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I know, I have been ignoring this blog. But I live a pretty ordinary life these days, with not much interesting enough to post about. :) Now that it’s getting to be winter, it will be cool enough soon to stroll around outside, and I’ll probably share some photos of places like the Corniche, Katara, Souq Waqif, or the Pearl, as these are great places to hang out and wander around in when the weather's nice. And I mean to get out to the Sheikh Faisal museum in November;  everyone says it’s very interesting and worth the trip.

I’ve started taking public transit here pretty regularly. Western expats mostly don’t, but I think that’s silly and a bit precious. The buses are clean and air-conditioned, and there is even a priority seating section for women at the front;  if male passengers are sitting there, they’re very good about vacating when they see me coming. The bus drivers have been super nice when I’ve interacted with them, too.

(Funny story. One time I flagged down the bus at the stop near where I live, and totally confused the driver, who did stop for me but thought I must be a lost tourist who needed untangling - white women don’t take the bus here*. “Doha Bus?” he asked, referring to the hop-on/hop-off city tourist bus. Me: “No. Lulu!” - which is a supermarket on that bus route.  That reassured him I did indeed know what I was doing, odd though my presence was, and he continued on his route.)

Even though taxis are inexpensive here, taking them everywhere adds up! I am quite pleased with my new transit card. Looking forward to the metro opening in 2020, though. I’ll be able to commute to work on the train much faster than any possible alternative, especially during rush hour, and there is a train station under construction only two blocks from where I live.

*There is actually one female teacher at the college who takes the bus regularly too; she gave me an orientation to it and showed me the most efficient route from our residence to campus, etc, which was quite helpful. I am passing the info on when someone is interested. Who knows, maybe more people will start using it.
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I went to the Arab Museum of Modern Art with a friend yesterday afternoon. Nice place. We were literally the only guests wandering around the building - other than the staff, we had the whole place to ourselves. Maybe it's quieter on Fridays? (Friday/Saturday is the weekend here, with Friday being the holy day of the week, and things tend to be quieter during the day, except at the mosques I suppose.) The lady staffing the gift shop did say they get bus tours of students in sometimes, but I imagine that tends to be during the week.

All the museums around here seem to have free admission, which is pretty cool.

That museum is in Education City, which is a part of town I've been to a few times and always seems very mazelike. There's a lot of construction going on there (even by Doha standards!) and it will no doubt be easier to navigate when that's all done and Google Maps figures out what's what. Even the taxi drivers have trouble up there.


Jul. 8th, 2017 06:18 pm
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
I forgot to look up “milk” in Turkish before going to the store this week. Usually things are labelled bilingually in Arabic and English, but there is only sometimes English on the imports from Turkey...last time, I didn’t have my phone with me, and accidentally bought not-milk. This time, smartphone to the rescue! I looked it up on the spot. Good thing, because the first thing I thought might be milk was actually buttermilk.

My prize:


I was talking about this with a friend yesterday, and her eyes lit up and she said “Süt!” with some glee.

Yes, the most major effect the Gulf crisis has had on our expat lives so far: Everyone now knows the Turkish word for milk.
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
My water bottle waiting patiently outside my door on Friday night:

I leave an empty one with a little money in the hall if I want a refill, and the water people come replace it with a new one on Saturdays. It's like the tooth fairy!

I have never even seen the water people. They are secret and magical.


Mar. 20th, 2017 01:49 pm
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There are so many little fabric shops and tailors around here. Even within walking distance of my apartment, there is a street of them. Lots of people pick out fabric and get clothing made for them. Here is some I bought yesterday:

I'm planning to take it to a tailor and get it made into a top.
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
In which I creep out the innocent birds who sometimes hang out on my living room windowsill in the morning having a kaffeeklatsch with the other birds.

agirlinthegulf: (Default)
Tonight I am ordering Thai for dinner. When I got here people warned me about ordering delivery - sometimes it arrives without issue, but other times you end up on the phone with the delivery driver trying to explain across a language barrier where your building is. I ordered from this place once before though and they managed to find me okay without calling, so fingers crossed that continues.

