our shipment which we are hoping will be here sometime in November or December. By then, temperatures would have dropped considerably, therefore making it it very pleasurable experience. I just need to find somewhere to go camping!

Shipment IMG_20140729_113945

Along with our shipment is my tool kit (which I really missed when I was trying to assemble an Ikea desk by trying to use a pint glass as a hammer and a knife for a screwdriver, eventually leading to asking to borrow some tools from someone in the compound) – My tool kit has traveled everywhere with me, from UK to Spain, to Bulgaria, back to Spain and now it is sitting in storage somewhere in…… I have no idea, it could be Spain or UK as our shipment is coming via the UK. As well as my precious tool kit, I also have my bike in our shipment, I must admit I can’t wait to have it here and go out with Kati around the compound. It is such a safe environment it is a great place for her to finally learn to ride properly and to get rid of the training wheels! I think we’ve forgotten what else is in our shipment apart from loads of Katja’s toys, some paintings we bought in Morocco, books and goodness knows what else. I guess it may save us some money on Christmas presents as it will be abit of a surprise as to what turns up, we can always treat is a Christmas presents!

If you’ve read some of my other posts you have probably guessed I am a master when it comes to going off at a tangent from the original topic, I think I have more than demonstrated this in this posting! Anyway, enough from me for today, time to get some work done while Cathy pops into school and then off to a Birthday party! Enjoy the weekend, we already started ours!

Social Creatures

One of the great things about living in a compound is that you get to meet lots of new people and socialising becomes incredibly easy and simply, I guess you can call it socialising for those too lazy to live in the real world!

Socialising Made Easy!  Social Animal.

It may all sound rather hippyish, but living in a compound as part of a community has tremendous advantages, especially when you have a very sociable 4 year old, and her parents are equally as sociable too.

This evening we had a couple of people round for pizza and garlic bread (diet went right out of the window tonight), there were three kids and a few grown ups, it was a great way to end the day.

The day started rather early, earlier than usual but a little later than what it will be starting on Sunday. I dropped Cathy off at school at 6:30 and off she went to do her finger prints etc etc. When things are organised properly, it’s amazing what can be achieved with relative ease, by 7:30 she was on her way back to school to continue her day.

Katja had another play date this morning which for the second day in a row allowed me to crack on with a bunch of stuff I had to do – I collected her at 12 and went home, a little later I collected Cathy and we did some shopping. In some ways, this is the sort of routine I am referring to as part of settling down, leading what can be deemed as a normal(ish) day.

As I was walking to pick Katja up, I could really feel the sun burning, it is only a maximum of a couple of hundred yards from home but you can really feel it. I must admit I felt very guilty even thinking about having a moan about the heat. I think the only people allowed to moan about the heat are those who have to work in it, those who have transport without air con and go to stinking hot accommodation. I have no right to even contemplate moaning about how hot it is, I get to work in an air conditioned property and drive an air conditioned vehicle.

The rest of the week is looking relatively quiet as far as plans are concerned, we decided that rather than going out blind looking for places, we will decide where to go first and head in that direction rather than driving aimlessly, there’s loads to discover here. On Saturday we are popping in to the rugby club, Kati is interested in rugby and I would like to encourage her to do it as it is such a great sport!

Meet the Teacher!

All good things have to come to an end, in this case it’s Katja’s summer holidays which are very quickly coming to an end! As a schoolboy, I remember so clearly the end of the summer holidays, the beginning of term used to feel darkness which became lighter and lighter as the holidays approached!

Back to School for Katja! HAPPY FACE LOLZ

So, today was meet the teacher day at Qatar Academy, it is basically an opportunity for kids to meet their new teacher and to familiarise themselves with their new environment, particularly important for kids who just like Katja are newbies in this particular school.

