Friday, September 28, 2007

Flying back

Leaving Qatar and heading back to Des Plaines.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadan Hareem (Happy Ramadan!)

Ramadan starts with the sighting of the new moon in the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar, so if it's cloudy at night and you cannot see the moon then it is possible the month will start the next day. But we could see the moon last night so it started today. Ramadan Kereem (Happy Ramadan!). It is the holiest month in which the revelation of the Koran began and the conquest of Mecca occurred. The month also ends with the phase of the moon, so it can go long if you can't see the moon due to clouds. I would imagine its hard to plan the final celebrating around possible clouds.

So what does Ramadan entail? The part most people hear about is the no eating or drinking from dawn till dusk. And that mean NO drinking. You can't have water, juice, coffee or tea..nada. And that means no brushing your teeth or chewing gum, nothing should ever be in your mouth. The not as known things are no smoking and no sexual relations. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer. I was also told that it is encouraged to read the entire Koran during this month. It is illegal in the Gulf Countries to eat or drink in public. This is enforced by fines or being arrested.
At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning. Many of the local hotels have huge buffets to eat at in the eve. The locals all go out about 10 pm and the dinners last till 1 am. Many businesses are only open 8pm to 1am. So you and the rest of the country are all trying to get your errands done at the same time. That makes it more interesting. Today is only the first day of the month but the amount of decorations that you see everywhere is spectacular. I hope we are here until the end of this lunar month. There is a three day celebration at the end of the month, that are suppose to be the best of the year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to the Sandbox

Heading back to Doha, Qatar.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back to homebase

Done with Tulsa and now heading back to Des Plaines.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Roadies are everywhere!

There are fellow roadies everywhere around the world. Gary, another roadie, was near us in Coffeeville, KS. He drove down and spent an evening with us. We went to my favorite Mexican restaurant in the south-El Chico's. If you ever have the chance to eat here-do it. Order the top-self guacamole and a garter margarita! Its a must! After we put ourselves in a food coma, we decided to go bowling. I haven't been bowling in awhile. I like to come up with funny names on our screen when we bowl. Troy was the fat kid, I was trixie and Gary was UPS. "what can brown do for you?"-he is Indian so its funny. I got my butt kicked but did manage to get in the triple digits each game!!!! On the way home we got lost, yes we can do that even in America. We came upon this random man statue with a Tulsa belt on. No clue what it was but we did manage to pull over and get some pictures with it! Just one of those nights.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tulsa, OK for 2 short weeks.

Headed out to Tulsa, OK for a quick two week assignment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back home, take two

We did end up getting our exit visas. So we got the next flight home to chicago, IL. The Doha International Airport has free high-speed wireless internet which was so great after 6 weeks with dial up. We flew out from Doha to London on Qatar Airline. It is a nice as you have heard. The food was great, you had your own tv screen to pick what ever you wanted to watch with the ability to pause/rewind/forward. I like this because then there is not the "movie ended" rush to the bathroom. The seats had a massage function in them also and you could lay almost flat to sleep. Once we got to London Heathrow we found out that you can only have one piece of luggage on the plane. A purse is considered one piece. So we had to go through customs, passport check and out only to come back in to check the extra bag then go back trough passport check and security. It seems to me that it would have been easier for Doha to tell me that only one bag is allowed in London no matter where you are flying to. From London to Chicago we fly on United. As far as business class goes united is one of my least favorites. The food is ok, the movies are edited, seats don't recline as far as most other airlines do. The movies being edited are the strange thing. It edits out key parts of movies, I was watching In the Land Of Women on the way home and it deleted the grandma talking about her up coming death-nothing sexual or adult language, just death. So now i have to wonder if all the movies i have seen on united for the first time are also edited,,,that may explain why some of the movies i didn't quite understand.
Once we got back we went outside and it was only 80 degrees, it felt cool-i almost wanted a jacket!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Exit Vias

