As cliche as it is, life is a whole lot easier when you have to opportunity to buy anything you want. Here in Doha, I can practically find anything and everything under the sun, making this move possibly the easiest for me. Not only can I find everything, it is all in a language that I understand! My prior moves to Norway and Denmark were definitely not easy for me and I think the key factors were that I couldn’t find everything and anything under the sun when it came to food. Maybe it was because the sun actually did disappear for months there! Continue reading Anything and everything under the sun! I love Qatar! Part 2
Another great trip with the American Women’s Association here in Qatar was to the Singing Sand Dunes. We drove in a caravan style to these dunes, which are located about 40 km southwest of Doha. Only a few places in the world can you find these sand dunes that “sing”. When going down the dune, one can hear a hum from the friction that is made. We went on a day that was a bit windy, so not much singing was heard unfortunately. But I did manage to disturb a skink and capture it on video which you can view here!
Before actually climbing up the dune and coming down, we walked around it and admired the beauty. Enjoy my pictures by clicking through below!
Obviously we are living in a complete new culture that is a bit foreign to us, so when we get invitations to explore the local Qatari culture, we usually accept. Our most recent invitation was to see four teams return from the desert after hunting antelope, bustards and Karawan. These teams take part in a tournament called the Al Galayel. The teams of 6 to 8 members, complete with salukis, camels and falcons, compete in 4 heats over 900 square kilometers in the southern desert of Qatar. After 4 days in the desert, they returned back to be greeted by their friends and families, and us! The tournament is actually televised as well, showing the rich heritage of Qataris, and the skills that they have being out in the desert.
We were invited by the American Women’s Association here in Qatar, and drove out to the border of Saudi Arabia to meet these teams. It was definitely a sight not to be missed. Enjoy the pictures! (Where apparently we were also being photographed and posted about!)
Based upon our previous moves, I moved to Doha with little to no expectations. After living in Scandinavia and reading Michael Booth’s book, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, I learned to lower my expectations. In his book, Booth suggested that perhaps the secret of the Danes’ happiness is because they have generally low expectations. I have applied this to my own life, and surprisingly I am happier when I have lower expectations. So, when I had the opportunity to go to the Banana Island Resort, I had absolutely no expectation. But in all honesty, I didn’t even know what it was. An island with many bananas?!
Problems, we all have them. Living the expat life may seem glorious, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have our problems. One of my personal problems has been where do we begin with our social life, or to put it more correctly, where do we find our social life? Where do we find our local friends?! I have joked with other expats saying that our husbands have it easy. They go off to work within the first week of arriving in the new host country while us “poor” wives are stuck navigating the new city without any friends. Or vice versa, where the wives go off to work and the husbands are left to figure out the basics. In any case, the first lesson that should be taught to any new expat is to find and join a club. Of course I can only write this now confidently because when we initially moved to Oslo I didn’t have a clue.
When you visit Doha, you are bound to see the giant pearl (pictured above) along the Corniche. That simple pearl is not random art but rather a reminder of Qatar’s pre-oil history.
Before discovering oil in 1939, the main source of income for many Qataris came from pearl diving. Pearl diving was quite a dangerous endeavour. Divers would venture out to sea for months in crowded ships, which meant that illnesses quickly spread. Malnutrition was common as they had little access to food. The dive itself would be brief, lasting for about two minutes or however long they could hold their breath. The divers would dive down equipped only with a nose clip, a basket and weights. While under the water, sea predators such as barracudas and sharks would become a new threat. It was not necessarily ideal working conditions to say the least.
Malacis is a Latvian word meaning good job. Malacis is also our beloved little dog, who truly has done a good job moving from one country to another with us. When Malacis joined us back in 2005, we were aware that we would have extra work, but I never expected so much work to get him to be physically with us in each country we have moved to. Qatar has definitely been the most challenging.
Moving abroad with a pet triggers some basic actions to meet import requirements. Malacis had to have all of his vaccines up to date and an identification microchip implanted. Prior to leaving the United States in 2007, we had taken care of this all. While living in Norway, his microchip was scanned various times that it never crossed my mind that we would encounter any problems. Well, of course change in technology caught up with us in Denmark, causing a new headache. (If you have been following along, I have not had the best of luck in Denmark).
Happy New Year! I have taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging because we have been busy moving into our permanent “villa” and my family was visiting. Now I am slowly getting into what may be a new normal routine for me. Asides from my “just” being a housewife routine, this year I hope to be blogging at least once a week, join a yoga studio, start volunteering and to continue exploring my new surroundings.
By far my favorite place in town is the Souq Waqif. The souq is the local traditional market where one can spend plenty of hours getting lost in the labyrinth of alleyways, searching for anything from spices to cashmere scarves to gold. I could write more, but I think my pictures describe the amazing place better. Enjoy!
I love Qatar! Can you tell? Some people have asked and I have a couple reasons. The first obvious reason is that the weather is fantastic to me. I grew up in Los Angeles and then for some crazy reason I kept moving north. What we do for LOVE! First to Cleveland for 4 years and then to Oslo, Norway for 6 years. My husband may have doubted me, but I proved to him that I could drive in snow and walk or skate down any icy sidewalk. After our son was born, we finally started the journey south, all the way south to Copenhagen, Denmark. That clearly wasn’t south enough for me. We didn’t even last a full 2 years in Denmark when I had declared that I was done living in countries where the sun disappears for months and temperatures drop to -20 degrees Celsius! So, it is evident that the heat of Doha doesn’t bother me. Although I have yet to live through a summer where temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius!
Living now in an Islamic country means we have an entire new culture to respect. One being their laws about alcohol. When comparing to where we have lived, the ability to purchase and drink alcohol has ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other.