A few observations about living in Doha….

I have all these things that I always mean to blog about, because I just find it strange/interesting/funny.  So I will try to compile most of my observations in this post.

  • Doha used to be a British protectorate, so the terminology is very British.  Shopping carts (or buggies for my Pgh peeps) are called trolleys here in Doha.  Also, an elevator is a lift, and everything is take away (not to-go).
  • Keeping with the British theme, they sell this stuff called Long-Life (Or Stay Long) Milk. You buy it  at room temperature and it can be stored in your pantry until you open it. Then you refrigerate after opening, and you have to use it within 3 days of opening. For some reason,  I don’t know why – it just creeps me out!
  • In our apartment, we have an all in one washer/dryer (another British thing I think).  It is pretty worthless at drying clothes, so we had to also buy a drying rack.  Additionally, when the clothes do dry (especially jeans), they are crunchy and not so comfortable. On the upside, we do have a dry cleaner in our building, so that helps with some things!
  • As I mentioned previously, gas is full serve – everywhere.  It is actually really nice, and it will be hard to re-adjust when we are home visiting! Also, an average fill up for us is about 30-40 riyals, which is about 8-11 bucks.  (This is partially the reason there are Land Cruisers/SUVs everywhere).
  • Another interesting thing – when you go to some of the restaurants here, do not be surprised to find a box of facial tissue on your table. These are their versions of napkins! In the store, they only sell paper towels and tissues, no napkins. It is different 🙂
  • One thing I do love is that electric water kettles are very popular here. We had one in Pgh, and I loved it. If you don’t own one of these, you should buy one now! They heat up water really quickly, and are just great to have around the kitchen!
  • The drivers here are just insane.  I am not even sure there are words to describe it, you just have to experience it!  They love to speed, flash their lights at you if you are not driving fast enough, enter a roundabout from the middle lane and cut you off in the far left lane, etc.  It is a challenge and it always keeps you alert!
  • There are many stray kitties around the city.  There are some that even live in our basement. We have heard there used to be a rat problem, and so they released some kitties, but no clue if that is true. Most of the kitties are scared of people, so they stay away from us.
  • We get some really interesting TV channels.  We get CNN, BBC World News and Al Jazeera English, which is so far my new favorite news channel.  Al Jazeera English is actually located in Doha, and they often have professors from Education City on as guest interviewees. Aside from that , we also get a Polish channel that plays music videos all day – and a lot of Michael Jackson! We see Smooth Criminal at least twice a day.  Then we have a Fox Movies channel that plays mostly bad movies 24/7, and some Indian channels with Bollywood style tv shows.  It certainly makes tv watching interesting!

That is all I can think of for now! I will be sure to update as I think of more things.  Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you had a wonderful holiday! 🙂  I will be posting about our Turkey Day soon! 🙂


Murder Mystery Party at CMU!

When we first started dating, Dave hosted a murder mystery party at his apartment in Oakland. (Oh the good old days!) It was so much fun, and we always talked about doing it again, but never did.

We saw the announcement for the murder mystery party at CMU-Q, and we decided to sign up! We both selected secondary roles, but our good friend Jeff signed up for a primary role.  The theme was Class of ’85 Reunion at James Dean Murder High. (Clever huh?)

We were assigned our roles – Dave was a former AV Squad member and I was a drama club member trying to make her way into acting. Having our roles required us to go shopping for costumes! The info sheet suggested plaid for Dave, and he found some cargo pants, a band tee-shirt, and a plaid shirt to wear over top.  I found some black leggings, a sheer and fancy top, and added some feather barrettes and jewelry to complete my look.

We got all decked out in our outfits, and headed out to the main area of CMU where some classic 80’s music was playing 😉 We checked in, and were given envelopes, which gave us any inside information that we might know, and it told us who we should be looking for to talk to.

Lots of mingling occurred, as well as lots of food eating, while we tried to solve the murder. We had about 2 hours of mingling, talking with other classmates, and checking out the evidence. Then it was time to decide who we thought was guilty! Dave and I both got it wrong, but it was still a really fun evening! We hope to do it again soon!

For pictures:  share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AZuWrJuzZt2LEiA


I am hired!

I have been off from work since July, when I left Carlow to pack up our apartment and prepare for our move to Doha.  Then we got here, and it was good to be free to set up our apartment and get everything situated.

I started job hunting shortly after we arrived, mainly looking in Education City, since I am the primary driver for the two of us.  There were not many jobs to be found, so I applied for some, but never heard back from the universities.   I continued to enjoy my time off – it was well deserved since I just finished my Master’s and all.  I was never bored, because I spent most of the days with my friend Kat, exploring the city and becoming familiar with my new surroundings.

A few months ago, I sent an email to the dean of student affairs about a possible job working with e-Portfolios,  but it was not a option. This past Wednesday, I received an email from Dave’s Q-crew buddy Kevin, who works in Planning and Institutional Research.  He said there were some projects that need completed in his office, and the dean had mentioned that I was looking for a job.

