When leaving for Doha, I heard a lot of crazy things from people that I wondered if they would turn out to be true or not. Certainly, we have all heard rumors about Muslim countries (or any country) and just believed it to be true. Here are a few of the ones I heard:
- Driving is crazy in Doha and there numerous car accidents every day. (This turned out to be absolutely true!)
- People will stop while driving to get out of their cars and pray. (False – Muslims have a window of time to pray so if they are in a car, they will not stop and drop everything they are doing. Can you imagine if they did?)
- The women wear abayas because their husbands/family force them to, and they feel opressed. (False – at least in Qatar, women have many rights that they don’t have in other countries, such as driving, being out on their own, etc. Also, from my understanding, the abaya is a part of their religion, and actually protects their modesty. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have unwanted glances from men?)
- It’s the desert – it’s going to be hot!! (This is true – at least from May until September. The rest of the year, its really a pleasant temperature during the day and in the evening. Besides, I get to wear flip flops every day, what more could I ask for?)
- Not a rumor, but I was really worried about the grocery stores here. What kind of food would they have?! (Luckily, there are stores with a really great selection of American items. Thank goodness for global brands!)
- I would probably have to learn Arabic to survive in the country. (False – luckily, English and Arabic are both spoken here. There are still communication problems – don’t get me wrong! But for the most part, English has served me well, but I would like to attempt to learn Arabic at some point).
These are just a few of the things I had heard before arriving in Doha. Now that I have been here almost half a year, I finding out what is true and false.
Are there any rumors/myths/questions you have about Doha, muslim culture, ex-pat life, etc. that you would like me to dispel? Post in the comments and I will answer, or even do a new blog post – depending on the question 🙂