So there we are at the Doha International Airport. We had our boarding passes, our luggage was checked, we were on our way to Bahrain for the weekend. Well thats what we thought! When we got to the Passport check out we found out something very important. If you come to Qatar on a buisness visa (sponsored by whomever you are working for) and you stay for over 30 days they need to get you an Exit Visa. Without this you can not leave the country. So there we were in the airport finding out about this for the FIRST TIME. Don't worry the appropriate people will hear about it. So there we are in Doha airport with No car, No hotel, No luggage, No exit visas and now denied boarding passes. The plane we were supose to get on to go to Bahrain had our luggage on it and per new safety/security laws is not allowed to take off with the luggage on it. ok that rule actually makes some sence, i wouldn't want someone just putting luggage on a plane then not wanting to get on that plane. So that plane got delayed and our luggage removed, but we were not able to pick it up untill the next day! Luckily there are 50+ taxis outside the airport. So we grabed a cab and drove to a hotel-Sheraton. Luckily they had rooms available. We were able to cancel our hotel/car/plane tickets to Bahrain with no fees! Thats another funny thing. I have never in my life bought refundable plane tickets. I was online at my apartment using my pre-paid internet card. The card is for dial-up which goes at 40.6 KB speed (very very slow). I was having issues buying the tickets, every time i got to the check out page it kicked me off. So on my 4th attempt to buy plane tickets i forgot to remove the check box that would have made my ticket non-refundable. I was cursing the internet at the time, but thanks to it i saved about $500 in tickets! Sometimes you don't always get what you want, but you may just get what you need!
We are in the process of getting our exit visas. But we will not be able to go to Bahrain now. We have tickets back to the United States for monday....wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Desert Safari

Today we did a desert Safari....story on the PICS!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

People of Qatar

Many of my fellow Americans have asked me the same question over and over and over again. So here is my answer. "What are the people like, do you they hate you, are you scared". The people here are friendly, not as out going as in the States but by no means are they unfriendly. I feel like if i need help i could ask any one of them and they would try to help me out. I don't believe they hate me or America in general, and NO i am absolutely not scared of them. Well the driving here is a little ruff but no more scared here than on the roads in New York City. I walk around outside by myself, with my normal pants and t-shirt on. There are no laws forcing me to wear anything special. I CHOOSE to be respectful of the local culture and not bare a lot of skin. I do see some women who wear short skirts and mini shirts, but not many and it is obvious they are not from around here. Most of this country is expats (about 80% actually). Somethings i do notice is the abundance of wealth here. I have never in all my travels seen so many Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Hummers, Land Rovers, high end cars on the road. And driven by people who look so young. Women who are even wearing their robes have Prada, Coach, D & G shoes and purses sticking out. There are servants for everything. While we were out at a wonderful local restaurant we had one man just to fill out water, one to take our empty plates/things, one to take our order, one to bring out food, a band, etc. And it looked like each table had their own. I can't imagine there is even a 0.1 % unemployment rate here. Its like they have more money then they know what to do with. My husband works here in Qatar and has a little different view. He thinks they are more on the demanding side and do have a unofficial caste system, i don't go to work with him so i can't justify his thoughts. As far as a caste system, i don't see it any different then back home where the working class and the business class have their own issues as well. When it comes to women and men i also notice no hierarchy. The women here drive, go out by themselves, hold jobs, and hold offices. I don't know if its true but i was told that per Islamic religion the men are the ones how have to pay for the house/food/essentials and woman can not. So then the women who work get to spend their money on shopping and travel...sounds good to me. It does sound like the Muslim women have to keep their traditional rolls as well (cooking/cleaning/etc). But so many have hired help to do it for them as well.
So to sum it up...I think anyone from any country could come to Qatar and not feel threatened. Just make sure you know how to drive in roundabouts-they are the scariest things here.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A taste of the city of Doha

We decided to hit the town and see what the tourist sites are here in Doha. With that said...there really isn't any. This town is set up mainly for sporting events and business meetings. But we did manage to find a couple of things.
First there was the Qatar National Museum. This used to be the palace, originally belonging to Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani. But the Shiekh has since done a major up grade in location. Each of the buildings in this palace have artefacts of Qatar. There was a untensils room, money room, room with jewlery, sea life and the history of pearl fishing. The These give a glimpse of how rooms were furnished at the turn of the century and include furniture, artefacts and utensils from Qatar's past.