Qatar is one of those countries where people mostly navigate based on landmarks instead of street names or addresses, so on the restaurant delivery site I'm using, I saved a whole paragraph to my profile about how to get to where I live. Go to this roundabout, take the exit toward the hospital, turn right just before this store, then take the first right and my building is at the end of the road on the right, on the corner. (That is pretty much literally what I said. Technically I have an address, but it is useless for all practical purposes - I don't even remember what it is; I'd have to look it up. This description is basically my address!)

So if I'm out somewhere and need to take a taxi home, I can either text one of the guys who have a little specialized business sending cars on request for most of my coworkers (those drivers know very well how to get to the buildings where we live), or, if I just take a taxi that is hanging around, first ask the driver if he knows where my roundabout is. If he does, then we're golden! If the answer is no...take another taxi. :) Otherwise WE WILL BE DOOMED AND LOST FOREVER, hah. (Or rather, I'll have to do a lot more Google Maps navigating than I want to! *lazy*)

Mostly the taxi drivers know my roundabout, but a non-trivial percentage of the time, they don't. I think it depends on how new they are here themselves.

At some point in the next few years, my roundabout's supposed to be dug up and replaced with a regular intersection with traffic lights. I don't know what we'll do then! Keep referring to it as the old roundabout for a while, I suspect.
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
I'm glad I made the choice to come here, but it's hard to change everything in your life and move halfway around the world to a place you've never seen. To a new job where you know nothing about how things work there and who does what, where you're an unknown quantity and have to start building all your relationships with people from scratch.

It's exhausting.

But it will get better. I can already see things gradually getting better and easier. Not easy, mind you. That might take more than a month. ;)

I post this from my newly comfy bed. Yesterday the building manager came and knocked on my door and asked if I wanted a mattress topper for $50. I said, sure. So he went off and brought one back - king-size, same as my bed - and we hauled it into my bedroom. It is quite nice, and would cost a lot more than that in the store.

I was charmed. Things like this never happen in Canada - I have never in my life been presented with a random mattress topper of Mysterious Origins, unexpectedly delivered to my door. Heh.

(I did not inquire as to its origins. I'm not sure I could have managed to communicate the question well enough, and I don't know that I would have understood the answer. Communication when you don't really share a language works a lot better when you're not trying to convey concepts like that, but are dealing with more concrete things where gesturing can do most - or all! - of the work for you. Like for example, "my kitchen light fixture has a burned out light bulb; can you replace it for me?" Which, actually, someone from the building staff came today and did.)
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
A conversation with our ProQuest rep from Dubai, after he asked about winters and summers in Canada, which I have described to him:

Him: it's basically winter over there all year round then?

Me, shocked: No, there's totally summer!

Him: *looks unconvinced*

Me: *reconsiders* ...except...summer there is equivalent to winter here, so, um, I guess you're right. :)

We are currently in the frigid depths of winter, Middle Eastern style, with highs of 20-30 degrees above zero. I adore it. Despite the fact that with no indoor heating, it DOES get awfully cold inside when it's an extra chilly night and dips down to 14 degrees or something - good thing I brought some warm clothes!
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
Today was my last day at $CurrentJob. I guess I need to start calling it $ExJob.

I've been working here - there - over seven years. It's going to take some time to retrain myself and start saying "they" instead of "we"...

Flying out to the Gulf next week and starting $NewJob on Jan. 22.
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
I had baking chocolate in the cupboard and happened to have buttermilk in the fridge. Googling those ingredients led me to - chocolate buttermilk pound cake with buttermilk ganache.

Pretty good. Definitely chocolatey, as advertised! I love the internet. :)
agirlinthegulf: (Default)
Or..something like that.

It might be a couple of weeks (ish?) until I fly to Qatar for new job. Goodbye Canada!

We will see. This is an awkward in between period in terms of planning, but perhaps tomorrow I will know more about specific dates.

We will also see if I keep up this blog or if it is but a passing fancy. :)


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