Friday, May 15, 2009

Thoughts on life in Qatar

I have been in Qatar for 16 months now and some days I really like it and others I wonder what the heck I am still doing here.
I started to list what I like and don't like but then realized, they are the same thing!
Here are some of my thoughts/observations on living in this country, its a mix of living in 2009 and 1809...most days are a combination of both.
  1. I like I am seeing Qatar being built up for the first time, this country is roughly 20 years behind most developed places I have been
  2. I like that you can stay in a 5 star hotel but be served camel foot for dinner
  3. I like that its part old world and part new world, often in the same buildings/businesses. However I don't understand why government offices are still using typewriters!!!
  4. I don't like the driving, traffic, drivers...all that goes with that
  5. I dont like the summer heat & humidity, May-October is INTENSE!
  6. I don't understand what to me seems like arrogance in some of the locals. If they have to wait for something forget it! It drives me crazy when you see them pull up in their land cruisers to a fast food restaurant that does NOT have a drive through. They will sit in their air conditioned cars and blare the horn until somebody comes out to serve them. I don't get it!
  7. I don't like that my apartment does not have an address and if I want something delivered it takes hours of trying to navigate the non English speaking driver through a series of landmarks to my apartment.
  8. I also don't understand why some of the streets have a name but not all of them. Seems to be about half and half.
  9. I don't understand how the answer "Inshallah" is ok for is the plumber going to fix the sink? Inshallah.
  10. I don't understand the sponsorship seems like slavery in many ways and your employers really own you and even keep your passports!
  11. The price of gas is cheap but laundry detergent is super duper expensive...I guess just because we are sitting on a mountain of gas and not detergent.
  12. Its funny that there is a Baskin Robbins on every single corner!
  13. I like that there are the old fashioned jobs, the people that ride the elevators with you, deliver groceries (if you have an address), make photocopies for you, open the doors....that stuff all feels old fashioned to me.
  14. I find it strange that they still advertise for arranged marriages in the newspapers and that if you read the classified ads for a car it will tell you if its been "lady driven".
  15. I was shocked that when my friend I went to a restaurant, he had to ask in Arabic if ladies are allowed inside! (I was allowed in and even seated in my own air conditioned room!)
  16. I have been very shocked at what you learn about our neighbor, conservative Saudi Arabia. I was shocked to recently have read about an 8 year old little girl was denied a divorce from a 40 something year old man! Just this week I read this headline, "Saudi judge approves wife slapping". Something about if the wife spends to much money then its legal for the husband to slap her, this was actually in the same article as information about domestic violence!!!
  17. I like the pride of the Qataris but I dont like how the Indians, Phillipinos, Bangladeshis & Sri Lankans are treated....they work for slave wages, many of them earn just a couple hundred dollars a month!
  18. If you have money here then it could be a very cushy lifestyle, the locals have figured out the pampering lifestyle and I think really want Doha to become a 5 star destination.
  19. I really like going to the movies here, instead of popcorn you can get a bowl of real hot corn.
  20. I like all the different nationalities that are here, in my new job there are people from over 50 countries working there.

Just my thoughts....I think one of the biggest things keeping me here is that still after 16 months I feel like I have no idea whats going on, like there is still more to figure out.

Come visit, its an interesting place!!!