Tour of Doha!

WednesdayΒ  morning, we went to an HR presentation for all new faculty, staff, and their families at the Four Seasons here in Doha. It was a really great presentation, and we learned alot about our time here.

After that, we went on a bus tour of the city. It was a great trip and I got to see some things I have been wanting to see without having to drive there! The first stop is the new Pearl man-made island. It is beautiful so far, and not even close to being done yet! They are trying to rival Dubai. They have high end designer shopping, waterfront living, and other really neat things!

We also stopped by the horse stables where they had Arabian horses. Being with horses again reminded me of the time I spent with horses for my Leadership program. It was nice to be around them again! They were beautiful and there were so many of them! Oddly enough, there were many stray cats that hang out by the stables.

Then it was off to the souk markets! They have all kind of different souk markets – Animal souks, gold souks, fruit & veggie souks, and general fashion/material souks where you can find all kinds of fancy pashminas, abbayas, and other neat things. Also, at all souk markets, you are expected to haggle with the seller.Β  I am hoping to shop there and try my hand at negotiating for Christmas gifts this year πŸ™‚

Quite honestly, the animal souk market with the camels was almost sad. The camels are sold to be eaten (terrible I know), but when we were there, they let out these loud, high pitched whines almost. I am not sure if they were speaking to each other or trying to scare us from buying them!

It is strange to be in this souk market, and see so many tiny little stray kittens all around, which were adorable but probably feral. Also, I really hated seeing all the souk market places, and then seeing a Dunkin Donuts and Haggen Daz right in amongst these souk shops. It just felt wrong, like we are taking away from their culture!

It was quite a fun tour but exhausting after it was all over.Β  I posted some website images of the pearl for you. It really is beautiful! If you come visit, we can take you there in person!

For the full album of pictures, here is the Shutterfly link:

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AZuWrJuzZt2LD2g

Advertisements

Some things I have learned so far….

1. Gas is full service here. How awesome is that?

2. Cell phones are interesting here. Qtel pretty much owns the market – so you buy a SIM card from Qtel (phone company), then you can buy any type of phone from the various cell phone stores in the malls. Then if you want to upgrade your phone, you just switch your SIM card. And they only have pre-paid and post-paid plans. There are not individual cell phone providers like in the US.

3. I have learned to never attempt to go to the grocery store the night before Ramadan begins here. We tried to go last night, and it was chaos! Kind of like the mall at Christmastime, only MUCH worse!

4. It seems as if all washers are the combination type that take about 4 hours to do your laundry. Thanks to a smart tip from my good friend, we bought a drying rack and will only be using the washer cycle, not the dryer.

5. There is a tea boy at Dave’s office who will bring him water, soda, coffee, tea etc at no cost. He just stops by throughout the day to see what Dave might need to drink. Unfortunately, he cannot accept tips, but it seems proper to buy him gifts or give a gift at the holidays.

6. Ramadan has started, so we are learning to only eat behind closed doors, since the Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. (About 6 AM to 6 PM). Also, the stores and malls all have different hours for Ramadan, since people are not out shopping as much while they are fasting.

That is all I can think of for now….I will be posting a few more updates, hopefully with pictures, and all about our experiences at the Health Authority getting our blood drawn!

We made it! :-)

Hello!

We have arrived safe and sound in Doha πŸ™‚ What a trip! The flight was wonderful, and for long international flights, business class is the only way to fly. After a wonderful 6 course meal and some wine, I was able to sleep for the majority of the flight. I woke up with only about 4 hours left, so I watched some TV on my big tv in front of me πŸ™‚ Pictures to follow of Dave and I with our champagne πŸ™‚

Once we arrived, we were immediately ushered to a lounge with ice water, while they took our passports and got us through the process. We could see the LONG line of people waiting to get through, so it was a relief to relax and not have to worry about a thing. Then we picked up our luggage, and took it through security. (They pulled out Dave’s kilt and looked at it pretty strangely, lol!). Then Dave’s CMU crew member was waiting to pick us up and take us to our new apartment!

We are on the 14th floor of the building, located right on the West Bay, by the Corniche. We have a wonderful view of the Bay, and all the construction being completed. It is a 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom apartment! It is quite large, but we love it. Each bathroom has a toilet and bidet, so you can use either. We also have a rather large kitchen, and I am excited to start cooking in it! Our living room has 2 couchs and a chair, and 6 piece dining room table πŸ™‚ So we are quite pleased with our living arrangements.

Our apartment was stocked with water, soda, fruit, and some other staples so that Saturday night we could just relax and not have to worry about anything. In order to help prevent jetlag, we forced ourselves to stay awake until 10 PM, and then went to sleep. We are trying to train our bodies.

Yesterday was a busy day for Dave with orientation at CMU. We had a driver take us to and from Education City, since we did not have a car and are not quite comfortable driving yet. After meeting with the housing manager yesterday however, there was a car waiting at our apartment for us! We are renting it for the next 3 years. It is a 2009 Chevy Epica (reminds me of a Cobalt), with only 52 miles on it. No 0’s there. It is my first time ever owning a brand new car! So it is crazy. Then since they parked it on the street, we decided to move it, and I got to practice driving. I went through my first roundabouts and with Dave’s help, I did pretty well! So that was good. Because we have a 2 BR apt, we have a reserved parking space in the parking garage in our building. So that is nice πŸ™‚

Everyone here is so incredibly friendly, it is really wonderful. We have certainly had a few communication issues, but it is a learning experience, and I am sure we will eventually get more familiar with all the different accents of people we have met. Also, our apartment building used to be known by a different name, so giving directions to it is always a little confusing, and I tend to give both names.

I took some pictures of the apartment that I plan to upload, but have not done so yet. Today I am relaxing in Dave’s fancy new office, while he is at orientation all day. Then we might check out the mall across the street from us this evening to do some shopping for our apartment.

That is all I can think of for now! I miss everyone, but Dave and I are adjusting well and feeling very positive about the next 3 years here πŸ™‚

Only 2 days to go….

Sorry for not updating sooner! Dave and I spent a wonderful week and half in Montana, visiting Glacier Park, Seeley Lake, and Helena with his family. It was so refreshing!

Now it is back to reality. We are packing up our apartment and getting ready to depart on Friday. Hard to believe we will soon be residents of Doha!

I am packing up my MAC mini, but I hope to check in from Dave’s laptop, and possibly post some pictures from Montana!

Here is the link to all 150 pictures I took:

Montana Pictures

Thanks for all the love and support, Dave and I truly appreciate it. We will miss you all so very much, but are looking forward to this next step in our lives!

I will update when we get to Doha and have access to the internet! Until then, enjoy the amazing pictures of Montana!