Second we went down to the Dhow Harbor. A Dhow is a type of boat that..
Third we found the Doha Zoo. This is the smallest zoo i have ever been to. But the price was right ($3 for entry).
Corniche - We took a stroll along the Corniche. The Corniche is a walking path and the name of the road near the bay of Doha. It is a must during your stay. This seven-kilometre stretch of coastline runs parallel to the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and is used by walkers and runners, as well as the more adventurous roller-bladers. It offers a relaxing environment for family picnics and a nearby park for children. Fully landscaped with ample parking, the Corniche is the ideal place to unwind.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sand Dunes

The entire country of Qatar is about 100 miles across. So today we decided to drive around part of it and just find things. We headed south of Doha. We found a few beaches. The water is very shallow for a long distance could walk two-three blocks and only be waste deep in the water. Because of this the water was warm and not as refreshing as we hoped for in 110 degree heat. So we kept driving south. We saw many sheep, goats and camels walking around and of course got a few pictures. We also found the USA military base-the one thats in the new movie "Transformers". It is illegal to take pictures of military places here so I didn't get any of there. While we kept driving we found the "singing sand dunes". We decided to hike up one. For anyone who has not done this yet...don't just jump out of the car and start walking (as we did). First of all the sand is so hot that i burned the bottom of my feet and i had the thick Teva sandals on! Plus in with the temperature being what it was the "short" little hike took about an hour. In the pictures you can't tell how big the dune is because there is no focal point to show the distance. But i couldn't even see the car from the top of this thing. It is difficult to climb also because its a steep edge and the sand just moves so fast under your feet. Picture the cartoon animals running as hard as they can and not moving! That was us. So you had to go slow to get anywhere. The view on the top was just like in all the desert movies you see, and my photos don't do it any justice.
Once we got back down the dune we did some more driving around the country side. It is the desert so not much else to see but sand.
Once we were done driving around we wanted to do a more local experience. So we went down to the Old Souqs. Souqs is just another name for a bunch of little shops clumped together. Once we finally found a parking spot we did alot of walking around in this area. The trick to shopping here is haggling! I am ok at it however my husband doesn't even bother trying. He just pays full price. Which we learned is considered rude. We got an Arabian Pot, decorative Koran to display and a Shisha (tabacco pipe). Hoping to get a Persian Rug while we are in Qatar also.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Camel

Today we drove to Doha to run a couple errands. On the way home i found myself staring at the sunset. They are so beautiful here. Something i did happen to notice on last night's sunset is that the sun never actually hits the horizon. You know how when you are watching the sunset back home (USA) that the sun disappears by going down on the horizon. Well here the sun just turns and goes away,,never really making it to the horizon land. I will have to take a video and post it to show you more specifically what i mean.
After the sun was down and the sky was still light i noticed camels on the side of the road. It was very exciting! It also explained why they have a wire fence around the road--to keep the camels out.
Some of the other quirks to this area...
-it may be 110+ degrees outside but the locals keep the A/C at about 60 degrees. You have to go outside to thaw out! (which doesn't take long!)
-I have seen one street light. Yep just one. They have hundred of round-abouts though. Each have a sculpture or statue as markers. So the street name is not used. The directions are more like take your second right at the Rainbow round-about then your first right at the oyster shell round-about. Its quite amusing.
-Then there is the shear amount of construction going on. I counted 15 heavy duty cranes just with one passing by. Apparently the city is exploding with new people. The local Qataries make up 30% of the population here. The countries people are actually the minority.
-My last info point matter how good your sunglasses are or how tinted the window in the car may be, or the fact you are wearing your sunglasses AND looking out a tinted window you should never just stare at a sunset here. Wow did i have a splitting headache. Is it possible to feel your optical nerve throbbing?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quirks of Qatar

I did manage to go to Doha and visit the City Center. This is a huge mall, and I mean huge. It is five stories high and has three wings. The middle of the mall even has an ice rink! Parking is insane, but after Thailand all drivers seem calm anywhere else.

