Archives for the month of: May, 2013

I climbed high up onto the bar stool, increasing my height easily over 6ft. I surveyed the room, yes yes, we were ready. The jazz was about to begin.

But wait, what is that unfamiliar feeling? Something’s amiss…

My eyes darted around the packed bar. Then I saw it. It rose quickly from multiple sources and headed straight for me. I tried to swerve out of the way but it was too late. I resisted as long as I could, but could not hold back any longer. I inhaled. It brutally attacked my nostrils, crawling up and down to my chest. Coughing. The dank smell thoroughly coating me.

In my mind the crowd had suddenly changed to this:

All credit to Villafane Studios

(All credit to Villafane Studios)

Grimacing and laughing and puffing away on fat cigars and cigarettes. Women and men alike were attacking me with their putrid fumes.

I was taken back to my teenage years where you’d get home at 3am, stumble drunk, and only smell of smoke. Of course, too tired to do anything about it, you’d sleep like that, hair reeking of smoke the following morning. Then there’s the [non-]smokers cough.

All in all, going out to a busy smoky bar is an unpleasant experience, breathing in fumes that have a negative effect on your body when it’s not your choice. Smoking is highly socially acceptable here (with the exception of Muslim women), with smoking sections in restaurants too.

Let us hope that it won’t always be the case, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a smoke-free night out!

Apologies for any preachiness – smoking is a personal choice, but please refrain from sharing it inside when we cannot escape!

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I’m pretending to be a photographer – it started with my 365 project upon moving to the UK, which merged into a 366 project for 2012, and a camera upgrade.

Then I saw a school friend post a link to Indisposable Concept – a film based project run by Stuart Chapman in Brisbane, Australia. It’s a pretty basic concept – take one disposable camera, snap 24 ‘indisposable’ moments on film over a week, submit and share with the world.

You don’t have a chance to see or edit the photos, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes you’re surprised by the results.

I decided to take my photos while back at home in New Zealand in April. Check out my gallery here.

Indisposable Concept is hosting an expo at the Bleeding Heart Gallery in Brisbane from the 23rd of May 2013, details below.

Indisposable Concept Expo

For more information check out their website and facebook page. And get involved!

Apologies for my absence. Life lately has been cat-like, existing on a process of sleeping, working, sleeping, eating, and sleeping. I’ve done very little of anything and have preferred to curl into a ball on our 2-seater couch and snooze. So much so that anti-exercise Hubby has left me to my slumber and hit the gym without me (he’s a “gym bunny” now).

Qatar has a different class system to that of the UK, simply split into what I will term blue collar “service” (construction workers/drivers/maids), white collar expat workers (like us), and then the local population. It amazes me that we could hire home help for less than we hire our car for – countries are currently agreeing minimum wages with Qatar and the GCC, bearing in mind that this does not include their housing, food, amenities etc which are covered by the employer.

There is help available everywhere you look: men to help you load your supermarket shopping; doormen; multiple cleaners on every level of our office building; and ‘tea boys’ in the office. If you hired a maid and a driver, you literally wouldn’t have to do anything except work, exist, and enjoy.

While stuffing ourselves at three hour all-you-can-eat-and-drink feast at Doha’s best restaurant (it just won the TimeOut Restaurant of the Year award), Market Restaurant, in W Hotel, a discussion about the ‘tea boys’ came up. [To clarify, ‘tea boys’ can actually be men or women, and their more official title at my office is Aide, who assist with other office duties too].

Colleagues were discussing how the tea boys stopped serving them for a few days, or only brought them one coffee a day – “Shocking!” I hear you cry! At that point I stopped and thought “WHO HAVE WE BECOME?!”. Of course we have the skills to make our own hot drinks, but ironically, you are not allowed in the kitchen to do so. So if the tea boy doesn’t provide, you go thirsty. Seriously, there aren’t even water coolers available – it’s either BYO or ask someone nicely. In my case, it’s hoard bottles of water from meetings and keep for future use!

It’s dawning moments like that, as I waltz through yet another 5-star hotel, where I wonder when the change happened. Will I be able to go back to a normal life, where I am not living in a fancy serviced apartment? Can I survive without having the flat cleaned three times a week? Can I open MY OWN DOOR?!

My general life skills are quickly deteriorating, and there may be no going back.