Archives for posts with tag: Qatar

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.


This Greek dude, Heraclitus, once said “Everything flows, nothings stands still”, which has since been quoted in its various permutations around the globe.

Qatar is definitely not a country standing still. Rapid change is in progress, there are a multitude of significant governmental and environmental changes happening. Strategies are being developed and implemented. New staff are being imported. Qataris are stepping up and in to new exciting jobs and now have more opportunity than ever before. Change is why I’m in Doha.

The change is amazing. Drive just slightly out from the centre of Doha and you get an idea of what ‘old Doha’ was like. You suddenly see the sand and rocks, and realise that yes, you are living in a desert. As an example, I’m borrowing a picture from Doha News that shows Doha in 1975. The pyramid building is the Sheraton, still being built.

West Bay, Doha, 2011

West Bay, Doha, 2011

Above, my photo from November 2011, shows the Sheraton on the far right. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!

I’m here to drive change initiatives and am ready for some push back while people get used to new ways of working and develop an understanding of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Relationships are key. What I wasn’t expecting was so much change to happen to me!

You learn to adapt, to bounce back, to vent when you need to, and when to voice your opinions. And sometimes you realise you shouldn’t leap straight to the next idea as everything might change again in 10 minutes.

And sometimes you realise you’re going to be away for two weeks, and just let the changes roll over you.

2013 will be defined as a year of challenge and change. Bring it!

[While writing this, TED posted an article: The courage to believe change is possible: A Q&A with Melinda Gates about the Positive Disruption TedxChange theme for April, check it out maybe?]

How to exchange your British license in Qatar:

  1. Get an eye test. You can do this at the licensing centre, but to skip the queues you can pay (30QR) for this at an optician who will complete an application form for you, complete the test, and stamp over your photo.
  2. Get a taxi into the desert to the licensing centre.
  3. Go to the driving license section (door number 3).
  4. Wait for a man to give you a Qmatic number.
  5. Sit and wait for your number to be called.
  6. Go to the counter.
  7. Get told you need to have an eye test. Show your eye test, then get told it needs to be stamped.
  8. Leave the building, cross the car park, walk to the eye testing section (door number 7).
  9. Look confused and lost, get told to go down to the other end. Find optometrist playing on Blackberry (i.e. no queue). Optometrist informs you that you need a stamp, which they don’t have. Go back to main desk.
  10. Pay the man behind the desk another 30QR to supply a stamp. This is for the privilege to receive a date stamp and receipt number on your eye test.
  11. Receive a copy of A Driving Guide with road rules for Qatar. (A recommended read “Children are difficult to see because of their smaller size and they often do unexpected things. Drivers need to watch out for children at all times.” pg 67, A Driving Guide)
  12. Get told to go back to door number 3.
  13. Cross over the car park, avoiding the men asking if you need help with the process (they will take you around and charge you for this).
  14. Wait to receive a new number.
  15. Continue to wait because there’s no one there.
  16. Wait a bit longer before your hand finally slips behind the desk to press the button for yourself and another two people waiting.
  17. Sit and wait for your number to be called.
  18. Go to the counter.
  19. Hand over all of your paperwork (eye test, original and copies of your passport, license, and Qatari ID, a letter from your employer stating that you are allowed to drive (English & Arabic), and passport photos. Basically provide every possible thing to say who you are in original and duplicate form, with copies of front and back).
  20. The licensing rep will review your paperwork.
  21. The licensing rep will compare signatures on the English letter, the Arabic letter, and the company certificate to confirm you are are allowed to drive.
  22. The licensing rep will tell you the signatures don’t match, and one is missing.
  23. You will point out to the missing signature (it’s on the next page with the end of the letter), and that the signatures are the same, one is just bigger than the other.
  24. The licensing rep will tell you the signatures don’t match.
  25. You consider pressing the matter further, but decide against it as they’re just doing their job and following process.
  26. You walk away, exasperated.
  27. You email your employer telling them your tale of rejection and request a new letter.
  28. Your employer is shocked that their signature is no longer their signature, and welcomes you to Qatar.
  29. You receive new copies of your letter and start the process again. Hoping that this time, you will make it out with a new license.

Not to be used as an exact pathway to convert your license, but a humorous guide as to what you may encounter. Make sure you’re thorough and have every document you may possibly need – more is better, just in case!

I’ve recently moved countries and appear to have a lot more time on my hands these days, and Elly suggested I try blogging. So far I have one reader, thanks Miss Elly!

You may not know me, but hey, that’s what’s this is about. Each year I try to recap what happened, but I’ve been a tad delayed this year (with the moving countries ‘n all that). 2012 turned out to be a spectacular year. So, here’s a summary, or, as I like to call it, my brag book. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not normally this proud, but seriously, it was pretty amazing!).

I had a great time travelling: I froze in Iceland, Bognor Regis and Sweden, and failed to snowboard at a music festival in Austria. I went back in time on the Isle of Wight, and went from lying on the beach one day to wearing a coat in north France the next. I consumed gelato in Italy, meandered through Dusseldorf and hunted street art in Berlin. I celebrated a 30th in France, had a spa break in Norfolk, a work trip to Doha, and a romantic weekend in Paris.

I saw my parents and brother for the first time since leaving New Zealand when they came to visit in the UK. We quickly slipped back into family ways and enjoyed the sights of London and Wales, but especially the Chelsea Flower Show, amazing food, and Matilda the Musical.

We were told at work we needed to find a new job as our organisation was going through a massive restructure. So, I went out and I got a new job. Then, before I started, I got offered an even better one overseas that I never thought I would.

But most importantly, I got married to the most amazing man that I was led to through a range of decisions in my past. Oh, getting married may not sound that unusual, but I never wanted to get married, and then I met hubby, but that is probably a story for another day. The fact is, we’d talked about it, then the job offer came through, and next thing you know we’re walking down the [registry office] aisle 5 weeks later.

Then came Christmas, then 2013, and next thing you know I get whisked away to my new home in Doha, Qatar.

Welcome to the desert, it sure is going to be an interesting ride!