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.