This is my fifth week in Doha, and we had all been warned that we would experience highs and lows throughout our time here.
Today I present my Doha Dislikes:
1. Doha Dust – dust kicks up and whips around you, getting up your nose, in your eyes, and leaves a gritty feeling in your mouth. Being in the desert this is not unexpected. However, the majority of the dust is from the growing concrete jungle all around.
2. Constant Construction – it never stops. A concrete skeleton has been erected outside of our apartment, and the constant droning is the white noise we fall asleep to. Construction workers work shifts to enable the work to continue through the night.
3. Labourer Treatment – the worker ants are throughout the city, recognisable in blue overalls, rushing around to complete the multitude of projects around. Being only worker ants, they are treated as such, with few rights. There are ‘family’ areas of the city that these single male workers cannot enter. They can attend one health centre and the queue extends down the road, which is fine in winter, but imagine being sick and standing outside in 50 degree heat. However, something must attract them here, and keep them here. Many have left their homes and families. Many send money home to support them. I wonder, would money be enough?
4. Needing Approval – you need approval for everything. Your employer must supply a letter stating you can open a bank account. That you can exchange your drivers licence for a Qatar licence. That you can apply for a liquor licence.
5. American English – it hurts to use ‘z’, drop ‘u’, and write ‘center’.
6. Roundabouts – they still scare me. Seriously, which lane do you want? All of them? Oh, no, you just want to exit from the middle. Sigh.
7. Speed – some things are painfully slow. You hang around waiting and waiting. For example, our work laptops were ordered in November, and we’re still computer-less. But then things suddenly happen, or they want things to have been done yesterday.
8. Disrespect – I’m a woman in non-traditional clothing, but covered up. Do not toot at me when I am trying to cross the road. Do not slow down beside me because you don’t believe in walking. Do not leer at me because I’m on the street. And do not think that I am a working girl just because the directions to get to work involve the words ‘Radisson Blu’.
9. Shopping – I shop like a man, only when I need something, and I like to go directly to the shop I need and get in and out as quickly as possible. Shopping is a national past time here, and while having a large mall just down the road from us is convenient, it’s unfortunate that it’s the closest ‘thing to do’. I am not sure dislike of shopping will decrease over time, so for now I’m trying to get in and out for necessities only.
10. Hands Tied – you can’t book anything until you have your work visa and exit permit approved, and while I have mine Hubby has not yet started the process. It’s making me twitchy. I’m desperate to get home in April for a week of celebrations and another of travel, to introduce Hubby to family and friends, and to show him where I grew up and how beautiful New Zealand is. I hate not having any travel plans in the diary, and as soon as everything is approved I am booking!
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great things about being here as well. But I’ll save that for the next episode!