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!
Another big reason why Qatar is so wonderful are the people. They are genuinely nice and go out of their way to help, both locals and expats. I have a friend who mentioned this when she lived in Saudi Arabia years ago, and it still stands true. As a woman and a mother, I get the royal treatment. For an example, one night I went out to the mall without my husband. While taking my son to the bathroom, not only did the bathroom attendant hold the door open for me to enter, she pulled down the diaper changing table and hung out nearby. I am not sure but it seemed like she was ready to jump in and actually change his diaper for me! When I was finished, she immediately took the dirty diaper from me to dispose and then helped us turn on the automatic faucet and automatic soap dispenser. Then of course she also waved her hand in front of the automatic towel dispenser. And yes, I did write that we went to the mall. (I have to note that bathroom attendants seem to be the norm here. When my mother visited, she also asked about this because it sometimes makes you feel like you wouldn’t know how to work a faucet, nevertheless an automatic one!)
Walking out of the mall, I had two parking lot attendants approach me and ask if I needed help to get to the car and pack up the stroller with bags. Two! I declined but I may take up their offer next time!
Another pleasant experience in my mind was when we were at the souq. My son had fallen asleep while sitting upright in the stroller and a local man stopped and asked if I knew that he was sleeping. Then he lightly suggested that perhaps my son would be more comfortable laid back and if his sunglasses weren’t hanging off his nose. Then another man approached my husband and asked if our son was alright, whether he was handling the heat alright. They seriously seemed to care! And it wasn’t in the same tone as I had heard in Scandinavia…where I like to say that “the villagers” would tell me that I had incorrectly bundled my son in the extreme cold or telling me that I shouldn’t be out in public with such a young baby. The reputation of cold Scandinavia holds true in my mind!
I could go on about my personal experiences but I think you get the idea. When we moved to Copenhagen, we were told how child friendly it is, but Qatar is above and beyond. The people are a big reason for this. And once you get to your destination with a car, the city is actually built to be child friendly as well. All places have elevators AND ramps. I don’t know how many times I cursed in Denmark when I couldn’t get around because an elevator wasn’t working and my only options were stairs and no one ever bothered to help. Ramps are beneficial for handicapped people as well, so really happy that Qatar has considered and acted!