While at the mall I did a lot of people watching. Qataris wear their traditional dress in their daily lives. For men, this is a long white shirt that reaches their ankles, called a thobe, and is worn over short trousers. A head covering, the gutra, is secured with four black tasseled cords, which have been braided. They can wear two different clothes for the gutra. The first one is a pure white sheet, this one is the more formal one. It would be the equivalent of wearing a business suit. The second is a white and red-checkered gutra, this one being more informal like a pair of jeans with a t-shirt. Women wear an abayah, a long black flowing dress over their clothes and are mostly veiled. Some women have their face covered with only their eyes showing and their abayah's are solid black. Then there are woman who choose to reveal their face. Their abayah's are often embellished with gold or silver embroidery. Some even have rhinestones embellished in the abayah's...just show everyone can enjoy a little bling. They wear clothing that I would wear under their abayah's. And this was very evident in the high quality of shoes you could see peeking out. Also I say more name brand purses on the arms of these women, they could rival Michigan Ave in Chicago.

The mall seemed to be a hot spot for people to visit on their days off. Weekends here are Thursday and Friday. The ice rink was always hopping and the mall had a 10-screen cinema in it. It plays 8 American movies and two Arabic. The teens grouped together and shopped just like anywhere else. The families were packed in the food court. The women were in droves in the high-end clothing stores. And I didn't see many men. So very typical of every mall I have ever been to, only larger.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Al Sultan Beach Resort

My flight was schedule for 6:30 pm on United from Chicago, USA. United has a very nice business section however the service of united tends to lack when comparing it to other airlines. I asked the ticket attendant if my flight was on time while I was checking in, my mistake...I cursed the flight by asking. They said, "Yes, your flight is on time. United international flights are 95% on time always". On time per an airline is 15 min or less. I would like to know if that time starts once we are all loaded, away from the gate or actually lift off the ground? Anyway ...I got to be part of the 5% that's not on time. The plane took off about 40 min late. The flight itself was uneventful, just as a flight should be! Troy and I did manage to find Scott one of the other people on this assignment. So it gave us an opportunity to talk to him more. I only briefly met him once before. While on the plane I got to see the movies "Catch and Release" and "Music & Lyrics". I stayed awake the whole flight because I was so excited about my new computer and my new iPod. I had to sit there and make my playlists and learn the new programs on the computer. I changed from a PC to a Macbook. For some of you how don't know what that means.... I changed from Microsoft to Apple. So I got my iPod all programmed. I would say that it was a productive flight.
Got to Frankfurt, Germany at 10 A.M. and headed for the business lounge. The lounge was huge but the snacks were on the skimpy side and you had to pay for drinks. Luckily our next flight was on time. The second part of our flight was on Lufthansa. This so far is my favorite business section. The sets lay down to almost a perfect flat bed, food is good, and staff is super friendly. On that flight I was not productive at all. I slept most of it.
Landed in Doha right on schedule. That just makes the start of a trip so much better. Getting off the plane down the stairs to the bus, I got my first "hit" of desert air. I knew it would be hot but I guess I thought since the sun was down it would be a little cooler. It really didn't make a difference. The air was hot and very humid. While getting on the bus to go to the terminal a lady sat next to me and made a comment about finally sitting next to a woman. I didn't notice until then but I was one of four women on the flight. Once I got to the terminal I was one of the first through the passport area, then once luggage started showing up, my luggage was the very first luggage off the rack! Once I had my bags I got through customs quickly and my car was waiting for me. It makes me giddy to have someone holding a sign with my name on it when you come out of the terminal. Just makes me feel special. I think the stars were in line for this trip. Never have I ever had that much ease when getting out of an airport.
The cars got Troy, Scott and myself to our hotel within an hour.
[PHOTO_ID_L=p1020081.jpg]We are staying at the Al Sultan Beach Resort in Al Khor (Al Khawr on the map). It is an OK hotel, not as nice as others in the area so my guess is we wouldn't stay here for more than 10 days. I guess we will see.[PHOTO_ID_R=p1020075.jpg]

