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Life in Doha has really changed over the last few weeks. Everyone’s back from holidays, the weather’s cooler and we’re all ready to do some good quality schmoozing!
I’ve been told that this is the premier business and networking event in Qatar. Now in its 7th year, and with a focus on, you guessed it, business in Qatar, Back2Business is expecting over 600 international guests to come to Sharq Village and Spa to eat drink and talk shop. Here’s a write up on the event in The Penninsular
- What: Networking event
- When: 7 pm
- Where: Sharq Village and Spa
- Who: Anyone involved in business
- Cost: QAR 200 if purchased online or QAR 250 if bought at the door.
- More info: Back2Business website
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stress Management Workshop- Part 1
Part of a collaboration between Qatar Professional Womens Network (QPWN) and BNP Paribas, this free workshop series is aimed to help women hone their professional skills. This week the topic is stress.
- What: Workshop
- When: 12 to 4 p.m.
- Where: Must register to find out
- Who: Women who don’t have to work in the afternoon!
- Cost: Free
- More info: QPWN website
- Contact: email@example.com
In Coversation – Art Education in Qatar
- What: Lecture
- When: 6 pm
- Where: Mathaf Museum of Modern Art
- Who: Everyone
- Cost: Free
- More info: Event Flyer
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Furniture, Design Exhibition and Awards
8,000 people visited last year, with the majority being general public. I’m quite sure what to expect but I definitely think it’s worth a drop in. Here’s the Gulf Times write-up.
- What: Expo
- When: 5 – 8 October, Wednesday 10:30AM – 1:00PM | 3PM – 9PM, Thursday 10:30AM – 1:00PM | 3PM – 9PM, Friday 3PM – 9PM, Saturday 3PM – 9PM
- Where: Doha Exhibition Center
- Who: Everyone
- More info: Qatar Exhibition Centre Website
- Cost: I think it’s free
- Contact: email@example.com
6th Latin American Cultural Festival
Premiering this year, the Latin Festival will offer a variety of entertainment including music, movies, a circus and handicrafts market. I’m going to opening night – can’t wait!
- What: Music concerts, movies, markets, circus
- When: October 6-15, times vary
- Where: Katara Cultural Village
- Who: Lovers of all things Latino!
- Cost: Depends on the event
- More info: http://www.katara.net/
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This festival will run until Eid and will feature over 100 entertaining events and attractions.
- What: Entertainment event including amusement park, movies, concerts, plays
- When: October 6 to November 17
- Where: Near Doha Exhibition Centre
- Who: Varies, but there should be some good stuff for families. National- and expat-friendly
- Cost: Varies
- More info: Doha Park Website
Drinking and German food. Some of the big hotels import a German oompah band! You get the picture?
- What: Drinking
- When: 5 – 8 October
- Where: Intercontinental
- Who: Beer lovers
- Cost: QR 220
- More info: Intercontinental Facebook event page
Last week I went to a lecture at VCU which I think is definitely worth a mention. It was part of a series called ‘Crossing Boundaries’. VCU is a design-focused university so all of the talks will have an arty slant.
I know nothing about art or design but I still found this talk really worthwhile and would definitely recommend going to the other talks. Any time someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about something wants to stand up and talk about it publicly you can count me in!
The speaker last Wednesday was Sonia Ashour, an interior designer based in Bahrain. From what I can tell so far, the culture in the Middle East is a very visual one – how things look is important so it was great to hear about the role of architecture and design in the lives of people in the region.
There are 5 more talks to go in the series. And the great news is they’re catered! There was a buffet set up with a great dessert section. I think I also saw some wine being handed around, but it could easily have been cola in a wine glass. Unfortunately the catering is not such great news if you’re sugar- and gluten-free. You people will have to make do with the chamomile tea provided at the beverage table (which was lovely, I might add). I wouldn’t count on the food though – there were a lot of very cheeky uni students who managed to get to the front first and piled their plates up like they were at Sizzler while the other guests had to stand in line for half an hour just to get a soggy spring roll.
The talk was held in the Atrium of the university. It was scheduled to start at 6 and when I arrived the place was packed and all the seats were full. The actual talk didn’t start til 6.30 pm cause the food served at 6 pm. I had to leave early cause I had pre-ordered at taxi for 7.30 pm so I’m not sure how long it went for.
Here are some pics from the night as well as a poster with a list of the other speakers in the series.
Before we moved here this was definitely the hot topic (hehe sorry had to). What is life going to be like in a country that has? an average temperature of 41 in the summer? Will it be awful? Will we hate it? How will our dog cope? Isnt that cruel?
Well the answers are: great; no; nope; just fine; nah.
Keeping in mind that I love warm weather and absolutely loathe being even slightly chilly, the heat is great! Seriously! It feels like you’re on a tropical island every day of the week. I feel healthier being warm. I had a chronic sniffle before I came here and within 24 hours of landing I was breathing better than that guy on the Demezin ad.
People do hate it though and complain about it ad nausium. Boring! Cause the thing is, unless you’re one of those poor construction workers, you’re not out in the heat for even 5 minutes at a time, so who cares! Most people literally walk from their front door to their car, from their car to their office, repeat in reverse, lather, rinse … you get the picture. It’s not an issue.
Sure, the thermometer reads 46C for a few months but that’s in the sun. In the shade it feels much more like 38C! The issue of the heat is probably somewhat exacerbated by people like the lovely Sybil who made quite a name for herself when she baked cookies in her car.