We met the very next morning to talk about kinds of projects he has, and to see how my background would match up with what he needed. Turns out I am a pretty good match, so I gave him my resume, and he said he would let me know when I could start!

I got an email later that afternoon that HR had approved my hire, and I could start the following Sunday! (The work week here is from Sunday to Thursday). I am considered a part time hire, but part time is 35 hours, so it is practically full time!

For now, I am a Research Assistant in Planning and Institutional Research. I will be creating a Fact Book for CMU-Q’s campus to show to both CMU – Main Campus, as well as Qatar Foundation. It is an important project, and has not been done before this. So I am excited to start this new challenge!


Spa Day!

For my birthday gift, Dave bought me a spa day at my new favorite spa located right by our apartment in the West Bay. My friend Kat, whose birthday is the day after mine, also scheduled some appointments so we could spend the day together.

I scheduled a pedicure and hammam treatment called Lotus Infusion.  I have desperately needed a pedicure since we arrived, and the hammam massage was a special treat for my birthday. According to the website, hammam means ‘spreader of warmth’.

The Hammam treatment was really amazing! I had no idea what to expect – luckily my masseuse explained everything! First, I showered and sat in a steam room for 10 minutes.  It was soooo relaxing! Then I received a scrub of coconut and rose water. It made my skin feel really nice! Then I showered again.  Next was a warm masque, then I was wrapped up for about 10 minutes. Then I showered again, and washed it all off.  My skin felt amazing. Finally, it was time for the hot stone massage, and it was really nice. I felt so relaxed and could have stayed there all day! The last part was a shea butter moisturizer all over.  It was an amazing hour and half, and I cannot wait to go back soon for another one 🙂

The pedicure was also fabulous! My poor feet have had it rough the past few months, so they really needed this! I hope to go back a little more often for a pedicure, it is a great way to relax and get caught up on mgazine reading!

Here is where I got it done:  http://www.dadosbeauty.com/

Come visit and we can go to Dado’s for a hammam treatment or a pedicure, your choice!! 🙂 It will be the perfect retreat after your long flight here 🙂



Doha Tribeca Film Festival

I had heard about the Doha Tribeca film festival (DTFF)  a few months before arriving in Doha, and I was excited to discover that it would occur over the weekend of my birthday!

This was the inaugural year for the DTFF, so it was quite an event, and Robert Deniro, the founder was in attendance, along with many other famous directors and celebrities.  This film festival is truly an amazing opportunity for Doha, as they make their mark on the map!

Unfortunately, I did not plan very well this year, and purchased my tickets the week before the festival started. They had apparently gone on sale October 16! So needless to say, when I went to buy my tickets, many of the movies I wanted to see were sold out! But I was able to score tickets to at least 2 films – The September Issue and  Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story.

The September Issue is a documentary about Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, and basis for Meryl Streep’s character in Devil Wears Prada. Vogue’s September Issue is their biggest issue every year, and this film documented the making of it. I truly enjoyed this movie! It was fascinating to  see how Anna Wintour got into fashion editing, and how she interacts with her staff, and vice versa. It really shows you the whirlwind that is the fashion world, and what it really takes to be in the industry. This film is out in theatres now (I believe) and I would definitely recommend seeing it!

Here’s the preview on apple trailers: http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/theseptemberissue/

After the film, R. J. Cutler, the director was there in person to answer questions, and give us more insight into the making of the film. Apparently, Anna Wintour gave him full creative rights when he was filming, and they had a great working relationship. A story developed that he never really expected, and that really set the tone for the movie. It was so cool to be in the same room with the director! Additionally, we were given a ballot to score the movie, once we had seen it. So fun!

The next movie I got tickets for was called Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story.  I bought tickets based on the description on DTFF’s website:


This movie was SO much better than the description on the website. It centers around a gorgeous Egyptian woman talk show host, whose husband is vying for editor in chief at the paper he works for. Due to this, he wants his wife to tone down her talk show and avoid all politics.

So she begins to interview women who have been mistreated, but while it seems like human interest, it always becomes political. The stories of these women are heartbreaking, and I sympathized with each of them. However, they are not victims – they were strong, intelligent women who fought against their oppressors.

This movie was really such an insight into the lives of Egyptian women, and I highly recommend seeing it!! It is Arabic with English subtitles, and will be available on Netflix when its released.

Some of the films I missed, but all ready added to Netflix are Cairo Time, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding, Team Qatar, Only When I Dance, An Education, Bright Star, and Coco before Chanel.  As you can see, even if tickets had not been sold out, wanting to see so many films, and trying to coordinate with the schedule was difficult!

Although I missed a lot of the big events and celebrities of the DTFF, I just feel lucky to be in a city that is reaching out to be a part of the global world.   Doha may be a little known city, but it is quickly becoming a place you cannot ignore! 🙂

I am so ready for next year’s film festival! Who coming to visit during the festival next year?