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Arrived in Doha, Qatar

We are here-just though you may want to know. Lessons for today---if your flying to a Muslim country-prepare for there to be hardly any women on the flight and make sure your a dressed appropriately. Also try not to sit next to the loud talker who is questioning Islam in general. *rolls eyes*

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Went home for a long Memorial day weekend. Friday night troy and I went to dinner with an old friend (Kevin) at Outback Steakhouse in Denver after landing. Then we drove up to Johnstown where our friends Kendra and Derek live. They were nice enough to let us stay with them during this trip.
Saturday we got to pick up our dogs from Cheyenne, WY. They are living with some friends while we do our travels. Sandy is the oldest and he is a Jack Russel Terrier. And Belle is our youngest, she is a golden retriever. We picked up some UOP roadies while we were in Cheyenne also (Brent and Mark). And headed to the Poudre Valley. We went on a nice an easy hike through Young's gulch. Didn't want to do anything to strenuous since we haven't lived in the mountains for a few months, and the dogs haven't been up in a while either. After a long hike we drove to Fort Collins and went to the New Belgium Brewery. That night after the dogs went to bed. We headed to old town fort Collins. Started at the Drunken Monkey and the head to the Trailhead for the best cheesy fries in the world! After that we thought we would go get our dance on so we headed to the Zydeco's club. Ran into some old nursing friends and danced.
Sunday Troy/Derek/Mark/Brent took the dogs up to Horsetooth hills and went for another nice hike. Sunday night we did some grillin and chillin.
Monday was Memorial day so we went down to Denver to watch a Rockies and Cardinals baseball game. Rockies Won---Go Home Team!!! We met up with Mandy/Ashley and some other folks.
Tuesday we fly back home. Said goodbye to all. Can't wait for next visit!

Friday, April 6, 2007


Well its that time of year again. Easter is here and i get to go on a weekend sugar high!!!!!!!! This year we have been lovely adopted as family at Jason/Sabrina's house down in Killeen, TX (Fort Hood). So thats where we will be starting tonight. Don't worry i don't have my new camera yet so i can't ruin another one while i am there! This weekend is also little Angela's birthday (yep that makes me the big one!). And its Jason's birthday weekend, plus matt is getting shipped somewhere new. And last and most importantly its Hugh Hefner's birthday on April 9th. Happy birthday Hef!!!!!!!! (you never know he could read this some day!).

So as i do for all holidays i want to know what traditions you have or what you do on Easter. Good/bad/fun/boring/liked or disliked let me know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Next Assignment (actual notice!)

Ok so we officially made the Road Map! This is good; it means they have an idea where we will go after OK. And the great news is…that it's the location we were hoping for! Are you ready? We are going to Ras Laffan, Qatar. Tentative date is May 20th. Ok now I will give you a chance to look it up since I doubt many of you know where its at………………………………………………………….........................…………………………………….……..ok you got it now?

Now before you freak out saying it's located in the middle east and the only country it borders is Saudi Arabia, remember we have people who check things out at all times to make sure we are safe. And this area is safe. Notice however it also has mainly ocean borders! Which means kick-ass scuba diving. I am going to have to start practicing some Arabic language. English is well spoken there (it's the official second language).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I WISH it was an April Fool's day joke.

So remember that brand new camera that i bought while we were in Singapore. I said how much i loved it and how cool it is! Well after having a heaving party night with Sabrina/nikki/jason/matt (which i somehow thing its ther fault also!). I found out something important that i need to share.