The real killer is the humidity – especially if you’re a part-time four-eyes like me cause every time you walk outside your glasses fog up and you have to take them off and get all disorientated. But if you don’t wear glasses then there really is nothing to complain about. The really bad humidity this year lasted for about 3 weeks from the first week of August. By mid-September it was a distant memory.
Here’s something that will put it in perspective. My team at work and I have sit outside for lunch (undercover, of course) every single day. Even during summer. So you see, it’s totally bearable.
As for the dog, unfortunately she loves it too and it seems to have soothed her arthritic limbs, causing her to demand more walks than ever, right in the middle of the day. So you’d better watch out if you think you have a slow old dog – the heat might reverse the aging process!
On the recommendation of a colleague we contacted a real estate agent and were sent Margaret (not her real name of course!). I had emailed them a pretty comprehensive list of what we were looking for in a home. But I’m pretty sure Madge hadn’t even given it a glance cause she took us to some absolute shockers! I really don’t know what she was thinking. These places were small (or worse, HUGE), run-down, in the middle of nowhere dumps. I mean real sh*t holes! ‘Scuse the French. It got to a point where I refused to even look at the bedrooms because the living areas and compound facilities were so wrong.
So it turns out that Margaret wasn’t so good at her job, which wasn’t a surprise considering that within 5 minutes of being in her car she told us that she’s actually not qualified for the job at all, she just ‘fell into it’. Nice one Mags. One thing she was an expert at was talking. During our look-see I learnt her cat’s name, her father’s age, she has a house in Cyprus, stays fit by doing pilates and she likes to have a greek salad for lunch. Who doesn’t?! She was also rude to the staff in the compounds which I absolutely can not stand.
Needless to say, the whole thing was a huge waste of time and we absolutely did not take on one of Margaret’s recommendations. Although, it wasn’t a total loss because it did show us what we definitely did not want to live in. And it was a great way to see the city! Her company charged 1 week’s rent which I think is absolutely extortionate and ridiculous especially when you consider the ‘work’ that was put into our viewing.
To get into the compound we eventually chose we had to go through another real estate agent. That was just the rule. The company was called Al Asmakh Real Estate and they were absolutely fantastic and didn’t charge us a cent. I highly recommend!
So when it comes to the question of whether to get an agent or go it alone, I would only get an agent to show you around so you can get a feel for what’s out there and then drop them like a hot potato! Luckily for us Margaret was so crap at her job that she didn’t actually follow up, but most people would have to come up with some sort of excuse as to why they’re no longer interested. And of course there’s the risk that they show you something you love and then you have to find a way of sneaking under their radar to secure the place on your own. Not ideal. So just avoid them like the plague I say.
I’d recommend asking the housing department at your work if they have any recommendations, ask people you meet and then get a driver to take you around. You’ll save yourself the endless nattering.
If you’re not a food blogger, why are you posting recipes?
Ah, fair question dear
reader made up person.
Here’s the thing. I was told by a naturopath that I’d have to go on the Candida Diet exactly 3 days before I left Sydney to move to Doha. I had time to spend about a million bucks on herbal supplements, print out my new diet and was off on a plane. My only other resource was a book called The Body Ecology Diet (more on this book later).
Now, despite the fact that the Middle East are champions at constructing the world’s tallest building, underwater hotels and indoor amusement parks, they’ve got nothing when it comes to ‘tricky’ eating. So you can forget your carob, your almond butter, your organic free range eggs. Hell I can’t even find rolled oats! They don’t exist here. So most of the recipes in my book were useless, as were the dozens of websites specialising in the Candida Diet. I have the same problem with websites that are full of sugar-free, gluten-free recipes that require boutique ingredients that can neither be bought nor shipped here.
So if you happen to find yourself plonked in the desert and you have an annoying restrictive diet like me, these recipes might help. For the most part they are completely sugar- and gluten-free. That includes honey people, ok? HONEY COUNTS AS SUGAR. Sheesh. They won’t necessarily be perfect for the Candida Diet though.
A note about structure: Since scouring the internet for recipes has become my latest addiction I’ve noticed that there is an increasing penchant amongst food bloggers to write some big long introduction to their recipe about what they did on the weekend and what their pet cat thought of their latest culinary triumph and you end up having to scroll down about 15 times just to get to the ingredients list which ends up using wheat flour and maple syrup. Annoying. I mean, I love food bloggers, but grrr. So my recipes will be backwards, with the introduction or ‘Preamble’ at the end. Enjoy!
I love this. It is a message created by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. If you have not watched her TEDtalk, leave this site immediately and go watch it. It will change your life. No hyperbole here. This message was recently made famous when The Oprah told us she has it posted in her make up room. I’m not usually a fan of The Oprah’s messages because I think they tend to inspire thought rather than action, but on this occasion I think she did pretty well!
I love it because it’s all about choice and ownership. These are huge themes for me at the moment. How you act is up to you. But, how you act also affects the people around you. And you know what? If you DON’T take responsibility and you DON’T bring good energy, then you can’t come in! You’re will be bounced. It’s totally up to you.
Plus I love the action in it. There is no procrastination. You’re at the door now – if you want to come in, you need to assess yourself. Immediately. Don’t make an excuse, don’t ask someone else for their opinion. Think, then walk.
I initially thought of naming my blog “You bring the u” because of the message in this quote. In my new home, Qatar, there is no ‘u’. For most western readers, this is jarring. It’s obviously missing – there is a gap. How are you going to fill it?
But then I decided the name was too try-hard and hipster-ish. So I named my blog in French! Ha! Ironical.