She has three lovely teachers, yes, you read correctly, three! One is the main teacher, one is an assistant and the third one is an Arabic support teacher who will also be teaching Arabic, currently, I think there are 19 kids in her class. The classroom is bright and nicely decorated with lots of resources at hand, there are plenty of activities and toys of every description, of course, Katja had to go and find the anatomically correct dolls and start commenting on the various bits and pieces….bless her. Meet the teacher days are also an opportunity for parents to meet the teacher too and to find out about various things happening etc, etc. In our case it is a bit simpler as Cathy works in the same school so we already know a lot of stuff about routines etc, etc, etc. I was handed a form to fill in which really took me back to my schooldays, I’m not sure if I passed or failed, however, one thing I can say is that my handwriting is appalling, it was never good to start off with but as I am becoming more mature (I am trying to avoid the word older!) it seems to have become worse, I guess I hardly ever do any writing other than on a computer which doesn’t help a great deal. I am hoping that because they probably won’t understand my handwriting I may not have failed! OK, in fairness it was a simple(ish) form with lots of hard questions such as discipline procedures at home, educational targets and what’s the meaning of life!

Cathy’s also meeting parents today, however, shes doing it as a teacher, all the hard work from the past few weeks culminating in an impressive display for parents and a welcoming environment for her new students.

Then as part of our new routine we are off shopping for the week and to finish the day we’ll meet up with friends in the club house for a bite to eat and a swim, not a bad way to end the day, week, summer holidays!


The Great Car Hunt

For those of you who have known me for some time you will know that I love cars, particularly going out looking for a new car or a new toy, I have a very long car history, most of which is quite dodgy like at one point owning a brown Austin Montego 1.3 (it did get better from there, honest, my motorbike history is considerably better apart from the Yamaha Virago 535 which I crashed)

Anyway, the day kicked off in sort of usual style, being summoned by our 4 year old master at 6 am, way too early but hey, we are used to it….sort of.

We were met by one of Cathy’s colleagues who has been here several years and we followed her to a place where they sell cheap things for the house, school, etc etc, a little bit like a pound shop. We had a wander and bought several items for the house which we needed…or not, I am undecided on that.

Having done the boring bits we then embarked on the great car hunt – I have (of course) been researching cars for the past 8 months, funny how things change as soon as you are here and see the reality. Anyone reading this in Qatar please feel free to laugh and ridicule us at our original choice. Initially (until we arrived) we were considering either a Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux king cabs, that sort of thing. When we arrived, we noticed that these are the preferred vehicles for those working on building sites, certainly not a family vehicle in the slightest, not one a respectable westerner would like to be seen in. Anyway, we opted for the Mitsubishi Pajero (OK, anyone in South America now please feel free to laugh at me, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, Pajero is slang for w****r in South American Spanish). We popped into a dealership, or more like an NCP car park and spoke to a rather uninterested sales person who half halfheartedly showed us to the car (I was quite annoyed as I had even dressed up for the occasion, OK, by dressed up I mean I wore a pair of jeans). The deal was OK, nothing to write home about, but OK. Considering there are dozens of dealers pretty much one after the other, I really expected a little more enthusiasm but hey, what can you do. This lack of enthusiasm was before I even told him we are currently waiting for our RPs (Resident’s Permit), without this we cannot do a thing, then he really lost interest and nearly showed us the door! At least we now know what we are dealing with and what to expect. Hopefully, fingers crossed we will have our (or at least Cathy’s) RPs sometime in the next month or so…………maybe, hopefully.

After this we decided to pop out to IKEA, oh, and I think the rest of Doha had a similar thought too. It was a very successful shopping trip which I am delighted with as we only bought ONE item for a total of 17 QR (3,68€), now that’s what I call a result!

We arrived home and Katja who had started being a pain in the neck in IKEA was fast asleep, we carried her upstairs and had a nice long sleep, she woke up in a lovely mood and we made our way to Villagio Mall to meet up with Steve and family. Note to self: “Never go to a shopping mall on a Saturday evening, it was heaving, and I mean heaving!

We had a lovely evening with Steve and family who until then I had only chatted with through Twitter, we ended up going to the Red Lobster for a bite to eat, great food, great company and a fab way to wrap up a most enjoyable weekend.


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


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….