Archives for posts with tag: Culture

Courtesy of Internations

New Zealand places 6th and Qatar 54th in the line up of the best destinations for expats out of 64 countries included in the survey. In summary, Qatar is described as “peaceful but boring” with limited social activities available, takes longer to settle into the culture, working hours can be long (although I don’t find this to be the case!), and costs can be high and not reflected in quality. New Zealand is great for families, easy to settle into, good work-life balance, but expensive.


New Zealand:

See the full list here

Note that this is based on a survey of Internations members, so will be impacted by how popular the site is in those countries. Pinch of salt ‘n all that.


Two and a bit years on, Qatar is beginning to feel a little same same. We’ve seen the Sheep & Goat Festival come and go, the dhows in the harbour for the pearl diving competition, Ramadan, Eids, and the summer haze. It’s time to shake things up and see what else is going on in Qatar.

I present to you, the A to Z Challenge of Qatar!


A friend and I will complete one new activity per letter to complete the Qatar alphabet in a period of approximately 6 months.

Add your ideas to the comments!

A Aerial Yoga; Arabic; Air Hockey

B Ballet

C Camel Racing

D Dragon Boat Racing; Dhow Cruise; Dune Bashing

E Example & DJ Wire

F Fencing

G Girls Night

H Horse Riding

I Indonesian Cooking; Ice Skating; Ikebana; Internations

J Jewellery Making

K Kangoo Jumps; Kitesurfing

L Latino Tonic

M Makeover; Make Up Class

N Night Photography; Networking

O Overnight Desert Camp

P Paragliding; Ping Pong

Q Quiz Night

R Roller Skating

S Salsa; Skydiving (Dubai)

T Thai Boxing

U Ukulele

V Volunteering

W Wing Walking (not in Qatar); Wahm at the W

X X Marks the Spot (Geocaching)

Y Yoga

Z Zumba

We’ll be providing regular blog updates and photos on our experience and progress. We’re looking forward to months of fun!

Special thanks to a friend (you know who you are) for the idea, hope you can attempt this in NZ too.

My first year in the Middle East has flown by. While some days it seems I struggle through, the year disappeared far more quickly than expected. What I can say is that I have definitely learnt a thing or two!

 1.       No Expectations

High expectations may only lead to disappointment. Keep an open mind, set your expectations low, and enjoy the highs while learning from the lows.

 2.       Tenure

There are two categories of expats in Qatar – those who will be here a few years maximum, and those that have been here for a long time. When you meet someone who has lived here for two or more years your jaw will drop, then you meet those who have been here over 10 and it astounds you. All the while you’ll just be pushing through to adjust and survive your first year!

 3.       Simple Difficulties

Everything is more difficult than it should be. Need to open a bank account? You need a letter from your sponsor. Need to exchange your driver’s license? Another letter is required. Getting your car serviced? Yeah, that will take weeks. You’ll soon come to understand (and expect) that everything will be slightly harder than it should be. Which leads me to…

 4.       Nothing Quite Works as it Should

As above, this can make life more difficult! Come to expect the unexpected.

 5.       Death Defying Driving

Every outing on the road will be a death defying experience. If you do drive, drive with the attitude that everyone on the road is trying to kill you, that way you will never get too relaxed and will pay attention at all times.

The weekend seems to roll around quickly. Working on a Sunday is a drag, but by the time Thursday arrives it feels like it has been a short week, woo!

Thursday before last Hubby and I had loose plans to do things, but we ended up both falling asleep separate couches due to exhaustion from the early work mornings. Yes, you should be jealous of our rock n roll lifestyle.

This weekend we had tickets. Thursday I ventured out with a colleague to the Museum of Islamic Art to watch the premier screening of one of the UK’s top 100 films of all time, The Red Shoes. Of course, being the film novice I am, I had never heard of it, which I actually felt OK about when I realised it was older than my parents. The film was opened by various dignitaries and when I heard “mayor of London” I attempted to hunt out Boris’s hair. I’d missed “The Lord Mayor” part, and was left feeling disappointed that we didn’t get to hear Boris rambling. Anyhoo, the film was part of Qatar UK 2013, with events happening in both countries – keep an eye out if you’re in the UK too.

Friday night we ventured out again, this time to see the Doha Players perform The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). That meant 37 plays in 97 minutes, performed by 3 amateur actors. They promised a laugh a minute, and in the first half it delivered, with cultural sensitivities observed and commented on (“Dude, we can’t say that, we’re in Doha!”), plays performed in dance, rap, and all of Shakespeare’s comedies ‘rewritten’ into one very short version. Intermission provided FREE water and chocolate, yes, really, FREE. The second half was all Hamlet, with audience participation (I avoided eye contact), with the finale of shorter and yet shorter interpretations of the play. 

What was interesting in both of these is audience behaviour. I had been warned about cellphone use during movies, and people talking throughout, but at both the film and stage show people walked out. Walked. Out. Stood up from the middle of their row, got others to stand up to let them out, blocked views, and walked out.

I thought it odd, as neither was bad. But perhaps that’s it, as Westerners, or Kiwis, or Brits, we just sit through things, unless they are so bad we have to leave. Or maybe it’s just me making sure I’m not double booked. Or perhaps it’s the fact I’ve spent the money on it, and will therefore stick with it!

Have you ever walked out of a show or movie? Did you feel bad for doing so?