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.