So I started the night off with drinking an entire bottle of Malibu Rum. Then we were all to drunk to drive so we got a Taxi TO The bar. I can't remember a time i actually need the taxi to the bar. That should have been my first clue this was going to be an expensive night. We once we got the the club we were doing shots and drinks and playing pool and kind of dancing. It starts to get a little fuzzy here. But i was only fuzzy! Others were passed out by 11pm (i will not say who but it was someones birthday that night!). Any who....somehow in the night i spilled (or at least we think it was me) a beer on the brand new camera. Nice right. Well good news is that my picture memory card was fine. However the camera....well it now sleeps with the fishes. Now i am on the hunt for a new digital point and click camera. I had the Panasonic DMC-FX01 it had the awesome feature of Optical Image Stabilizer....fancy name drunk as i get and as much as i wiggle the picture will come out perfect! So anyone have any wonderful digital camera ideas they want to share with me. Otherwise i might just buy another one of these (and let Troy carry it at the bar!) PICS

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Just got to Ardmore, OK on Tuesday at 2am. We are switching hotels today to the Marriott. Is their website. I don't have a room number yet because i don't check in until 3pm. So the phone number is on the site and if you call you will just have to ask what room we are in.
I am thinking of heading to Killeen, TX for the St. Patrick's day weekend--we will see if my Killeen friends read this and call me! (hint, hint!) I can't think of anyone else in this area I would like to go out with and get drunk. It has been years since I have seen Tracy or Sabrina. Let alone their families. It is nice to know that people can remain good friends even with time and distance between them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Plane day

Heading back to the states.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nora, Italy

Near to our hotel was this little "city" of Nora. It contained some ruins. The craftsmanship is still obvious to this day. It was a small small town so there is not a ton to see but it made for a nice afternoon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


The island of Sardegna was once an island occupied by the Spanish. Since they were they still hold some of the same traditions from the Spanish they still have Carnival! Wow is it awesome, i'm sure its still noting compared to Brazil but still very exciting! They started they day off with a parade that lasted about 3hrs. It was like a walking party. You could pick the type of music you like and just follow that float. Everyone was dressed up in costumes. We stood out a bit because we were not in costumes. The beginning of the parade area was more for the children, but the latter part of the parade was defiantly more of the adult part of the parade. One our my favorites was the Dutch float, which had men dressed as woman (ugly woman) and smoking cigarettes. There was a Dutch windmill on it and on the rear of the float there was a person sized beer mug that had a face and was smoking a cigarette which actually made smoke. It was funny because while we were in the Netherlands everyone smokes-its nauseating. After the parade was over everyone met in the center of the city. The bars were full, people crowed the street. It was a huge street party. There was a main stage that had singers and dancers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day from Italy

We made it safe and sound to the Italian Island of Sardegna. We are staying at the Nora Club Hotel , it's a small family owned hotel. The island is beautiful. We have a beach just a quick bike ride away from our hotel. The hotel has free bikes that we can use to travel around. Which is good because troy isn't that great with a small 6 speed clutch. The petals are so close that he has problems driving it. Which leaves me to drive and I don't have an international drivers license yet. I can't until my passport has the same last name as my driver's license. Which isn't looking like anytime soon. The weather here is perfect for winter. It runs in the 60's with some 40's at night. This is a sweater or light jacket weather. So we have been going to the beaches to walk around. But it's not warm enough to go swimming in the ocean. The beaches are white sand and the water is so clear!

A different way of life. People here are very relaxed. They work 8-5 like most places but then when they get home they go to sleep. They wake up a couple hours later to eat dinner. So the restaurants don't open until 7:30pm, and don't get busy until 8:30pm. So for Valentine's Day we were the first people at the restaurant, which worked out fine since the place was packed within the hour. The wine here is wonderful also. They have their own vineyards so we have been drinking plenty of local wine.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Made It

Welling after a couple mix ups and having to buy tickets at the airport we finally made it to Pula.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Minnesota Trip

Troy got some Holiday time so we decided to head to MN to stay with his brother in his new place! Jeremy is "holding" our furniture for us-so it kind of feels like home here.
We had a wonderful time and even caught a Vikings game. My first one.
From Random 2007 Photos